What sets you apart from Scott's/TG/Etc...?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by vencops, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    I have my foot in the door in a very nice neighborhood ($2M+ estates). I have one customer there, and I've done work for another.

    He calls me today (unrelated matter) and the subject of his fert/squirt (I didn't call it that) program comes up. I asked him for his business. He told me exactly what he's paying (Scott's), and told me I could have all of it, if I was close to their price. I'm meeting him tonight (another unrelated matter), and I'll find out exactly which program he's on. There's no doubt I could also get the middle neighbor's business, also. I have a great relationship with them, too.

    Got me thinking.......let's say your price is really close to..or even a bit higher than the entities I mentioned.

    What sets you apart from them? For this cust., he knows me. He knows the detail of work I do (at his neighbor's home). He's seen the attention to detail I gave his place. Heck, I even let him demo my ZTR, knowing full-well he was going to purchase one (and there was no chance at the maint. contr. for his property). I'll also be doing some landscaping projects for he and his wife, this fall.

    But, for someone who doesn't know you.....that's what I'm wondering?? What sets you apart?

    PM's are fine, if you don't want to post, publicly. I appreciate your input, up-front.
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    PM sent..............
  3. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,542

    In general big companies tend to have a revolving door for techs, most have less experience than a smaller company owner. They are also usually just spraying whatever chemical the boss says to spray that day. That compounded with not having an experienced eye opens the door for the tech not spotting potential problems prior to significant damage. Most big companies pay is based significantly on production numbers and not quality, you on the other hand make a living and secure future business with quality work and referals. Most good techs leave the big companies to start their own biz once they can sit for the test and thats why they lose techs and have that revolving door and in experienced spray techs. Just my thoughts.

  4. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    PM received, Runner. Thank you very much.

    fl....great stuff. I AM new at this. I can't sell on my "experience" in turf care (in regards to applications). I CAN sell on my attention to details, though. These folks have seen first hand what I do (at their neighbor's property).

    I'm not new to applying chemicals. I'm new to turf care. I grew up farming.

    You guys are (as always) a great resource and help. Thank you.
  5. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    What I've learned, so far......

    Customer "A" is paying $156/app. for +/- 50KSF - 8 step program.

    Customer "B" is paying $108/app. for +/- 30KSF - 8 step program.

    Current provider didn't share results of soils test with customer in either case, if indeed they took one.
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Those companies are working for peanuts, ( just over $ 3.00 a thousand) Let them have those rich guys. The Richer they are the cheaper they are. BTW Here in Florida we get more money for a straigh ant kill without Fertilizer

    I sell myself as having an educated eye and a my concern it keeping a customer long term. I am a one man band so what you see is what you get. People with my credentials are sitting in the office of the big box companies while the kids are spraying your yard.
  7. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    The homeowner with the 30KSF lawn pays me well to maintain his property (lawn maint.). I'm looking at materials prices, currently. But, what I don't know is....how long it would take me to service these properties. The one home between these two is almost exactly one acre.

    I'm not really feeling it. I'm "guessing" I could treat the small lawn in less than 1hr. YARD TIME. What I wouldn't be compensated for is time invested in securing materials and all the prep time to get ready to apply.

    The lawns don't look "bad". But, there's something to be desired (in terms of the amount of weeds in 2 of them). I haven't actually walked the middle property. It's the best of the 3, though (weed-wise).

    I won't do it for the prices they're currently paying. Hence my orig. question.

    Sometimes. The 30KSF homeowner sees invoices from me in the $650/mo. range. I'm not actually worried about selling him on my services. The middle homeowner is probably sway-able, too. The largest property....you likely nailed him.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  8. lawn king

    lawn king LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,407

    Most of the time my sales come from referals, so im almost a done deal upon arrival. When i get the why are you so much higher, i simply ask do you want a kid with a summer job or a turf manager with 33 years experience?
  9. kenel

    kenel LawnSite Member
    Male, from Chicago, il
    Messages: 34

    The large companies work for peanuts because their material costs are much lower due to the volume of product they buy.

    Depending on what you're applying, 50k ft2 could be anywhere from 2 bags of product to 6+ bags of product.

    Initial material investment will probably be your biggest cost if you don't currently have the proper tools, or chemicals. This could be offset by using the same materials/tools in future jobs, if you do acquire the accounts.

    Keep in mind also that if you make the yard look beautiful, you'll be the "go to" guy the customers talk about while they're sipping margaritas at the yacht club.

    If you decide to go in, and low ball (or match scotts/tg), consider raising prices on other work you do for them to offset that cost. Once you have their trust, they're less likely to "shop" work around.

    High end neighborhoods have the "keeping up with the jones" attitude. Brand yourself properly, and you'll be the "have to have" landscape guy in the neighborhood.

    Keep in mind, especially from my experience, where there's an expensive home, and there's a wife that doesn't work, she makes the decisions. Keep her happy, and keep your accounts. Piss her off, and goodbye.
  10. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    They also will Brag about how they beat up on your price and got it cheaper. Many years ago after a divorce I worked part time as a sever at a few Cocktail parties for the very rich in Boca Grande. What I over heard still has me very sceptical when dealing with very wealthy people. They didn't get all that money by giving it away.

    The interesting thing is they will beat up on a maid, pool or landscape guy for $ 5.00 a month and go to the club and celebrate with a bottle of champagne that costs more than they save in the next two years.

Share This Page