How To Make Price a Non-Issue

Two up-and-coming landscape contractors talk about how they have increased customer retention by making price a non-issue.

Many landscape contractors report that the 2009 “quest for the lowest bidder” which some consumers had adopted has now given way to the consumer’s renewed desire for quality and value. Here are thoughts from two up-and-coming landscape contractors as to how they’ve managed to put price on the back burner with customers.

Jeremy Eck of Spruce It Up in Springfield, MO, a 2007 Pros in Excellence Award Winner.

I have found that with the way the economy is, consumers are looking for exceptional service. I had actually received numerous calls in 2010 from customers of other contractors who were looking to compare—and not necessarily price, but the quality and attention to detail. They had seen our work and want to make sure their image does not deteriorate.

It seems consumers are wanting to make sure, even more now, that they get the best possible service. For this reason we added a separate shrub and bed maintenance crew last year that allowed us to visit properties more often, which then allows us to respond much more quickly when a problem arises.

Our landscaping division is still going strong, but is shifting from new construction to renovations and more customized services. Irrigation is still steady as usual on service. Snow removal has been going well, but that as we all know can change in an instant.

Matt Seipp of Seipp Lawn Care in O’Fallon, IL, a 2007 and 2009 Pros in Excellence Award Finalist.

We haven’t seen much of a sales decrease since the recession began; we were up 37% last year and were up 25% the year before that.

We’ve always been more than fair with everybody. The service we deliver for the price we ask for is competitive and fair. Our clients are good to us and we try to reciprocate. We do some little things for them that they’ll never see a billing for, like when a storm comes through and it’s not a major deal where we’re experiencing hefty disposal fees. We might even trim a single shrub that takes 10 or 15 minutes if we’re already on the property performing other services.

That doesn’t mean we’ll work for nothing. We stay profitable and hire people and pick up new accounts and buy new equipment. But many of our clients have been with us so long that there’s trust, and that trust is a two-way street. I’m very fortunate we work for the people we work for.