Sometimes, there are certain aspects of your lawn care business you have in place because that’s simply how you operated when you first got started. One of those can be how you sell and offer your services.
Depending on your core customer base, your current sales model may not be the most effective method anymore. In certain cases, changing your sales offerings could increase profits as it allows you to capture more sales. Below are some of the different structures to consider, their pros and cons, and the type of customer they are best suited for.
À La Carte
Having an à la carte sales offering is best for clients who want to mix and match their services, either because they handle some of the tasks themselves or they just enjoy the ability to pick and choose. Allowing customers to buy only what they need means you can target specific problems.
For instance, if a client wants you to just come treat a grub problem in their lawn, they’re more likely to choose you over another company that requires a year-long contract that includes fertilization, aeration and other services they may not be interested in.
An à la carte pricing system can also help you identify what services your clients are interested in purchasing. For instance, if hardly anyone is requesting your tick control service, look into whether this is because of a lack of demand or if the program is overpriced. Pricing for à la carte is critical because you won’t win customers if you charge too much, but if pricing is too low, you won’t be profitable.
Being an à la carte company does require far more upselling on your end if you want customers to consider adding additional services such as aeration or overseeding. You have to show the value of each individual service and they need to provide positive results, or the client may not be inclined to purchase it again the following year.
Also known as the ‘good, better, best’ pricing, a tiered lawn care package can help you capture more of your customer base. They also tend to shift the focus from cost to value. It’s best to list the differences between the tiers so customers can compare the levels of quality and value.
“The way we try to position it is with our sales folks is present the best, present all three but settle in the middle on the better program, and that seems to work pretty well,” says Dana Irwin, vice president of ExperiGreen Lawn Care, based in Mishawaka, Indiana. “We give the customer incentives, discounts to bundle it all together and buy it all at once, and you can save money.”
If times are tight for clients, they may opt to downgrade to a less expensive package for a period instead of canceling it outright. This pricing model also gives clients control as they can choose the package they are comfortable with.
Creating tiered pricing for your lawn care company is more than just listing out some services and slapping a price on them. You need to understand your customer base to know what services to combine. Pricing the tiered packages means making sure the lowest tier is relative to the middle and high-end options so the customer feels they’re getting more value for a slightly higher price.
It’s also advised to take some time to name these different packages so they are memorable and evoke a feeling. For instance, Blades of Green’s three lawn care packages are labeled the basic program, preferred program and premium program. Underneath each name is a description of what is included and a brief call to action. The basic program says, ‘Give your lawn some love.’ The preferred program says, ‘Get a lawn you’ll love’ while the premium program says, ‘Make your neighbors jealous.’ These taglines can make it easier for clients to know which goal aligns most with them.
One thing to be mindful of with tiered packages is ‘scope creep,’ where customers ask for extras outside their current package. You need to be firm in saying no, and you can also remind them if they want those additional services, they can always upgrade to the next service level.
If you have high-end clients who just want the job done well and don’t want to have to think about if they want certain lawn care treatments, being a full-service company where the price is all-inclusive tends to go over far better with them, than charging for each additional service, which can come across as nickel-and-diming.
One of the benefits of being a full-service operation is that your sales team no longer has to upsell clients on services such as fall fertilization or aeration. You can plan your work accordingly without estimating and hoping a certain number of clients will agree to an add-on service.
One of the drawbacks that some customers might have with you being a full-service-only operation is they lack choice in what different offerings their property will receive. Consider your customer base and determine if they prefer picking and choosing or trusting your company to keep their property looking great before offering this pricing structure.
Offering full-service pricing typically means clients hold you to a much higher standard as they expect their lawn’s appearance to match what they are paying for. Even when certain things are beyond your control, like weather or an unprecedented armyworm outbreak, you must be able to educate and communicate to your clients what you are doing in response.
“Price is normally the number one thing people want to use,” says Brad Leahy, vice president of Blades of Green, based in Edgewater, Maryland. “We believe value is the number one thing people should use. Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”