What's the most intelligent way to do it?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    I've basically figured there are three ways to go about obtaining commercial business.

    1.) I'll call this one the promise and breach method. I think this one is pretty common. Go in and bid more than you will actually do. My wife works for a company (fortune 100) whose landscaping firm is supposed to mow the lawn (dallisgrass field is more like it) every other week. They have been mowing only once every four weeks. I am also currently bidding on maintaining an area for an HOA. The HOA president gave me a list of things that are supposed to be done by the current contractor. The shrubs are supposed to be trimmed every 60 days, but judging from the current growth of the shrubs, there is no way these shrubs have been trimmed in the last 90 days. They are also supposed to make six applications per year of weed/feed. It's obvious the firm is fertilizing and applying pre-emergence as they have good color and there is no substantial crabgrass problem. But there is dallisgrass everywhere and nutsedge. It's obvious the summer apps stop with the spreader. The back pack sprayer duties (the hard part of the summer apps) are being completely neglected.

    2.) I'll call this one the mow and tack on method. Basically this is where you go in and low ball to win the business but nothing is included besides mowing and maybe weeding the beds, six weed/fert apps per year and maybe three or four shrub trimmings per year. Everything else is extra. Want us to install seasonal color? Fine. It's extra. Want the seasonal color maintenace plan? It's extra. The shrubs have grown a lot and the next trimming is still three months away...want us to give the shrubs an extra trimming this month? It's extra. You've got fire ants. Want us to treat the property with fipronil? It's extra. The trees sure could use a good pruning to thin them out. Want us to do that for you? Fine...it's extra.

    3.) This method is what I'll call the boy scout method. This is how I made my only bid (so far) on a commercial account and I lost it on price. I was way too high. Anyway, with this method, you inlcude everything the customer is going to need to have their landscape maintained properly. It includes grub treatments. It inlcudes new mulch for the beds twice per year. It inlcudes pruning the trees. It includes not only seasonal color change outs, but more importantly, a seasonal color maintenance plan to keep them looking healthy. It includes 30 day shrub trimming intervals in the summer months and 60 day shrub trimming intervals in the winter months. Basically it includes everything needed to keep the place looking its best. It gives the property manager a real number to use when figuring out how much his landscape will actually cost him to be maintained and kept looking its best.

    Which method is the most profitable? Which method wins the most business? Which method keeps customer cancellation rates the lowest?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Thought this was explained pretty good to you before...bid what they ask for and nothing else...upsell later.
    If those shrubs wern't being done ...call the guy on it.
  3. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Yep, mow and tack on when they call you. Easiest and most profitable if you can get the money you want for mowing.
  4. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    This has been our practice. It's pretty obvious to me that when someone asks for a bid, you give them what they want. You may try to upsell at the first meeting, but make sure they are going to get the other bids spec'd and bid the way you are bidding.

    I sell what the customer asks for. I make recommendations, but ultimately, I bid what they want. THAT'S how you win bids. You bid what they want, bid it fair, and the rest is YOUR sales skills. Starting thread after thread about the same thing is wasting your time. All the time spent on this website, you probably could have gone to a few sales seminars and actually be getting work instead of over-analyzing every fricken' move you think you are going to make. It's great to have a game plan, but EVERY door you walk through will require different tactics and a different approach. If you think you will come up with a master plan technique to use on every property, you might as well quit now. Each business and every individual being will require different methods. End of story. Bid on the ones you think you would want to work for. Then bid on the ones you get bad vibes from, because they usually turn out to be the keepers!!

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