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boog
02-18-2011, 11:25 PM
low balling has taken on a new low i opened my weekly trading post today to make sure my add was in there and right beside it there was a add that said mowing and weed eating $15 , home power washing $20 free estimates
how can i or any one else compete with that ? i take it i will have to deal with this as long as i own this business its hard enough to get it started with out this garbage

LawnMoore
02-19-2011, 01:00 AM
you know what i would do!

Ok, he says free estimates though.. that makes me think why is he offering a low price? just to get ppl to call then he says well your place is bigger than the 15$ places! and he trys to get a higher price at there door..

ok so i would do this, use girlfriends phone, and call him up, get him to go to moms house and pressure wash for 20 bucks, then get him to go to grandpas house for 20 bucks, after ofc you make sure he doesnt seem l;iek the type thats going to bank rob the houses..

and just keep him busy pressure washing your familys places, while you line up pressure washing for 50 dollars then send him to do those :D

JLH Pro Lawn Care
02-19-2011, 01:07 AM
low balling has taken on a new low i opened my weekly trading post today to make sure my add was in there and right beside it there was a add that said mowing and weed eating $15 , home power washing $20 free estimates
how can i or any one else compete with that ? i take it i will have to deal with this as long as i own this business its hard enough to get it started with out this garbage


you will always have to deal with this but in a short time you will understand that he is only cutting his own throat by doing this and he will soon be of no threat, you just keep up what your doing and do what you can to set yourself apart from this grass burner:cool:

LawnMoore
02-19-2011, 01:12 AM
thats kinda why i say to get all your family's places washed for 20 bucks, so that he can be losing out a little while you gain a little, however he might blow right through the places and show you how to make a buck!

I would atleast do a little recon, and call the guy up one day, ask him about the deals, then just say ok ill keep you in mind.

See what kind of info you can get just to know a little more about the situation.

950thomas
02-19-2011, 01:12 AM
U can't compete with everyone or worry about what they charge most of those guys will not be around long

shadrach
02-19-2011, 11:13 AM
Use it to your advantage. Put a line in your ad that says

" We fix $15 cuts"

wellbiz
02-19-2011, 05:38 PM
U can't compete with everyone or worry about what they charge most of those guys will not be around long

This is the best advice. Only worry about the things you can control. You have to position your business as more than a commodity. That is not to say that people dont buy on price. They do. You want the people who buy based on referral, reputation, service and professionalism.

We are not the only industry that this is happening in. My cousin runs a very successful asset management company. He has to compete with low ballers who will manage money for a fraction of the percentage that most companies will. The bad economy caused alot of people to strike out on their own and start a business without realizing what their true costs of doing business really are.

As the economy improves alot of these guys will go back to working for the man and that will help. In addition it appears that consumer confidence is on the rise, so this may help with people loosening the purse strings and paying to improve their property.

Most low ballers dont last the season, I picked up 4-5 accounts last fall from companies that stopped showing up or went under.

Jay

Steve
02-20-2011, 01:25 PM
Can you scan the ads in or take a picture of them so we can see it?

Also how often is this publication put out? Can you change your ad next time to counter his?

Using the suggestion mentioned above:
" We fix $15 cuts"



You have to position your business as more than a commodity.

What is your view on how to do this?

wellbiz
02-20-2011, 02:00 PM
What is your view on how to do this?

Steve,

It isn't really that hard. However first things first. Some customers are only going to buy on price. In my opinion you don't want these customers. They aren't loyal and will leave you when the next lower bid come along. Your prices should however be comparable to the other professional LOC companies in your area.

Now off of my soap box and onto your question. I think it really revolves around three things.

Professionalism: From your adverts to how you answer the phone should reek of a professional business. This builds confidence and respect from the client. They know they are buying more then a lawn cut.

Service: I could write a book on this. You have to provide out of this world service. Follow up, do what you say you will, etc, etc. Remember their pets names, how they like their lawn mowed. Be nice, polite, respectful. Don't be the grump because the customer called you at 9am Saturday morning.

