Went against Tru-green Magic

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by 1grnlwn, Mar 9, 2002.

  1. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    Well I quoted a TG yard yesterday and probably blew it. Sales is not my strong point. I rely on my work and honesty. First customer wanted price over the phone, I said I don't give estimates without seeing property. He didn't want to waste my time if I was going to be higher than TG. I got him to tell me what he was paying and it sounded close so I proceeded. First of all I should have changed clothes, because my helper and I worked on equip. and welded all day. I measured yard and worked up price $2 less than TG price. The customer asked me if I guarantee results. I told him I guarantee to use quality materials and to apply them at the proper times. I told him if grub controll was used and grubs ravaged his lawn this would be mother nature and I can never bet against mother nature. (probably should have kept mouth shut) Honesty is not best policy in sales. He then related that when he calls true green to come out and reapply for weeds they always take care of it. I was kind of stumped because I don't get calls for missed weeds. I told him we treat whole yard twice and spot the rest of the time and this should be adequate. But if he ever had problems I only live a mile away. He then asked me If I raise my price every year I said no but I did have an increase from last year because of fert hike and nat. gas. He said TG tries to raise every year and he just calls them and says do it for the same of forget it. They always fold. I thought to myself well they are already overcharging you for what you are getting, so why wouldn't they fold. He says he has been satisfied with them. I explained the adv. of slow release and he seamed interested. I left feeling kind of stupid and wondering if I did get this client would he be big PITA. Sorry for rambling but wife only wants to talk about what I am doing wrong. Oh 11Ksqft $39 low for a lot of you guys But you have to price for market.

    Said enough.

  2. heygrassman

    heygrassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 509

    I got to admit I am brand new to this and would hate to lose any customer but I am not sure this is not one that might be worth losing. Sounds like a pain in the a$$ customer that is going to call the minute a dandelion pops up. Not sure of your specific situation but I would not lose too much sleep over that one. Sounds like more trouble than it is worth.

  3. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    Well, you said it yourself, you went over there looking filthy and your sales approach didn't work too well. Forget about it and move on. Learn from what you think you did wrong. You need to look and act professional.
    Telling a customer that mother nature will win out in the grub department makes no sense. Then why would a customer pay for something you say won't work. There is no reason you can't attain grub control if you know their growth cycles.
    Everyone handles customers and pricing different, but when I give a price and someone else is cheaper, I don't price to beat them by a couple bucks. I stand firm, give the price, and tell them this is what it takes for me to do the job correctly. I tell the customer I will do what it takes to resolve any problems and if I don't make as much on some applications such is business. Sell yourself on quality and professionalism. You know that when push comes to shove, the other company won't have what it takes to completely satisfy the customer. We've all seen it a million times. Give it time, they will come to you eventually. I know I could get more work if I would move on my pricing but I know then that I will have a poor attitude when going to that property and that will hurt ME in the long run.
    People either realize the true value of a dollar, or they don't. It doesn't take long to seperate the two. I know which ones I want and those are the ones I pursue. When it comes down to beating someone by two bucks or whatever to get the job, I know I didn't sell myself the way I should have.
  4. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    I WONT give an estimate over the phone site unseen for two reasons. First I tell the potential client that its all a part of the job and I can meet with them at such and such a time if its convenient for them. I always work around their schedule best as possible. Secondly, I don’t know their exact layout and what needs to be factored in sight unseen.

    When people call and they just want a price quoted site unseen then IMHO they are either A – Unable to afford my services (or) B – Probably price shopping to see where their current contractor stands price wise.

    This early in the season I always make myself look as presentable as possible because Im not out in the field so it really isn’t explainable why I don’t look professional.

    Sad as it is to say even if you don’t get the contract you still don’t want bad word of mouth about you being the “slouch” that came to estimate their yard. Good news travels fast and bad news travels at the speed of light.

    Nutrition and Disease Control is a science consisting of using the right materials at the appropriate times in the correct amounts. I tell this to customers upfront. A fertilizer application might need to be skipped due to drought-like conditions, or postponed until a later date.

    I always tell potential clients that I ask they wait up to three weeks for their lawns to show the difference an application is going to make before scheduling a Service Call. You hit the nail on the head about working WITH Mother Nature and we CANNOT control the weather patterns.

    If for any reason at that time they are not satisfied with the results, I will come back and discuss what measures need to be taken at that time FREE OF CHARGE. I have yet to have a property completely destroyed by grubs because of a properly applied program. I usually guarantee up to about 70% control.

    As for the spot treatment of weeds I explain to customers that because we are on their property every week for lawn care, I am able to diagnose this problem before a Service Call is necessary.

    As for pricing increases, I tell them that the cost of product will dictate any necessary changes in the services we offer and that if any at all are implemented its usually about 5% every 3rd or 4th season. This is also the time that I try to lock clients into multiple year contracts, usually 3yr.

    Obviously when the fuel prices double/triple we have to accommodate for such a drastic change, but other than that we are basically stable year after year.

    In our area $55 is not uncommon for 11m/sf.

    Hope I covered the rant alright –LOL!!!;)
  5. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    Yea, I explained to the customer that none of my grub treated yards has even had a grub problem. But I just worry that someone would want a entire replacement on a yard by some freak of nature. I guess the big guys just make the guarantee and chuck the customer if something ever happens that they don't want to cover. I did want to explain I did not lower price to beat TG I just calculated my charge. I probably still charge low but want to be cautious to retain customers.

  6. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    You can't sell over the phone. All you can do is spark interest. If it happens again try telling them that you have to survey the propery and you'd hate to possibly overprice or overcharge sight unseen over the phone. btw-The chemlawnguys don't get paid like we do. They either work by the hour or more probably a salary+commision. If someone said that to me (about the phonecalls) I'd let them know that I was licensed and all products were EPA approved and I would work to solve any problem within the limits of the law. Most of them probably don't realize the label is the law (my pest customers didn't). I've only seen 3 swab tests in 15 years but the results were devastating for the technicians involved.
  7. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    Swab Test? Is that checking the concentration in tank? By EPA or Dept of AG?
  8. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    Mostly by the state. There would have to be a serious problem if the EPA got involved although they can at any time. The swab test is generally the application equipment and/or the application site.

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