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talking to the competition


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  #1  
Old 07-14-2012, 02:29 PM
SECTLANDSCAPING SECTLANDSCAPING is offline
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I was doing a pressure washing job the other day and the lawn man came by to cut. I started to talk to him about business.

This guy has been at it for 23 years. He only mows and doesnt do commercial with the exception of cemeteries. I thought that was interesting so I had to pick his brain.

The way he does it is he mows up to 50 miles away. He goes to a different town each day. I forgot to ask him what happens when it rains.

He was also real picky about who he picks as clients. He preferred the ones that were never home and wouldnt bother him. He wouldnt touch a overgrown yard. He would discontinue service instead of chasing payments.

The most interesting thing is he wont give customers his cell phone. He uses a business number and checks his calls when hes home, so hes not bothered while working.

I run my business almost the opposite way. I dont care to much for lawn mowing and focus on installation, pressure washing, clean ups and snow removal. I'm always bothered by calls and chatty customers. I deal with the headache commercial accounts. I wont cut more then 15 miles away from my home.

To see us focus on different services and still both are successful was interesting none to less.
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  #2  
Old 07-14-2012, 06:00 PM
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Sounds like me.

Except I stay within my area, and my cell is used for business.


-

Maybe he's a prick, but in my case, it's just the way things need to be done in order to get ahead.

I'm very good when it comes to socializing, but too much of it is a bad thing - it's wise to avoid it at all costs unless you honestly have the time.

Depending on your area, the cost for lawn maintenance may not be that profitable, so you would want to be as productive as you possible can. Any setback can be detrimental and also highly discouraging.

I pick and choose my clients as well, yet I still ended up with one street full of 8 elderly clients. (I ran over a squirrel, so Karma wanted me to suffer).

For a section that should take me no time at all, can be a massive waste of time if I get stuck chit chatting to each individual client - I could lose a lot of time that could have be spent adding more clients to this work date in particular.

It's as though every elderly client I receive hogs two slots on my daily schedule.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:33 PM
Cashin H&P Cashin H&P is offline
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I just added a new phone line to my plan so I hae one number for work and the new number is only given to friends and family. I will answer the work number during the week only on the weekends it gets shut iff and stays in the office so I am not tempted to check it. I was going insane, I hated when customers call me on the weekends i would get so stressed out
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:04 PM
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I no longer bother to talk to billy bob mowing next door. We all do things so different that all you really get is entertainment and not as much done as you wanted. Oh, never knock on your customers door. If they want to talk to you they will come out. 10 minutes here and there adds up.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SECTLANDSCAPING View Post

The way he does it is he mows up to 50 miles away. He goes to a different town each day. I forgot to ask him what happens when it rains.
.
That's at least 2 hours of driving per day thanks but no thanks. What if there is no hi-way that way 35mph with lights?
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:29 PM
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Amazingly he has been in business all those years! I guess he has figured out a method that works for him. It seems, if you want to stay as a one man operation and don't want too much customer interaction, it is possible, as long as you pick the right customers.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:43 PM
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Eh working 50 miles from home isn't a big deal. If you were a carpenter and building homes you may have to drive that distance for a couple weeks until the home is under roof.

As long as you aren't driving 50 miles to do one or two lawns then driving back to do a couple more, etc etc....

If you drive 50 miles and do 15 lawns and the next day is maybe driving 20 miles to do another 15 it's not so bad.

Plus talking to customers doesn't always equal referrals. The customers I do stick around to talk to have yet to recommend me....ones I never see have passed my cards on and I have received calls for next year and lawn repair because the drought is sucking so bad.

My ideal schedule in my area would be Tuesday through Friday mowing in a different area each day............Monday's for mulching and stuff like that........The only downfall of that are people that are willing to pay extra for a Thursday or Friday schedule. Then you either have to turn them down, hope they accept your day in their area or arrange your schedule and suck up the mileage if they're out of the way.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffK26 View Post
Eh working 50 miles from home isn't a big deal. If you were a carpenter and building homes you may have to drive that distance for a couple weeks until the home is under roof.

As long as you aren't driving 50 miles to do one or two lawns then driving back to do a couple more, etc etc....

If you drive 50 miles and do 15 lawns and the next day is maybe driving 20 miles to do another 15 it's not so bad.

Plus talking to customers doesn't always equal referrals. The customers I do stick around to talk to have yet to recommend me....ones I never see have passed my cards on and I have received calls for next year and lawn repair because the drought is sucking so bad.

My ideal schedule in my area would be Tuesday through Friday mowing in a different area each day............Monday's for mulching and stuff like that........The only downfall of that are people that are willing to pay extra for a Thursday or Friday schedule. Then you either have to turn them down, hope they accept your day in their area or arrange your schedule and suck up the mileage if they're out of the way.
To sum it up it works if your being efficient. He has the advantage that before the season starts he has x amount of accounts in that town. So hes already making out by going there then any lawns picked up is just profit.

I had a few calls from 20 miles away for mowing and I turned them down. Now If I add them up over the season I had about a dozen calls from that city. So if I wouldve picked up those yards early on. I wouldve been doing alright.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:53 AM
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The reason it would be a problem for me is 100 miles round trip gets costly
My truck get around 10mpg towing
the cost would be like $40 in fuel alone (I always think of diesel as $4per gallon just to be safe)
I work alone now but always plan on having a helper or second truck with a 2 man crew that being said 2 men at costing me $20 an hour each
$40 fuel
$80 Staff (based on 2 men 2hours)
total $120 just to get there
I work within 15 miles but I do live in a area with a ton of lawns so my life may just be easy as far as driving goes. We all do what we have to to make this work.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:58 AM
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50 miles is nothing really. Even if it costs you $120 round trip on top of the work cost, it does cut into your profit but if you only do it one day a week and if you bust your ***, you can still make a profit. The problem is the startup. You will probably lose money to start until you build the client base.

Hell it is over 50 miles for me to get to town. Closest town 6 miles. Closest gas 15 miles. Closest city 50 miles. I make the most of my trips to the city by getting a lot done in a trip. Groceries and I scour craigslist for free stuff. This week I am picking up lumber, pallets and a rooster so far. All this stuff is free so I might as well pick it up on the way back.

Rooster = Free food... LOL
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