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yourscape
02-19-2012, 07:32 PM
Hi my name is Ken and live in northern OHIO. Well here we go, my first year in business and hope the customers start calling. I think I am ready for it. I got my equipment, trailer decaled, door hangers printed, business cards printed, ad in local newspaper, eager to get started. This site has been great for information and has helped to get me knowledge to get everything going. I did take the Lawn Business School through this site which was a great help. My web site is up with stage one complete, check it out and feedback would be appreciated: www.yourscapelawn.com.

A couple of questions:

What are common questions customers ask when you get a call?

What are good questions to ask them?

Cashin H&P
02-19-2012, 09:02 PM
Sounds like you have a good plan so far. As for what customers as, be prepaired for anything haha. On a serious note though I get 'How much will that cost' alot or "Can you bid this". I always ask a new customer how they found out about me. This will give you a chance to figure out which marketing plan is working the best.

Good Luck in your first season. Its my real first season on my own so me and you will be running into the same speed bumps i assume. This foroum is great if you ever have a qustion just ask there alot of good guys here who will answer it for you.

Cashin H&P

Hedgemaster
02-19-2012, 09:14 PM
They will ask "How much do you charge?"

Heh. As if there's a flat rate or something.




Last season was my first full season. I set up a form to use for incoming calls because I often found myself forgetting to ask certain questions.
(Not set up this way, it was just easier to type it like this)
Date:
Time:
Phone Call/Voicemail/Email (circle one)

Name:
Phone:
Best time to call:
Email:
Address:
Describe House: (My GPS tell me I've arrived about 6 homes before/after so it's nice to know what to look for)

I have a box where I note that I've made a return:
Call/VM/Email
Date/time I returned call/message:
Notes: (what I left as a message to them)

Type of estimate:
Mowing (Weekly/Biweekly/Once)
Hedges
Mulch
Cleanup
Snow
Other

Estimate Scheduled on M T W TH F S (date):
Estimate Completed - Date:
Price Quoted:

Space for notes...

First Cut on:




Ask anything that is pertinent to how you work. A few random thoughts...

I work alone and my mower weighs 84lbs, so I don't mow yards that require a mower be carried up steps to get to it.
"Is the lawn accessible without going up steps" is something I routinely ask for calls coming from the "city", but otherwise, I don't usually ask.

"Do you have a dog?"
How you handle that is up to you, but you should know up front, so you can either make arrangements for the owner to clean up ahead of time, or factor in an extra charge for having to deal with mowing a yard with crap in it.

"Will anyone be home when I stop by?"
No surprises for anyone that way and it's always nice to meet in person to discuss if possible.

"For my marketing purposes, may I ask where you got my contact info?"
I don't always ask, but if you're advertising, it's always nice to know what's working for you.

Ask if they have used other services in the past. Many who have will freely share why they dropped them, giving you some insight into the client's state of mind.

Some questions can wait until after you've seen the property. Any question asked and answered gives you an edge in how you decide on pricing and more.
Sometimes the answers tell you to say "Thanks, but I'll have to pass". ;)

yourscape
02-19-2012, 10:05 PM
Thanks guys for the responses. Hedgemaster, I like the idea of the form to keep organized also if you donít get the bid this year I am sure you can use it for marketing if you do mailings, since you know that customer uses a service. What are some good signs of a pain in an a** customer or difficult yard?

Hedgemaster
02-19-2012, 10:34 PM
Thanks guys for the responses. Hedgemaster, I like the idea of the form to keep organized also if you donít get the bid this year I am sure you can use it for marketing if you do mailings, since you know that customer uses a service. What are some good signs of a pain in an a** customer or difficult yard?


If you hear the words "I'm on a fixed income" it's not gonna be good. ;)


If they have kids, there may be playground equipment to slow you down or toys hidden in the grass for you to hit with your freshly sharpened blade.

Solar lights. Just wait - you'll see. :D

yourscape
02-20-2012, 06:34 PM
If they have kids, there may be playground equipment to slow you down or toys hidden in the grass for you to hit with your freshly sharpened blade.

Solar lights. Just wait - you'll see. :D

"Do you charge extra for moving of equipment on property?"

Hedgemaster
02-20-2012, 07:09 PM
"Do you charge extra for moving of equipment on property?"

Well, I'll move a lawn chair or two, but I'm not moving a whole patio set without factoring it into the pricing.
I would never say "It's $5 more for me to move things" I'd just figure that into the quote.

I don't have any clients that have items out that I must move, but I have one with a swing set that's a pain because it takes so much time to mow and trim around.

Trees are the same way - they slow you down - especially if there are low-hanging branches or if they have roots that protrude into the lawn.

CHEESE2009
02-21-2012, 02:38 PM
What are some good signs of a pain in an a** customer or difficult yard?

http://images.wikia.com/wikiality/images/4/44/Index-jews-jaws.jpg

:)