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picframer
09-13-2010, 05:58 AM
It came to me yesterday it is important that we stay in contact with old friends, see what they might be up to and to keep people informed what we are doing, I guess a lot use Face book, I do have an account however time being what it is I am hardly ever on it. My morning routine is to update Google Docs for staff, check here and a tractor forum, weather outlook, walk the dog and head out by hopefully 7am, at the moment we are working from sunrise to sunset 7 days a week.

A week ago I stopped at a favorite coffee shop chain as I needed a kick of caffeine in the afternoon. A fellow sitting at a table talking to someone called my name as I was walking out, I hadn't seen him since the early late 90's, he was a friend of a friend, anyhow he asked me to join then for a few min's which I did, I asked what he was doing now, building homes and selling them, upper end $400,000 to $1,000,000 in a new upper end subdivision we have not worked in. Although I had a company shirt and John Deere hat on, he didn't pick up on it right away, he was complaining about trades people, shoddy work, being on time but he said excavation and landscaping was a PITA, he had just been fined $2,500 on a new place because it was not graded per the subdivision rules.

I jumped on it with a simple comment, you should be hiring us, I told him what we were doing, we had a meeting at a house that is almost built, major landscaping, excavation job was a mess....worked out a quote, went high as I want to really show what we can do and make this a stamp of our company in this community, he accepted within 15 min of me emailing the quote, with a few questions, he has two other homes on the go but there is no way we can sod them as we are already booked into mid November however we can prep them.

I will take some images, in the back of the property is a hill, I am going to make a plateau for a triple swing for kids or adults with an arched cedar bridge and the berm will be filled with colored river rock/beach stone, expensive but it knocks your socks off, it will be something to see when we are done and I told him this would be a signature landscape project, thus the cost...he didn't seem to care he just wants an eye dropping landscape for an eye dropping house. Will post pictures as we proceed.

Anyhow we have to keep marketing ourselves every chance we can, we never know what someone in our network that we haven't seen for years might be up to.

Steve
09-13-2010, 02:51 PM
worked out a quote, went high as I want to really show what we can do and make this a stamp of our company in this community

Andy,

Here is a situation where you have no business dealings with this person up to this point and you want to make a good first impression. When you created your first bid, you could have taken a few directions with it. The direction you decided to go with was to bid high.

Can you tell us what the logic is behind that? So often we will see lawn care business owners try and make their first bid low so as they can get their foot in the door and then later raise their price.

This is very interesting.

picframer
09-13-2010, 05:57 PM
Andy,

Here is a situation where you have no business dealings with this person up to this point and you want to make a good first impression. When you created your first bid, you could have taken a few directions with it. The direction you decided to go with was to bid high.

Can you tell us what the logic is behind that? So often we will see lawn care business owners try and make their first bid low so as they can get their foot in the door and then later raise their price.

This is very interesting.

Honestly we do not need the work, I have no idea what is going on this fall but I can't even get to all the inquiries and they are not small, I hired another four people but we are working 12 hour days and seven days a week.

Now in this case when I saw the homes I thought OMG......his complaint was the landscaping companies he used has no imagination, bid to tight and had to cut corners, then his clients complained that he sold the homes to etc.

If my truck(s), equipment are going to be on this site for 7 to 9 days in such a rich area, I have to leave a signature on my work, I am not interested in going in and just doing it, we are taking the landscaping to a whole new level including an arched bridge which I will make myself from Ipe, a very expensive wood that lasts forever and grows in Brazil.

If other builders, homeowners see my work then the work will follow and these areas have money.

What shocked me was some of the other lawns that were laid this year, mainly dead as they skimped on top soil, didn't remove granite which holds heat and kills the grass, just shoddy work.

Steve
09-14-2010, 03:42 PM
This sounds very interesting! I can't wait to see what you create.

How do you come up with landscape ideas when you want to do things really high end like the way you want to do?

What shocked me was some of the other lawns that were laid this year, mainly dead as they skimped on top soil, didn't remove granite which holds heat and kills the grass, just shoddy work.

When a lawn care business owner is in a situation like this, is it important to point out these issues to the customer? Is it important if you are called in to fix issues, that you can logically explain why the situation exists and what you will do to fix it or is it better to simply fix it?

picframer
09-14-2010, 08:16 PM
This sounds very interesting! I can't wait to see what you create.

How do you come up with landscape ideas when you want to do things really high end like the way you want to do?



When a lawn care business owner is in a situation like this, is it important to point out these issues to the customer? Is it important if you are called in to fix issues, that you can logically explain why the situation exists and what you will do to fix it or is it better to simply fix it?

Books, the Internet and high end subdivisions we work in, I see what I like and what I don't, I also want to incorporate some ideas from books.

Education as I mentioned before is critical, you have to know what you are talking about, speak with confidence and educate the customers. I know many from reading here and elsewhere may feel the customer doesn't really need details, I disagree 100%, I can't tell you how many high end jobs we get because I take the time to explain the process.

