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  • #31
    Advertising for business is standard practice for all businesses - including the gardening business. Even targeting a particular customer is acceptable practice - do you think an ad agency doesn't go for a big account. Targeting a particular home owner might not make much sense because the account is by nature quite small. But if he was a property administrator and controlled the gardening account for several developments I would target his business without any hesitation.

    Remember that in the end the buyer makes the buying decision - we as contractors simply put ourselves up for choice. Do I rubbish the opposition or competition - never - it's simply bad business and demeans everyone including myself. I make an offer and the customer chooses to accept or reject it.

    And if I get the business I make sure I deliver on my offer.

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    • #32
      My first post here

      But...

      To me, "competition take-away" would basically amount to under-bidding for numbers. If someone is displeased with the service they've hired they'll probably be looking for you (or someone else). Another service. Solely targeting folks who are obviously hiring work out just seems low to me. Target the whole neighborhood and increase your odds without looking like a jerk. I've dealt with a few "stripe chasers" since 1990. One guy was bold enough to follow me and time my cuts. My opinion of him? Guess...

      Satisfied customers aren't an easy sell. They'll be the first to point you out to the guys they're happy with too. You have to look at it from the client's perspective as well, they're either going to think you're a "real go-getter" or a common scavenger.

      I'm starting fresh in a new zip code this year. I've scouted areas I want to market to but not individual clients. If I were to target only those who paid I'd have to posess one incredible line of BS or a ridiculously low price. First impressions are everything.

      I've targeted neighbors of clients who clearly had good services and for the same reason their services targeted mine. Logistics. 1 stop two houses is good, 1 stop three houses is better. Never did score but it's give and take and understood. I've had offers from guys to buy out accounts for that very reason and when I moved last year I made a little money on what I had to leave behind.

      The karma thing mentioned...A couple of years ago I was finishing up a big rural account late day friday. 4 miserable acres with my walk-behind and ready for a cold one. Notice the guy across the road with a broken down ZTR and about an acre from finished. Instead of loading up I Velkied on over to see if he could use a hand. Let him finsish up with my walk-behind while I trimmed my account. No biggie. The next week I was late again and his place was done. I pulled up to park and found a new Playmate cooler full of Budweiser with a new pair of Echo glasses on top and a simple note that just said "Thanks!".

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      • #33
        But...

        To me, "competition take-away" would basically amount to under-bidding for numbers. If someone is displeased with the service they've hired they'll probably be looking for you (or someone else). Another service. Solely targeting folks who are obviously hiring work out just seems low to me. Target the whole neighborhood and increase your odds without looking like a jerk. I've dealt with a few "stripe chasers" since 1990. One guy was bold enough to follow me and time my cuts. My opinion of him? Guess...

        Satisfied customers aren't an easy sell. They'll be the first to point you out to the guys they're happy with too. You have to look at it from the client's perspective as well, they're either going to think you're a "real go-getter" or a common scavenger.

        I'm starting fresh in a new zip code this year. I've scouted areas I want to market to but not individual clients. If I were to target only those who paid I'd have to posess one incredible line of BS or a ridiculously low price. First impressions are everything.

        I've targeted neighbors of clients who clearly had good services and for the same reason their services targeted mine. Logistics. 1 stop two houses is good, 1 stop three houses is better. Never did score but it's give and take and understood. I've had offers from guys to buy out accounts for that very reason and when I moved last year I made a little money on what I had to leave behind.

        The karma thing mentioned...A couple of years ago I was finishing up a big rural account late day friday. 4 miserable acres with my walk-behind and ready for a cold one. Notice the guy across the road with a broken down ZTR and about an acre from finished. Instead of loading up I Velkied on over to see if he could use a hand. Let him finsish up with my walk-behind while I trimmed my account. No biggie. The next week I was late again and his place was done. I pulled up to park and found a new Playmate cooler full of Budweiser with a new pair of Echo glasses on top and a simple note that just said "Thanks!".
        Now that is net working. I worked for a company for 4 years before I went out on my own. I will not even bid on there customers propertys. It is out of respect and friend ship that I do that. However if some one who has another lawn care company take care of there property I will bid it. I wont bid low to get the account. I simply tell the customer that I can provide a hire quality of work. Some times I get the job other times I dont.

        Going door to door is how I started out. I went to every house in a neighborhood. I knew some people had a company already doing there property if that person wants to hire me for what ever reason great if not oh well I didnt get it. Other companys in my area will take work from me in a heart beat. Its a tough world out there I just tell my self that I can provide a better service and that the customers want that not a cheap price.

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        • #34
          Also has any one ever talked to a competitor and worked out any business deals such as trading customers or give referrals to each other? I have 4-5 mowing co. in my community and i was pondering whether or not to try and work with them or fly under the radar and do my own thing.....
          I'm still new myself (this being my 2nd year in business) and am a one man crew. I live in a small town so there are not A LOT of competitors. One is a guy who has been around for about 8 years now. He is a one man deal also, but has his regulars that he uses for jobs where he could use an extra set of hands or two.

          I ran in to him at the local nursery and we started talking. He ended up letting me in on a few jobs. He was very impressed with the work that I provided but I almost felt like I was working for him. They were his jobs, and I needed to get my own. It was nice to have the extra jobs that I normally wouldn't, but once I made the decision to focus more on my own customers, that is when i gained the confidence needed to run a lawn care business.

          Since then I have picked up a lot of customers and have seen that same guy plenty of times... I could tell that he no longer wants to throw charity work my way. He now sees me as a threat instead of an ally. All in all, there really is no working with others. You either have a business partner or you are the boss. To many chiefs is not a good thing and ultimately you will appreciate not having to cater to anyone else but yourself.

          If you work on a job with someone, you are liable for their mistakes as well. I even noticed that I was doing a better job than he was and he has been doing it for years. However, at the end of the day, when half of the job looks good (your half) and half of the job looks sloppy (his half) you still have to put your name on the WHOLE job.

          Do your own thing but don't look at them as competition. Each customer is different and interact with people differently. If they are not happy they will come find you.
          IV Property Maintenance
          Providing Quality and Reliability
          www.ivpropertymaintenance.com

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