To discount or not to discount, that is the question. I have seen plenty of arguments going one side to the other on the importance of discounting a teaser service when you are marketing your lawn care business. On the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum I asked, how important do you feel it is to show the services you offer with some sort of discount being promoted vs. no discount in your marketing material? How much of an effect do you think discounts have in getting customers to sign up with seasonal services?
Here is an interesting insight from a lawn care business owner who said “discounts make the hair stand on the back of my neck most of the times. When I see a discount advertised, I wonder to myself, why did the company rip me off the first time???? No kidding….A few years ago I bought a set of tires for my car, I forgot what I paid, but they were top of the line. Around three weeks later I heard on the radio the company was having a sale, keep in mind this is a national company. I went in and priced the same tires, almost two hundred less than I paid! I handed them a receipt and asked about a partial refund, they said no.
This has happened to me at big box stores as well and it makes my blood boil. If someone is going out of business that is one thing and I have no issue with the big sales then but other than that it really makes me mad.
Anyhow my point is, my price is my price. I don’t move, never have and never will. If someone pushes too hard for a discount, I simply walk and I do not turn back. I have more than enough work and I don’t need problem customers. I have had clients call me back changing their mind after I bid their property because I wouldn’t give them a discount. That is fine, I can move on from them. I had this one call, where a guy called me a name because I would not take cash and give him a 25% discount because he ‘knew people.’ That simply pissed me off. I have never in my life had a customer have such an attitude and I suspect the job although small would have been trouble.
I visited a customer this morning who found my website based on a new search word I did three weeks ago. I know because I asked, it ended up in a two hour visit and ten grand in work. I have no idea how in the heck I will get all this work done before snow. I hired 6 school bus drivers to help part time and they will work for me between picking up the kids, then after their afternoon run they come back and work until dark. I hired two people through social services, a friend works there and I thought this would help some people in need. I have a friend there who knows me and how hard we work so he does the job screening. Last week in addition to this I had four temp staff from an agency.”
Very interesting, Ok so then maybe it is better to simply have a list of seasonal services you offer in your marketing material. Some of these services, a home owner may not even be considering at the moment but when they see it listed, it might spark something and then they might say, ‘hey that is something I should do.’
He replied “I think the short answer is simple, what can I offer?
As a home/yard/grass provider I think we tend to sell ourselves short. There are so many chores we can do and do well that the client doesn’t want to or can not do so why not offer it.
I have to ask are you stuck in a rut, thinking only lawn service? If so, my experience is you are overlooking a lot of potential income. Look around the clients’ property. I know there are many things we all can offer, so offer it. Then focus next on the referrals. Forget offering the discounts as you won’t be able to keep up with all the work you will get.”
So keep in mind discounts may be an avenue to pursue when you are just getting started. Be forewarned that this kind of marketing may attract potential problem customers. As you grow, you may want to phase the discounts out.