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lawn mowering
03-17-2010, 09:09 AM
I kid you not every where I look is someone elses ad in the newspaper is 40 (count) ads just for lawn mowing last year there was 5. when I am handing a person my ad they have an atitude. I HATE to but I beat any of there prices but the customers take it as a joke because everyone all 45,452 of my competitors say that and dont back it up.PLEASE HELP HOW DO I OUT AN END TO THIS!

lukus223
03-17-2010, 11:26 AM
I kid you not every where I look is someone elses ad in the newspaper is 40 (count) ads just for lawn mowing last year there was 5. when I am handing a person my ad they have an atitude. I HATE to but I beat any of there prices but the customers take it as a joke because everyone all 45,452 of my competitors say that and dont back it up.PLEASE HELP HOW DO I OUT AN END TO THIS!

I hate to say this, but it's a recurring theme around here that I didn't want to believe at first. You got to hit up family, friends, etc. Using your network is the best way to get real recurring jobs. My best clients have all come that way. It's also about momentum. Doing a great job at one persons house makes it very easy to approach the direct neighbors. They see you every week and know the quality of your work.

I keep advertising on craigslist, paper, door hangers, and direct mail to keep a constant prescence in the market. I am hoping that over the years a "brand name" recognition will be built by those who have seen my ads again and again and my truck working in the community.

racerdude711
03-17-2010, 11:48 AM
Make yourself stand out from your competition. Focus on striping. People love the stripes, and it's incredibly easy to do. When people see a house with extremely define stripes, they are going to want the same thing, right? I have found that focusing on striping has really helped with me getting more customers.

Jack Rabbit
03-17-2010, 04:52 PM
With the economy the way it is, many people, like me, are unemployed with little hope of finding regular job. Starting a lawn care business, with its low start up cost, is a way to pay bills and get food.

I guess I'm not understanding what "low balling" is. Competition and good old capitalist, free market, stuff is good. It is no fun when you're on the losing end though.

Been there. I was unable to compete in another business venture and that business is suspended. I don't like that I didn't succeed but the best businesses won. Noting is unfair about that. Maybe I can improve, better provide what customers want and "get back in the ring" or maybe I don't belong in that business at all.

If "low ballers" are cheating (breaking laws etc.) to reduce their costs that's bad. Report their crimes to authorities.

If they are honestly able to provide a good service at a lower price that's competition. I'm a single guy with low living expenses so I could (could...I don't intend to...I want to make good money) charge considerably less than others.

If "low ballers" are doing low quality work then that is the way to compete with them. Say in your ads that you can fix the harm done by those cheap guys. Point out that you are a professional, insured, pay taxes, have lots of experience ... whatever shows that your work is honest, better than the cheapos, and worth the price. Some customers want quality and are willing to pay for it.

Gotalgae
03-17-2010, 05:02 PM
I think low-balling damages the industry as a whole. The cheaper we become the less worth people think we have. The majority of low ballers in my area are either on welfare and are just doing it for beer money so they don't really care about making a living from it. Or, they are illegal. I fail to understand why somebody would want to work so cheap and not make a real living from it. I have several homeowners contact low ballers on my behalf all the time and ask for copies of insurance and licenses. I try and give good value for the money they pay me and in return they try and steer others away from low ballers.
It shouldn't matter whether you are single or married or whether you have a low overhead. You should charge what you are worth. I'm all for free markets etc but at the end of the day if I have a low overhead do I still really want to go out and work my tail off for $12 a cut or work my tail off for $25 a cut?

Steve
03-17-2010, 07:25 PM
Been there. I was unable to compete in another business venture and that business is suspended. I don't like that I didn't succeed but the best businesses won. Noting is unfair about that. Maybe I can improve, better provide what customers want and "get back in the ring" or maybe I don't belong in that business at all.

Jack what was your view on that experience? What do you feel you learned from it?

I keep advertising on craigslist, paper, door hangers, and direct mail to keep a constant prescence in the market. I am hoping that over the years a "brand name" recognition will be built by those who have seen my ads again and again and my truck working in the community.

Lukus, what % of new customers do you feel come from these marketing avenues vs. from those in your social network? Do you find it is worth your while to use these marketing avenues instead of putting the time into building up your social network more? Or what is your view on all that?

