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View Full Version : Website - Advertising Prices (Residential)


Billy Goat
01-24-2013, 04:51 AM
I want some opinions on advertising prices on websites. Most websites list their services but only a few list prices. I know there are many factors when estimating a price until you actually see the property.

I was wondering if it a good idea to advertise a base price just to weed out cheapskates. These days more and more people are using the internet to compare prices before they decide to make a purchase or consider a service. I want to get my foot in the door but not use the low ball approach.

My target customers will be lawns up to 1/3 acre since I will be a one man operation. I will leave the bigger jobs for the big boys. I done alot of research on how much to charge and Iam going to try to stick with $40-$60 per man hour. More or less factor in $50 per hour when listing my services on the internet with a 1/2 hour minium. So my minium per visit is $25 no matter what the service is. Of cource Iam not going to actually list $50 per hour, I would list 1/6 acre or less for $25, 1/4 acre for $37.50, 1/3 acre for $50 when it comes to mow and go service. All my actual estimates will be based on 21 inch push mower.

This way I hope to only get phone calls from people willing to pay my minium base price. Once I see the property i can adjust for the difficulty level.

LawnBoy0311
01-24-2013, 05:42 AM
I want some opinions on advertising prices on websites. Most websites list their services but only a few list prices. I know there are many factors when estimating a price until you actually see the property.

I was wondering if it a good idea to advertise a base price just to weed out cheapskates. These days more and more people are using the internet to compare prices before they decide to make a purchase or consider a service. I want to get my foot in the door but not use the low ball approach.

My target customers will be lawns up to 1/3 acre since I will be a one man operation. I will leave the bigger jobs for the big boys. I done alot of research on how much to charge and Iam going to try to stick with $40-$60 per man hour. More or less factor in $50 per hour when listing my services on the internet with a 1/2 hour minium. So my minium per visit is $25 no matter what the service is. Of cource Iam not going to actually list $50 per hour, I would list 1/6 acre or less for $25, 1/4 acre for $37.50, 1/3 acre for $50 when it comes to mow and go service. All my actual estimates will be based on 21 inch push mower.

This way I hope to only get phone calls from people willing to pay my minium base price. Once I see the property i can adjust for the difficulty level.

Not a good idea. Sorry to say. The reason most of us don't post prices is because every lawn is different. It would be impossible to post a price because in a perfect world, a 1/3 acre lot would be flat, no trees, nothing to trim, no travel time...etc. You get the idea. Also, the only person to know about how much you charge is you. If you showed a potential customer on your website that you charge $25 for 30 minutes....then they begin to calculate $50 an hour....then they start disputing that price is too high, they don't even make that much, then don't pay their employees that much, etc. They don't know our operating costs, only we do. Thats a good way to lose a potential customer. Not to mention, if I see on your site that 1/4 acre is $37.50, and you show up and quote be $50....I'd be pissed. Thats when the badmouthing and bad reviews start.

Keep it simple. Sometimes the "old method" works the best. In this case, it does. Your also showing your competition how much you charge. Know your costs and know what you have to charge. Quote your jobs accordingly. There is no 100% guaranteed method do weed out PITA customers or deabeats- but you can drop them at your leisure.

stevef1201
01-24-2013, 06:01 AM
The biggest problem with advertising prices is your competion (who have no idea what to charge) will use you price list as thiers. Or even as a way to undermine you by charging less.

Your website should include pictures os your work, and the comment that you provide free estimates.

I have had 3 people in the last week, ask how to cut a alwn, eith no information, and no address. I take these to be fly by nighters, not customers. I sent them an email telling them I would come and give them an estimate, if they would send me an address-viola never heard from them again.

I also agree that you cannot give a good estimate without looking at the lawn.

willshome
01-24-2013, 06:49 AM
fixed pricing is a really bad idea. You need to walk the lawn with the customer and talk to them about what they want out of their lawn (best in town or just not the worst). Pricing online will get you cheap customers and yards that are hard to mow. What about blockages - gates, walkways....

I have gotten jobs after talking to the customer about what their lawns needs, they say yes then show me a bid for $50 less but they liked what I had to say

Billy Goat
01-24-2013, 06:50 AM
LawnBoy0311, You have always been honestly brutal, which I have no problem with. Its always a pleasure to read your comments. Just like those college guys advertising $25 to mow and edge a 1/4 acre lawn. Listing or not listing prices is not a big concern for me. After a few times of mowing the customer will do the math and know your rate anyway. Then they may dispute your price. Why Iam charging $25 for 20 minutes worth of work each week. If they did the math they would dispute Iam making $75 an hour. Which they didnt factor in my travel time between accounts and other expenses. Neighbors are nosey and want to know what I charge so they can compare prices for services. Every account has a profit level, some good and some not so good depending on the difficulty level. But you still have a minium base price per hour.

