Competing with lowball lawn mowing ads.

If things aren’t tough enough trying to run your lawn care business, here come the lowball lawn mowing ads. It seems like once they get started, everyone is in a race to the bottom. So how can you compete with lowballers? How can you get the price you need to keep your business running? That is what an entrepreneur wanted to know on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

One lawn care business owner wrote “low balling has taken a new low. I opened my weekly newspaper I get here to make sure my ad was in there and right beside mine was a lowball lawn mowing ad that said ‘mowing and weed eating $15. Home power washing $20. Free estimates.

How can I or any one else compete with that ? I take it I will have to deal with this as long as I own this business. It’s hard enough to get it started without this garbage.”

Competing with lowball lawn mowing ads.

Competing with lowball lawn mowing ads.

A second lawn care business owner said “you will always have to deal with these lowball lawn mowing ads but in a short time you will understand that he is only cutting his own throat by doing this and will soon be of no threat. You need to just keep up what you are doing and do what you can to set yourself apart from this grass burner.”

A third lawn care business owner shared “I say use it to your advantage. Put a line in your ad that says:

‘We fix $15 lawn mowings.’

A fourth added “this is the best advice I can offer you. Only worry about the things you can control. You have to position your business as more than a commodity. That is not to say that people don’t buy based on price. They do. You want the people who buy based on referral, reputation, service and professionalism.

We are not the only industry that has lowballers or lowball lawn mowing ads. My cousin runs a very successful asset management company. He has to compete with lowballers who will manage money for a fraction of the percentage that most companies will. The bad economy caused a lot of people to strike out on their own and start a business without realizing what the true costs of actually running their business is.

As the economy improves a lot of these guys will go back to working for the man and that will help. In addition it appears that consumer confidence is on the rise, so this may help with people loosening their purse strings and paying to improve their property.

Most lowballers don’t last the season. I picked up 4-5 mowing accounts last fall from companies that stopped showing up or went under.

Some lawn care customers are only going to buy on price. In my opinion you don’t want these customers. They aren’t loyal and will leave you when the next lower bid comes along. Your prices should however be comparable to the other professional in your area.

I think it really revolves around three things.

  1. Professionalism: This covers starts with your advertising to how you answer the phone. All of your actions should exude professional behavior. This builds confidence and respect from the client. They know they are buying more than a simple lawn mowing.
  2. Service: I could write a book on this. You have to provide out of this world service. Follow up, do what you say you will, etc, etc. Remember their pet’s names, how they like their lawn mowed. Be nice, polite, respectful. Don’t be the grump because the customer called you at 9am Saturday morning.
  3. The third is a little more complicated and is really a lot of small things. I like to think that being a one stop shop for all their landscape needs sets a company apart. I like to also be a company that clients can call with questions knowing that I am there to help. They know I will go the extra mile to find a specialty plant or solve a problem with their lawn or landscape. I also like to throw in some freebies every now and then. Things like picking up and disposing of a few down branches from a storm. Running the edger along a property for a customer that doesn’t pay for edging. Pulling a few weeds from the flower beds. Things that I know the $15 a cut guys can’t or won’t do.

These steps take time but add to your reputation as you grow your company. You have to sell these instead of price.

I am just as guilty as the next guy when it comes to selling on price. When you are starting out it is easy to rationalize knocking off a few dollars from your price here and there to get the job. You rationalize it by saying I am new and don’t have any overhead. I can afford to do this while a big company can’t. Well let me say, if you ever want to be the big company with that nice equipment you better charge accurate prices. If you go back to those customers you low balled the season before and try to raise the price to a level that is competitive you are going to find yourself with a lot smaller client list.”

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success