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jasonw
10-28-2009, 10:04 AM
Ok we talked about this before. About approaching potential clients from the street for yard service as well as if they already have it and I think I may be able to do better. How would you recommend I work my proposal in both cases? Clearly I would avoid houses with "No Soliciting" signs and for sure I would not want to say "Hey I can do better than the jerk off you have now" So how would you approach them?

picframer
10-28-2009, 06:58 PM
I hired a physiotherapist (sp?) I now hire University grads that haven't found work so I am somewhat back to some training but it's going well, we are back as busy now as May.

Anyhow I wanted to prove a point to him today about finding new clients and siince it's leaf season and I have two commercial units, we went to a street close to where we are working on, we had three different cards, one for our commercial leaf clean up, one for tree chipping and one for driveway grading.

We walked a street and I did the first 9 or 10 houses, amazing day, everyone was home, personally I picked up 9 leaf jobs and two chipping,not bad, almost two grand in work, now I said you take the lead and he did with zeal, we did 6 more houses and he got 4 leaf jobs and one chipping, I said ok that is enough because we will be here over a week and we are already full.

I love cold calling, it's all about your approach and professional approach, maybe it just comes natural but I find it desperate easy to find work, I look for it as it will not come to us very often, I think this is why many lawn care companies struggle, just an opservation.

This was just you average middle class burbs subdivision, no reason at all I picked this street, we were close so we agreed why not it could be fun, i bet the total time was three hours....then it was back to work:)

fieroboi
10-28-2009, 08:31 PM
I find it very interesting how everyone can have different results from approaches. In my community, I have had more success from placing an ad in the local morning coffee paper rather than cold calling.

Now to address how to approach potential clients that already have someone doing their property. I don't concern myself with what they other guys are doing or how they do it. I have always quoted what my service charge would be with a breakdown of what they get for that price. I believe that what I offer maybe more expensive than most of my competition, but I go the extra mile when it comes to service. For example, after cutting the grass, I always blow off the sidewalks just to cleanup the property, (oddly most of my competition does not do that) my customers love it. I also spend time with overseeding bare patches at no extra charge, it is all part of my pricing. Customers see the value in the extras and are willing to pay the extra. When it comes to clients that had someone maintaining their property, that have switched over to my company, I'd say I have had about a 90% success rate. I won't approach someone that already has someone without them contacting me first as in this small community, I don't want to get a reputation as someone that steals clients. A great reputation takes time to build but can be destroyed very easily in a small city.

This approach has worked well for me, but as I commented at the beginning, different communities react differently to different approaches

Lloyd
Blue's YardFX

Steve
10-29-2009, 07:24 AM
Do you ever find yourself driving down a street and seeing someone out and then stopping to talk to them? Or do you rather focus on some streets and just walk them, go door to door and see if you can talk to the homeowner and hand them a card?

jasonw
10-29-2009, 11:02 AM
I find it very interesting how everyone can have different results from approaches. In my community, I have had more success from placing an ad in the local morning coffee paper rather than cold calling.

Now to address how to approach potential clients that already have someone doing their property. I don't concern myself with what they other guys are doing or how they do it. I have always quoted what my service charge would be with a breakdown of what they get for that price. I believe that what I offer maybe more expensive than most of my competition, but I go the extra mile when it comes to service. For example, after cutting the grass, I always blow off the sidewalks just to cleanup the property, (oddly most of my competition does not do that) my customers love it. I also spend time with overseeding bare patches at no extra charge, it is all part of my pricing. Customers see the value in the extras and are willing to pay the extra. When it comes to clients that had someone maintaining their property, that have switched over to my company, I'd say I have had about a 90% success rate. I won't approach someone that already has someone without them contacting me first as in this small community, I don't want to get a reputation as someone that steals clients. A great reputation takes time to build but can be destroyed very easily in a small city.

This approach has worked well for me, but as I commented at the beginning, different communities react differently to different approaches

Lloyd
Blue's YardFX

We do things the same. I have posted fliers, hundreds of cards, CL adds, and lots of word of mouth. Thus far 100% of my work has come from the free weekly publication in our county. Our community is small to and I have the same kind of fear as you talked about of getting a bad reputation. The people that seem to make it good around here are the "good ol boys/girls" that run there crap with respect and honor and work for there business rather than take it from others. If you had a store and had a question on how to run it you could bet you could goto the store down the road and even though you are direct competition the owner will sit down, buy you a drink and help you with it. that's just how things work around here. As for the ones that use frowned on practices such as walmart sending secret shoppers into Kmart just to get prices and undercut. They don't stick around very long. On another note, may I ask what you charge for just a mow and go job? I normally go up and above what I get paid for to. For just mowing and edging I will mow first, then leave the mower in its place, go back and edge then fire the mower up and run over the edgings then I will blow off everything and most of the time if I see an ant trail I will spray it and also spray some weeds and check the sprinkler timer on my way out. Normally I am only able to get about $40 on average per yard around here. I get all this done in 30-45 minutes so the way I figure it on a good day I can average $80 an hour which doesn't sound bad to me.

