So the project is complete, you finish off the punch list...

MJK

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Michigan
So the project is complete, you finish off the punch list, give the customer his or her invoice to outline payment.

What else are you giving them? If you offer them a warranty on the work you installed, are you giving them something that outlines this or do you just refer to what was stated in the original agreement?


I have only been giving invoices that ask for referrals in exchange for rewards. I was looking for something a little bit more, maybe a warranty in writing, not sure if it is a good idea or not. Whats your thoughts?
 

DVS Hardscaper

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
County Jail
The warranty stuff should be Presentated at the time of presentation of the proposal.

But that's not how I do it!


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JimLewis

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Beaverton, OR
Andrew is right. Warranty should have been in writing LONG before the end of the job.

Check with your state. Our state has strict laws that say certain things have to be in the contract that is signed by both parties before any work begins. One of those things is the warranty information. That really should be part of your contract (along with a lot of other things).

We do have a really nice warranty certificate that we hand out when we do irrigation repair or rebuild work. But for landscaping/hardscaping, no.

I don't know that there's anything on the back end that really needs to be done other than handing them a final invoice with the balance due. If it's a big enough job, sometimes I'll add in a nice bonus like a potted tree or plant to go over in the corner of the new patio I just built for them. But other than that, it's just take some photos, make sure they're happy before I send the crew away, give them a final invoice, get a check, shake their hand, tell them thanks for their business.
 

Gilmore.Landscaping

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Ontario
We don't usually give then anything right after the job is done, usually they are happy enough.:cool2:

But we will make sure we put then on a Christmas list for a box of chocolates or a cheese box or something. That way when all their friends and family come over at the holidays we are fresh in their mind.
 

DVS Hardscaper

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
County Jail
Christmas is probably not the best time to try to palnt yourself in a client's mind.

They're busy with the kid's christmas pagents at school, busy with christmas parties at work, busy with christmas parties with freinds and family, busy christmas shopping, busy decorating the tree, yadda yadda yadda. They're bomb-barded.

Best time to plant yourself in their minds is when life isn't hecktic and they're not expecting it.

,
 

Gilmore.Landscaping

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Ontario
Christmas is probably not the best time to try to palnt yourself in a client's mind.

They're busy with the kid's christmas pagents at school, busy with christmas parties at work, busy with christmas parties with freinds and family, busy christmas shopping, busy decorating the tree, yadda yadda yadda. They're bomb-barded.

Best time to plant yourself in their minds is when life isn't hecktic and they're not expecting it.

,
Our referrals would say differently.....
 

JimLewis

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Beaverton, OR
I gotta agree with both of you, actually. I do agree with DVS that Christmas is about the worst time of year to try to market to customers. Most all of my efforts over the years to try to reach out to customers in December have almost always been quickly forgotten, if they were ever acknowledged at all. Seems that most people are just far to distracted in December. I don't even bother very much anymore.

But we do send out Christmas cards and all of the managers in the company hand sign them. I think people appreciate that. I know I appreciate getting them from my suppliers. But what I really appreciate is the suppliers who drop me off a nice Christmas basket or box of chocolates, etc. We have 3 suppliers who usually do that for us every year. And my loyalty to them definitely goes up or stays strong because of this. I feel like they are going the extra mile by doing so. And that definitely gets my attention. So while I think most marketing efforts in December are fruitless, this (giving nice unexpected gifts at the door) is something that I do believe is effective. I don't do it myself. But I do know it works when my suppliers do it for me.
 

DVS Hardscaper

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
County Jail
Our referrals would say differently.....
And the above response is not very clear.

I've been in business for 22 years. I live it sleep it and eat it. I've experienced all the christmas time marketing stuff. It's never sparked a surge in referals.

Life is so simple folks. I believe business owners forget they are human. They get so wrapped in up in sillyness.

Think about you as a person. Think about what what makes you as a consumer happy with your service providers. If you're happy about a product or service you received from a company - you're thrilled to refer them without ANY hesitation. You don't stop and think to yourself "ok well Bobs septic pumping is so friendly and they do such a clean through job, we dont even know they were there, oh, oh, wait a minute - Bob didnt send me a gift basket for christmas, but the lawn guy did, so call our lawn guy, Kirby, and see if he'll pump out your septic tank".

Its human nature to be thankful and appreciate kind gestures received from anyone. If you dont appreciate such gestures - then you're not human, you're a robot.

Each winter I offer "off season pricing". I send flyers out to all my clients and to people whom I've priced work for in the mail. The flyer is date sensitive. Its intended to get people to pick up the phone and commit to a contract NOW. The flyer lists a discount schedule, as each week gets closer to spring, the discounts get smaller and smaller. Every year we have people take advantage of the discounts. BUT no one ever contacts me until the holidays are over! And its during the holidays when the discounts are the greatest!

Same with back to school season. During the week that kids return to school after summer vacation my phone hardly rings. If people are busy getting Billy and Katie to and fro school, just imagine how busy they are during the winter holiday season!

I have never sent these people even a Christmas card. Here is an e-mail I received from them about 10 days ago, very good clients of mine:


"..................and, just where are MY pictures?????
I know this was a generic email, but need you to know that we think about you a lot, especially when others are here to admire your work.
Have a nice fruitful New Year.
Suzy"
 

JimLewis

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Beaverton, OR
Andrew,

What you are saying is essentially true - if consumers were dealing with just one provider for each service. And that may be fairly true for hardscaping. Most consumers aren't going to have worked with more than one hardscaper. But this is less true with landscaping in general. It's very common for consumers to have relationships with more than one landscaper. And often, each one they have contact with will do more than just landscaping. They may also do hardscapes, irrigation, lighting, etc.

So yah, if you were the ONLY landscape company that they ever had a relationship with - I would agree with you. They probably would refer friends and family to you whether you did something extra for them or not. But if you were one of several landscapers they have worked with over the past 3-4 years, then you're going to be ONE of the people they refer to their friends. But maybe not the ONLY one. In this case, doing something that sets your company apart, makes you look more professional, and shows them that you appreciate their business even after the sale is made - can go a long way toward persuading them to make YOU the only one they recommend to others.

People like to be rewarded for their purchases. That's why points or rewards systems are so popular these days. Most credit card companies have them. Most manufacturers (Rain Bird, Hunter, Unique, Kichler, Anchor) have them. Most distributors, at least in my area, have them. They all have built in ways for you to get rewarded or get some sort of gift for the dollars you spent with them. Why do you think they do this? Because they know it's human nature for most people to be a little more loyal to a company when they get some sort of appreciation from that company in return.

I wouldn't say a box of chocolates is going to be the only deciding factor in a consumer referring you. But it can easily be part of your overall strategy for making your company stand out among the others. If incorporate this gift along with other ways to keep in touch with your client (facebook, professional newsletter, special offers in the mail, etc.) you will definitely be seen as being the more professional company vs. the others that the consumer has worked with.
 

DVS Hardscaper

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
County Jail
Now Now Jim, you're veering off from the Holiday topic :)

In general terms, I think we all agree with you.

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