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How to sell annual service contracts


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 02-17-2015, 12:31 PM
GroPro GroPro is offline
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Hey guys,

I have been in the landscape industry for over 20 yrs and have built and sold 3 different landscape companies. I specialized in high end clients and year round service contracts. Most of our contracts averaged $500-$600 per month. I was wondering if anyone here would be interested in knowing how we set it up and what our contracts look liked. If so message me. Also curios what is the biggest challenge in your business these days? Feel free to ask me anything. I have been out of the landscape industry for 2 years now and have the itch to be back around it. So thought I would start here by helping others in it.
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Old 02-17-2015, 03:23 PM
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What's been your experiences on selling three businesses? Why did you decide to sell them vs keep running them?
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:24 PM
ExtremeLawncareServices ExtremeLawncareServices is offline
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I want to hear this.
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Old 02-18-2015, 09:01 AM
hannifinp1 hannifinp1 is offline
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I would also like to hear various strategies for selling annual contracts. especially in gated communities or towns (Kiawah Island Sc). Buying a business license and gate pass are the easy parts. Getting the client is not, especially when such places are often secondary homes. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-18-2015, 01:12 PM
GroPro GroPro is offline
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Welcome to our forum!

What's been your experiences on selling three businesses? Why did you decide to sell them vs keep running them?

The first business I sold I learned a lot and realized a lot of mistakes made in the setting up the business to be sold. After that the other two where a breeze in fact the last one I sold I never even told my customers I was selling and most of them still don't even know that I no longer own the business. I sold the first one to see what it was like to sell a business. The second was an all chemical company that I got bored with so sold it and the third one my wife and I wanted to live in Europe for a year and couldn't do that with the business. So I sold it. I could of put someone in charge to run it while I was gone but honestly once you have a system down to get clients and know how to set up a business to be sold it's pretty easy to build cash out and build again.
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Old 02-18-2015, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by hannifinp1 View Post
I would also like to hear various strategies for selling annual contracts. especially in gated communities or towns (Kiawah Island Sc). Buying a business license and gate pass are the easy parts. Getting the client is not, especially when such places are often secondary homes. Any thoughts?

So if I understand you correctly you are needing to know how to get in front of clients that are not around their homes that often rather than how to close the sale of a contract. Correct me if I miss understood that.

First off I will tell you up front this is going to take some time and some trial and error to really get the ball rolling but trust me these communities are gold mines and worth the effort especially if you ever want to sell the business down the road. Other companies will pay top dollar for contracts in subs like this. So lets get to the grind on it.

First things first look at your truck and signage. It doesn't need to be the newest truck but it better be clean ever time you are even near that sub. Your sign does it look like it was made 10 years ago? peeling chipping? This seems so simple but the class of clients you are after are looking for the best and you know the saying first impression is everything. Now the next thing to do is to get to know the security guards. (Focus on day shift and the guards that smile the most and say hi to you when driving through) Swing in a chat with them off and on. This is the politics part. It would surprise you how often home owners in these subs ask for there thoughts or if they know of any good contractors in the area. After a few friendly chats leave a few business cards with the guards and tell them you would really like to get more clients in the sub so if they hear of anyone looking you would greatly appreciate the referral. (note: do not leave your business cards with the guards until you have talked to them a few times I can not stress how big this is even if they ask just say you know I just gave out my last card today I bring some to you the next time) you want to have a friendship built before asking for business after you leave business cards make sure you still stop in off and on to keep you face fresh in their mind. The next thing would be to find out if they have a news letter that runs in the sub. If so then ask you new friends at the guard stand what time of year are most of the clients visiting their homes. Again only ask this question after you build a friendship as if you just ask up front they will not tell you thinking your casing the sub for break ins. Another angle to get in front of these clients is to figure out what restaurants of local businesses they visit when in town there are two ways to figure this out watch the local business parking lots in the peak times when clients are in town (you know the peak now based on conversation with guards) look for high end vehicles. Focus on getting those places to sign up for a maintenance plan. If the place has nice landscaping and you can really showcase your work and from research you know the clients from this sub visit here often. Get to know the business owner very well build a friendship and offer to do the landscape maintenance for one year. If you don't get a yes right away consider offering to do it at cost. Be up front with them tell them why you are willing to offer your services for such a low price offer the low price as a swap out to put a sign up saying who is doing the maintenance on it. Hopefully you are starting to see the pattern here getting clients like this are not about jumping out in front of them when they come to their house for a vacation. These people are advertised to all the time so they very rarely responded to a flyer however most clients like this will talk to those they trust that will give them a straight answer like the security guards. I have a bunch more ways but I will leave it at this for now so as not to write a book here and in case this wasn't the question you had. Let me know if this helps or if you have any other questions.
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Old 02-28-2015, 11:57 AM
CHenricks CHenricks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GroPro View Post
Hey guys,

