You see them on craigslist daily. You see them in your local newspaper ads. You may even see them in a flyer stuck in your front door. Lowball lawn care ads. They seem to be everywhere! What’s a legitimate lawn care business owner to do when confronted with so many unregistered and unlicensed businesses? That is a question asked on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and it brought up some very interesting points.
One lawn care business owner wrote “All these lowball ads are driving me crazy. How am I suppose to feed my family when I have to compete against this crap? Here is one of the latest ads that has appeared in my area. I just don’t know what to do to deal with them!
Mowing & Weedwacking.
I do yard work. Excellent references available. I charge only $10.00 per hr. or an agreed upon flat rate. Please call me at 555-2425
Clearly this guy is not licensed or insured or paying taxes.”
A second lawn care business owner shared with us his strategy on competing with such competition. “How do I compete with such unlicensed and uninsured lawn care businesses? My simple response is, I don’t. After getting my lawn care business started, it was real important for me to move up the lawn care customer food chain, so to speak. When opportunities presented themselves for me to scale up and trade a low paying customer for a higher paying one, I jumped on it. Now I am in a position where I don’t offer service to customers looking for a $10 cut. I am instead staying with the high end customer that pays more and expects high quality workmanship.
Before you can get to this point, there are many steps to take. But it is these steps that differentiate you from the lowballers. You need to have good equipment. You need to have a good appearance. Finally you need to do quality work and be fair. When you are able to do all these things, you will get the work. I know this sucks early on when you are getting started but if you just keep going forwards and doing what you do best and it will take care of itself.
To make more money you need to differentiate yourself. You differentiate yourself through your marketing and sales presentation. You need to market your education, quality, reliability, and customer satisfaction. You need to show how you can do a better job. How can you enhance the customer’s property. You also need to target quality clients. They will demand quality service and they will want a better lawn care company.
You need to use these reasons and others to show the customer why your competitor charges what he does, and why you charge what you do. You need to remind them of the old saying, you get what you pay for. Before long you’ll get a nice referral base going. Where one customer refers you to another one, followed by another one. Stick with it and do quality work. It’s the most important key to success.
Just recently I put a mowing bid in for a property that totaled $300.00 per mow. When I did my follow up phone call after the bid to my potential customer, he told me that a lowballer came in and put one in for $50.00. I told the potential customer, there was no way a legitimate licensed and insured company could perform that job to the customer’s specifications and said to keep me in mind as I wouldn’t lower my bid.
Well wouldn’t you know it, a few days later, the customer called me back and said the lowballer was a no show and he decided to go with my bid instead. He had learned his lesson. I think that lowballer knew he bit off more than he could chew on this specific job and that is why he never showed up.
Last but not least, if business is slow and you want to combat these lowballers head on, you can always post your internet classified ad right after theirs that says:
We FIX $10 per hour lawn care!
Fully Licensed & Insured.”
You can also add some graphics into your ads.