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View Full Version : Is there too much and/or better competition?


kristy424
06-23-2010, 05:23 PM
Hi...
I went through the Yellow Pages that cover a 4-county area and found that there are about 190 lawn care and landscape services. I've also checked out some of their websites...and some are very impressive. Not only in how they set it up but also in the services they offer.

While I hope to hire people that actually know what they're doing as far as chemical applications, landscaping, sprinkler systems and outdoor lighting, that won't be for awhile. Short of a miracle anyway.

So the only things we can really offer will be mowing, edging, weed eating, blowing, flower planting (if they know what they want and where they want it, and hopefully trimming shrubs.

Pretty unimpressive services compared to what the others are offering.

Is it possible to succeed with these limitations...and so much competition?

Thanks,
Kristy

The Cleaning Doctor
06-23-2010, 06:24 PM
You can offer some of these services now.

All you have to do is get an agreement in place with someone that does the type of work you are selling that they will not pursue your customers and sub the work out to them. You can make a little and your customer is still happy.

As far as the number of contractors, most will be gone within 5 years and replaced by others only to see the cycle repeat. Don't waste a lot of time worrying about your competition but do keep track of their progress/success. Not to the point of obsession though.

kristy424
06-23-2010, 06:45 PM
Hi, Pat...
Thank you for your suggestion. I know I'd read that somewhere, but I've been doing so much research I guess it got lost and forgotten when I started looking at those websites. I guess I felt like the Clampett's (pre-oil strike) compared to Bill Gates while I was looking at impressive websites and list after list of services we are incapable of providing right now.

I'm going to write the suggestion down!

And it's good information to know about the five year thing. Not that I wish failure on anyone. I just wish success on me more! :)

Thanks again,
Kristy

JP Landscaping
06-23-2010, 08:22 PM
in a competitive market you need to find a niche market and/or find your competitve advantage. In other words, find what you can do that others can't.

You don't have to provide all the services that the others do. Focus on what you can do and do it well. Also, find out what the others are charging for those services so you can have an idea of what to charge for the same service.

The other companies may offer so many services but they may have different people within their company doing them. So when a client wants three different things, they may have to talk to three different people within the company.

What I suggest you do is offer personalized services. They can call you and you will be the one talking directly to them. Instead of having someone give the bid, and someone else to the work. Some custoemers require A LOT of attention. If you have the time, shoot for those customers. Other companies drop them because they don't want to take the time to handle them.

good luck

jasonw
06-24-2010, 01:38 AM
The one thing I learned in marketing is it dose not matter how many businesses do the same work as you just get your add in the public view and no matter how dead it is keep it there. You see people in the general, brainwashed public like normalcy. When a new company pops up they wont even register it but when they see your add every week for months on end it will stick in there head and when someones wife starts nagging him to get the yard fixed up the first thing they think of is hey remember "joeblows" add in the paper, give them a call.

Steve
06-24-2010, 11:38 AM
Kristy, when you look at these competitors do you notice things that you could do that they are not doing?

For instance, the larger the company, the more they tend to not have a personal feeling when you visit their site. Could you do the opposite and make your site express your personality and reach out to the reader?

There are probably a lot more differences that you could take advantage of.

NewLeafca
06-24-2010, 11:47 PM
What I suggest you do is offer personalized services. They can call you and you will be the one talking directly to them. Instead of having someone give the bid, and someone else to the work. Some custoemers require A LOT of attention. If you have the time, shoot for those customers. Other companies drop them because they don't want to take the time to handle them.

good luck

I started out like this pretty much. I targeted two groups of people. First group were seniors. They usually want you to do a lot more then just mow their lawn for you and most will be there watching you do the work. However, if you take the time to do it right and talk to them they are great clients. They always pay you right on time some even pay early. Most of them include an extra tip in their payment. If they like you they give lots of referrals, I suppose the opposite would be true also, if they don't like you they will give you a bad rep with their neighbors but I haven't run into that.

The other group I targeted was houses with yards that need some extra clean up to bring it up to par. I would give them a flyer about my clean up services with an estimate on it. However, on the flyer it stated that if they signed up for monthly service then they could take 50% off the clean up fee and put it on their first monthly bill. It has worked great for me but you do have to take a small loss for the first two weeks and work for almost nothing. But it gives you a steady income for the following months.

Steve
06-25-2010, 12:08 PM
I started out like this pretty much. I targeted two groups of people. First group were seniors.

Do you find you still target the same group or have you altered that plan a bit as you have been in business longer?

NewLeafca
06-25-2010, 12:17 PM
Do you find you still target the same group or have you altered that plan a bit as you have been in business longer?

It has changed a bit. I still do the seniors because they are good business for me. I no longer do the clean up deal because I no longer have the extra time to do it.

