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bulldogg
08-09-2009, 09:14 PM
I am wanting advise on how I can take customers from other lawncare providers in my area. There are a few profesional looking companies and then an abudance of jackleg guys wit beat up trucks and I have even seen one guy witha broke down looking pushmower, the 99 dollar type from wal-mart, in the trunk of a cadillac. but the locals seem to be loyal to these guys. some do good some dont.

I need advise on how to make my customer list grow.

thanks

Steve
08-09-2009, 10:04 PM
Welcome to our forum!

Did you happen to see the 'Make the switch' flyer in the free flyer template section (http://www.gopherforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=34)?

Would something like that help to use to try and get customers to make the switch to your lawn care business?

CHEESE2009
08-09-2009, 10:12 PM
Sounds like you could be starting a war.

The company who I used to work for, we're still alright friends.

My friend who was the co-owner was really upset when I left his company, & quiet about his thoughts on my lawn service, though he said there are plenty of lawns for everyone.

He's right.

His workers told me that he is worried of me stealing his customers.

It's sad when we used to work together every day 7-3, you build a good friendship.

The fact is, I wish his business no harm & I'd rather promote his services to customers I don't need or want, or to customers who need services he offers.

Now if he wasn't my friend, I still wouldn't go about taking his customers. For some reason I feel that it would haunt me.

Get what YOU can, then customers will make the switch in time, no wars.

Steve
08-09-2009, 10:21 PM
Is it one thing to target a former employers customers and another to target customers in general that are looking to make a switch? Or is it all the same?

CHEESE2009
08-09-2009, 10:50 PM
that's a great question!

I believe it all comes down to who the company is.

Customers will often run their mouths saying things that can start a fight.

You don't want a customer of another company saying to them, "This guy from XXX said he'd charge me less than you do, & even add in a free mowing bla bla, anything"

Personally, that's the last thing I'd want to hear from my customers. I would hold a grudge & basically make it my mission to get all their customers if I needed some.

It happened to me once this year, with another new company. I was right behind them handing out flyers while they handed out theirs. I took one to see what they offered & thought we were quite similar.

The problem is, we both work in the same perimeter. Next year I will make sure they don't get in my area.

One of my customers said, "well I'm being offered lawn service for $200.00/month"

I said, "let me guess, it's XXXXXX" and she said, "exactly!"

I told her there is no way they are charging you right. Her yard is over 2000sqft.

I would have charged $460.00!

Anyway, I was pretty ticked off.... it seemed they would take on anyone without thinking about their cost to run the business.

mark123
08-09-2009, 11:04 PM
I'd only take customers from other companies if I didn't mind them taking them from me. I'm friends with ALL of the relevant lawn care companies in town. I do things for the other companies and they do things for me. Some of them give me jobs that they can't accept.

I think Breeze got it right. You don't take food out of a families mouth, that's what starts the war. Steve got it right also though, if someone is already wanting to drop their service then it is fine to make a bid on the job. I just have a problem with the undercutting and the back stabbing. When someone calls me I always ask who their current service is, if it's one of my friends I call the friend and ask why the customer is calling.

If someone came around trying to undercut me or one of my friends then they've got a whole lot of folks to contend with because we do stick together.

... it seemed they would take on anyone without thinking about their cost to run the business.
Don't worry, they won't be in business long. ;)

Steve
08-10-2009, 01:22 AM
It is a fascinating topic because all too often someone will hire a lawn care business based on price only. A short time later the customer will find they business owner is no longer showing up. It happens ALL THE TIME. Or they do a terrible job for the price or are unprofessional etc.

I had a friend who had their sliding glass door broken when a lawn care business owner was cutting the grass and it shot a rock through it.

All the guy had to say was sorry but he wasn't paying for it cause he was broke.

When you have these types of situations that go on, as a customer you could see why they would welcome a flyer that says 'unhappy with your current lawn care provider, make a switch to a competent and reliable lawn care business.'

