Referrals from other L&L companies

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by DiscoveryLawn, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    Another brain storm for fert and squirt guys.

    In my first year as a fert and squirt only company, I have developed some relationships with a few lawn mowing and landscaping companies. We have exchanged referrals and some sub work for one another. I would like to work with more companies this year but obviously I can not offer all of them referrals. In fact there were a couple this year that I stopped sending referrals because I did not like their work or way of doing business.

    I am looking for some incentives to encourage other companies to be willing to refer me to their customers without my being able to do likewise (for all of them). Last year I referred more than 50 or 60 mowing customers and about the same in landscaping. I expect it to be much higher this year.

    Here are a few things I am considering so far...
    1) Pay a flat fee of $20.00 to $30.00 for the referral if the client hires me.
    2) Pay a commission of 10% of the annual contract. If I do this, I will pay the entire commission for the year after the first round is complete.
    3) Company that sends me the most referrals (that become clients) wins a Bahamas vacation for two this summer.
    4) For every referral a company sends me, they get their name in a box. This summer, I will draw a name to win a vacation for two. (do these sound cheesy? :D )
    NOTE: I have also considered making a 94 1500 Chevy truck the prize or a used 61" Great Dane Super Surfer with 900 hours on it.

    What do you think of these ideas?

    Do you have any ideas or things you have or are doing to direct referrals?

    Also, I do not mind subbing on commercial props., but I no longer want to do sub work on residential lawns for other L&L companies. So please keep that in mind if you respond to this thread.

    Thank you,

  2. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,217

    David, have you seen how big my lawn is, boy I could use something other than my 10 year old 44 walkbehind, could you put my name in that box?

    Just kidding, I have alot to say about these ideas, Im just a little pressed for time today, I will be home later this afternoon and I will chime in then

  3. dantelawn

    dantelawn LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 15

    Why commerical sub and no residential? The sub problem we run into is not the type of work, but the type of landscaper you work for. Most demand superior service, low prices and then pay late. Good ones pay 5-10% discount off our retail, let us work on our schedule and pay us monthy. Find the quality businesses and sub work can be profitable. Referral prizes are cheezy in my opinion. A small percentage finders fee seems appropriate, but can also leed to headaches on who referred who, and "what about the 10 customers we referred to you last year" kind of stuff.
  4. comperk

    comperk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    In my humble opinion...

    Most L&L's call because they are in a bind. You shouldn't have to give them any referral bonuses.

    I would also only do prepay if subcontracting. Most of these guys are fly by night. You will get stiffed. It is a fact and probably for thousands of dollars.

    Also, if you are any good, they will refer clients to you anyway. Why? Because it is in their best interest to have the lawn looking awesome, regardless if they only mow.
  5. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,217

    Alright, I think you need to separate the referrals from the sub contracting. I would guess most landscaping companies want to stay away from the referrals because they wanna keep there fingers in the pie, and most understand its a way to make some easy money.

    I have a good relationship with one larger construction company, when they do a install they send the client to me. On return when someone ask me for construction I refer them. Ive sent them huge jobs, big money, but I dont care what they do, they send me 8-10 good customers a year.

    I also work with a few landscaping companies ( mowing ) where I do there fert work and bill them, they ( I assume they do ) add money on and bill the customer. I offer them a 10% discount if they pay me within 30 days. Out of my 350 customers maybe 50 are done this way. i would never want it too be too much more. All my eggs in their baskets, is not a good thing.

    You could hook up with a larger company and grow your customer base fast, but be prepared to wait for you money. Many pitfalls to doing this, use it as a temp way to get your numbers up and slowly pull away from this type of work.

    Now when a new landscaper calls for prices, I ask for a credit reference, that usually weeds out the bad ones.
  6. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,847

    the relationship ive had with my sub for the last 2+ years is this:
    He doesnt bill me for his stop fee... i in turn bill my clients full price and keep the $30. However, i have never made him wait more than 10 days for his payment. As a sub, I appreciate prompt payment and in return do to others likewise.

    Why do you not want to be a sub on residential lawns? Why not approach other lawn maint businesses with an offer of no stop fee if they agree to prepay(could be either by round or annualy). If I didnt have my relationship already, i would consider such a deal. If they balk at prepay... just tell them to get their clients to prepay... nearly 85% of mine bite at 5% off for prepay. The no stop fee could add up, however it is an easy way to build your route. With anyluck, either their clients are clustered or are near yours so it wouldnt really kill you on drive time.
  7. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    Maclawn, I am very concerned about subbing on residentials because ...

    1) I do not like not having the customer contact that I feel I need to have in order to provide the best service I can. By subbing there are too many steps to take in order to communicate between the homeowner, contractor and sub. Its a pain in the a$$ for the customer and for me most of all. Especially when the contractor makes promises for me or fails to tell me of a special instruction from the customer.

    2) I do not trust most of the companies out there to pay me when the bill is due if they are behind on their payroll or something.

    I am considering requiring prepayment for sub work. I wish others had the same values as you when paying for sub work. I too pay my subs on time or early (whether I have recieved payment from the client or not).

    With commercial work... It seems the only way I can get any is if I sub out the mowing and landscaping or sub for the mowing and landscaping co. I am willing to take a little risk on these because otherwise I think I would miss out on some commercial work.

  8. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    OK I just want to post an update on my progress since I began this thread.

    I have made a few contacts with local LCO's and so far have received 170+ referrals from other companies. There are another 50 to 80 coming from two other mowing companies. I have completed 70 of the estimates and have them ready to submit. The rest will not be submitted until next week.

    I am very excited about the prospects this has generated for me. I sure hope these turn into some new sales.

    Very busy,

  9. jajwrigh

    jajwrigh LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Martinsville, IN
    Messages: 1,405

    I am fert and squirt only now too and I have a referral program with three other small lcos. Those guys mow and we simply trade one pays anyone or anything like that. I suppose in my situation all parties involved realize how beneficial new business is and its not difficult to understand the rewards from helping someone, who can later help you.
  10. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    I too am fert and squirt only. I only work on referrals with no incentives. The incentive is that I give referrals in turn for the LA/LA guys to refer me.
    The quality of work speaks for itself. I refer the guys who have the most work or closest work in that particular area. I like a tight route and so do the cutters.

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