It would be nice to know why certain websites advertise their prices? Most seem to be lowballers but, compared I seem to be a highballer. I rather be labeled as a highballer.

Sprinkler Buddy
01-24-2013, 07:52 AM
List your price or not, you'll never "weed out cheapskates". lol

It's a bad idea to list prices before hand, it often sets up disappointments when you actually give a quote in person. Could actually cause you not to get the account because they feel you were being untruthful listing X on your website but wanting to charge X because of this or that.

LawnBoy0311
01-24-2013, 08:42 AM
LawnBoy0311, You have always been honestly brutal, which I have no problem with. Its always a pleasure to read your comments. Just like those college guys advertising $25 to mow and edge a 1/4 acre lawn. Listing or not listing prices is not a big concern for me. After a few times of mowing the customer will do the math and know your rate anyway. Then they may dispute your price. Why Iam charging $25 for 20 minutes worth of work each week. If they did the math they would dispute Iam making $75 an hour. Which they didnt factor in my travel time between accounts and other expenses. Neighbors are nosey and want to know what I charge so they can compare prices for services. Every account has a profit level, some good and some not so good depending on the difficulty level. But you still have a minium base price per hour.

It would be nice to know why certain websites advertise their prices? Most seem to be lowballers but, compared I seem to be a highballer. I rather be labeled as a highballer.

Its much easier to justify the cost after you have them as a customer. If they ever ask, you can explain it to them. 99% of the time, they have no idea what goes into this business. But to advertise it openly just opens up to a dispute with the potential customer before you can even explain what you can do for them. Some could say youd be talking yourself out of a sale.

Billy Goat
01-24-2013, 09:10 AM
What makes lawn service so different than any other service out there. Lets compare to carpet cleaning services. I just researched carpet cleaning in my area, the first website I clicked on advertised $15.95 per room. If you have any brain cells, you know there is more too it than just that. No real company is going to come out and just clean one room for $15.95. Whats the catch??? Oh ya, read the fine print, 3 rooms minium up to 300 square feet per room. That is just for steam cleaning only, what about moving the furniture around, spot removal, pet oder control, cleaning my sofa etc. Iam sure when they come in your home they point out these things and let you know what the added cost would be. It all boils down to get your foot in the door.

You can say lawn care is different but is it really, what about buying tires for you car, those $50 tires each turned into $700 because the fine line states it does not include mounting, balancing, and valve stems, oh dont forget tire disposal. Its all about hidden cost after the fact.

If a customers does the math and figures out Iam charging them $40-$60 per hour to cut their lawn, at least Iam not so called low-baller. Most long term home owners have a good idea how long it should take to cut their lawn on a average.

willshome
01-24-2013, 09:51 AM
What makes lawn service so different than any other service out there. Lets compare to carpet cleaning services.

No one likes "bait and switch" a lot of businesses are stopping B.S. fees
if the customer wants add-ons that is one thing but fees for things that have to happen like "oil disposal" for an oil change is BS.

LawnBoy0311
01-24-2013, 10:39 AM
You have some good valid points. Carpet cleaning is very cut and dry. They steam clean your carpet. Correct me if im wrong, but i doubt they move furniture around. I consider tires to be a "must have", so when your in a pinch, paying a little extra may be your only option.


Lawn care is a little different tough. Theres a lot of factors for us. A huge one is....its seasonal. A few other things- dog poop? The back yard is a hill? Can I get my mower past that small fence gate? Is the gate locked? Drive time? Our equipment cost a lot and theres a lot more of it.

It may very well be worth a shot and try that type of advertising. Who knows. Maybe try it out and see?

I know in this case, for me, I see a lot more bad than good. One good reason is you open yourself up to price shoppers. They just want the cheapest rate. Some highballing in your case may bite you in the arse. Your also showing your prices to everyone, which to some, may get them more sales if they cut you by a simple $5 a cut-a $20 a month savings. It doesnt sound like much, but to a cheapskate, that a ton of money!

Billy Goat
01-24-2013, 10:52 AM
No one likes "bait and switch" a lot of businesses are stopping B.S. fees
if the customer wants add-ons that is one thing but fees for things that have to happen like "oil disposal" for an oil change is BS.

Yes, well said "Bait and Switch" I look at it as advertising fraud but so many companies do it in some form or another. Where do you draw the line when you advertise a certain price then tell them is going to be more.

