Thanks for cheap advice!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by GraZZmaZter, Apr 11, 2003.

  1. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 740

    I just received my direct mail flier in the mail today (along with everyone in my county), so within the next few days the phone should be falling off the wall!

    I heard some advice a while back, but cant remember exactly who it was that gave it. They were saying what an asset call forwarding is, in the way that you miss very minimal calls. Thus, you avoid missing the people who don't leave messages and move on to the next company. I had not heard of call forwarding up until that point.

    I called today to see if it was available for me. Well, it is and it was only 5.00 to hook it up, and 5.00/mo. thereafter! They also said i could activate it Monday! Just in time for the swarm of calls i receive after putting one of these fliers through. I can set it to go to my cell phone ( or any phone for that matter ) and also switch it back when I'm out in the garage.

    What a great tool Ive acquired here. Thanks to whoever gave the sound advice for a inexpensive way to acquire more work.
  2. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    Grazzmaster- If I was you I would check again on that call forwarding thing. I know people who have gone hundreds of dollars over their normal bill in the course of a month due to call forwarding. I mean some of these guys were getting cell phone bills in the 700 - 900 dollar range each month for 1 phone. Just keep in mind that your cell company will charge you for ALL the call. So the time that is spent switching from your house, to your cell will amount to a lot. FYI.
  3. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    Call forwarding on a business line makes sense depending on the level of service and availability you want to give your customers. For landscaping if we're not in the office I'm fine with a message. For the most part there are no emergencies in landscaping.

    We did forward our snow plowing phone number to a cell phone this winter so that during the storm we could respond immediately to customer requests/problems. This was valuable in my opinion, though at times it did seem overwhelming with the cell phone ringing at times and dispatching over the two way while plowing. We also used a roaming cell phone (extra phone)to forward to so that while I was sleeping or during one or two really bad storms my wife answered the phone to screen calls. I have free incoming calls on my cell phone so this didn't cost me anymore on my cell phone bill. HOwever, each call forwarded is like an outgoing call on the land line and that costs $.08 per call. It'll add up quickly.

    Part of the problem with the cell phone ringing all day long is that it interupts your work or meeting with other customers. If you're letting it kick over to your cell phone voice mail you're just retrieving messages anyways which you can do for your office.

    I think it's a good idea if you want to be real close to you customers and always be there for them. The problem is that as your business grows, how do you step away from the ringing phone to manage what is really important during the day - depending on your priorities.
  4. TSM

    TSM LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 707

    I got to say I think it is not a good idea to have calls forwarded to a cell.

    Will you always here your cell ringing?

    will you excuse yourself if your in the middle of something with another customer? how will it make your customer feel, will they feel less important than the guy on the phone?

    I totally agree that it is best to have a call answered. If your not in a position to hire a person then maybe look into an answering service. Most likely either way, hired help or answer service, your gonna have to return that call but at least you wont be interupted during your work day and the caller will be speaking to a live person.
  5. Gr grass n Hi tides

    Gr grass n Hi tides LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    GraZZmaster -

    I believe that was jimlewis that started the thread you mentioned. If he didn't start it, then he was the one that had the most informative .02. That post helped me a lot too. I mentioned it in reponse to another thread a while ago, just like you. You ought to private message him send a thanks. That guy is very helpful and thoughtful in his posts.
  6. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 740

    Gr Grass

    I wouldnt doubt if it was Jim. He is a very nice guy. He just helped me out preparing a work proposal sheet. He even called me to ask about a few things! He really goes the extra mile to help people out.

    And if it was you Jim, thanks a million again!! Your a true professional, and an all around nice, helpful person.
  7. Gr grass n Hi tides

    Gr grass n Hi tides LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    Roger that !!!!!!!!! My thanks to you too, Jim :)
  8. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    I have found with adds in the paper and yellow page adds the customer will be less likely to leave a message. With direct mail respondents, 90% will leave a message. I use the call forwarding bit. I fully understand the cell phone charges thing. I am on a 60 minute a month for $20 a month plan. I have had a couple months in a row where my bill was $120 or more. This could have been simply avoided by changing to plan that is about $40 a month for 3000 minutes rather than 60 minutes.

  9. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 740

    Today was a busy day for phone calls. I hooked my call forwarding up this morning a little after 8:00am, and WOW!

    It almost got annoying as much as it was ringing! Got quite a few estimates lined up for Wed. It was definitely worth the investment.

    If i get close to going over my minutes on my phone, ill simply update my cell phone contract to a new plan.

    Also, I changed my voice mail to " Hi, this is Thomas Shepard from LawnPRO. Currently i am unavailable, however if you leave a name and number i will get back to you within 30 minutes"

    How does that sound??

    Opinions appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
  10. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    My wife is always at home, so we don't need forwarding. But I think if I did need it, I'd send it to an answering service for about $50 more per month.

    Personally, I would not want calls coming to me while I am in the field. I do most of my work, and I don't even care for calls coming in from home except once a day. Good work takes concentration.

    But I know other landscapers that ride around more and have crews doing most of the labor, so they call forward to the cell phone they take in their vehicles.

    Sometimes I don't know if it matters to me that some people call another company instead of leaving a message when we are out.

    That's mainly because much work is referral, and our advertising for more, stresses heavily my experience, education and references. If people don't leave a message, then the credentials is not what they are after. It can also indicate that they are impatient and are in a hurry.

    Maybe that's why we have such good customers - we have never had a no pay or failure to pay in 15 years for almost 2500 projects that I have done.

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