The third is a little more complicated and is really allot of small things. I like to think that being a one stop shop for all their landscape needs sets a company apart. I like to also be a company that clients can call with questions knowing that I am there to help. They know I will go the extra mile to find a specialty plant or solve a problem with their lawn or landscape. I also like to throw in some freebies every now and then. Things like picking up and disposing of a few down branches from a storm. Running the edger along a property that doesn't pay for edging. Pulling a few weeds from the flower beds. Things that I know the $15 a cut guys cant or wont do.

These steps take time but add to your reputation as you grow your company. You have to sell these instead of price.

I am just as guilty as the next guy when it comes to selling on price. When you are starting out it is easy to rationalize knocking off a few dollars from your price here and there to get the job. You rationalize it by saying I am new and don't have any overhead. I can afford to do this while a big company cant. Well let me say, if you ever want to be the big company with that nice equipment you better charge accurate prices. If you go back to those customers you low balled the season before and try to raise the price to a level that is competitive you are going to find yourself with a lot smaller client list.

Jay

kdvandco
02-20-2011, 04:30 PM
THE running of free edgers, Ive tried that and it led to the home owner wanting it every time for the same price of free. and it gets to where am I a jerk for not doing a 10 min deal for someone for free, or is he because this is how I make a living, and everyone knows what a yard looks like that hasn't been edged. so not like you want to show them what it could look like. cause they know. . yeah they know.

My charity and community work comes in the form of helping the older community, giving them discounts and offering my time for other simple things, anything but running my equipment.

Like the day I broke my edger on a free job, yeah that won't happen, because I won't let it.

boog
02-20-2011, 07:00 PM
Guys I just wanted 2 say thanks for the advice its hard to ignore this I got a lot invested in this and I don't want to lose it.

Steve
02-21-2011, 07:17 PM
Service: I could write a book on this. You have to provide out of this world service. Follow up, do what you say you will, etc, etc. Remember their pets names, how they like their lawn mowed. Be nice, polite, respectful. Don't be the grump because the customer called you at 9am Saturday morning.

What other thoughts do you have on improving your service?

The third is a little more complicated and is really allot of small things. I like to think that being a one stop shop for all their landscape needs sets a company apart. I like to also be a company that clients can call with questions knowing that I am there to help. They know I will go the extra mile to find a specialty plant or solve a problem with their lawn or landscape. I also like to throw in some freebies every now and then. Things like picking up and disposing of a few down branches from a storm. Running the edger along a property that doesn't pay for edging. Pulling a few weeds from the flower beds. Things that I know the $15 a cut guys cant or wont do.

How should you go about letting the customer know you did these things. Should you include it in your invoice as a line item and then show a price of $0.00?

How can you take your business from doing these extras for free, to getting the customer to pay for them?



Like the day I broke my edger on a free job, yeah that won't happen, because I won't let it.

I am guessing you stopped offering this for free? How did that effect your business? Do you feel there is any way to go from doing it for free to getting the customer to pay for it?

nnyparts
02-22-2011, 04:42 AM
I guess its the same no matter what business your in. We tried selling at cost to larger outfits hoping to make them new customers. What we ended up with was once we raised our prices to try an make a profit was them jumping ship and going to the next selling that was cheaper.

You really want to stay away from doing things this way and as you put it...they were not great loyal customers to begin with. So what do you do? Try distancing yourself from these customers and focus on the good ones. What makes you different from the guy charging 15.00?

" We are fully insured and guarantee that you will be 100% satisfied with our work"

"We are your professional lawn care business...meeting the needs of the community we live in"

wellbiz
02-22-2011, 08:42 AM
What other thoughts do you have on improving your service?

How should you go about letting the customer know you did these things. Should you include it in your invoice as a line item and then show a price of $0.00?


Steve,

For improving ones service. My only recommendation is education. Look at other business and how they treat their customers and see if you can incorporate those practices into your business. I also try to read all the industry magazines and books on customer service.


For the freebies. If it is something small but obvious I just let them notice it was done. Othertimes I will put a note on the monthly invoice with a no charge line.

