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Getting a Feel of your competitors


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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Old 03-28-2011, 07:52 PM
JessyMathers JessyMathers is offline
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Default Getting a Feel of your competitors

Hey everyone,

I just had a little question for you guys to see if you have ever run into the same situation. I have been receiving emails from someone for a period of a year now when I post various adds on the internet for my services. The person has even asked about applying for a job at my business and how the rates work everything like that. After doing an investigation I find out that this person is another one of my competitors. This competitor has been trash talking my business in the past for no apparent reason except jealously. Me I'm 23 the other business owner is in their 40's, I figured these were the kind of games you played in high school. Is it normal to hate the new kid on the block? have you guys ever had to deal with people like this before? if so what was the best way of going about it? and what was the end result?

Thanks,

Jessy
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:53 PM
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I'm the new kid, too. And I think a competitor called me over their house for an estimate today just to feel me out.

I say just let it roll off your shoulders and keep trying to make things happen in your business. If they were smart, they would utilize their time trying to benefit their own business rather than trash talk a competitor. I personally don't want to hear someone telling me how much better they are than others. That's something I like to figure out on my own. If the guy is better than you, he can prove it with his service and with his prices. I am generally hesitant if I hear someone trash-talking their direct competitors, and I think a lot of others are the same way.

So beat him where it hurts most....his wallet. Talk is cheap.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:18 PM
tricountylawncare tricountylawncare is offline
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I agree with Element, just ignore him. Your work will speak for itself and he is just making himself look bad plus he should be using that energy to get jobs instead of bashing you. I had the same problem a couple of months ago. I had another lawn guy trying to post on the blog I had on my website. He would tell me to go away in not so nice words and that I was hurting his business. Luckily I have to approve the post before it goes on the web so I just ignored his and he quit posting. It's going to happen so you just need to let it roll of your shoulder and concentrate on your customers.
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:38 PM
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I'm the new kid, too. And I think a competitor called me over their house for an estimate today just to feel me out.
What gave this away? It would be interesting to hear more about how this interaction went.

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The person has even asked about applying for a job at my business and how the rates work everything like that.
Jessy, what other questions were they asking you? It would be interesting to know as it would give others a heads up of what to keep an eye out for.

Also, what gave it away to you that there was something fishy and you needed to investigate it further?
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:20 PM
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The guy said he used to be in the business, but he quit last year and sold all his equipment. Then he kept asking me a lot of questions. Wanted to know every piece of equipment I owned, how many clients I had, what neighborhoods my clients lived in, etc. It's possible he was telling the truth, but it just seemed like he wanted to know a lot of information. Then when he found out that I don't have an edger (this is something I generally do with a line trimmer), he said he wasn't interested in my service because he does't trust people to do edging with a line trimmer. So I said no problem, thanked him for the opportunity, gave him my card and left.

To be honest, even if he was being truthful and he was out of the business, he seems like the type of guy who would follow me around his lawn and not let me leave until it was up to his liking. Don't get me wrong, I do very neat work, but there are some people who are just never satisfied.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:49 PM
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Well this person kind of gave themselves away pretty easy. I have received about 5 emails from them over the past year all about my business. I have also posted equipment for sale that they have had an interest in buying. I actually confronted them last night and sent them an email saying I knew who they were and asked them politely to not send me anymore emails if they wanted to talk business call me directly. You get the feeling when you get someone like this who contacts you. They often call or email and say very specific things that the general public wouldn't talk about. You think if they wanted to be sneaky about things they would be a little smarter. I have no problem with talking to competitors, if they have a question and ask me I will tell them honestly. The morals of good business have walked out the door with the consumer society we live in. These days its all about who can do it the cheapest not who is going to provide you with what you actually need. Me myself I believe that forming good relationships with your competitors is important. If everyone wasn't so cut throat I would call every single business in the town and hold a meeting to keep standard prices across the board, that way it really comes down to who is the better business.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:31 AM
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I personally have not had this happen to the best of my knowledge, in this case I would take the high road and move on. We are all about to start a very busy season and we do not want to waste our time with games some of the competition may play.

The competition that I run into are very civil, we see each other next to job sites, sometimes have coffee, I have stopped at a few that were doing retaining walls to say what a great job they were doing, one I will never forget, it was one of the most professional looking jobs I have seen.

There are a lot of what I call trunk slammers, especially in the mowing, here today gone tomorrow, I don't give them the time of day.

I mainly get asked about equipment, service etc. I share that information freely.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:26 AM
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I can't wait for the season to get started, I'm in Belleville, ON. I have moved on of course it's just interesting what they will do which will really tarnish their own reputation. It's not a big business community so the word travels fast, after time everyone knows who the guys are that cause problems. Word of mouth goes a long way and chances are if 90% of the other businesses don't like you it's going to hurt, right in your wallet.
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:24 AM
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In the bigger picture, if a new lawn care business owner starts getting a feeling this is going on, what should they do? Should they wrap up the discussion or just play along with it? Should they start asking the other person questions too, to start feeling them out?

Is this a problem new lawn care business owners should be worried about? Is there anything bad that can come from this?
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:30 AM
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I seriously don't know why any grown men who own their own lawn businesses would even bother playing games with other business owners. I've never seen it happen where I'm at.....kind of surprising. Has anyone noticed how much green stuff there is out there growing that needs cut? Seriously. It's not like everyone in town is pushing and shoving for the same 20 yards. I think this is one of the easiest businesses to go out and find work to do. It's recession proof. Drought proof....no. Recession proof....yes. I've mostly found other crews out there pretty friendly. Oh well.......guess I'd give some psycho who was digging for info the 'get a life' comment and go on with mine. They obviously have issues.
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