Stale market?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Bunton Guy, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,927

    Seems our area in Charlotte NC has a down market right now & for the last 2 years.

    We really haven't had an issue with getting our foot in the door with commercial clients we've just had a issue with landing the clients. We have a good reputation & a long list of satisfied clients on our brochure & reference lists.

    We do roughly 5-8 residential maintenance estimates a week and 10-15 commercial maint. estimates weekly. Along with 5-10 project/install bids.

    Out of all of those consistent weekly bids we may land 1-2 every month. That's ALOT of wasted time.

    I have tried to find ways to pre qualify prospective clients with no luck:hammerhead:

    Has anyone found their market to be this stuffy ? We normally are right in the middle to low end when it comes to pricing. The other end of the issue is clients not used to having to pay for a good quality service company. We get alot of " well we pay only XZY right now a month" Alot of what we have found is they rather have someone cut their own throat on pricing than a LCO that is insured and licensed.:dizzy:
  2. David C.

    David C. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 246

    I've run into that a lot---this my first year.

    Person calls on phone----"Come see what I've got and give me a price!"

    I give a price----

    Customer----"Well---ummmm!!! I'm gonna get back with ya---it seems steep and the fella thats been mowing IS doing a good job and he's cheaper----

    Thats about all it takes for me to show the customer my taillights

    I've had a lady say----Can you come clean my yard---get all the sticks up and roll up the water hoses and etc----my regular lawn guy doesn't do that and he'll be coming any day now and I need it all picked up so he won't have to do it when he gets here

    What did I do??? I charged the lady a full grass mowing price for coming out and picking up the sticks and rolling up the water hoses that her lazy lawn man can't seem to bend over to do!!
  3. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,927

    Not to mention 2-3 years ago 98% of are clients were on contracts.
    It seems that when we mention our yearly contracts to our clients that they run the other direction. When I ask why they don't want to sign a contract they say well they aren't sure if they are going to get what they are asking for & that if its not they don't want to be stuck for a complete year. I usually reply with the fact that we are a reputable company in the area....and with do you sign a yearly contract with your cell phone company? it binds you to their service! along with getting a loan on a car or a house.

    All of those legally bind you in paper work!! why not us? We are no different! we are providing a guaranteed service at a guaranteed price. With the simple solution that if you are not satisfied you can give us a 30 written notice to cancel services. Sound like a decent argument?:weightlifter:
  4. coolluv

    coolluv Banned
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 4,514

    I feel your pain. I tried to start off this year offering contracts for all of the reasons everyone else does. What I have found is everyone is leery of contracts and if I tried to only have customers with contracts, I would not have any customers.

    Maybe I'm not a good salesmen, I don't know. But some people on hear have no problems getting contracts signed. I just gave up. This is my second season and I have alot more to learn, but I have learned a few things so far.

    Most calls I get are from people who really cant afford to have a maintenance company. They are mostly middle class people who just don't like to cut grass. They want to pay $10 or $15 every 2 wks for a half acre lot. They will say come out and give me a quote, so you waste your time and drive out there and say $40 based on what you see.

    Oh my the last guy was only charging me $20 or whatever. These types are only looking for the cheapest guy in town. They don't care if you are licensed or insured or how professional you are. It doesn't matter, cut my grass because I don't want to deal with it. And there's plenty of Mexicans and wannabees that will jump at the chance.

    Thats another reason they don't sign contracts is because if they get a flyer from someone else and that company offers to do it cheaper then your gone. Then there are the Indians. All I can say is don't waste your gas and time. Then you have the slightly upper income people, not quite upper middle class. They are of the same mentality but they are willing to pay a little more not quite what the job is worth but a little more.

    They will waste your time just as much and will drop you in a minute if Paco comes along for $5 cheaper. Then you have the upper middle class that are reluctantly willing to pay but will pay sometimes. Again if Juan comes along and offers to do it for $5 cheaper, guess what... I know you know what comes next, yep you guessed it... Your a$$ is gone.

    Then you have the upper upper middle class. They want a nice job most of the time. But if Pedro comes along.... well you know. Now not all of these potential customers are that way and you do get that rare one that will not question your price as long as it is reasonable. That is the customer you want to have. But good luck because so does everyone else. But...... If Fernando comes along.... sometimes or maybe not..... Yep you guessed it again..... Your A$$ is gone.

    I try to be professional, act professional, dress professional, clean, nice equipment. It really doesn't matter to 75 to 80 percent. You tell them well I have insurance and I pay taxes and I'm running a legit business. They look at you like yea ok whatever.

    You can't swing a chicken over your head in this area without hitting 500 other guys trying to get those same customers. That is why most of the time you don't get the job or the call back because...... can you quess why...I know you know... Thats right Carlos came by.

    Well enough of my rant for now.

  5. johnnywill08

    johnnywill08 LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA z6
    Messages: 383

    i'd bump up my pricing-big time.... compensate for lost time and by the way if you're landing 1-2 comm accts/month, you're waaaaay too low... i don't care how many you're bidding on....

    then again, things are diff maybe in the south:usflag:

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