Lawn care service seems to be same. Everyone charges different prices for different services. No one really knows what the market can bare based on location and demand. Its not like the stock market and monitor lawn care prices in your area. People today use the internet more and more to shop around and look for good deals. Anyone who advertises prices will stand out over the ones that do not. Then when or if they call you and you come out and give them an a real estimate, they say its too much and tell you they found a so-called lawn care business for less. Seems to be a waste of time.

I didnt realize listing prices opens up a can of worms and becomes a battle ground for your competitors. No matter what you sell or offer, someone will always challenge you. I want to get somewhere in the middle of the can of worms but able to stand out some how some way.

LawnBoy0311
01-24-2013, 12:40 PM
The only real "market price" is yours. You know your costs and you know what you need to make profit. I had an example before:

Landscaper A spends $50K on start up his first year.
Landscaper B spends $10K his first year.

In short, Landscaper B's overhead is much lower and can turn a profit faster.

Make yourself stand out when doing quotes. I always suggest beating others to the quote. Usually the first quote gets the job. I always do quotes the same day or early the next day to show I mean business and I'm there for them.

If you do a quote and they say its too much, they probably arent the customer for you. Red flags go up....cheap, bad payer, etc.

If you want, since your not too far from me, you could stop by my house and quote my yard. I can show you different things to look at when quoting. Its not rocket science, but it can be tricky at times.

SECTLANDSCAPING
01-24-2013, 12:40 PM
Yes, well said "Bait and Switch" I look at it as advertising fraud but so many companies do it in some form or another. Where do you draw the line when you advertise a certain price then tell them is going to be more.

Lawn care service seems to be same. Everyone charges different prices for different services. No one really knows what the market can bare based on location and demand. Its not like the stock market and monitor lawn care prices in your area. People today use the internet more and more to shop around and look for good deals. Anyone who advertises prices will stand out over the ones that do not. Then when or if they call you and you come out and give them an a real estimate, they say its too much and tell you they found a so-called lawn care business for less. Seems to be a waste of time.

I didnt realize listing prices opens up a can of worms and becomes a battle ground for your competitors. No matter what you sell or offer, someone will always challenge you. I want to get somewhere in the middle of the can of worms but able to stand out some how some way.

I say if you do it be as broad as possible. Something like mowing $35 and up. Gutter cleaning $120 and up. Leaf clean ups $199 and up.

So your not really giving them a price but at the same time weeding out people that wont pay the base price.

The Cleaning Doctor
01-24-2013, 12:47 PM
I agree with Sect.... Most people do not put their pricing on their site because they are afraid of being undercut and losing the job. If you suck at sales then do not put the prices on on the site. If you can sell, then put the prices on the site saying starting at $199 or $199 and up etc.

If you can sell yourself and your services then I would say that prices on your site will do nothing but weed out your cheapskates.

Billy Goat
01-24-2013, 01:34 PM
Thanks for all the comments we dont really need to beat this subject up anymore. All of you make valid points and I cant argue with that. Would be nice to hear from lawn care owners that do list prices and does it really work for them without the "bait and switch" scam.

Steve
01-24-2013, 07:56 PM
When you put a price out there like "Prices starting at $29.95 a lawn." You set a target and everyone who sees it will want to know, if they aren't getting that price, why?

As has been stated, lawn care involved a lot of variables. Each lawn is different based on the variables. Not just size. Is the grass over grown? Do you need to move objects on the property? Can you get your large mower through that narrow gate? Etc etc.

When you market price, you are selling based on price and you are trying to differentiate yourself based on price. Can you do that? Sure you can, but why would you want to?

When you know if you market quality and differentiate yourself based on quality, you can make more money.

You have a limited amount of time. So if you are selling that limited time, it is in your best interest to sell that time for the highest fee you can get. People tend to pay more for quality.

Mayor of Mow Town
01-25-2013, 05:06 PM
Here's a different perspective...

I've been a lawn care customer. I selected a company (and used it regularly), that listed prices on its website.

Why?

- it removed the hassle of arranging for quotes etc (this is hard to organise when you are at work 12 hours a day)
- it was a fixed fee (I wasn't interested in haggling or up-sells)
- it also made it easy to book a mow, as I could do so online
- billing was also via email & paypal

By listing prices and making it easy to book they removed the barriers to purchasing the service.

In fact, I never ever saw them mow my lawn, but it was done.

Note: It wasn't the lowest price. They competed on convenience, not price.

In the end, I left them, as they became unreliable and I needed to chase them. Convenience was gone, and so was I.