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View Full Version : Getting a Feel of your competitors


JessyMathers
03-28-2011, 08:52 PM
Hey everyone,

I just had a little question for you guys to see if you have ever run into the same situation. I have been receiving emails from someone for a period of a year now when I post various adds on the internet for my services. The person has even asked about applying for a job at my business and how the rates work everything like that. After doing an investigation I find out that this person is another one of my competitors. This competitor has been trash talking my business in the past for no apparent reason except jealously. Me I'm 23 the other business owner is in their 40's, I figured these were the kind of games you played in high school. Is it normal to hate the new kid on the block? have you guys ever had to deal with people like this before? if so what was the best way of going about it? and what was the end result?

Thanks,

Jessy

element009
03-28-2011, 09:53 PM
I'm the new kid, too. And I think a competitor called me over their house for an estimate today just to feel me out.

I say just let it roll off your shoulders and keep trying to make things happen in your business. If they were smart, they would utilize their time trying to benefit their own business rather than trash talk a competitor. I personally don't want to hear someone telling me how much better they are than others. That's something I like to figure out on my own. If the guy is better than you, he can prove it with his service and with his prices. I am generally hesitant if I hear someone trash-talking their direct competitors, and I think a lot of others are the same way.

So beat him where it hurts most....his wallet. Talk is cheap.

tricountylawncare
03-28-2011, 10:18 PM
I agree with Element, just ignore him. Your work will speak for itself and he is just making himself look bad plus he should be using that energy to get jobs instead of bashing you. I had the same problem a couple of months ago. I had another lawn guy trying to post on the blog I had on my website. He would tell me to go away in not so nice words and that I was hurting his business. Luckily I have to approve the post before it goes on the web so I just ignored his and he quit posting. It's going to happen so you just need to let it roll of your shoulder and concentrate on your customers.

Steve
03-29-2011, 01:38 PM
I'm the new kid, too. And I think a competitor called me over their house for an estimate today just to feel me out.

What gave this away? It would be interesting to hear more about how this interaction went.

The person has even asked about applying for a job at my business and how the rates work everything like that.

Jessy, what other questions were they asking you? It would be interesting to know as it would give others a heads up of what to keep an eye out for.

Also, what gave it away to you that there was something fishy and you needed to investigate it further?

element009
03-29-2011, 09:20 PM
The guy said he used to be in the business, but he quit last year and sold all his equipment. Then he kept asking me a lot of questions. Wanted to know every piece of equipment I owned, how many clients I had, what neighborhoods my clients lived in, etc. It's possible he was telling the truth, but it just seemed like he wanted to know a lot of information. Then when he found out that I don't have an edger (this is something I generally do with a line trimmer), he said he wasn't interested in my service because he does't trust people to do edging with a line trimmer. So I said no problem, thanked him for the opportunity, gave him my card and left.

To be honest, even if he was being truthful and he was out of the business, he seems like the type of guy who would follow me around his lawn and not let me leave until it was up to his liking. Don't get me wrong, I do very neat work, but there are some people who are just never satisfied.

JessyMathers
03-30-2011, 12:49 AM
Well this person kind of gave themselves away pretty easy. I have received about 5 emails from them over the past year all about my business. I have also posted equipment for sale that they have had an interest in buying. I actually confronted them last night and sent them an email saying I knew who they were and asked them politely to not send me anymore emails if they wanted to talk business call me directly. You get the feeling when you get someone like this who contacts you. They often call or email and say very specific things that the general public wouldn't talk about. You think if they wanted to be sneaky about things they would be a little smarter. I have no problem with talking to competitors, if they have a question and ask me I will tell them honestly. The morals of good business have walked out the door with the consumer society we live in. These days its all about who can do it the cheapest not who is going to provide you with what you actually need. Me myself I believe that forming good relationships with your competitors is important. If everyone wasn't so cut throat I would call every single business in the town and hold a meeting to keep standard prices across the board, that way it really comes down to who is the better business.

picframer
03-30-2011, 07:31 AM
I personally have not had this happen to the best of my knowledge, in this case I would take the high road and move on. We are all about to start a very busy season and we do not want to waste our time with games some of the competition may play.

