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Starting a lawn care business. How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.

Higher prices for better quality.


Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
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  #1  
Old 10-02-2007, 09:51 PM
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There has been great discussion on the board lately concerning value over price.

This evening, I needed a snack (along with some mellow yello). So, I took a quick run by Chik-fil-a. As I walked into the resturant, greeted by smiling faces, it struck me that I rarely have to wait in line at Chik-fil-a.

It's not that they are not busy. There are always tons of customers in the resturant. The difference is that they always have loads of employees behind the counter. The clerks that wait on me always have good attitudes and they seem to genuinely care about their work. The chicken sandwiches are always hot as are the fries. And, when I ask them to go lite on the ice so I can get more mellow yello in my cup, they do as I request. It's the small things that keep me going back.

Chik-fil-a seems to be about 50 cents higher for their combo meals than other resturants. However, I am very willing to pay extra.

Do you have any resturants or stores you will go out of your way to visit because of excellent service?

What small amenities do you offer your lawn care customers to make sure you keep them as long term customers?

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  #2  
Old 10-02-2007, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]Do you have any resturants or stores you will go out of your way to visit because of excellent service?
Yes i rather shop at Giant or wegmans than go to food depot or any low price supermarket. I like quality and better taste. So i pay more.

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Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]What small amenities do you offer your lawn care customers to make sure you keep them as long term?
I tell my customers that i will make sure they get a greener and healthier lawn than their next door neighbors. And I do give them nice green, stripe, healthy lawns.
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2007, 08:38 AM
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That is a good point.

It's like when I go to Walmart. I know the support won't be as good as other grocery stores but when I do go there, I realize this and I figure it's worth it.

On the flip side, there is another grocery store I visit once in a while and their prices are higher. They have a staff that pushes your cart to the car. Now for me, this is an entire waste. I feel stupid actually walking along side one of the employees as they push my cart. Sometimes, I think this kinda thing can go a little over board.

I know they are just doing their job, but I almost feel they should apply that service to someone who needs it more. I mean why push my cart and then make the older person standing behind me, wait for help? You know?

I don't need that over the top service and I don't even want it. Sure others could really use it, but to me it's annoying.

I think this is a matter of applying such service where it's needed.
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  #4  
Old 10-05-2007, 10:54 PM
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Personally, I have always been taught the "Give 'em the pickle" method. One of my old supervisors used to preach to us that when a customer asks for something, give them that little bit extra that makes them smile. "Give 'em the pickle" just means give them a little bit more that they weren't expecting to make the service that much better. I was in the quick lube industry for a few years. I applied that "pickle" method there. Every person who got an oil change also got a free air freshener as well just for giving us their business. It didn't cost the company much and all the customers loved it.

I LOVE Chick-Fil-A for the same reason. The food is ALWAYS good (and hot)... there are ALWAYS smiling faces... and even though the price is a little bit more, it's not putting a hole in your pocket, either. Truitt Cathy is a VERY smart business man. I admire him a lot for his policies. That's why they get so much business... because they "give us the pickle".

Now, about the cart pushing thing. I agree and disagree. I'm a 34 year old man, perfectly capable of pushing my own cart and loading my own vehicle. There are those who need the assistance much more than I do. So when I go to a store where they offer this service, I step in front of the young man offering the service, hand him a dollar and tell him "see that older gentleman/lady over there? give them a hand. I'll be alright, but thank you anyway." (There are ALWAYS older people in the store when I'm there for some reason) A quick smile to the clerk, and I'm out the door. Everyone's happy.
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  #5  
Old 10-09-2007, 09:51 AM
LawncareMarketingMagic LawncareMarketingMagic is offline
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Keith, Chic-Fil-A is a great example of 'price vs value' and I love the 'give 'em the pickle' idea. I may actually steal that one.