The Cleaning Doctor
09-14-2010, 09:54 PM
Education as I mentioned before is critical, you have to know what you are talking about, speak with confidence and educate the customers. I know many from reading here and elsewhere may feel the customer doesn't really need details, I disagree 100%, I can't tell you how many high end jobs we get because I take the time to explain the process.

Andy you hit it. I have gotten many high paying wood restoration jobs with this exact same approach. I explain the process and tell them if they don't use me then this is what you need to look for. I usually get the job.

For the higher end jobs sometimes it is just the fact that you took the time to talk to the customer even if it is about something totally off the wall.

LawnMoore
09-14-2010, 10:26 PM
Yes, talking and knowing what your talking about is a big factor, i just bid a tree today that is humongous, even though its 1 foot from his hous and grows closer towards the roof then about 50 foot up it shoots back over the back yard.

I told him that it would be smart even if i didnt do it, to get it done soon before a storm blows it over, i told him and showed him how even if the 120 foot 50 inch pine didnt get blown over on his house, how the root base would damage his foundation even if it blew away from his home.

I just took out a 36 incher that missed his front corner by 5 foot that uprooted a few nights ago, i came out at 10 pm and cleared his walkway so he could walk to the front door without climbing over it.

I bid the first one at 200 an hour and got it immediately. (I ended up netting a little over 300 as it only took an hour of work) I bid the one standing at 500 an hour and he jumped on it immediately like it was a deal! Which it is..

Like here where Andy is doing top notch work to improve the value of what did he say 500k to 1 million dollar homes, thats kind of what i have noticed with this man, im sure he spent over 300k on his home, whats 1500 to protect it and his family?

Thats chump change, just like Andys friend, hes doing grand homes which rather than say a 5k dollar landscape that was provided b4, which we see is hurting the mans sales. Andy will provide i'll just guess 10k+ landscapes that will improve the value and the sales % by much more than that.

So, what i see is, that its the rate of return that the customers are getting on the work, that provide the basis of them being able to "feel comfortable" with the higher spending..

picframer
09-15-2010, 04:13 AM
Andy you hit it. I have gotten many high paying wood restoration jobs with this exact same approach. I explain the process and tell them if they don't use me then this is what you need to look for. I usually get the job.

For the higher end jobs sometimes it is just the fact that you took the time to talk to the customer even if it is about something totally off the wall.

Pat I too will sometimes use the "If you decide to get other quotes, that is a good idea, here is what you should consider.........." some people will take notes, we almost always end up with the job.

And I am glad to hear you are getting the work because you have first educated yourself and then the client.

Giving a quote should be like ordering a coffee, explaining what you will do and knowledge is like taking your vehicle in for service, would we leave our truck to be fixed if the service managed was fumbling on what they were going to do?

I could give examples of every service we offer, what is it that we do that others do not and what can you as a customer expect, sometimes it's the equipment we have, the process, our guarantee for two years on sod etc.

picframer
09-15-2010, 04:24 AM
Yes, talking and knowing what your talking about is a big factor, i just bid a tree today that is humongous, even though its 1 foot from his hous and grows closer towards the roof then about 50 foot up it shoots back over the back yard.

I told him that it would be smart even if i didnt do it, to get it done soon before a storm blows it over, i told him and showed him how even if the 120 foot 50 inch pine didnt get blown over on his house, how the root base would damage his foundation even if it blew away from his home.

I just took out a 36 incher that missed his front corner by 5 foot that uprooted a few nights ago, i came out at 10 pm and cleared his walkway so he could walk to the front door without climbing over it.

I bid the first one at 200 an hour and got it immediately. (I ended up netting a little over 300 as it only took an hour of work) I bid the one standing at 500 an hour and he jumped on it immediately like it was a deal! Which it is..

Like here where Andy is doing top notch work to improve the value of what did he say 500k to 1 million dollar homes, thats kind of what i have noticed with this man, im sure he spent over 300k on his home, whats 1500 to protect it and his family?

Thats chump change, just like Andys friend, hes doing grand homes which rather than say a 5k dollar landscape that was provided b4, which we see is hurting the mans sales. Andy will provide i'll just guess 10k+ landscapes that will improve the value and the sales % by much more than that.

So, what i see is, that its the rate of return that the customers are getting on the work, that provide the basis of them being able to "feel comfortable" with the higher spending..

You are bang on.

In your case, if it's hardwood, at least here, I would show the client what the secretion from the leaves is doing to the siding and roof, how they fill the gutters, water will back up and get into the fascia board etc.

This guys is how I and these two fellows that have posted here are getting the upper end jobs, they pay very well, they pay on time, some clients want to pay at least part in advance to ensure we are on the list of projects, I am not kidding, when you go at this with true confidence, do outstanding work, your bottom line will grow leaps and bounds.

This project is going to come in at $12,850 and as noted the other jobs in the area I looked at are probably in the $7,000 range.

My friend told the guy that bought the house next to this new one about us, I had a call from him last night and listened to the VM this morning, it's 5:00 am so I will call later, in short he wants his landscaping done properly and wants it to incorporate the theme I will be doing on this new house.

