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  • #16
    Oh I got it now. Do you feel the economy also pushed more people in your area into lawn care which lowered the prices or do you feel it's more simply a matter of people not having the income they had in the past and they are looking to cut their expenses?
    Honestly I am not running into that many new lawn care companies at all. I experienced more lawn care companies back in the early 2000's, then I am now. I was lucky to see one new one this past year.

    What I really think is happening is people just don't have the income like they did in the past and we are one of the first expenses to cut. For example for lawn spraying, my average lawn size is around 8,000 sq ft. With six applications at $40 each + one grub ($80), they are saving $320 per year just by cutting the lawn spraying guy.

    The sad thing is I can't blame thing either. Since I have noticed the decline with us we started to go through everything and cut too. I sent out emails to suppliers, insurance agents, subs, etc asking them of ways to cut expenses.
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    • #17
      I sent out emails to suppliers, insurance agents, subs, etc asking them of ways to cut expenses.
      What kinds of responses did you get back? Did you find anything worth implementing?
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      • #18
        My prices are actually high compared to others. Normally around 10 to 20% higher. And I don't cut lawns, almost all of my work is pesticide applications.
        giving the current unemployment levels in your state which is i beleive is one of the highest in the nation if not the highest you are going to have to drop your prices to what everyone else charges or you will continue to lose customers until you have none.

        the long term forecast shows no signs of things changeing in your state anytime soon and definitely not this year and if these people are having money troubles but still want to have the service you will find yourself on the chopping block.

        right now you have to do what you got to in order to keep the ship afloat and preserve your customer base and if you don't mind being the highest priced guy in the area then i guess you won't mind losing customers.
        when it comes to money no one has any loyalty and if times are tough and they got to cut back you, me and anyone else will be cut off if someone else comes along offering to do it cheaper.

        based on you telling me that your prices are higher then most i highly doubt any marketing is gonna help you if your state is in that much trouble and the only thing that will help is lower your prices.
        the products you use are the same as what anyone else will use and regardles of whether you do a better job the customer won't and usually never will understand that.
        they are mostly driven by cost.

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        • #19
          giving the current unemployment levels in your state which is i beleive is one of the highest in the nation if not the highest you are going to have to drop your prices to what everyone else charges or you will continue to lose customers until you have none.

          the long term forecast shows no signs of things changeing in your state anytime soon and definitely not this year and if these people are having money troubles but still want to have the service you will find yourself on the chopping block.

          right now you have to do what you got to in order to keep the ship afloat and preserve your customer base and if you don't mind being the highest priced guy in the area then i guess you won't mind losing customers.
          when it comes to money no one has any loyalty and if times are tough and they got to cut back you, me and anyone else will be cut off if someone else comes along offering to do it cheaper.

          based on you telling me that your prices are higher then most i highly doubt any marketing is gonna help you if your state is in that much trouble and the only thing that will help is lower your prices.
          the products you use are the same as what anyone else will use and regardles of whether you do a better job the customer won't and usually never will understand that.
          they are mostly driven by cost.

          Well spoken
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          • #20
            This discussion really brings up a question on whether or not your location can effect the level of success your lawn care business can achieve.

            Some business owners never seem to have a problem with their location while others do.

            Do you find this to be an issue? Do certain locations really limit your ability to find success?
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            • #21
              Cost is only an issue when budgets are tight - so location will affect some more than others. As general locations that house similar bands of the workforce experience similar financial circumstances so gardeners will come under pressure. But there will always be some who will pay for the service. The trick is to make sure you are that service. So you have to run tighter and cleaner and keep in business while the less productive gardeners give up. Make sure you get all the pie.....

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              • #22
                I think it is great you are thinking about what your customers think. what % of costomers have you lost and what does you bottom line look like over the last few years how much % has it dropped? Any time you rase prices you will lose customers but does the new price cover that. the higher your prices the more you will have to spend on advertising.

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                • #23
                  I think it is great you are thinking about what your customers think. what % of costomers have you lost and what does you bottom line look like over the last few years how much % has it dropped? Any time you rase prices you will lose customers but does the new price cover that. the higher your prices the more you will have to spend on advertising.

                  We have noticed a slow in revenue ever since around 2005 (that is the time that Michigan started our recession). We have had some good years here and there. In 2010 we actually had our best year ever. So we took that great year thinking that the economy was starting to come around and decided to finally raise our prices up, especially our fertilization prices. Right away we lost around a dozen of clients due to the price increase letter, and then throughout the season we were losing around 3-5 clients a month because of prices. Even though we raised the prices, we lost around 20+ client during the season and our revenue was down greatly.

                  I think another thing that happened to us is we got a big head about the 2010 season. We took a lot of things for granted, and concentrated on just the money, not the client.
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                  • #24
                    When that kind of situation happens, is there anything you can do to back pedal and save those clients? Even now or no?

                    If another lawn care business owner found that happening, would you suggest they do anything to counter it?
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                    • #25
                      When that kind of situation happens, is there anything you can do to back pedal and save those clients? Even now or no?

                      If another lawn care business owner found that happening, would you suggest they do anything to counter it?
                      We tried a little bit of everything. Offering them reduce packages, payment options, and even going back and telling them "Ok, we will keep you price the same or perhaps even reduce it" but nothing worked. They pretty much had it made up in their mind that the lawn expenses was one luxury that they had to cut.
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                      • #26
                        This is a really interesting situation and it makes one pause to think about raising their prices. Maybe it would work better to slowly roll out a price increase after testing it with a few customers at a time?

                        Also I do wonder if there is a certain time that is better than others to raise prices.
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                        • #27
                          This is a really interesting situation and it makes one pause to think about raising their prices. Maybe it would work better to slowly roll out a price increase after testing it with a few customers at a time?

                          Also I do wonder if there is a certain time that is better than others to raise prices.

                          What we did was reviewed everyones prices. We found that some were perfectly fine and we didn't raise them, while others we had to increase the price. We sent out the price increase notice in April of last year. So not all of the clients actually received a price increase. Probably around 80% of them did.

                          I think if we had to do it over again, we would have only raised the prices of those clients where the profit margin was extremely low, and left the other clients alone. Went through the year, and evaluated it again during the off season. Then perhaps did a price increase with the other clients the following year. So almost like a stepped effect.
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                          • #28
                            How come I get a great big ad block in some of my posts - is this a forum setup - if so don't mind. Have to pay the rent somehow. But if it's a setup thing from my side I'd like to know how to control it.

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