PDA

View Full Version : Tru Geen sales strategy shift


TiedemanLLC
12-19-2011, 07:14 PM
Tru Green is beginning to start to switch their sales strategy from neighborhood selling to more of an emphasize on digital marketing, such as search engines, websites, mobile and social.

Do you think this is a good strategy?

Hedgemaster
12-19-2011, 07:37 PM
No. That interweb thing is just a fad.
Next month everyone will be like, "Huh - what's an internet?"





:D

TiedemanLLC
12-20-2011, 01:55 PM
No. That interweb thing is just a fad.
Next month everyone will be like, "Huh - what's an internet?"





:D

So you are saying them canceling direct mail approach in neighborhoods they already service is a good idea then?

Hedgemaster
12-20-2011, 06:38 PM
No idea. I just know that if you aren't utilizing the web these days in some form, you're missing out.

Steve
12-21-2011, 11:33 AM
That company amazes me in ways because I do wonder how much more bigger they can get. They do seem to constantly be on the look out for ways to make more money. Whether it is a new marketing technique or in the way they bill/upsell their customers.

The down side to their size is they still have to compete with smaller operations that can be more personable to their customers. It seems very difficult for these larger companies to handle their customers like anything other than numbers or 'who's next.'

What's your view on it though? How do you feel their internet marketing will effect things?

TiedemanLLC
12-21-2011, 12:25 PM
That company amazes me in ways because I do wonder how much more bigger they can get. They do seem to constantly be on the look out for ways to make more money. Whether it is a new marketing technique or in the way they bill/upsell their customers.

The down side to their size is they still have to compete with smaller operations that can be more personable to their customers. It seems very difficult for these larger companies to handle their customers like anything other than numbers or 'who's next.'

What's your view on it though? How do you feel their internet marketing will effect things?

I personally feel them moving over to the internet is a horrible mistake, and they are just trying to get more and more clients, while not fixing the problem of their cancellation rate.

They need to still concentrate on the neighborhood marketing technique. The internet is just too broad of a stroke for them. The two biggest things that I have seen they need to fix is 1) too many applications (or trying to sell the client too many services). I hear all the time some of the reasons the clients cancel is because they are sick of all the phone calls, 2) when a client contacts them for a site visit or site problem, don't take two weeks to come look at it.

Steve
12-22-2011, 10:59 AM
What is your view on why these problems are not being addressed? They seem to have the size and resources to address them. Do you feel they just don't care as long as they hit certain dollar figure benchmarks? Or what do you feel is the case?

TiedemanLLC
12-22-2011, 12:21 PM
What is your view on why these problems are not being addressed? They seem to have the size and resources to address them. Do you feel they just don't care as long as they hit certain dollar figure benchmarks? Or what do you feel is the case?


I actually think the opposite, I don't think they have as many employees as they should. They should almost have dedicated quality control managers that can do site visits.

The other thing is that the techs are not properly trained in customer service, poorly paid, and over worked. The turnover with their techs is horrible. More or less the techs are just paid to spray and go.

I have heard from other industry suppliers that have dealed with them directly that TruGreen figures every year they are going to have a certain turnover rate with their clients, and that doesn't bother them. They think it's just part of "doing business".

If they just got back to customer service and quality control measures then they would be great. Don't get me wrong, they do a pretty descent job with spraying, just their customer service needs improving

SECTLANDSCAPING
12-22-2011, 02:51 PM
They most likely did a study and found there is more money in new customers then retaining old ones. Its probable cheaper for them to advertise then service existing customers too.

mark123
12-22-2011, 02:54 PM
They most likely did a study and found there is more money in new customers then retaining old ones. Its probable cheaper for them to advertise then service existing customers too.
That must be true. I don't mind seeing them in my neighborhoods because I get their customers. I don't target their customers, I target their customer's neighbors. :D

Steve
12-23-2011, 01:56 PM
I actually think the opposite, I don't think they have as many employees as they should. They should almost have dedicated quality control managers that can do site visits.

The other thing is that the techs are not properly trained in customer service, poorly paid, and over worked. The turnover with their techs is horrible. More or less the techs are just paid to spray and go.

Why do you think this is the case? Do you feel they are aware of this?

TiedemanLLC
12-23-2011, 02:03 PM
Why do you think this is the case? Do you feel they are aware of this?

I can't honestly answer that. Perhaps they just want to keep the bare minimum employees, and try to make as much money as possible. The other thing is perhaps they know that they are just a jumping off point for new employees before they go on to other employers, so they figure that they don't care.

It's really hard to say.

SECTLANDSCAPING
12-23-2011, 02:30 PM
Why do you think this is the case? Do you feel they are aware of this?

I think they are. Say a guy is making $10 a hour, 36 hours a week, is making $18,720 a year. If they spend that on advertising its going to generate a lot more money. So there backlogged on work and customer service sucks but the money is coming in. They can just keep replacing the customers. Its easier to get a customer to pay for 1-3 lawn treatments then 6-8. So its a numbers game. They have nothing else to up sell the client either.

TiedemanLLC
12-23-2011, 02:35 PM
I think they are. Say a guy is making $10 a hour, 36 hours a week, is making $18,720 a year. If they spend that on advertising its going to generate a lot more money. So there backlogged on work and customer service sucks but the money is coming in. They can just keep replacing the customers. Its easier to get a customer to pay for 1-3 lawn treatments then 6-8. So its a numbers game. They have nothing else to up sell the client either.

That is a very good point because I offer an 8 step program and it's hard to sell, but my clients that are on a 4 step program quickly jump on board.