When I say theme we are doing a lot of out of the box ideas, the arched bridge, the play centre in a plateau in the hill with man made landscape steps (stone) into the bank, rather than a french drain for the side hill which code demands, I am building a Berm, it will have sock wrapped drain tile at the bottom however I am covering it with colored river rock and leaving it exposed, the building inspector wants a retaining wall along one front side which will look like hell, I said no, we will change the grade, I met with an engineer from the city yesterday and explained what I was doing and received the green light, the list goes on.

I am confident (not pompous) when we are in this area, the work will just follow, we have done a similar approach in other upper end communities and this past summer we simply struggled to keep up.

There is a hump in every business to get over, when you do you will never look back and you will do very little advertising.

picframer
09-15-2010, 04:34 AM
I bid the first one at 200 an hour and got it immediately. (I ended up netting a little over 300 as it only took an hour of work) I bid the one standing at 500 an hour and he jumped on it immediately like it was a deal! Which it is..



Some may read this comment and think there is no way in he^^ he is making this kind of money, guys don't think that as what Lawnmoore is saying is true 100% in tree work.

I did two trees last night on the way home, took me 45 min to fall them, client wants to cut them up himself for firewood which is great as I was tired and not really interested, I charged $500.00 for the two and he thought it was a steal, I had a med sized excavator on that I used as security but it wasn't really required in this case, and it is a deal compared to what the large guys charge, the small guys can't handle these close to the house trees as they have no idea how to fall them properly, they may not have insurance or the equipment, and the clients know if that friggin tree hits their house in a storm, takes out a power line, our charge is pocket change.

Steve
09-15-2010, 03:26 PM
"If you decide to get other quotes, that is a good idea, here is what you should consider.........." some people will take notes, we almost always end up with the job.

When should a lawn care business owner say something like this? I would figure this would go against some kind of sales rule. Is this something that should always be said to show confidence or is this something one might try as a last resort?

picframer
09-15-2010, 07:26 PM
When should a lawn care business owner say something like this? I would figure this would go against some kind of sales rule. Is this something that should always be said to show confidence or is this something one might try as a last resort?

It's all in the presentation, "I am aware some companies may suggest.......however this is not the way we would do this project, we would........."

I don't say anything negative about the competition, I present it that it's not the way we do something and here is why, the only time I go down this road is if I really want the job or if a reply is I am waiting on other estimates.

Steve
09-16-2010, 02:57 PM
I am guessing it could really be beneficial to go that route to if you wanted to point out how a competitor might perform the job in a cheaper manner that will, in the long run, cost the customer more money to fix. This could in fact educate them and put them on guard when another company suggests doing it a cheaper way?

Can this ultimately help sell the service to be done the proper way even if it is more expensive to go that route?

picframer
09-16-2010, 08:17 PM
I am guessing it could really be beneficial to go that route to if you wanted to point out how a competitor might perform the job in a cheaper manner that will, in the long run, cost the customer more money to fix. This could in fact educate them and put them on guard when another company suggests doing it a cheaper way?

Can this ultimately help sell the service to be done the proper way even if it is more expensive to go that route?

Well I dug the pool at this new home today, the developer and the pool company came by this afternoon, their comments were they have never seen such quality work.

The pool guy asked what I charge to dig one this size and I told him, his response whas "A little more than others but the results do not compare, we have five pools that need dug if you are interested" I said of course, I make $1,600 a day running an excavator.

People were stopping by today asking for my card, it was somewhat of a PITA as I have so much work to do but this is a very, very upper end subdivision....pretty beat tonight!

Steve
09-17-2010, 02:43 PM
Andy,

When it comes to digging pools, how do results differ from one business owner to the next? What makes for a good pool job versus a bad one?

picframer
09-17-2010, 04:03 PM
Andy,

When it comes to digging pools, how do results differ from one business owner to the next? What makes for a good pool job versus a bad one?

Being able to read the grade, tapering the pool in this case from 9 feet to 4 but keeping everything within the grade, my experience comes from woodworking, I can spot something that isn't bang on in seconds, when it comes to excavation it carried over and is second nature, this pool company has called me three times today.

Steve
09-18-2010, 04:16 PM
Does it matter to them your ability to speed through the job? I am guessing the better you are, the faster you can dig them out, but is this a big deal to the pool company or do they tend to just over schedule the time they feel it will take to dig it out?

picframer
09-18-2010, 08:58 PM
Does it matter to them your ability to speed through the job? I am guessing the better you are, the faster you can dig them out, but is this a big deal to the pool company or do they tend to just over schedule the time they feel it will take to dig it out?

They are having issues finding quality excavation companies that are available, if you are a good company, the waiting list is very long, same with us.

Steve
09-19-2010, 03:34 PM
Are there a lot of people who work as excavators that just learn how to do jobs badly or sloppy and never improve their skills because it's somewhat 'functional'? Or maybe there is just such a high turnover with these employees, none of them ever have enough time to learn the trade?

How do you explain explain the lack of quality in the industry?