Steve
06-25-2010, 01:04 PM
It has changed a bit.

Very interesting! What else do you feel has changed?

kristy424
06-25-2010, 09:50 PM
JP, right now I have no clue what we can offer that others cannot. Again, it’s a really good idea but I’m going to have to figure out what those things might be. Also, I have no problem taking time with people…customers, so that wouldn’t be a problem with me. Well, depending on what they needed from me. LOL…there are people in my life who only want me to listen to them complain about everything…and I have a lot of trouble being patient with that after awhile.

What kind of ad are you talking about, Jason? I’m assuming you don’t mean a little classified, right? The major newspaper in our area is pretty expensive. Although it sounds like a very good way to advertise. Do you think it’s better than door hangers and post cards?

I’ll have to look at them a little closer, Steve. Mostly what I was doing when I found them was making shortcuts so I could spend a few days going over them and taking notes. I’ve been doing that with postcards, other forms of advertising, equipment and some other things that aren’t coming immediately to mind.

Just kidding about that, but you make a good point. I’ll have to think about that and see what I could come up with. Right now the only things I can think of that are my dominate personality traits are humor with a little good natured sarcasm tossed in. And I’m really not sure that would help build a business.

Expressing my personality could scare people off. 

NewLeafca…when you targeted the seniors, did you look in affluent neighborhoods, or just middle class? Also, did you give them discounts and, if so, how much? What about the other group? I’m assuming that was mostly middle class?

Thanks again for the help!
Kristy

NewLeafca
06-25-2010, 10:24 PM
NewLeafca…when you targeted the seniors, did you look in affluent neighborhoods, or just middle class? Also, did you give them discounts and, if so, how much? What about the other group? I’m assuming that was mostly middle class?

Thanks again for the help!
Kristy

The clean up group was mostly middle class. Giving them the clean up discount and the ability to spread out the payment made the difference. With the seniors I started out in neighborhoods that were retirement communities around golf courses. They seemed to be more affluent neighborhoods and this is were I got many of my referrals. I also went to local senior centers and asked them if they new of places that had middle and lower income seniors who could use my services at a discounted price. They centers gave me some good leads and let me put flyers up on the bulletin boards. These I would give a discount up to 25% off but most of them when they got the bill paid the full amount ignoring the discount.

Very interesting! What else do you feel has changed?

Scheduling has changed. I used to schedule everything 3-4 hours apart and on whatever days the client asked for if available. Now everything is scheduled 1-2 hours apart and on the days that I can fit them in. I can no longer travel all over town to do jobs. I schedule neighborhoods all together now to save time and fuel.

I used to do extra little stuff for clients because I had the time. Thinks like picking up dog poop in the yard, wiping off patio chairs and tables etc... I have only had a few ask me why I don't do it as often anymore and when I explain that thanks to them business is growing and I don't have as much time anymore they understand. Although there is a sweet older lady that I take care every Friday at 6:00 pm. When I get there I go straight to the back lawn and there on the patio table is a pitcher of ice cold lemonade. I have a glass or two and get then get to work. While I am working so is she and by the time I am ready to leave she always brings me a cobbler, pie, or cookies straight out of the oven. She makes the best peach cobbler and pecan pie I have ever had (sorry Mom :D) I always clean off her patio furniture, pick up her dog poop, and roll up here hoses, because it is such a great way to end the week.

mburse1977
07-26-2010, 01:04 AM
Only 190 i got that many just on my block alone lol. Every one down here is a lawn guy. The key is too start off slow and learn and grow. Be willing to learn and ask question and you will do fine. If you worry about the other guys then you will only start under bidding and fail in the long run.

treat each customer as if they were your only client and Get help when you need it.Ask other lawn people what there doing and things you need too know there is so much work out there 160 is a low number when you do the math.If there are 1,0000 homes and only 10,000 use a service a avg company will only be no more than a 100 accounts and that is only the big ones. Just go for it and it will happen i would not worry about how many others there are.

Look at fast food there are so many places to go and most are right next to each other and both do well so competition only keeps the pricing fair and the work honest with out it things would be a lot different. We would be paying more for things if not for the completion out there.

Hi...
I went through the Yellow Pages that cover a 4-county area and found that there are about 190 lawn care and landscape services. I've also checked out some of their websites...and some are very impressive. Not only in how they set it up but also in the services they offer.

While I hope to hire people that actually know what they're doing as far as applications, landscaping, sprinkler systems and outdoor lighting, that won't be for awhile. Short of a miracle anyway.

So the only things we can really offer will be mowing, edging, weed eating, blowing, flower planting (if they know what they want and where they want it, and hopefully trimming shrubs.

Pretty unimpressive services compared to what the others are offering.

Is it possible to succeed with these limitations...and so much competition?

Thanks,
Kristy