Jack Rabbit
03-17-2010, 08:30 PM
If you all are talking about illegal operators (not paying tax, breaking laws, etc.) then I'm with you. They aren't competing they are cheating. If they are illegal in some way turn 'em in anyway regardless of fees they charge or the quality of their work.

If you are just whining because someone can do the job for a enough less than you that the customers find it a better deal ... well ... if you can't beat 'em on price then beat 'em on quality.

Different low baller situations could have solutions like:
- Turn in the criminals
- Educate the low ballers (did you know most charge ...)
- Hire the low ballers if their work quality is ok. Minimum wage might be more than they are making with super low prices.
- Educate the customers. Tell them why quality and professionalism are worth it.

"want to go out and work my tail off for $12 a cut or work my tail off for $25 a cut?" Want? I doubt the "low ballers" want to make less. Ask yourself that question. Why would they WANT to? Obviously they don't want to.

On expenses: Having low expenses means you CAN charge less, not that you want to. I hope to use my low expenses to make more profit by charging the same as others.

Price fixing, businesses cooperating to keep prices high instead of competing, is bad. It is also bad when governments do it by mandating low prices or subsidizing something. These things interfere with the natural balance of the customer's wish to get good stuff cheap and the business' wish to make high profit. When the dust settles the price reaches what economists call the "equilibrium point" which is high enough that the businesses can and will do it for that and low enough that customers will pay it. Of course the real world isn't so simple and all kinds of crime and corruption and vice and ignorance, even sabotage, will interfere with the system. And yet ... the people of every country that has employed it have still been more prosperous, and usually more free, than those in any other system.

Jack Rabbit
03-17-2010, 08:49 PM
"Been there. I was unable to compete in another business venture and that business is suspended. I don't like that I didn't succeed but the best businesses won. Noting is unfair about that. Maybe I can improve, better provide what customers want and "get back in the ring" or maybe I don't belong in that business at all."

Jack what was your view on that experience? What do you feel you learned from it?

My other business was (kind of is still) www.phosphorgallery.com. That site might disappear soon if I don't get job or the lawn thing going pronto. (If that link is spam then feel free to delete it.)

I learned that it is important to learn what your really customers want. Don't build a business based on what you think they want. Do the research.

I learned to be flexible. Adapt the business what the customer wants. They pay for what they want not what you want.

I learned that it is necessary to have more investment capital than you think is needed. No matter how much you think you have figured the right amount, have more before you start.

I learned not to quit your day job.

I learned that art does not sell during a recession. Meaning you should consider if the combination of product, customer, and the economic situation equals a successful business.

Hey, I'm supposed to be making publicity material not typing all this stuff.

Gotalgae
03-17-2010, 09:38 PM
"want to go out and work my tail off for $12 a cut or work my tail off for $25 a cut?" Want? I doubt the "low ballers" want to make less. Ask yourself that question. Why would they WANT to? Obviously they don't want to.

They "obviously" do because they'll charge $12 instead of $25 just to get the job....

On expenses: Having low expenses means you CAN charge less, not that you want to. I hope to use my low expenses to make more profit by charging the same as others.

I totally agree with you. My expenses are relatively low. But because I charge what I think I'm worth does that make me want to fix prices?

- Educate the low ballers (did you know most charge ...)
Could this be conducive to price fixing?


I love competition. I get to prove how good I am. But I think you will find the majority of low ballers do not have their ducks in a row and that does drag the industry down regardless of whether you report them or not.

Now... go make your publicity material!! :D

Steve
03-18-2010, 04:32 PM
I learned that it is important to learn what your really customers want. Don't build a business based on what you think they want. Do the research.

I learned to be flexible. Adapt the business what the customer wants. They pay for what they want not what you want.

I learned that it is necessary to have more investment capital than you think is needed. No matter how much you think you have figured the right amount, have more before you start.

I learned not to quit your day job.

These are all fascinating points and it is amazing how you have experienced such a wide array of insight from these different businesses! I think it is fantastic! It's like cross training.

With such a wide array of interests do you feel your ideal business is still out there somewhere? Where you haven't hit on exactly what it is you'd like to own and run?

Are there other businesses you'd like to experiment with in the future?