I have been in the landscape industry for over 20 yrs and have built and sold 3 different landscape companies. I specialized in high end clients and year round service contracts. Most of our contracts averaged $500-$600 per month. I was wondering if anyone here would be interested in knowing how we set it up and what our contracts look liked. If so message me. Also curios what is the biggest challenge in your business these days? Feel free to ask me anything. I have been out of the landscape industry for 2 years now and have the itch to be back around it. So thought I would start here by helping others in it.
I would love to learn about how you set up contracts and what they look like.
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Old 03-01-2015, 07:22 AM
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Hi Gro Pro, here is my post from another forum, please read and respond asap. Thank you. Hi Everyone, I am trying to obtain more annual contracts from the residential side. I currently offer the following on my annual service contracts; Mowing, edging, string trimming all cracks and flowerbeds, mailboxes and trees, air blowing, trimming shrubs every other visit as needed, Fall and spring cleanup of leaves and yard debris, hauling off branches and limbs, winterization and fertilization by applying a pre-emergent and a post emergent throughout the season as needed, pruning of trees and shrubs i.e. crepe myrtles. I charge them one set price year round 60.00 bi-weekly which comes to 26 weeks for 1,560.00 I recently had a client with a mole in his back yard and told him that we could help by applying a grub killer which would reduce the mole food source and drive him away. I told him that he would have to pay us for the chemicals but not the labor because he was an annual client. Our contracts state that we are to control the weeds with an herbicide, not apply insecticide for pests. That being said we are licensed applicators for weeds and pests. I was thinking that if we did offer this service along with a once a year gutter cleaning we may be able to attract more annual clients. We would like to hear any and all comments/recommendations on this subject. Thank you and wishing everyone a great season.

Last edited by winkie61; 03-01-2015 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:46 PM
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I'm sure GoPro has some proven procedures that work. For me, it's a four-part process. First, you have to be likable and not come off as an arrogant know-it-all who pushes upsells like a desperate vacuum cleaner salesman. People in our industry are a dime a dozen, so you really need to shine in this area.
Second, you have to know how to market. This is what keeps the newcomers coming in. Keep your marketing honest-no bait and switch, and no fine print in your marketing materials that leaves a question in the consumer's mind about your business ethics. There is one, and only one goal when it comes to marketing: get the consumer to contact you.
Third, you need to know how to sell. What this really means, is you need to know how to be a good listener rather than blabbermouth. Offer solutions to the problems/needs that are immediate. Upselling now can convey a genuine disinterest in the prospect, and a more greedy/selfish motive that belies your squabble about wanting to help the customer. Once you close on the initial sale, complete the job, and get paid, you can then make suggestions about other tasks that could use some attention.
Fourth, do the job you just closed on promptly and with excellence. If part of the job is a pain to perform, you need to complete it just as competently as the parts you can ease through. Fact: You took on the job, Mr. lawn Guy-do it well, don't complain, and be grateful.
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