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View Full Version : The competition!!!


bnclawncare
02-16-2009, 08:00 PM
Do any of you guys have to deal with the competitors that come from out of state? No disrespect if you are some of these guys!

This is the time of year when we are doing our mulching, nuggets and pine needles. I have already lost a few of my yearly "one timers" to the guys that come from out of state with the trailer loads of pine needles. Last year, I was cutting my own throat selling the material at costs with no extra delivery fee. I spoke to one customer today that I have been dealing with for many years to try and schedule the needle service on his property. He normally uses 100-110 bails. Just so happen, he got one of those door hangers. He said that he could save $50.00 by using the other guys, but yet he still wants me to do the fertilization etc...

I always buy from the locals to help there businesses. Yeah I could also buy bulk from those guys, but in the long run, we the local landscapers and business owners suffer.

What would you do???

Steve
02-16-2009, 08:10 PM
Very interesting! So vendors come in from out of state with pine needles and go door to door in areas with door hangers?

Do you know anything about how they do this? Do they set up shop at a local hotel or how does all this work?

bnclawncare
02-16-2009, 08:23 PM
From what I have seen, I see these trucks are setting on off ramps near the major highways, sometimes two and three. This is probably just a central location.

They have "scouters" come up a month or so earlier putting the door hangers up in the higher income areas. They also accept orders before they come.

Had another guy that I mow for year after year just called me and said that he has a bunch of needles that he wants me to put out. I do not want to because of where they come from. Steve, what do you do?

I told one lady that I refuse to buy from them. I explained my opinion to her and that what they do affects us (the locals) She gave me the job, this time!!!

Steve
02-16-2009, 08:41 PM
This is very interesting. I can understand your point of view, but when you have the economy in a rough spot and people are looking for the cheapest price, this could be one of those situations where if you can't beat them on price, join them and make money with them.

Can you contact them and offer to install them in certain areas? Maybe that will help them sell more. Give them your business cards and tell them if they need installs, to call you. That might help them sell more and help you get more business.

What's your thoughts on that?

bnclawncare
02-17-2009, 06:11 AM
The bad thing is that these guys install them for a $1.90 a bail.

legendlawn
02-17-2009, 09:58 AM
Unfortunately, while its great to support the local economy, we live in a global economy. Competitors can and will come from anywhere. My advice would be to recognize this threat, accept it, and adapt your business practices to compete with them. Those who adapt to a changing market, will succeed.

Steve
02-17-2009, 12:03 PM
Are they insured? If they aren't you could use that as your marketing edge.

bnclawncare
02-17-2009, 08:10 PM
Unfortunately, while its great to support the local economy, we live in a global economy. Competitors can and will come from anywhere. My advice would be to recognize this threat, accept it, and adapt your business practices to compete with them. Those who adapt to a changing market, will succeed.

Yeah, that is what I am thinking also. I have weighed my options and before I loose to much buisness to these guys, I will join them. The one truely disadvantage that I have is I can not make a profit putting them down at a $1.90 a bail.

Steve, I am not sure if they are insured or not.

legendlawn
02-17-2009, 08:25 PM
Make sure that you stay profitable while getting as close as you can to their rate. You can also explain to your customers that you sell on value and not price if they balk to the lower price.

Steve
02-17-2009, 08:44 PM
Steve, I am not sure if they are insured or not.

I would bet they aren't. What you can do is create some marketing that says beware of fly by night pine straw distributors. Did you know most are not insured!

Then you can play up the scare factor.

- Did you know you can be sued if they get injured on your property while working?

- They won't be available for call back if the job isn't done right.

Make this look like a public service announcement you are providing your local residents. Tell them to be on the look out and not to hire such fly by night organizations.

Then offer yourself as the solution to their problem.

"Instead you should hire someone local who is properly insured."

Follow up by saying you are local and insured. You are always just a phone call away. You have been in business locally X amount of years.

How does something like that sound?

That could make for a great door hanger or flyer.

Even an add in the paper warning local residents.

Johnb
03-14-2009, 02:09 PM
Possibly, you could work out a deal where you could actually sub-contract them. The economy as it is, people are cutting back and there is not much we can do about it. I have had customers want to cut back, sometimes it works out, sometimes not

I'm going into my 25th year, so I can say this is most likely cyclical and the trend will reverse, may take a couple of years but it will.