The competition that I run into are very civil, we see each other next to job sites, sometimes have coffee, I have stopped at a few that were doing retaining walls to say what a great job they were doing, one I will never forget, it was one of the most professional looking jobs I have seen.

There are a lot of what I call trunk slammers, especially in the mowing, here today gone tomorrow, I don't give them the time of day.

I mainly get asked about equipment, service etc. I share that information freely.

JessyMathers
03-31-2011, 08:26 AM
I can't wait for the season to get started, I'm in Belleville, ON. I have moved on of course it's just interesting what they will do which will really tarnish their own reputation. It's not a big business community so the word travels fast, after time everyone knows who the guys are that cause problems. Word of mouth goes a long way and chances are if 90% of the other businesses don't like you it's going to hurt, right in your wallet.

Steve
03-31-2011, 12:24 PM
In the bigger picture, if a new lawn care business owner starts getting a feeling this is going on, what should they do? Should they wrap up the discussion or just play along with it? Should they start asking the other person questions too, to start feeling them out?

Is this a problem new lawn care business owners should be worried about? Is there anything bad that can come from this?

USA Lawn Care
04-01-2011, 02:30 AM
I seriously don't know why any grown men who own their own lawn businesses would even bother playing games with other business owners. I've never seen it happen where I'm at.....kind of surprising. Has anyone noticed how much green stuff there is out there growing that needs cut? Seriously. It's not like everyone in town is pushing and shoving for the same 20 yards. I think this is one of the easiest businesses to go out and find work to do. It's recession proof. Drought proof....no. Recession proof....yes. I've mostly found other crews out there pretty friendly. Oh well.......guess I'd give some psycho who was digging for info the 'get a life' comment and go on with mine. They obviously have issues.

turf&tree
04-02-2011, 08:20 AM
In marketing terms it is called "secret shopper". I did it with all of the fert companies when I started my company. I had no idea what to charge for fert.
I now meet with fellow lawn care company owners and we discuss what we charge. I also figured out what I need to make.
So yes secret shopping does happen every hour of every day!

Tom53
04-02-2011, 09:52 AM
In the bigger picture, if a new lawn care business owner starts getting a feeling this is going on, what should they do? Should they wrap up the discussion or just play along with it? Should they start asking the other person questions too, to start feeling them out?

Is this a problem new lawn care business owners should be worried about? Is there anything bad that can come from this?

This kind of problem is not limited to lawn care and landscaping. It is a problem in every line of work. People will be people!

Several ways to deal with it. Take the high road and move on is one good one, BUT that can still eat away at you inside and make you resentful.

Remember this trash talking is really not about you, it is about the guy doing it. Why does he do it? Any number of reasons. He may honestly be struggling to take care of a family, who have some extreme or life threatening issue. (Possible but not likely) Then again, he may just think he
deserves to have all the money because of greed. (More likely) He may also just be jealous of your level of work and feels pressured by that.

His resentments toward you may be eating him up inside and that could mean you are driving him nuts! So you may be one step up on him and not even realize it!

You just need to make sure and keep your integrity intact however you handle it. No need to stoop to his level. Just make your work stands out more and you will have the pride of knowing that, and the rest of the public will also soon be very aware of it.

Good Luck.

turf&tree
04-03-2011, 09:31 AM
I honestly don't worry about the competition. I base my relationships with customers on the fact that I am educated in this field. I didn't just get laid off from the factory. I have been doing this all of my life. I love telling clients about new products and techniques. If the customer mentions my competitor, I kind of ignore it or say I don't know of them. I do not slam anyone, and hope they would not slam me. I have had guys at trade shows or landscaper meetings try and get into my head about pricing and everything else. I want to help them, but don't give up all my secrets to the locals. I will chime in on forums like this one though.
Jim

Steve
04-03-2011, 01:00 PM
I honestly don't worry about the competition. I base my relationships with customers on the fact that I am educated in this field. I didn't just get laid off from the factory.

This is a very interesting point I haven't heard brought up.

How important do you think it is to point something like this out with a new customer? Do you feel it helps get them to think that another competitor may have just gotten laid off and doesn't know what they are doing?

Also, do you find this is more important with certain services over others?