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View Full Version : What is the farthest you have drove for one customer?


mruiz
01-25-2009, 12:18 PM
What is the farthest you have driven out of your local route for one customer?
I have a customer that would also like for me to take care of her mother lawn. Her mother's property is about 20min. off my route. The property would take me about 45min to mow. Also there is potential to pick up customers in neighboring developments.

CloseCuts
01-25-2009, 07:40 PM
If i were to go that far I would charge a little more because its only her. Just let her know that sh'e the only one in this area. If she could get a few people to join up you wouldn't have to charge so much. Also you could do some flyers in those local areas around her.

musician/lawnman
01-25-2009, 09:45 PM
Ehhhh, Depends on how bad you NEED the business man. Think about it. You could flyer there & pick up a few more, but you could do the same in your back yard & pick up a few more close to home. Even if you get 10-15 properties out there, it's always gonna be out of the way. Then what if you get a call from a potential client 5 miles further out than them? Do you go since your almost there anyway? At some point you should draw a line in the sand & say THIS IS AS FAR AS I GO. A one time landscape job might be different but for a trip you'll be making weekly.... drive time kills lco's daily.

Steve
01-25-2009, 11:35 PM
Depends on how bad you NEED the business man. Think about it. You could flyer there & pick up a few more, but you could do the same in your back yard & pick up a few more close to home.

This is really well put.

Survival is survival. If you need the extra work, then do it. But I think this point really brings up what your competitive advantage is and part of what it should be is you service a specific service area that allows you to keep your prices within a competitive range. The further you go out the more you have to charge to cover your costs.

If you focus within your immediate area, you can build up the illusion of your image more. You can appear to be all over town all day long and people will think your company is bigger than it may be. The more times they see you out and about, the more impressions you will make upon them. At a certain point you will reach that magical number where you could potentially hit the top of mind awareness point and people will call you first when they need lawn care.

grounded
01-26-2009, 06:17 AM
You can charge more for that customer and hopefully get it! on the other hand, mom could locate a local guy that also services the same area as the the original account and possibly loose both. The fact that you were referred hopefully means you made an impression on the client. If the referral is based on your lower price per square foot marketing than only you can figure your cost's and decide.

Scope the referral area and check income levels between point A and B. You might find an over priced market by a competitor that's prime for you to step in and handle.

Good luck!

Tom

mruiz
01-26-2009, 04:53 PM
If i were to go that far I would charge a little more because its only her. Just let her know that sh'e the only one in this area. If she could get a few people to join up you wouldn't have to charge so much. Also you could do some flyers in those local areas around her.


Closecut, funny that you said this cause when I called the woman, I let her know it was out of my area. But I will see if I can pick up a customer here and there to justify my travel time

mruiz
01-26-2009, 04:55 PM
Ehhhh, Depends on how bad you NEED the business man. Think about it. You could flyer there & pick up a few more, but you could do the same in your back yard & pick up a few more close to home. Even if you get 10-15 properties out there, it's always gonna be out of the way. Then what if you get a call from a potential client 5 miles further out than them? Do you go since your almost there anyway? At some point you should draw a line in the sand & say THIS IS AS FAR AS I GO. A one time landscape job might be different but for a trip you'll be making weekly.... drive time kills lco's daily.

We all need the business if not we won’t be on here trying to find ways in marketing. Websites, flyer and etc… But I totally agree with (its’ always out of the way) well put.

ritchiem
01-26-2009, 05:00 PM
Our drive time radius was 30mins...if we cannot get from out home base to the customers home within 30mins then we cannot do the job. I found that with people that are out of the way I always was able to pick up more clients along the route. And I always charge a premium for distance. Fridays were my most profitable day and I drove the most on that day too.

mruiz
01-26-2009, 05:00 PM
This is really well put.

Survival is survival. If you need the extra work, then do it. But I think this point really brings up what your competitive advantage is and part of what it should be is you service a specific service area that allows you to keep your prices within a competitive range. The further you go out the more you have to charge to cover your costs.

If you focus within your immediate area, you can build up the illusion of your image more. You can appear to be all over town all day long and people will think your company is bigger than it may be. The more times they see you out and about, the more impressions you will make upon them. At a certain point you will reach that magical number where you could potentially hit the top of mind awareness point and people will call you first when they need lawn care.

Steve, If I could drive out of my driveway with my Ztr and setup it up to carry my blower and line trimmer ( I’m working on this :)) and service all my customers I would be in heaven. My radius right now is about 3 mile for mowing.
But you make sense, in staying close by and making your imagine bigger.

mruiz
01-26-2009, 05:06 PM
You can charge more for that customer and hopefully get it! on the other hand, mom could locate a local guy that also services the same area as the the original account and possibly loose both. The fact that you were referred hopefully means you made an impression on the client. If the referral is based on your lower price per square foot marketing than only you can figure your cost's and decide.

