View Full Version : Free estimates outside your immediate area?

06-06-2006, 02:55 PM
Are you offering Free estimates outside your immediate area?

It seems that at least one LCO has scaled back his free estimates to areas outside his immediate vicinity. Have you changed this in your business as well?

Fuel prices could take a bite (http://www.pantagraph.com/articles/2006/06/05/business/doc4483b80054b3f938098603.txt) - In Greenville, Texas, Crew Cut Lawns, a landscaping and lawn care service with $180,000 worth of equipment and four gas-guzzling Suburbans, has raised prices 5 percent and stopped offering free irrigation estimates to outlying callers.

06-07-2006, 01:24 PM
i offer free estimates in my town and the town south (primary service areas) everything is subject to a $45 consultation fee. I will reimburse clients who bite on my services their $45 after work is done.

06-07-2006, 04:07 PM
Does the consultation fee apply to potential customers who want weekly mowing services? Or is this a fee for landscape construction jobs?

06-07-2006, 08:14 PM
I brought up this topic a little while ago because of one particular estimate of where I wasted about $50 in gas, and 3 hrs of my time.

06-07-2006, 10:23 PM
It's good to see how other LCOs are handling this now.

06-07-2006, 11:57 PM
Right now the farthest that I go is about 25 miles for work. But Next year that customer is going to get cut.

In 2004 I only serviced in an 8 mile radius and it worked great, but in 2005 & 2006 I expanded outward. Big mistake in my opinion. Next year I will go back down to a 8 mile radius only.

The way gas prices are this year, if they get any higher, I may end up cutting approx 7 customers that are outside the 8 mile radius right now.

But back to the estimate thing, the only way that I will give an estimate is if the customer is located within 2 miles of those seven distance customers of mine.

06-08-2006, 01:52 PM
It is amazing how the farther out you go from your immediate area the more you lose your competitive price advantage due to higher fuel costs. So often I think we all forget this.

It's easy to forget this as well.

06-08-2006, 05:06 PM
I was sitting and thinking why I'm not seeing huge growth like others and I think it's because I've kept my route radius small. Right now I'm in maybe a 5 mile radius, with one exception (a large commercial thats 12 miles one way out). I think thats why even though I don't have large volumes of business, I still have a high profit margin right now.

06-08-2006, 08:39 PM
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ June 07 2006,5:07)]Does the consultation fee apply to potential customers who want weekly mowing services? Or is this a fee for landscape construction jobs?
I pre-screen them via telephone or email. I dropped one customer last year because he was too far out of the main route. Its not a big secret, the tighter the route the more money you can make.

I only accept mowing clients and I price them high now (lawn care is such a headache) in two towns I service. I will travel up to 30 miles for other landscaping jobs. earlier this spring I did a pond job about 25 miles up the road, did I make money? you bet. I also did a major turf renovation up in a new development, I got 13 homeowners together and gave them a group discount (which was really the same price anyway, i just marked the original up). Banged out 2 solid days of turf renovation. did i make money? you betca.

I will use the "consultation fee" bit when I feel like people are tire-kickers. Chances are I'm not going to be the low bidder, so I save myself some time.

06-08-2006, 09:24 PM
Quote[/b] ]I pre-screen them via telephone or email.
What kind of things do you do to pre-screen potential customers?

06-11-2006, 10:08 PM
I ask how they heard of me, its either Word of Mouth or they found me online. If its WoM then its typically go out and look at the property/job at the least. Some jobs I turn down right over the phone, others I ask them to email me a picture if applicable. Some I have to fish a little to see if they're tire kickers. I had one lady of foreign decent call me the other day looking for an estimate for "yard work". So i asked her what that meant, was it a project? a cleanup? mulching? She didn't know what she wanted done. Those estimates virtually never result in a sale for me. She was located about 45minutes down the highway from me in a very affluent area, but even then I told her that there would be a $45 consultation fee and I would help her assess the property "yard work" for 30 minutes. She said she would call back, that was a little over 2 weeks ago http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif Guess my instincts were right on that one.