Today’s post is all about pricing, or actually more about not under pricing your work. Most people you ask would probably say that you need to price low when starting out to build up a client list. Now let me confess that I am totally guilty of this practice as well, especially when I was just starting out and dabbling in lawn care as a side thing. When I first started out in lawn care I had no concept of what it actually costs to run a business and how much you need to charge to actually make a profit. I will tell you though from experience that you learn pretty quick, especially when you are doing your income taxes at the end of the year and you see the breakdown of how much your business cost to run and what was left over at the end of the year.
Another lesson learned from under pricing in the early days was that the initial joy of landing a new client was quickly overshadowed by the drudgery of having to do that maintenance job each week knowing that you’re not really making any money on that job. This feeling only compounds if you’re doing good paying jobs as well and then going to those jobs that you underbid and feeling like your working for free on this job.
Another common theme that seems to appear time after time with under priced work is that you start to develop a reputation for doing cheap work. This starts to attract undesirable clients that just care about price. These clients are the type that only want their lawns cut every other week, or every ten days, or once a month even. They do not want any extras like aeration or fertilizer etc. So on top of under pricing to start with, you don’t even get to do a weekly cut or make any money on the extras while your there.
Now this is the beauty of establishing a recognizable and reputable brand, and being consistent with it. You instantly position yourself as the expert, and by having a professional appearance with your trucks and uniforms, you attract higher quality customers to start with. People know that a professional looking brand will not be the cheapest price provider, and there are plenty of great clients out their looking for a professional looking company even if they charge more because of other value added services that tend to be available with professional companies, like monthly billing, credit card payments, reliability, etc. When you price your work properly you also don’t need to then have to service as many customers each day. You can actually work less for more money.