As it relates to your business, here are some ideas for 'giving 'em the pickle':

- Give them a service 'summary' after every visit. This would be something like the printout they give you after getting your oil change. It basically lists everything that was done, mentions when the next visit should be, and offers suggestions for improving the lawn/landscape.
- Put stripes in the lawn. Sure it takes a little extra time, but it's a value add that does more in terms of 'giving 'em the pickle' than it costs you in real dollars.
- Before you leave a job, make sure everything is in it's proper place. For example, down here in the South they use pine straw in flower/shrub beds. The stuffs great, but if there's no border, it can get 'sloppy' after the mowing and trimming. So before you leave the property you would simply go around and make sure there's a nice 'border' between the grass and pine straw.
- Offer automated billing. In other words, make it super easy for them to pay their bill. Instead of them having to write a check each month, setup up an autodraft or auto-credit card billing system. Now, there are some customers that this won't be much of a pickle for, but for others it will be a huge time saver and they'll greatly appreciate it.
- Perform an in-person checkup monthly/quarterly. Instead of just showing up and performing the service, setup an appointment periodically in order to meet with them, walk the property to discuss any issues or concerns they might have, or to simply offer suggestions on how to improve things. Not only will this help you develop a good relationship with your customers, but it will also open the door to upsell/cross sell your other services.

Now, I imagine there are quite a few more that I've missed, but it should give you some things to think about. Differentiating yourself on value instead of price is something ANY business can do and the sooner you start doing it, the better off your business will be in the long run.
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  #6  
Old 10-09-2007, 09:56 AM
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You're more than welcome to steal...err borrow the pickle idea.... cause I'm taking all of your's! lol

Seriously, though... VERY well thought-out ideas. I like them all!!

I have NO clue how to do striping, though.... a little help, here?
...and I LOVE the summary idea and the quarterly inspection with the homeowner. NICE!
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  #7  
Old 10-09-2007, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (LawncareMarketingMagic @ Oct. 09 2007,10:51)]- Offer automated billing. In other words, make it super easy for them to pay their bill. Instead of them having to write a check each month, setup up an autodraft or auto-credit card billing system. Now, there are some customers that this won't be much of a pickle for, but for others it will be a huge time saver and they'll greatly appreciate it.
I have done that and I will tell you its les stress on me and my customers. I even have it where customers can pay online. Go check it let me know what you think.

Lawn Billing
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  #8  
Old 10-12-2007, 12:06 AM
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I'd like to know the stripping thing also. Are ya'll using paypal or something like that? I was talking about that with my husband the other day so our clients could pay by credit card if they wanted too since we only do cash and check at the moment. Don't yell at me guys I am still wet behind the ears in the lawn care business.
I love when I go into Chic-fil-a and the employees always say to me "my pleasure" and they sell it too. They are so polite and I am always trying to treat my customers how I would want to be treated if I were in their shoes. I go to a more select grocery store. The prices might be a bit more here or there but I love their quality. I love the give them the pickle thing too and Chestin thank you so much for posting those great idea! wow!
One of my first jobs we went to a womans house to mow her lawn and trim the hedges. Now she is a renter but when she moved in the hedges had gotten out of control. Now she asked us to trim them and when I asked how much she said for us to just eyeball it and take a little off. Well her "little bit" and my "little bit" were very different in the amount she actually wanted taken off. She expressed that she wanted more taken off and even went ahead and signed a year long contract when she was not happy. I thought this odd but who am I to say no but I did tell her that we would gladly take off more each time we came until she told me she was happy. Because I cannot feel we did our job for her if she is not pleased with our work. She was pleased with what I said and now she is 150% happy with the hedges. I cannot sell someone my business if when I leave their property they have a bad taste in their mouth about my work and business. She did and I was so happy she gave us the opportunity to remedy this.
Recently I had a couple of e-mail conversations with a gentleman who wanted a lawn company to lay SOD in his lawn. He was killing what he had and that was the route he wanted to go. I suggested some things to him and a great company that lays SOD. He had someone come out and give him a free estimate (not the company I suggested) and they left him with that bad taste in his mouth. I e-mail everyone back. It does not matter if I end up doing work for them or not because you never know when that person might need your services. He expressed to me what happened and what he was planning on doing, what I had suggested. He told me how great my customer service was and he wished he had asked my company to come out and do the work. Well he was almost finished with everything and offered it to me. I told him I would gladly finish it but there really wasn't anything left I should take his money for but if he ever needed my companies services again to please let me know. I felt really good to get that compliment about our customer service.
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  #9  
Old 10-12-2007, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
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Quote[/b] ]I e-mail everyone back. It does not matter if I end up doing work for them or not because you never know when that person might need your services.
That is a really good idea because you just never know if there was just one more little thing that you could have done which would have made all the difference to the customer.
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