Jay

elrascal
02-22-2011, 09:18 PM
Trust me this is not a big deal at all!!! There has always been, and always will be some one cheaper than you. Who cares. All you need to do is add more value and you will have more clients than you could possibly dream off! Some people will always be concerned about price. these are the customers who are not worth having.

If you are concerned that you are losing alot of clients due to this add then the solution is simple. You can advertise a special trial price. "Try us today for only $5."

THis might sound like a silly idea but when you work out how much the life time spend that you will get from your customer it really makes sense.

When you turn up offer an incredible service. Really give them an enjoyable experience.

When you give them the quote for the second cut they won't care if it is more than $15. you have already build up a relationship with them. They know and trust you.

It really is that simple! i have built a large lawn business completely from this concept. Try it your self and I am sure you will be amazed.

boog
02-22-2011, 11:49 PM
Trust me this is not a big deal at all!!! There has always been, and always will be some one cheaper than you. Who cares. All you need to do is add more value and you will have more clients than you could possibly dream off! Some people will always be concerned about price. these are the customers who are not worth having.

If you are concerned that you are losing alot of clients due to this add then the solution is simple. You can advertise a special trial price. "Try us today for only $5."

THis might sound like a silly idea but when you work out how much the life time spend that you will get from your customer it really makes sense.

When you turn up offer an incredible service. Really give them an enjoyable experience.

When you give them the quote for the second cut they won't care if it is more than $15. you have already build up a relationship with them. They know and trust you.

It really is that simple! i have built a large lawn business completely from this concept. Try it your self and I am sure you will be amazed.



that makes sence i posted a new add i just put " lawn care service phone # and 1 free cut with all new customers "
we will see how that works out but heres the catch they have to sign a contract in order to to get the free cut and it cant be used with in the 1st or last month of the season so i dont get burned

Thanks for the advice !!

elrascal
02-23-2011, 02:34 AM
that makes sence i posted a new add i just put " lawn care service phone # and 1 free cut with all new customers "
we will see how that works out but heres the catch they have to sign a contract in order to to get the free cut and it cant be used with in the 1st or last month of the season so i dont get burned

Thanks for the advice !!

Let me know how it all works out for you. It would be nice to hear a great result.


I am not 100% sure if you will get a huge conversion rate from this. Having that catch is a rather large "catch." If you are only going to give it away free if they join a contract then you should definitely mention that in your ad. There is no quicker way for a client to lose trust in you if you don't put all of your conditions in the ad.

Imagine if you saw a Wallmart ad on t.v saying they were offering a free ice cream for everyone who had never bought from them before. "This is great" you think to yourself because you love ice cream. You jump in your car with the biggest smile on your face. You are so happy and can't wait to devour that ice cold treat.

You arrive at the store and your heart sinks. You feel betrayed. Your soul is crushed. You are only allowed a free ice cream if you sign a contract to buy an ice cream every month for the next year. On top of that you aren't even allowed you free ice cream today. You have to wait until next month.

Are you going to go back to wallmart any time soon? I doubt it. You probably would even go so far to tell as many people as possible not to shop there!

I always try to build a relationship first and sell second. This might seem hard to believe but if you give some thing free with no strings attached most people feel obliged to return the favor.

I use to run a similar promotion when I first started out. For every 200 flyers I posted out I got 12 responses. Out of those 12 responses 11 people would become a long term client. (You normally need a follow up call or letter as well just to help seal the deal.)

For the one in 12 people who didn't join up, well who cares! I was doing great with out them.

I would love to here your thoughts on this. Either way it is great to see you are not as concerned about the Mr $15 man anymore!!

Lets us know how you get on.

Steve
02-23-2011, 05:13 PM
I use to run a similar promotion when I first started out. For every 200 flyers I posted out I got 12 responses. Out of those 12 responses 11 people would become a long term client.

How was your promotion worded when you used it?


(You normally need a follow up call or letter as well just to help seal the deal.)

How would you do this? Would it go out to the same people who got the initial flyer?