One last question. I am not sure if anyone remembers the local high end Inn that I did the quote on? Well I think its safe to say I did not get the job. i never heard back from them. They wanted me to mow, edge and blow every week as well as every now and then do small repairs, cut back vines 2 stories tall so on and so forth. I quoted $200 per month for the mowing, edging and blowing. Thats $50 per week to do it every week, Then I quoted $35 per hour for all other work. Was that quote unreasonable? I mean it seems to me not to be with a place that gets $200-$300 per night for rooms.
Do you think the owners were just being cheap?

Brad Montgomery
10-29-2009, 11:22 AM
That seems cheap cheap cheap to me.. I trim weeds at a local plaza. Nothing huge, about 15 stores, and all I do is trim the weeds around the buildings and such. I am there twice a month, and am there for about 3 hours each time. I charge $125 a month, because the guy who wants me to do it is a friend, and the owners of the plaza (his in-laws) are SUPER CHEAP!! They have the plaza with about 15 stores, cheapest being 1200 a month rent, and also own 25 or so other rental houses, all that were inhereted, and are payed for in full.

Any way.. It may not be that you gave them to high of a bid. It may just be that the manager got his buddy to do it, or what ever... $200 a month for 4 visits... Thats a good deal. For them. I would have billed more.. (depending on size I guess..)

jasonw
10-29-2009, 12:58 PM
That seems cheap cheap cheap to me.. I trim weeds at a local plaza. Nothing huge, about 15 stores, and all I do is trim the weeds around the buildings and such. I am there twice a month, and am there for about 3 hours each time. I charge $125 a month, because the guy who wants me to do it is a friend, and the owners of the plaza (his in-laws) are SUPER CHEAP!! They have the plaza with about 15 stores, cheapest being 1200 a month rent, and also own 25 or so other rental houses, all that were inhereted, and are payed for in full.

Any way.. It may not be that you gave them to high of a bid. It may just be that the manager got his buddy to do it, or what ever... $200 a month for 4 visits... Thats a good deal. For them. I would have billed more.. (depending on size I guess..)

It was about 800sf of lawn, maybe that was a lot for that lawn. I am almost glad as I was not looking forward to trimming those vines on the 2nd story of the Inn.

picframer
10-29-2009, 07:16 PM
Do you ever find yourself driving down a street and seeing someone out and then stopping to talk to them? Or do you rather focus on some streets and just walk them, go door to door and see if you can talk to the homeowner and hand them a card?

Both and both work, I even stopped today and handed to ladies a leaf card while they were walking their dog, they gave me their address on the spot and said call with a quote, I did and got both of them....to me it's just fun but now I am getting over my head as we will have issues getting this all done plus excavation jobs are coming in every day.....and it's the end of October for heavens sake.

fieroboi
10-29-2009, 09:37 PM
On another note, may I ask what you charge for just a mow and go job? I normally go up and above what I get paid for to. For just mowing and edging I will mow first, then leave the mower in its place, go back and edge then fire the mower up and run over the edgings then I will blow off everything and most of the time if I see an ant trail I will spray it and also spray some weeds and check the sprinkler timer on my way out. Normally I am only able to get about $40 on average per yard around here. I get all this done in 30-45 minutes so the way I figure it on a good day I can average $80 an hour which doesn't sound bad to me.

One last question. I am not sure if anyone remembers the local high end Inn that I did the quote on? Well I think its safe to say I did not get the job. i never heard back from them. They wanted me to mow, edge and blow every week as well as every now and then do small repairs, cut back vines 2 stories tall so on and so forth. I quoted $200 per month for the mowing, edging and blowing. Thats $50 per week to do it every week, Then I quoted $35 per hour for all other work. Was that quote unreasonable? I mean it seems to me not to be with a place that gets $200-$300 per night for rooms.
Do you think the owners were just being cheap?

Your about the same pricing as me, I only have a couple of places that I charge on a per time basis and they would average out about $40 per cut. I only agreed to do those yards on a per time basis with the understanding that the client not leave it too long between cuttings as I expressed concern about how hard it is on the grass yet alone my mower.

As for your comment about the hotel being cheap! I'm sure they found someone else that will do the job for the price that they want to pay. I bid commercial jobs the same as I do my residential ... my price is my price and the value is there for customers that see it. When I first started I would get upset and frustrated with myself when I wouldn't get a contract or job, but I soon realized that if I lower my price just to get a job, I usually hated doing that place .... so I quit doing that and have stuck to my pricing. What we fail to realize is that almost everyone is the same, I'm sure the majority of people out there would buy a product/service from someone else if the price is less ... That is NOT to say that the product/service is of the same value as one that was higher. Sometimes pricing includes the customer service that goes with the product and in my experience most of the time the customer service is invaluable!

Lloyd
Blue's YardFX