I blew a big lawn care bid and what I learned from it.

Each day you are operating your business, you will find there are learning lessons to absorb. Some lessons are small, while others can be larger. Here is a great discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum about how it’s so important to follow up on bids you place. Also how it is very important to meet up with potential lawn care customers to talk with them about their property before you submit any bids.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I had a great opportunity to bid this job for a development company. They had contacted me and sounded completely unsure of what they were looking for. I asked what services they were interested in for the properties they were in charge of, and this contact person hmmm-hawwed and finally said ‘well you know the basic mowing, trimming, weed control, and weed removal of my mulch beds.’ I said ‘great, I’ll get right on it and have a bid submitted to you shortly.’ they followed with ‘ok, yeah just make sure you separate each property, so it could be submitted as a clean copy to the individual accounts showing a monthly cost.’ I said ‘no problem.’

That afternoon I reviewed each property and was very excited. I thought, this is simple enough, a good job to start the season with if I play my cards right. That evening I submitted what I thought was a pretty fair estimate, judging by local prices. One week to the day later, I receive an e-mail notifying me that they ‘decided it was best to just stay with their past lawn care service provider…’ OK?? So I submitted a reply, thanking them for taking the time to allow me to submit a bid and hopefully in the future we’ll have the opportunity to provide them with a great service.

I also asked the contact person to take a brief moment and let me know if they felt we were over priced? Not offering the services they wanted exactly? You never know, especially how unsure they seemed when I got the initial call.

Well I get a reply, here goes: ‘your bid was completely incomplete.’  Can you imagine that? You can ACTUALLY be COMPLETELY INCOMPLETE on something, who knew? So anyways back to the reply ‘when I’m expecting a bid, I want to know the cost of spring/fall clean-up, mowing, trimming, weed and feed application, which should be four to six times a year, my present company tells me, and I want a SEASONAL TOTAL for all the properties in one.’

Hmmmm… OK? Apparently, I was completely lost when they told me to separate the bids, at monthly rates mind you, so they could show the properties their monthly cost. Never was there any mention of Spring/Fall Clean-ups. I guess I’m going to have to refine my sales techniques. It was a hard lesson learned. Getting those jobs would have launched my business into a great seasonal beginning.

Moral of the Story?

I guess, be sure the person on the other end of the phone line, is on the same page as you. You can NEVER be too sure of knowing EXACTLY what they want. Also, just because they play it off like they don’t know what the hell they are asking for exactly, doesn’t mean they won’t spin that and make it seem like YOU don’t know what the hell you are doing. I mean it’s just our jobs right?

Another lesson I learned was the importance of meeting face to face to walk the properties and discuss the property issues and concerns. I didn’t have a chance to do this because their office is about 2 1/2 hours south of here and they wanted me to just fax them rather than drive down there. However, I feel I should have followed up right away to see if what I did submit was what they were looking for. I was just afraid of being too pushy. Then I didn’t have a chance to resubmit as they told me they already signed with the other company. Lesson learned though, don’t sit around waiting for them to call, because the call may never come. It is always better to be proactive and call them back.”

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