SECTLANDSCAPING
03-28-2011, 12:45 PM
You could just sub the work to him at that price. Give him a $400 job and pay him the $20. Then just for fun tell him afterwords. Then he will realize how hes bankrupting all of us.

element009
03-28-2011, 03:13 PM
The saying "you get what you pay for" comes to mind. The guy most likely does a lousy job if he's charging $15. You don't want customers who want to pay $15/cut. People who jump at that deal will most likely not even pay.

boog
03-30-2011, 12:02 AM
I got tired of seeing this aholes add so i called him asked a few questions
1. how do you charge by the foot , the hour , ect.?
2. how many years have you been doing this ?
3. Are you licensed ?
4. Do you have insurance ?


Answers :

1. $15 for for all
2. 10 years
3. NO
4. NO

so the next week in the paper he is now posting he is licensed and insured
well to add to the bull s#it i open the paper there is now atleast 20 new adds for people trying to cut grass cheap so now my bread and butter has turned to crackers and rain water i cant afford to cut a 1/2 acre lot for $20

Steve
03-31-2011, 10:45 AM
Are there ways you feel you can differentiate yourself?

mattb7771
04-02-2011, 11:35 PM
Use it to your advantage. Put a line in your ad that says

" We fix $15 cuts"

lol i like this one

boog
04-03-2011, 12:24 AM
Are there ways you feel you can differentiate yourself?



Yea im a professional and businessman i go the extra mile for my customers you get what you pay for

for instance today it was cold around 50 degrees i still went out and mowed it even snowed for a while i stayed and got the job done i didn't see no $15 Joe out mowing

stevef1201
03-04-2012, 01:25 PM
It's really funny but that 15 dollar a cut guys are erally doing a ot of business, in the poor parts of town!

I charge what I need to make money, and work inthe wealthy parts of town, and make good money.

Let the lowballers go, they will go broke when thier walmart mowers breakdown, and they cannot get them fixed, I laugh at them to thier face.

dpld
03-04-2012, 05:58 PM
i think the most obvious thing that gets overlooked is it takes years and years to build a good money making business in this industry.

sure you can put out some flyers and a couple newspaper ads or whatever and get some results and be making some money in a short while and that is all well and good.
the problem is most of these people that you get responding to the new jaunty ads are the bottom feeders who are quick to hire based on price.

any high end property owner that is not a poser and is trully worthy of the home they live in go by word of mouth from their other rich freinds or choose to entertain offers from businesses that target market them.

the point i am trying to make is when you start a business in the landscaping field it is a decision you make for the long haul, it is not a get rich quick scheme and anyone who thinks they are gonna revolutionize the business will get slapped back down faster then side car susie.

in my opinion when you start a landscape business you have to veiw it as something that is gonna pay offs many years from now and you will have many a days where you break even or struggle to get by.
joe $15.00 cuts is not gonna be around long enough to realize that and if he does last he is gonna have to change his tune.
you will never be able to do anything about the low ballers and all you have to do is stay away from the neihborhoods that hire these guys.

it's real easy because the properties the low ballers take care of look like crap and do the bare minimum and the people who have a landscape that looks like disneyland don't hire low ballers.

it takes a lot of experience and know how to make properties look pristine and any guy who does not have the smarts to charge accordingly probably has no clue about anything else.
we are not the only ones who can see this, the true indescriminate lawn care consumer can see it as well because they compare their yard to everyone elses.

Leon
03-05-2012, 12:07 AM
WOW I don't know what to think because as some of you on here know I do charge $15 for lawn service. I Have about 60 home I cut for $15per week, however if you don't want weekly service the I charge $20-$25. Now these prices are only for townhomes and the yard are small takes about 15-20 mins. Does that make me a lowballer? I like these kinds of homes because they are small I can do about 4-5 per hour and not move my truck. I do a great job these clients refer me to everyone moms,co-workers, friends, etc and they sometimes have nice high$$ homes, I don't charge the referd client $15-$20. The smaller homes will buy add-ons before the larger homes

