Are you finding yourself trying to compete with fly by night lawn care businesses that advertise they will cut a lawn for $15? Don’t try to compete with them. Any customer who hires such a lawn care business will quickly find out how unreliable they are. You don’t want these cheap customers anyway because they will be the ones most likely to complain. Instead why not follow the steps these other lawn care business owners have taken. Be personable. Meet with your new potential clients. Offer them an incentive to prepay for their lawn care and give them the best service you can.
Chuck: “I’ve found because there is so much competition in my area that lawn care prices are held down a bit. Once you have a good lawn care customer base & you give them good service you can:
- Raise prices a bit more as you’ve had a chance to prove yourself to them
- Go higher on new estimates as you don’t really “need” every new customer.
Now I am, to the best of my knowledge, competitively priced for my area as far as my per cut prices. Some are higher & I think that is attributed to being well established as I stated above. But there are advertisements in the newspaper here and on craigslist for my area that promote $15 bucks a lawn mowing! Granted most of them are probably in it for extra beer money & are unreliable to their customers but my potential customers see those advertisements too & know if I bid $35 per lawn mowing they can get it for probably half that however lousy the service may be.
My annual/monthly clients are required to pay by the 1st of each month for the following months service. I’m afraid of cutting for a month billing them net 30 then cutting for another month & finding 2 months in that they don’t pay so that’s the only way I will bill for that type of customer.
Do you offer incentive for your clients to sign an annual instead of staying per cut? How do you pull that off?”
Shane: “Sure I offer incentives. It has helped me find better lawn care customers as well. I no longer will mow someone’s lawn on a “per cut” basis. I have found out that those type of customers are not the ones we should be looking for.
You always “need” new lawn care customers. This is how you grow your business unless you are comfortable with keeping it a one man show. I personally don’t want to stay in the labor end of the business forever.
I have the same advertisements here too but we must not try to run our business the way everyone else runs theirs. Get a business plan and stick to it, that’s what I did and it’s proving to be successful so far. Also, the people that a “15.00 a cut” ad attracts are NOT the customers you want. I had to learn that the hard way.”
Chad: “I think I am in the same boat as both of you. I am trying you find a good overall price to charge my lawn care customers. This is my first year really trying to push the lawn care. The lawns I work on are a lot bigger than what most people mention here. The houses all sit on 1/2 acre lots if not bigger. The houses average 2,200-2,400 sq ft, 2 car garages with long driveways. When I started calculating everything my game plan is to charge $35-$40 a cut, offering a 15% discount for the customers who sign a year contract and pay up front.
Now I thought I was reasonable priced until my clients start getting quotes for $20-$23 a cut. Luckily I have 6 yrs of sales & marketing behind me. By presenting my lawn care flyers that are professionally laid out and knocking on every door I hung a flyer on, I was able to sway every customer to spend the $15-20 extra. I personally couldn’t believe it and neither could my girl friend who helped me distribute the flyers. The only problem with this strategy is that I don’t cover much ground. Out of 100 houses, I talked to maybe 1 to 3 people who were receptive and willing to sign a lawn care contract.
The way you present yourself is everything. You’re not selling a product, you are selling a service. I am always more expensive. I don’t try to be. I just dont want to work enough to just pay my bills and break even. I hope this helps.”
You can join in on this discussion further at the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.