At one time or another, every landscaping company has encountered a customer or two that absolutely loves the work you do and wants to hire you, but they ask if you can do the job for cheaper than the asking price.
While it’s not necessarily a bad thing to offer occasional deals or discounts, having customers consistently try to penny-pinch you ultimately won’t lead to a thriving business.
If you’ve seen this happen more times than you wish you admit, or you have current customers you fear may try this tactic down the road, take a look at what experts recommend keeping in mind when interacting with such customers.
According to Ron Segura with Segura & Associates, one of the best ways to handle this type of situation is to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it will one day come.
“Many contractors are caught off guard when the customer asks for a better price,” Segura says online. “They stumble around, not knowing what to say. Expect it; it happens.”
Whether you’ve dealt with a customer for many years or they are brand new to your roster, there is always a chance that one day they will ask you to come down on your prices for whatever reason.
When these situations arise, it’s important to take a step back and reevaluate your company’s worth, as well as the worth of the services you offer. With the continuing struggle landscaping companies have with finding qualified and dependable labor, the temptation can be to undersell the quality and caliber of what you offer in order to make sure you’re able to get customers.
Parke Kallenberg with Advance Consulting Group believes that the green industry has done itself a disservice by making the work landscapers do a price only item, and “we are better than that and have to be better than that.” The fear that accompanies this action, many experts would agree, is that if you don’t budge on your prices, customers may decide to leave.
With how competitive the green industry is nowadays, customers could very well decide to leave over a difference of just a few dollars. Even though this could be the case, it’s vital that you don’t budge because your services are well worth the money.
“If you offer a top-notch service and know it, hold your ground,” Segura says online.
However, while Segura does recommend not lowering your prices and underselling yourself, he does say that sometimes it’s okay to try and work with a customer and offer a discount every now and then.
“Ask the customer if they are willing to make some changes or concessions,” Segura says online. “If they are, then a price adjustment is worthy.”
On the flip side of that, sometimes you might have new customers coming to you for service, even though you are priced higher than their current provider.
If you have customers coming to you because they are changing their services due to dissatisfaction with their current landscaping provider, Segura recommends always asking the customer what their time is worth if they gawk at the difference in prices.
“They likely selected a low-priced contractor, but now they have to call every day, calling about this or that,” Segura says online. “That takes time, (which is) time away from their other duties.”
When in doubt, show your customers that you are worth every penny by breaking down their invoice and explaining the processes that go into every service.
By showing them the time, effort, preparation and manpower that goes into each service your landscaping company offers, customers will have a better, more in-depth understanding of why you charge what you charge and why certain services are mandatory instead of just suggested.
While it can be tempting to sometimes apologize for your prices, Segura says this should never be a thought in your mind.
“Unless you made a mistake in your calculations, never apologize for your charge,” Segura says online.
If pricing continues to be an issue, keep in mind that it’s okay to walk away from a customer. Sometimes, penny-pinching customers just won’t be worth your time in the long run, and they could cause you more stress than they are worth.
“If you are not willing to lower your charges, be prepared to shake hands and walk away,” Segura says online. “It shows confidence, something customers respect. They may even call you back.”
Segura also notes that if you want to try and avoid this sort of back and forth from the get-go, you can always begin the conversation by being upfront with your customers by asking them their budgets.
If the price they thought you would quote differs drastically from the actual quote, you both can either reconvene another day or they can choose another landscaper to work with.
Overall, it’s important to go into every project knowing what your time and company are worth. As someone who has worked hard and put in a fair amount of sweat equity, don’t make the mistake of thinking your quality services will go unnoticed and unutilized just because the landscapers next door may offer rock-bottom prices.