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Starting out needing lawns, how to deal with people asking for low price on cuts

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by MustangLife, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. kilgoja

    kilgoja LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 944

    i mean yeah you can get "fast" accounts just to have them but what good is it down the road if you have 5 accounts and you have to drop 4 of them because they won't pay you more than they have been paying?...so really you are better off getting "solid" accounts from the start and slowly getting more to add to that
  2. kemco

    kemco LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,114

    Starting out I would take what I could get until you are at least making enough to cover your basic (very basic) living and business expenses. Once you have that covered, start bidding like you have a pair of brass ones.

    That being said I dont think I ever give in to someone who tells me what they used to pay. If you take the job for what they "say" they used to pay, you can bank on these turning in to the customers who always want you to do the "while you are here, just whack down the weeds in my flower beds... it wont take you 5 minutes" and not want to pay you a dime extra.

    If they tell me they used to pay 35, even if I thought 35 is a ok amount to charge for the lawn, I will usually reply something to the effect "Well 35 is actually a lot lower than I was thinking, I was thinking 45 but I would be willing to meet you in the middle at 40." And then see what they say. Negotiate, negotiate. You might end up at 38 or even 35 but it doesnt hurt to negotiate. When the potential customer throws out a number in my mind that's just a starting point for negotiating the price. And I would bet you it is in their mind too, they just dont want you to know that.
  3. STL Cuts

    STL Cuts LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    That is one of the most annoying things. I have this one lady (one of the few every 2 week yards) and I swear I can never make it through the front yard even without her coming out and asking me to do something. There's always something, sometimes I think if she can't think of anything she will just want to stop me so I'm there longer, who knows.

    I really want to drop her like a bad habit, but she's a lonely old lady and I feel sorry for her. She's also a prompt payer, so you gotta take the good with the bad sometimes I guess.
  4. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    An old lady I service is the best customer I have, prompt pay, never asks for extra, never complains about the cost or anything. She was my very first customer and I still have her 3 years later.

    I told her she needed pinestraw and a core aeration and she never asked a price, she just said do it. She has told me that even though people come through the hood to sell pinestraw and its cheaper, she doesn't trust them like she trusts me.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. MR-G

    MR-G LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    I have been in the business over 25 yrs.... and im surprised at the amount of guys that say "just deal with it" I can tell you this.....there are lawns you can go into cheap and still make a buck...the easy ones....this lawn your describing sounds like a pain in the azz....if you just take anything and everything you will be sorry down the road...trust me...build a solid foundation right from the start with good, fair pricing...and do your best to give quality based on what they are willing to pay for.....the last thing you want a low end customer to do is bring you more low end work......i know the economy sucks right now....but the future of your biz will depend on a strong, reliable customer base....it will take you longer to get going but you will be much, much better off in the long run.....this is a mistake a lot of guys make...then 3-5 yrs down the road they get out and say the lawn biz sucks...because they didnt have a good pricing structure and never made a dime.....stick to your guns and make sure you are able to make a good NET $ on each of your accts....one good way of pricing a lawn that your not sure of is setting a price for the first 3 visits...then after that re- evaluate and adjust if needed...then take it from there.....
  6. MR-G

    MR-G LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    when our customers do that we tell them we would love to do that for them...whatever it is...but that we would have to schedule it in for the next visit and it will be an additional $$
  7. MR-G

    MR-G LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    As an industry we all need to work together to keep pricing in line with the cost of living....otherwise none of us will ever make anything !!! we offer 3 basic prices to every call we go on....all depends on the level and quality they need and can afford....
  8. MR-G

    MR-G LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    I agree with that 100%...get good customers into your system in the beginning and you dont have to sort it out later....do it right the first time and you wont have to fix it later!!!
  9. kilgoja

    kilgoja LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 944

    this is something that i've noticed and it really bugs me...people paid $20 for their yard to be cut 10 years ago and they expect to pay the same $20 now lol....it's like they don't understand that gas prices are twice as high, lawnmowers are twice as much alomst, etc. etc. ...the price of everything goes up...nothing ever gets cheaper...so the price to cut a yard has to go up as well just like any other business out there
  10. MR-G

    MR-G LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    So very true...but its up to all of us to maintain a price thats fair...and when you have lowballers it doesnt help...i try to educate the scrubs out there...we all know who they are...sometimes it works...other times they are just hell bent on working for free...lol...it also helps to educate the customer...about insurances,reliability and so on...most dont realize that they are liable if the company they hire doesnt have insurance if something were to happen...

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