Steve
12-24-2011, 12:11 PM
One of the things that is messed up about this is what if this is really the optimal way to run such a business?

Here we all are talking about the importance of quality and striving to be the best and then we look at the largest fert company and they handle things like this.

I do wonder if they always operated like this or if this was something they picked up along the way.

It's weird because you don't see other industries like McDonalds doing this. They try to keep everything universal. Every burger tasting the same. Every experience the same and they want you to keep coming back.

TiedemanLLC
12-25-2011, 09:24 AM
One of the things that is messed up about this is what if this is really the optimal way to run such a business?

Here we all are talking about the importance of quality and striving to be the best and then we look at the largest fert company and they handle things like this.

I do wonder if they always operated like this or if this was something they picked up along the way.

It's weird because you don't see other industries like McDonalds doing this. They try to keep everything universal. Every burger tasting the same. Every experience the same and they want you to keep coming back.

That is very true. What if all along we have been doing it completely wrong. Instead of the quality maybe it really is just a numbers game and we need to just concentrate on the quantity, not the quality

turf&tree
12-26-2011, 10:46 AM
I get aggravated with them in my area because they have a huge presence. I shouldn't though because like everyone in this post has said they basically Suck at lawn care. I can tell you why they suck. I used to work there many years ago and they are still using the same techniques and materials.
1) They are doing mostly liquid fert which is only AG grade at best. 2-3 weeks of green at best, and surge growth out the wazoo.
2) When they do granular it is AG grade also or straight urea, same issue as above.
3) mis-applying. Half or better of their equipment is not or was not ever calibrated.
4) skimp, skimp, skimp as much as possible. I truly believe they use the philosophy of it is easier to get new customers then run tons of service calls.
The branch iI worked out of we had an applicator that would load with 30-40 bags of fert per day. Pull up to a house and leave the bill without doing the app, drive to his house and unload the fert in his garage.
The branch manager had tons of service calls and figured out what was happening by following him one day. Yep he went to jail.
I hope their quality never improves. We should send some thank you notes to the new CEO.

Steve
12-26-2011, 05:02 PM
WoW! What stories!

Maybe they can pull this off because they have a big name and a large marketing budget, but at the end of the day it has to be hurting them.

Do you feel they have any competitors at their size? Would that make a difference?

mark123
12-26-2011, 05:19 PM
I've heard similar stories. The guys have such a work load that they can't possibly get it done. This is because they employ telemarketing. They will lower the price over the phone without even seeing the property. $27 for half-acre. Now the guys have to go out and get that done but their quota isn't per acre, it's per dollar. They turn up the pressure on the pumps and make wide swaths and who cares about proper coverage. I've also had people tell me that they hang bills and don't service the property. I suppose it's either that or come in under quota. That's a company policy issue as well as an integrity issue.

I mean they also hire some real knuckleheads that couldn't do the job as well as a slightly trained monkey but they have a really bad reputation among their former customers.

Steve
12-27-2011, 03:27 PM
Did they always operate like this or do you think this method developed over time?

jymie
12-28-2011, 11:11 PM
Is a license needed to apply organic fertilizer? I know you need a license for pesticide application, but is it the same for organic fertilizer?

Wanted to start a new thread but nooooo, it ended up here, sorry...

Steve
12-29-2011, 03:46 PM
My first guess is probably not for organic, but who knows. Given enough time everything becomes regulated and you need a license to use/apply it.

Have you checked out your state site for info? I would think they would have info on this.

SECTLANDSCAPING
12-29-2011, 03:50 PM
Is a license needed to apply organic fertilizer? I know you need a license for pesticide application, but is it the same for organic fertilizer?

Wanted to start a new thread but nooooo, it ended up here, sorry...

it varies by state and product. You will have to research this yourself by checking the active ingredients in whatever product your using. I had a DEP guy tell me everything is regulated even if its organic but the ingredients werent listed on the website.

turf&tree
12-30-2011, 06:30 AM
Yes, I also believe it varies by state. Especially some of the states that are more strict like New York. They have already banned phosphorus in fertilizer.
In Ohio you do not need to be licensed to apply fertilizer only. If you start adding control products, yes then you need a license.
I have already signed 9 Trugreen accounts since the close of the season. One of them was a 11,000 sq ft lawn they were charging $ 80.00 per app with 7 apps.
That was an easy steal.

Steve
12-30-2011, 01:52 PM
One of them was a 11,000 sq ft lawn they were charging $ 80.00 per app with 7 apps.
That was an easy steal.

What's your view on what they should have been charging? How long do you figure that job should take?

mark123
12-30-2011, 02:05 PM
What's your view on what they should have been charging? How long do you figure that job should take?

My price for fert and squirt on 11000 sq ft is $51 per application and I only do 4.

turf&tree
12-31-2011, 04:46 AM
My view is this. I figure my cost of materials and time.For example, materials for 11m (and this is with a profit built in to chemicals) around $ 22.00
Labor with a ride on at ($ 1.00 per minute or $ 60.00 per hour) with profit again $ 25.00 by the time I blow off paved surfaces. So I would be at $ 47.00
for this app. I do charge extra for grub preventer/control, surface insect control, disease control, etc. I include fert, fert with pre-emergent, broadleaf weed control with a 5 app program. I do have 2 customers that like only 4 apps
and I have 10 or so that do 6 apps.
Hope this answers your question.
Jim

Steve
01-02-2012, 01:28 PM
materials for 11m

What did you mean by 11m? Did you mean 11,000 sq ft?