If a customer is happy, they won't switch but I bet there are a lot of unhappy customers out there who just don't know who to call next or just haven't put enough energy into finding someone new.

bulldogg
08-10-2009, 07:01 AM
I am not really want to take customer away but it seems as if almost all of the people that use lawn care services have a provider. I think that some of them are probably unhappy. i have watched the area and i have noticed that the jack leg type guys do not service them on a reguloar schedule and the quality of service is not all that good, in my opinion. i have been putting out some o fhte "switch" fliers and i have also done some direct mailing to several hundered people and i have yet to receive a response. i was thinking that it was because it is so late in the season and they did not want to go thorough the hassel of swithching.

jasonw
08-10-2009, 09:19 AM
I have a different outlook on this. It dose not take a rocket scientists to do a good job in our industry. When you start getting into more intricate landscape contracting its not as easy but a 12yo can mow and edge a lawn so there is no reason not to do it properly and make it look good. I have no problem taking a customer from a LCL aca lawn care looser. I don't actively go out looking to take business from others but when a new customer complains about bad service and missed service dates I don't loose any sleep at night. Our business is full of unreliable, fly by night people that have no business doing this work and making the rest of us look bad. It should be our duty to our fellow lawn care providers to give our industry a better name by weeding out the aforementioned LCL's. A good example is one of my customers had an accident and lost there sight for a period of about 2 years. all the while having a lawn care business take care of there property. They came to realize rather than trim the roses every week they ripped them out of the ground while still charging for the weekly trimming. They would mow half the large lawn one week and the other half the next week so it was always uncompleted all the while charging for the full mow. Some weeks the person would not even show up and still charge for that week. This lawn care company was clearly taking advantage of a disabled person and they knew it. I sleep very well at night knowing this company lost this client to me who will now provide them with good honest service.

mark123
08-10-2009, 09:33 AM
I have a different outlook on this. ...
How is what you said different?

CHEESE2009
08-10-2009, 09:49 AM
Let's say you have arguments with other companies, no apparent reason.

Let's say they make it personal by attacking your company, purposely stealing customers or what not.

How would you go about this?

In this situation I figure that it has become a disaster, the enemy must be taken out & you must hold your ground. You can't let the other company walk over you, so you must put an end to it.

How do you hurt another company, acts of revenge to keep balance & a middle ground. Letting them know you are just as big & powerful to hit them back & make sure they discontinue haunting your business?

This question is a little different, basically "how do you end a lawn service war, how do you win a lawn service war"

war: purposely stealing customers, company rumors, etc

mark123
08-10-2009, 09:55 AM
Let's say you have arguments with other companies, no apparent reason.

Let's say they make it personal by attacking your company, purposely stealing customers or what not.

How would you go about this? ...
I truly believe and employ the golden rule: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

It defuses a lot of hatred but sometimes it takes a while to work. I treat folks the way I would like to be treated and it doesn't matter what they do to me. Lay a hand on my son and that's a whole new ballgame, watch out! :D

jasonw
08-10-2009, 01:52 PM
How is what you said different?

Im sorry, I must admit I only skimmed the thread but the feel I got was none liked the idea of steeling clients. On a second note as far as getting someone back for steeling my customers I am at a huge advantage. I don't need this business to pay my bills so I will simply flood the market with adds offering 2 months of free lawn service to every single new customer. Once they see my work is better they will stay with me. Even if they don't like me its free, cant beat that with a stick. I guarantee a promotion like this will rip the pants off other operators locally. This of course would be an extrema. I have found most of the operators around that don't do good work don't bother putting forth the effort to make you look bad, how could they when your work is clearly superior to there's.

bulldogg
08-11-2009, 09:18 AM
I may have worded my title wrong. I am not trying to steal customers away from the other companies I am trying to build my customer base and from what I have seen ust about anyone in my area that needs lawncare already has someone so that means I will have to "take away" the other lawncare companies customers. That is what I am needing advise on, building my customers when my area is flooded with other providers, some of them are not doing a good job either.

