Questions about a lawn care business

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by toolmaan, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. toolmaan

    toolmaan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hello everyone. I have lurked this forum for awhile and finally registered. I have a few questions.
    When you bid a lawn to take care of, do you have a teired pricing system? For example a price if you mulch, and a price if you bag. Obviously bagging is going to take much more time, is this something customers want and are willing to pay extra for?
    Either way part of my service will include cleaning the walkways, etc. when I am done.
    I am going to have to upgrade and buy a commercial rider mower, right now I have a Cub Cadet 1000 series 42" and I don't feel it would last long at all commercially. I do have a commercial snapper 21" 7.0 intek self propelled mower (new in 2006). Does that seem like it would fit the bill as far as a walk behind?

    I am not a know it all so plese don't flame me and tell me I have no business trying to start a business. I know I have a lot of reading/research to do.

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,540

    Hey alot of us are new and most guys on here are very helpful and the one's that bust on you just cant help themselves,if you are not happy with the 21'' you can get a really good deal on a quick 36 super fox right now,i just orderd one and most guys really like them for a good WB...good luck!!
  3. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    some LCO's have a measureing wheel that they use....

    this helps you to keep up with pricing, however, this issue is difficult to attack,
    because what I can do a job for is diffrent than what you can do one for.

    I can show up with 3 exmarks, 4 guys and have a 3 to 4 acer lawn done in an hour, where as a solo guy it may take him 5 hrs....

    there for my cost should be a little lower than yours....
    NOT by much but it will be...

    Good luck

    MUDFLAP LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    The best thing you can do for yourself if you are planning to get in the LCO biz, is get legal early in the game. Contact your states SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, they will walk you thru the process. Its not as complicated as you might think, and until you take those steps, you will be a pimple squisher with a fancy lawn mower, probably living with your parents at age 37 LOL...... But serious, i didnt get legit until last season, it would have been so much easier if i had done that in the beginning. just my 2 cents.
  5. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,653

    I do this. Say I tell the customer it costs $45 to cut and trim, and blow the walks and driveway. Most don't ask about bagging, done deal.

    If they ask about bagging, I try to explain that it isn't needed these days with modern commercial equipment like mine, it is good free fert for the lawn, doesn't create thatch. Again, done deal.

    If they insist on bagging, I up the price by 50%, and ask where they want me to put their clippings. That is when they often call someone else.
  6. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,763

    ...or it's a done deal at your previous (non-bagged) price. :)
    (The customer is secretly hoping you ONLY charge $5 for bagging...:hammerhead: )
  7. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,653

    You are correct. If you present your offer with confidence, have some logical reasons why it makes sense, and stand firm, often times they will choose exactly what you want them to choose, in this case, non-bagging.

    I took the Xerox sales training course way back in the 80's, and we were taught to ask all sorts of questions first to understand what the customer wants. Then based on their needs, offer only a couple of options, so that whichever option they choose is a sale. Like "Will you generate a PO, or just write a check?" ...or "would you prefer the red one or the blue one?" Control the conversation with your questions. Never do a sales pitch.

    So I ask closing questions like "Do you want me to start cutting this week or next?"...or "Should I park my truck and trailer in the driveway or the street when I cut?" "Do you want shrub pruning twice per year or just lawn mowing?"

    I try not to discuss bagging. :)
  8. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    But... that is a sales pitch! Called the soft sell. You don't whip out a contract and ask them to sign... you ease your way towards it by asking questions... some customers are savy to this approach. But, the ones that are understand a pro's pitch, and they generally don't have a negative reaction. If they call you on it, verbally or otherwise, back off and go into the question mode again... I like to find a hedgerow with bare spots, and explain how that can be avoided... and then ease back into the soft sell all over again.

    There are some people, like me for instance, that just won't make a decision on the spot. I ALWAYS mull things over. That doesn't mean I won't buy, and there are some customers that need a little space like that. The trick is in knowing which type of buyer you are dealing with. If you listen, they will say enough for you to know. If you press a person like me too much, even with a soft sell, you can see them clam up. At that point I say something like "I don't want to pressure you Mr xxxx, I can see that you would like some time to think about it. Do you have any questions for me? If not, perhaps I can call you. When might be a good time?"

    The truth is, in sales, other than not having bad breath or BO, or looking like a pig, there are few rules. What works for one person might not work for the next. Everytime you either lose or win a sale, think about it. What worked? What didn't? I like to smile, but not too much. But I can't tell a joke worth a darn. Your sales technique should fit you... there are no real rules.

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