Saturday, March 10, 2012

Forget March break...we're going back to school now.

"The government is letting us spray for weeds again!"

"Don't go with that company they can't possibly give you the same service for the price they are offering."

"We have the best products, the same ones golf courses use."

"All our technicians are licenced professionals."

"Don't pay attention to a few bad reviews, we have thousands of satisfied customers."

Do some, or all of these statements sound familiar?

These are some of the tactics used to get your business every year when it comes to lawn care.

Let us look into each of these statements and answer them, shall we?

The government is letting us spray for weeds again!

Since the approval of Fiesta, which is an organic weed control (not killer), we have been allowed to spray weeds. In fact, no one has ever said we couldn't spray weeds, it was just a matter of, with what?

Since the pesticide ban the older methods like Killex, Par III, etc. were no longer allowed, but organic methods? Use as much as you want pal.

The fact that some companies are twisting this information to get you to pony-up your dough is heinous. remember it is a Provincial bylaw, which means: it supersedes all municipal bylaws. So when they say they can now spray in...let's say Markham only...they are lying to your face.

Don't go with that company they can't possibly give you the same service for the price they are offering.

It is competitive out there, but I believe there are enough lawns for everyone. However some of the bigger companies have more overhead, must adhere to franchise agreements and financial bottom lines and targets. Given the nature of the business I believe this is more a statement of panic than anything else. You can tell, by how fast they come down in price when there's a competing bid.

Give the customer your quote, tell them what services they get and what makes you different from the other companies out there and let the customer decide.

We have the best products, the same ones golf courses use.

This is just a bald-face lie. Golf courses are still exempt under the bylaw and we are not allowed to use the same products. As far as using the best products out there under the bylaw? Sure, we all use them, but one company having an edge over another would come down to customer service, not product.

All our technicians are licenced professionals.

When I first started in this business I was part of a "no experience necessary" cattle call. I was given 1 day of training, mostly on how to up-sell a customer and then sent my merry way in my own truck. By the end of the first 2 weeks, half of the employees had quit or were fired.

The remaining wrote a rinky-dink technicians test and were passed regardless of knowledge. Did I suddenly become more knowledgeable after that test? No, but I did write for my licence at the end of the year and over time I gained the knowledge.

This year the same routine will be conducted by many a company out there for one reason and one reason only. The first round is like planting a flag on your territory and the more trucks and employees you have out there, the quicker that can be accomplished. At least if you end up with a half-assed job, or fertilizer burns on your property this year, you'll understand why.

Don't pay attention to a few bad reviews, we have thousands of satisfied customers.

It is true that a pissed off customer makes more noise than a happy one, but when you are checking sites like Homestars where customers rate companies on a scale of 0-10, take what you read into perspective. If a company has a ton of zeros and then a series of glowing reports followed by a ton of zeros, that sounds more like crisis management than a true testimonial to me.

Look at the average score if you want a more accurate picture and try to focus on companies that have an average of 7 or higher. You probably won't see any of the top names in lawn care there.

This quiz doesn't eliminate all the pitfalls, but it does put you in the frame of better preparation before you sign on the dotted.

Doing your homework will take you far and your lawn will end up with the passing grade.

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