I have decent equipment and I have a nice little truck that I have lettered up nicely so I can look like a pro and hopefully gain the respect and trust of people.

Steve
08-11-2009, 09:24 AM
I am trying to build my customer base

Are you involved with your community? Do you know a lot of people or do they know you?

Are you a member of any local organizations? Or clubs?

Have you handed out business cards to other members?

If you aren't, have you considered doing that to meet more people in your area?

bulldogg
08-11-2009, 09:42 AM
I am involved in my community and i am known ok. Mostly for my past in building motorcycles and I have handed out cards on occasions. I know that that will help long term but I am looking at trying to get some sort of customer base now.

I was thinking about just driving around from neighborhood to neighborhood and just stopping and asking people that looks as if they need the service.

Steve
08-11-2009, 09:55 AM
I am involved in my community and i am known ok. Mostly for my past in building motorcycles

That got me thinking. Could you do something like this to stand out? Check out the picture in the link below. There is a motorcycle pulling a small trailer with a mower. Could you do something like that and would that get people talking in your area and attract more attention to your business?

http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=7573

jasonw
08-11-2009, 10:23 AM
I am trying to build my customer base and from what I have seen ust about anyone in my area that needs lawncare already has someone so that means I will have to "take away" the other lawncare companies customers.


Do some reading on supply and demand. I think every business owner should understand how this works. Higher demand equates to lower supply so on and so forth. Higher supply means lower demand which is what you are facing now. Your prices may have to be temporarily adjusted to reflect this but if you do good work your clients will pay a higher price next season


I have decent equipment and I have a nice little truck that I have lettered up nicely so I can look like a pro and hopefully gain the respect and trust of people.

I'm sure you didn't mean it the way it sounded but looking like a pro and being a pro are 2 very different things. If you have no customers now start doing research. Drive around your service area and look at what seems to stick out the most. If most of your service area has nice large lush lawns read about caring for lawns, If hedges seems to be the big thing read about caring and pruning them so on and so forth. Put an add in your local paper. Dont list any prices, when you get a call insist on meeting the client face to face. When you do take a few extra minutes away from business talk to "shoot the chit" I have found this to be the number 1 hook line and sinker to get your clients. Listen to who they are and what they have done and relate if you can but do not pretend. A war veteran can pick out a wannabee war veteran in a heart beat so on and so forth. Everyone has a story. Find out theirs and talk about it. My area is full of older people who love to sit and talk. Its my opinion that only half my job is to care for there yard, the other half is to sit and listed as they commonly feel forgotten when noone ells listen. Not only that they are on fixed incomes so the job market dose not effect them and there checks are always good.

bulldogg
08-11-2009, 10:38 AM
When I said looking like a pro i menat it as that i am trying to have a polished look and the majority of lawncare providers are, in my opinion, jack leggs. they have rusted out trucks that are often multi-colored and they look like tey have been wearing the same clothes for days. I just want that polisehd professional look. I like a very neat apperance.

jasonw
08-11-2009, 12:19 PM
When I said looking like a pro i menat it as that i am trying to have a polished look and the majority of lawncare providers are, in my opinion, jack leggs. they have rusted out trucks that are often multi-colored and they look like tey have been wearing the same clothes for days. I just want that polisehd professional look. I like a very neat apperance.

I agree. I cant tell you how many 1978 yellow, green and blue Chevy trucks I see around here full of weed eaters. I try to look professional all the time. My truck is nice, my equipment is nice and when I get a little dirty I blow myself off with the 2G compressor in the truck. I get made fun of a lot because my equipment is cleaned every nite and every few weeks I polish everything with mothers but my 6yo mower still looks and works new. I even go as far as using Valvoline in all my equipment as I have used it for years. You can tell a lot about a lawn care person by the presentation of there equipment. That being said sometimes at the end of the day, on the last house you just cant help but look and smell the part. I guess all we can do is try.