Have you noticed more lawn care business owners in your area starting up? Do you find they tend to try and compete solely on price? Is it difficult for you to make a profit on lawn care when others are offering to cut lawns for $15? If so, here is some great insight from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
One of our members wrote how he combats start up lawn care businesses that charge a bare minimum per lawn.
He said “I sure picked a great time to start my lawn care business. With the economy the way it is, it is not uncommon to see 25 different lawn care businesses (and I use the term lightly) in a day. This doesn’t worry me because of my background in sales. I am pretty crafty when talking to potential clients. I let them know up front they can get the service cheaper. Sample quote goes as follows:
“Customer x, our basic lawn mowing service package includes mowing, trimming, and clean up. Your place will look nice when we leave. I can provide this to you for $30.” (my min. charge)
I’ll let you know right now customer x that you can get your yard mowed for less. It is not uncommon this time of year to see everybody and their brother pulling a mower behind their car. With people being laid off right now, these ‘companies’ have increased in numbers. I pick up just as many accounts this time of year as I do at the start of the season. It happens every year, once they find out they just can’t make it charging $15-$20 per yard, they hang it up. They don’t realize the overhead you have. Such as insurance, equipment maintenance, and taxes.
We are here to stay. I don’t know what you had in mind as when you would like a company to start on your lawn but I can tell you, I have an opening tomorrow, and Friday. Which one of those would you prefer?
Or something along those lines without sounding too salesy. It works for me. They usually jump on it.”
That is very interesting. What do you find is most important when trying to land a new lawn care account? What are some of the things lawn care business owners should avoid doing when trying to make a sale to a new customer? Any do’s and dont’s you can share with us?
“Things I find important when meeting with a potential lawn care client for the first time:
1. Show up when you say you will.
2. Be sure to look professional.
3. Don’t pull up to their house with music blaring or a cigarette hanging out of your mouth. (I am a smoker but this doesn’t look good at all in my opinion)
4. Do what you came to do. It is a good idea to ’shoot the breeze’ for a few minutes but you want to look like you are on a tight schedule. If they think you have time to BS for an hour they will want to do that every time you come. Worst yet, they will think if you have time to do this you must not have a full schedule and if you don’t have a lot of clients there must be a reason for that, then decide not to go with you.
5. Don’t haggle with them. This is not a flea market. We have figured our costs, estimated time to do the job, and presented a number we can do it for. This is why I take the approach I do telling them they can get it cheaper. Almost always this avoids the “well, I was thinking you could do it for $xx”
6. I offer coupons on my website. I usually tell them, “Hey, I’ll let you in on something. If you go to my website and print off our coupon, you can save an additional 10%”
I do this for two reasons. The first being that it makes the client feel special, like they got some sort of great deal and two being that if they use this coupon on their first service they cant use it on additional services that would be a larger number off their bill.
This is ideal for potential clients and it is good on all services. It’s a ‘one time only’ coupon. If they use it at the start (I require all new customers to pay on spot, then they get put on a monthly billing schedule) it saves me money. If not, oh well. They use it on a month of services and save more. Still all good. If a current customer gets a hold of it, it’s all good too. It is to be used one time only. If a customer hasn’t used it and I notice, I’ll make a point to tell them.
Like I said, they will feel special. Little things go a long way. If I let them in on the “secret” they will become more loyal. It is human nature to want a deal. If you get a deal one time, you will remain a client for longer. Offer a deal a couple times per year and the customer will feel special. They may be able to save a dollar or two with the ‘new’ company in town but you have been there for them and offered them ’special deals’ so they stay with you!”
Very fascinating lawn care customer sales insights. If you would like to join in on this discussion, add your view to the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.