Scope the referral area and check income levels between point A and B. You might find an over priced market by a competitor that's prime for you to step in and handle.

Good luck!

Tom

Tom, You have brought up some views that I didnt think about.

Thanks to everyone for some great ideas!

musician/lawnman
01-26-2009, 07:42 PM
I was so busy last summer it was hard to get it all done (that's why I plan to open up a 2nd truck this year) I didn't take anymore clients out of my way.
I just wasn't worth it to me. Remember this business is a business of seconds, & pennies. When it comes down to it, It's not what you make per square foot, It's what you invoice per: man, truck, & crew hour. Drive time = fuel, vehicle maintenence & labor with a big ZERO in the dollars invoiced catagory. Right now you need the work bad & I understand that some dollars per hour is better than none so I guess go ahead & take the job. But as you grow you will learn to filter that crap & stay to a home service area where profitability (& as Steve said - exposure) can be maximized.

Steve
01-26-2009, 11:25 PM
stay to a home service area where profitability (& as Steve said - exposure) can be maximized.

Chuck were you telling us in the past how new customers would see you all around town and tell you they see your trucks all around town?

Can you tell us how maximizing your exposure like that has helped?

mruiz
01-27-2009, 07:11 AM
I totally understand, I actually had one customer ask how many trucks do you have. Plus this person was a referal that wanted me to do some landscaping for them. So when they were checking out some of the nursery in the area they kept on seeing my truck here and there.

But then what comes to mind is how many customer will we be picking up this season? As we all know unemployment is at his high. So I ask myself these questions.
Will I be able to pick up the same amount as last year?
Will I have to increase my radius?
Will I be losing any of last year customers?
Will gas prices double again?

Understand the idea is to keep everything as close as possible. And the less time we all have to drive and lower down my ramp cost us time = money. But we know times has changed and it will affect each and everyone of us in someway or another.

musician/lawnman
01-27-2009, 08:35 AM
Can you tell us how maximizing your exposure like that has helped?


It's awesome when they call you from an add you have out there & when you pull up to do the estimate the go "Oh hey it's you! Yeah I see you everywhere!" What they just said was "I already feel like I know you, & I feel like you can be trusted". It's a beautiful thing.

Steve
01-27-2009, 09:06 AM
It's awesome when they call you from an add you have out there & when you pull up to do the estimate the go "Oh hey it's you! Yeah I see you everywhere!" What they just said was "I already feel like I know you, & I feel like you can be trusted". It's a beautiful thing.

Chuck this is a very good point. I was wondering, since you have done a bunch of marketing with your picture on it, have you ever had potential customers say they have seen you in the ad or are they referring to your truck / trailer / logo ?

justin_time
01-27-2009, 09:37 AM
Chuck this is a very good point. I was wondering, since you have done a bunch of marketing with your picture on it, have you ever had potential customers say they have seen you in the ad or are they referring to your truck / trailer / logo ?

This is why I want to put logos on my truck and trailer. I plan to get magnets for my truck and finish getting letters on my trailer

musician/lawnman
01-27-2009, 01:45 PM
Well they are talking more about name & tuck recognition at that point, Though all my business cards (magnets) have my picture on them. I have had one guy (now a customer) called me. As memory serves he said something like:
"Yeah Chuck I met you in a grocery store 6 months ago & you gave me your card, My old lawn guy pissed me off & I had to fire him last week. Then I sat down & thought damn now I gotta find a new guy. Then I remembered that I had your card & the fridge & I thought well, I been lookin' at your ugly mug everytime I got a glass of milk or a beer for the last 6 months so I figured I'd give ya a try".

Lukacs Property Maintenance
01-28-2009, 10:48 AM
Hey guys,

I get the same comments when i go to see a new client. Oh you are them. I see your truck and trailer everywhere. The sign is on the side of the trailer.

Steve
01-28-2009, 11:53 AM
I love the trailer picture. Thanks for sharing it! How much did it cost to put that together and how is it working out for you so far? I think you are giving a lot of new lawn care business owners some ideas on what they should do.

Lukacs Property Maintenance
01-29-2009, 12:26 PM
The trailer was my grandpa's and he used it to pull behind his motorhome for extra stuff and to haul his kodiac boat with him. When i got it it was a short sided trailer. I bought 4 sheets of think plywood for the sides. I welded a frame for the ramp in the back and attached the ramp to the trailer with heavy duty detatchable hinges. In all it maybe would of cost me150-200 dollars. Just so you know i haven't done any maintenance on the sides since i built it. So it has paid for itself. To start off you don't need a trailer at all. My first job i was working with just my truck alone. It worked to get the job done. I had to load and unload the tools if i had a hauling job but it still got the job done.

Sometimes you have to do what you can with what you have until the ideas are exhausted. Then it gives you the apportunity to show people that you don't need to have the expensive toys to run a profitable bisiness. Also it shows you have determination to suceed with what you are given.

Mike