Question concerning new customers

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by ACTC1313, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. ACTC1313

    ACTC1313 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hopefully some of you can give me some insight about potentially new customers. First off, I plan on handing out door hangers with either price estimations on them, or the actual price I am willing to mow their lawn at. If I do the estimation method, I will most likely meet with the customer before the season to give them the actual price quote as well as have some meeting time face to face to make sure they will be getting my full service. Now if I choose to do the actual price quote method on the doorhangers, I am wondering if I should still meet face to face with the customers or just do everything over the phone and letting them know what date I will be out there to mow and how they can make payments.

    The reason for the actual price quote would be because it is the cheapest I am willing to mow their lawn at; therefore if they disagree with my pricing then I won't have to deal with them.

    So, what are your thoughts on price estimations vs actual price quotes, meeting with customers or dealing with them over the phone and meeting with them during the first mow?

    BTW, first post, love this site, thanks in advance.
  2. CutterCutter

    CutterCutter LawnSite Member
    from WV
    Messages: 76

    Welcome to the site. Lot's of great information here.

    The answer to your question is easy. Thumbs down on the idea of putting any kind of price on any form of advertising you may do. Very bad idea. As soon as you list a minimum price you can be assured any potential customer will have that figure in mind as what they will have to pay if they use your service. You also don't want to list a range of prices. On the other hand making a general statement on your advertising about being reasonably priced is fine.

    I've been mowing over ten years with rates for individual jobs ranging from fifteen dollars per service to $300 per service. Here's how I quote jobs.

    1. Never quote a job without first walking the property with the potential customer. This is really important. Of course, if the customer is unable to walk/is disabled you'll have to forgo the property walk.
    2. Find out exactly what the customer wants done. Be as specific as possible about what the customer wants.
    3. Let the customer know that the job can be done once a week or once every two weeks but must be done on a regular basis. Naturally, extended dry spells can alter that. Weather aside I show up the same day of the week all season long.
    4. I always ask the customer if they had a figure in mind. You'll get all kinds of answers to that query but if the customer names a figure twenty dollars above what you were thinking you're that much ahead. I'll also sometimes ask what they were paying the last lawn service. Sometimes that figure will be more than what you had in your own mind.

    It's always a negotiation. IMO there is no such thing as being paid too much for any job. Ninety percent of your customers will be sure that doesn't happen anyway. Another strategy I use is to take a job for less than what I want, do a very good job, establish my worth and ask for more money at the beginning of the following season. More accurately, at the beginning of the following season I simply inform the customer of the new rate. It's almost never a problem because I've done an excellent job and established my worth during the previous season.

    Lastly, pricing is not a science. You won't know if you getting enough for a particular job until you've done the job five or six times. And there are other factors that come into play too. For example if you have to request payment two or three times and chase the customer to get paid the best priced job is lousy.

    Bottom line, get as much money as you can while at the same time being flexible enough with your pricing to add as many customers as possible. Some of the customers you add will just be temporary, say for a year or two until you can add better customers to replace them.

    Good luck.
  3. ACTC1313

    ACTC1313 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks Cutter for your input, much appreciated. Cheers brah.
  4. kilgoja

    kilgoja LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 944

    that's some good advice there...i always ask what the other person charged or what they would be comfortable just gives you an idea of where to price it...and alot of times what they say is higher than what you would charge...maybe you were thinking $45 and they will say the last guy charged $ you could say $50 and go with it...just an example...over time you will learn how to spot good customers and learn if one is gonna be flaky or the kind that don't return your calls or never answer when you call and generally just don't communicate with you....kindof leaves you they want me to go back or not? away from those kind...don't waste your time...leave them you number or a business card...if they need you they will call...if they don't then let someone else have them...they are not the kind of customers you want
  5. Adeas Printing

    Adeas Printing Sponsor
    Messages: 606

    This site is great for this sort of thing.. trying to narrow down what to put on your ad. I think the information on your ad is just as important as the overall look of the design so its professional and eye catching. Also making sure it stays on the door and out of the lawn has been a huge concern I've read about. We offer free custom design services with many of our specials for door hangers and we also offer Band-It Stick-It which is our proprietary product that securely attaches your door hanger to the door & also allows the consumer to bring it inside & post it on the refrigerator like they would a magnet.

    1000 Door Hanger Band-It Stick-Its - full color - 4.25 x11 - 1 hour free design-$99.00
    5000 for $349 - 1 hour free design & FREE SHIPPING!
    5000 Postcard Stick-Its - full color - 9x6 - includes saturation postage & 1 hour free design! - $0.26 each!

    Robin Christopherson
    866-778-4254 ext 212
  6. ACTC1313

    ACTC1313 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Tango Print
  7. HeartOfTexas

    HeartOfTexas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    A lot of people in my area put prices on their doorhangers and postcards. I never liked the idea because there are just too many variables to be considered in the estimate. Its far better to meet with them and look at the yard in terms of size, trimming and edging that needs to be done, whether or not the yard seems to be picked up of hoses, toys, etc. and other factors.

    Also, you can get a good feel for the customer and what their expectations are. They may tell you why they dropped the last guy and what is important to them.

    Another reason to meet with them is that you may get some additional work. I gave an estimate last week and found out that she also needed 4 bushes removed. I put that in my quote as well as some other things that I wouldn't have known had I not walked the yard with her.

    Most importantly, meeting with them better ensures that you get the business. Most sales are made when the potential customer likes the sales person. If you smile and are pleasant and knowledge you will more apt make the sale than if you corresponded over the phone.

    I wish you a good season.

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