Should you give lawn care bids over the phone?

People want immediate gratification and lawn care customers are no different. So when a lawn care customer sees your advertisement and calls you, should you give them a bid for lawn care service over the phone? That is the question asked on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and the answer may surprise you.

A lawn care business owner wrote and asked “today I had this annoying potential customer call me after seeing my craigslist ad and asked me about delivering and spreading mulch. He said he had an area of 32ft x 5ft and was wanted to know how much mulch he would need and how much would I charge. I told him I would really need to look at the area first before I could properly bid on the job, so I asked him for his address to set up a time to meet. He hesitated on giving me his address then he got frustrated and eventually hung up. Now I haven’t had much experience in guesstimating that kinda figure but should I have given him some kind of figure? I’m thinking he musty not have been very serious about getting the job done in the first place if he was asking for a quick estimate over the phone, but did I miss out on a job? How should I handle this the next time?”

One lawn care business owner said “the first thing I ask is for a street/mailing address so I can go visit the location/know where to send the bill. If they don’t provide me with an address, I do not give them an estimate. It’s quite simple.

More than likely he was trying to get you to lowball the estimate. Then, when you got to the worksite you would find a drainage problem or a high area that needed to be leveled or something else.

On-the-phone pricing without surveying the jobsite and knowing all that is involved with the job is rarely a good idea. If you ever find yourself doing it, you will regret it for many reasons. People will lie to you and then try and hold you to what ever price you gave them. Then when you don’t follow through with the price you quoted over the phone, due to circumstances you find on site, they will bash you and make sure they tell everyone they know how you tried to change your price.

Another thing you will find is first they ask for an estimate hoping you’ll give one right there on the spot over the phone, then they will follow up with ‘Oh Joe’s Lawn Care said he’d do it for $20 cheaper.’ Then they will expect you to match or beat that price.

At that point I’d just tell them to call Joe back. He’s your man.

So in the end, the lesson learned is, don’t give lawn care or landscaping quotes over the phone. Meeting the customer in person and presenting them with a bid, in their presence, is the best way to make your sales presentation and seal the deal.”

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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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