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The landscape care game defined.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Garry, Apr 15, 2002.

  1. Garry

    Garry LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    Some people drive a Jaguar, but, most people in this world drive something along the lines of a Saturn. Perferring the preformance and a grand appearence to a potentially unreliable, yet, economically-softer means of travel, the Jaguar owner, knows all to well, that quailty costs just a little more money.

    Better analogy.............Stop & Shop is a huge supermarket in my area..........they're everywhere, and do large volume business. Yet, literally hundreds of specialty stores thrive, some within mere blocks of the location.

    Here in America,... this is the buying public, and like them or not, for the most part, they're all looking for a deal, free advice, something for nothing, etc.

    For the most part.

    There is, however, a small, but, growing group of people who "see through the mist" todays landscape-care is presenting itself as.

    So, who are these people?

    Although they can be spotted in almost any neighborhood, they usually can be found either at their beautiful homes, in the nice part of town or, possibly, at one of those specialty shops I mentioned earlier. (I doubt they're at Stop & Shop)

    There is a tremendous amount of work out there, most of which,.............will never get done. There are simply too many weak agronomic "programs" saturating the market. Couple that with the fact everyone represents themselves a "lawn expert" AND the *5 guys told me 5 different things* mentality.......................It's a wonder any of us make it.

    The simplest definition of marketing, is simply to find a current, unfulfilled, need and design a product, that meets that need.

    It goes like this:

    "Hmmmmmm, Ive spent 40 thousand on a landscape that frames my 850 thousand dollar home,...should I find the cheapest means possible to keep it looking good..........OR, relize I've spent alot of money to get it and it's gonna cost some money to maintain it"

    He needs it...........................and what do you know, I'm offering it.

    Scrubs (used as a umbrella term), the major lawn operation (yes, the one we all love) and the homeowner themselves (at times) all provide their fair share of humorous stories, but, at no time should they ever be viewed as a threat to anyone possesing strong agronomics a some business ethics. Agronomics and economics, it's been said, do not mix well together. The shortfalls, as I see it anyway, seems to lie in the simple fact, that in order to keep the pricing low, the real loser turns out to be the landscape.

    Sucessful landscapes are those with proper nutrition, soil chemistry, pest management, and most importantly, monitoring.

    And not those that are cared for with waton, indifference, poor agronomics, and of course, inexperience.

    I'm asking this.......................Is anyone else out there finding the mid to upper scale prospects becoming more responsive to full package treatment schedule?

    As in:...........Areration, soil test, lime (to proper pH) .......Three fertilizers, seperate pre emergent program, Merit treatment, seed to build density, etc ...........All trees, shrubs, flowers, etc are given soil corrections, fertilizer (amazing brew I've designed over the years)and pest treatments (all fairly basic, yet, complete)............. But, most importantly, you have me....checking on things and giving lots of advice. Together, we can agree on the little things, such as, how long to run the sprinklers or how high to set the cutting height.

    I relize that alot of this business is dictated by ones environment, and what works here might not work elsewhere.

    2+2+2+2+2=10...........................but, so does 5+5.

    What is your ideal landscape program and how do/would you market it?
  2. Commander

    Commander Banned
    Messages: 116

    I do not see there as being the one ideal land care program. You have several different types. I most certainly would not just push one. I feel that the way I want to grow my business is towards PHC. No pesticides unless something major happens. I do not wish to be spraying Merit or Meridian, instead I would like to be spraying nematodes. Instead of using fungicides I would like to be able to just apply some N, or other such formulations. That works for someone who is into having a pesticide free lawn and can stand a few weeds - I work for several people like that already. Now you have the "Governor's Mansion" type people where if there is even one weed you go all out. The types of lawns and trees where you are putting down lots of chemicals. I think that both of those types of programs have their benefits and their drawbacks, depends on the customer. I also think that the amount of services you perform is dictated by the use of the property. If we are talking about somebody who had a bentgrass putting green installed on their property, they will need all types of services and they will need them done much more frequently than if we are talking about somebody who just put down a home-lawn and really never does anything with it (parties / games / etc).

    In general, if I was to market a lawn program to the masses it would be; put me in charge, let me have my run of the property and just pay the bill at the end of the month.

    I have a few accounts like that right now... they LOVE me. However that freedom has taken me years to achieve. If you just go into a property and tell the owners that... they will most likely think you are insane.

    What you are saying about 5 different guys, 5 different things can be compared to many things...
    Let's say that you have an acre of wood lands that you would like to thin out. I go in there and tell you to remove everything under 6" diameter and whatever is dead. Somebody else comes in and tells you to remove everything under 4" and whatever is dead. Another guy, who sees $$$ in lumber will come in and tell you to remove the $$$ trees that he wants and leave the rest of it over 4". Maybe another guy will come in and say to you get rid of everything under 8" and cover the whole ground with chips from that job and others.
  3. My career goal, stated in a half of a sentence. Thanks Commander.

    I have one account, kind of like that. They still eye me with suspicion. But I've only been there 6 years.:D

  4. ohiolawnguy

    ohiolawnguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    i noticed in the original post that you entioned the person having the $40k landscape, and debating who to hire to perform services.

    that got me thinking about this one fellow who asks me for a price every year.

    this fellow spent no less than $30k having his lawn and landscape installed in 1990 irrigation nice size tree, ornamentals, beautiful lawn with rolling mounds like you would see at a golf course.

    anyways, this guy hires a different person to mow it seems every year. he wants his lawn bagged too also has TGCL fertilize.

    so, each year he asks me for a price, and each year, i say well,i CAN bag the yard, but that would be extremely expensive. on the other hand i would prefer to double cut the yard, and make my own decision as to whether it should be bagged o the second cut.

    i give him my price for both ways, and tell him that in the spring this particular lawn SHOULD be o a five day mowing schedule.

    eventually, he finds some new guy with commercial equipment who will bag the yard for the cheapes price he can get.

    i just don't get it. his lawn could look so much better if he just spent a little extra in the maintenance department.

    my point is he was willing to put money out hand over fist when it was installed, but he thinks that cheap is the way to go for care of the landscape-go figure.
  5. 2 man crew

    2 man crew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 403

    I have a few customers who say "Your the expert don't ask me. Just do it."

    I also have many customers who say " What services do you think I need? " and go with most or all that I recommend.

    And then I have some that only want cutting and could care less.

    I like it just the way it is. I like having a mix of needs and wants. It would be boring to me to serve one type of customer.
  6. Garry

    Garry LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    I'm simply pushing the point of the need and want of stronger agronomics by *landscape nation*.

    People don't install watering systems, costing thousands of dollars, if somewhere in the back of there mind they're not having thoughts of a *Better Homes & Gardens* landscape. And does the totally inexperienced and ill-informed *landscape specialist*(who by the way, has the best of intentions...."That this lawn, Mrs Smith,... WILL be the envy of the neighborhood)... have the solution to last years poor performance.

    He very well may,... however, I'm seeing way too many oppertunities to increase revenue and create beautiful settings, ignored for far too long. It seems as our little industry has become a mirror of society itself, where bigger and faster rule. What we need to do as a whole, is to just slow down for a minute and relize, that some landscapes are in need of high quality care and quality is going to cost them some money.

    All the while keeping size, travel, equiptment, product useage, etc, to a minimum.

    Poor agronomics eventually lead to disaster, and that's if poor service doesn't get you first.

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