Leon
Can You Envision the Possibilities...We Can!
www.Envisionlawn.com
1-888-412-LAWN

willshome
03-05-2012, 09:16 AM
weekly trading post
Sounds like a place to get cheap customers. I ask myself where would my mother look for lawn care, she would never open a "Trading post" and she would never hire a $15 mower. I have her and her friends look at all my ads before printing to see if they would call.

dpld
03-05-2012, 10:52 AM
WOW I don't know what to think because as some of you on here know I do charge $15 for lawn service. I Have about 60 home I cut for $15per week, however if you don't want weekly service the I charge $20-$25. Now these prices are only for townhomes and the yard are small takes about 15-20 mins. Does that make me a lowballer? I like these kinds of homes because they are small I can do about 4-5 per hour and not move my truck. I do a great job these clients refer me to everyone moms,co-workers, friends, etc and they sometimes have nice high$$ homes, I don't charge the referd client $15-$20. The smaller homes will buy add-ons before the larger homes

Leon
Can You Envision the Possibilities...We Can!
www.Envisionlawn.com
1-888-412-LAWN



you are pricing to some degree what your market will bare and allthough you choose to work a little cheaper you seem to have everything bulked up so it helps.

the dollar amount being refferred is more of a token number and the low ballers that i am talking about are guys that do 50 to 60 dollar homes for $20.00. that is a low baller.

from what you have described in previous threads and this one you don't come off as a low baller at all and from the size properties you are doing you are probably on the low side of average for pricing.

element009
03-05-2012, 01:51 PM
WOW I don't know what to think because as some of you on here know I do charge $15 for lawn service. I Have about 60 home I cut for $15per week, however if you don't want weekly service the I charge $20-$25. Now these prices are only for townhomes and the yard are small takes about 15-20 mins. Does that make me a lowballer? I like these kinds of homes because they are small I can do about 4-5 per hour and not move my truck. I do a great job these clients refer me to everyone moms,co-workers, friends, etc and they sometimes have nice high$$ homes, I don't charge the referd client $15-$20. The smaller homes will buy add-ons before the larger homes

Based on the situation you describe, your pricing system seems to make sense. However, the potential issue I see is that you are depending on having multiple clients in close proximity in order to maintain that low price. The only question is if you lose, say, half of those clients for some reason, does the $15/lawn earn you any profit? Assuming it doesn't, and you now have to decide to raise the price in order to retain the remaining clients at a profit, would they go along with the raise in price?

It begs the wider question, which is: Should the price offered to a client reflect your expectation that other clients are in close proximity, therefore allowing you to charge less and still draw profit? Or should each price offered to each client be considered as an individual profit stream, independent of the existence of other clients for the price to remain profitable?

mpriester
03-20-2012, 09:16 PM
lowballers are everywhere. i had a guy walk up to me last year bragging he was charging $20.00 and acre. i looked at him and said congratulations with a smile and as he was walking away pulling his pushmower and carrying his gas can i looked at my wife with a grin and said he won't be here long. one of my best customers i got last year was being mowed by 1 man with a push mower and it took him 3 days to mow, they contacted me last may and have been using me ever since and i also do their snow and ice control. hang in there, the low ballers will price themselves out of business and not only that when the weather gets hot and these guys don't show up in 90deg plus temps they will call you and most won't argue price.

CHEESE2009
03-20-2012, 09:43 PM
@LEON


I think you are doing something right. You are adjusting yourself, so that you would be able to prevail if and when the economy goes to hell.

If you can run a successful business, charging low prices, you're ahead of the game.

In my area, there is so much competition that the 'hero' would need to have TONS of clients, and to be efficient as possible. These are good grounds to adapt to the worst, and grow from there.

Running a business with low profit doesn't hurt unless you play your cards right. The top businesses in the world, like;

McDonalds & Wal-Mart.... How expensive are they? Not at all! Sure you can say, "The quality is not the same as other places";

1. It could be the same or better, for YOUR business.
2. People don't care about quality anymore as long as you have generic standards.

In a way, it can be strategic to lower costs whenever possible in order to remove your competition. You would need to cover a lot of ground first though, and be super-productive!

