Having the most discounts or charging the lowest prices is hurting landscapers when it comes to pricing.
In fact, lawn care marketing expert Andrew Pototschnik says the industry’s biggest pricing dilemma is that landscapers aren’t charging enough at all.
“Few companies adjust for inflation and haven’t raised prices in years,” he says. “If you are worth what you are charging, your marketing should support that price.”
Presenting a new (and higher) pricing system sounds like an an overwhelming task as a landscaping business owner striving to keep customers happy.
However, Pototschnik offers a step-by-step strategy to “build a reputation, address objections, position their brand as a leader and ultimately support whatever price they want to charge.”
Step one – marketing and sales research
Pototschnik suggests examining and changing service issues and looking to competitors for an average. Don’t focus on the numbers, he says.
“Focus on presenting unique selling points, addressing common objections, backing it up with a guarantee and social proof.”
“Take a critical look at your quality of service,” Pototschnik says. “Implement a sales and marketing strategy that supports the image and message that is required to close sales at a higher price point.”
He suggests having dedicated sales people and estimators in addition to (and separate from) other staff. With a focused team in place, landscapers can charge more because of a consistent marketing plan both online and offline.
In fact, he believes a simple increase of 10 percent would be accepted by the market.
Step two – pricing roll-out
Being honest with current or long-standing customers is pivotal to a successful new pricing launch. Pototschnik says to roll out the plan as soon as the sales and marketing staff have been properly trained in the new strategy.
Putting prices on a web site, he says, will be an obstacle for the sales team. “If you can’t have a conversation with a prospect, you can’t address their objections.”
He recommends doing a price increase at the beginning of a season or gradually over time. Don’t introduce the changes to all of your customers at once.
“Start with a small percentage of clients first to gauge push back and perfect your sales closing objection handling strategy,” he says.
If the company brand is reliant on customer savings, he suggests offering bonuses, not discounts. This includes gift cards or upsell services.
To maintain a good relationship with customers and have a successful launch, talk with them over the phone, instead of email, but don’t give them too much information.
“They know that costs rise along with inflation,” Pototschnik says. “Remind them why they choose you instead of everyone else in the market, and remind them of the value they get from you at this price point that they can’t get somewhere else.”
If a client threatens to cancel a contract until they get old pricing, Pototschnik said to evaluate if this client’s worth keeping. If so, consider adding constraints to the billing process such as automatic payments at the beginning of the month to keep costs down.
Step three – staying current
Pricing changes should be done every year, every two years or when your sales team has improved and can support increases. A great team can handle downturns in the economy.
“This comes back to having a sales staff that religiously logs all sales calls and their outcome,” Pototschnik says. “If your sales staff is well trained and you are logging this data, you will know immediately which direction to move your pricing.