Leon
03-22-2012, 12:32 AM
I like that comparison to Walmart..I shop there all the time I go for 1 item and come out with the whole kitchen sink. I am a have been doing good for a few years on that price system. I can do a Townhouse in about 10-15 mins I use a push or a 36" and if I have a helper for that day there string trim, edge, and blow time total time from unload to reload about 9mins. Thats only if we are doing 1, most of the time I am doing about 5-10. I had a lady call this week she does not want her lawn mowed every week so I charge her $25 every 2 weeks plus $15 for spot weeding her front flower bed. and that after I charge her $175 for Mulching, spade edging and weeding the flower bed. Mulch I pay about $2 per bag I charge for 3 bags @ $6 =$18 plus $147 for labor. Total time for me and a helper 45mins. I pay my helper $12per hour. My cost for the job $24 my approximate $141 not bad for 45min..WAIT my helper owe's me $3 he only worked 45min..just joking. The $15 add is a way to get the customer to call. I know my work ranks up there with the best. ANYONE can mow grass but the key is can you stand out from the rest. My price can stay the same for mowing why go up.

Here a thought for you.... $15X4=$60 month just mowing. Now add $175 for mulching,egding,weeding flower bed up to 4bag of mulch, (spring). Fall Mulching $125, Fall seeding and aeration $125
so we have mowing total $420 for (6) months of service +mulching $350+ seeding$125 TOTAL $795 monthly payments over 12months under $75.

BUT they have to pay $250 down and now the BALANCE is $545 cost is only $49 a month for 11months. $49X150= WIN WIN
ANYONE can mow grass but the key is can you stand out from the rest. My price can stay the same for mowing why go up.


Leon
Can You Envision the Possibilities...We Can

abbot
03-22-2012, 07:31 PM
As far as the ad. You guys as landscaping service providers should have insurance. If not, GET it.

If you have insurance, then you need to ADVERTISE IT. Put a small icon on every piece of promotional material "fully insured" Most smart people will go for a company that is insured. If they are not so bright. Explain to them this;

"Well, Mr. Homeowner, yes, my price IS higher. But, with me you know that I am a REAL business. And because of that, I carry liability insurance. Here is a "statement of insurance and financial liability" from Nationwide Insurance. I'm sure you've heard of them. Yes, see right here? I carry 1 million dollars worth of liability. Now, what a lot of people DON'T know is this. If that cheap guy comes in and cuts your lawn, and happens to cut off one of his toes while doing it, guess who is liable? That's right, YOU are. Well, your homeowners insurance is. And you can bet that some jury will award him a huge settlement, because he can't walk right ever again. And he'll claim he can't WORK ever again either. Now, your insurance company will have to settle up with him. But that isn't the problem. The problem comes when they DROP YOU. They will do this because you hired an uninsured contractor, and they will see you as a great financial risk. When you go to look for homeowners insurance again, it will be a nightmare. Most companies will refuse to insure you, and the ones that will are going to charge you BIG dollars to do it. Now, you are probably saying to yourself "this is just a sales tactic". You are correct, Mr. Homeowner, it is. But, it is also THE TRUTH. Just call your insurance agent and find out."

You'll notice that, while you are saying this, most people will open their eyes up REAL big. They NEVER thought of this! Now they see HUGE financial loss in paying higher insurance. And usually, they realize that paying twice the price for lawn service isn't NEAR as bad as paying 2 or 3 or 4 times the price for homeowners insurance. Or even worse, living WITHOUT homeowners insurance. Most of the time they sign right then and there.

Just point out the reality of the situation. Oh, and ALWAYS have a statement of insurance with you

SECTLANDSCAPING
03-22-2012, 07:49 PM
Theres a guy charging $65 a house for pressure washing. I called him a few times to bust his balls. I told him I would let him do all my houses for $65 if I was confident of his workmanship. He seemed to think he knew what he was doing. lol... I wouldnt wash your front steps for that. I make well over a $100 a hour and get 4/5 jobs I quote. Sell quality not price.

Chaz
03-22-2012, 09:09 PM
Use it to your advantage. Put a line in your ad that says

" We fix $15 cuts"

i love this!