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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

The Lawn Care of Custom Installation

Posted on October 13, 2010 at 11:32 AM

As I pulled out of my driveway this morning, I noticed that the grass was starting to get a tad unruly. And that made me think, “Ahhh… Mr. Russell will be coming in a couple of days to mow it. Then it will look nice.” Sure, I could cut my own grass. There’s nothing overly difficult about it. And, damn, I even have a riding lawn mower! But when you factor in the filling of the gas tank, the maintenance on the mower, the mowing time, the bagging time, the edging time, the blowing time, the post-mow shower clean up time, mowing my lawn ends up taking me about four hours. Mr. Russell charges me $30 to do it all. It took me a while to realize, but my time is totally worth more to me than $7.50 an hour.

And this got me to thinking, lawn care, or to be more specific the customers that use lawn care are a lot like audio/video installation customers. Let’s examine the eight different client types, shall we?


The “Look! I’m not the expert here” Guy

This is the guy who doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, doesn’t care to understand the difference between herbicide and fungicide or is just too damn busy to be bothered with it. He understands his time is valuable and doesn’t want to be wasting it doing anything that doesn’t involve him on his boat, him on his Harley, or him sitting in front of his entertainment system with a fat Cuban and a glass of single malt. This guy is the custom installer’s dream. This guy can’t be bothered to touch his own stuff and will call on you to do everything no matter how seemingly simple. He almost never questions the price and often uses phrases like, “Hey! If this were [insert terms like “a hostile takeover,” “commodity trading,” or “vascular surgery”] then I’d tell you what to do, but you’re the expert here; you just tell me what I should get!” This guy’s only real drawback is that he can be demanding. He is willing to pay, but he expects to be serviced and he does not like it when things don’t work. No sir, does not like it one little bit.

The “I NEVER pay for that” Guy

This is the exact opposite of the “never touch that” guy. This guy thinks he can do it all himself regardless of how much time, sweat, and effort it takes. He is almost a martyr in his willingness to spend days working on things. Laying his own sod, figuring out and then trenching and running his own irrigation system, toiling away digging up and repairing broken pipes, etc. This is a tricky customer to deal with because he can often be the kind of time-killer that wants to come in and suckle at your knowledge teat until it is dry, cracked, and bleeding, and then when he has extracted every ounce of your knowledge on a subject, will go home and implement the suggestions…paying you diddily-squat. This guy thinks nothing of seeking your advice and then purchasing the item from the lowest possible Amazon reseller he can find on Google. He’ll often throw out jack-ass comments like, “You know; I’d buy this from you if you could match this price…” However, this guy does have passion for the end-result, and if you can forge some kind of respectful relationship with him, this is the kind of guy that can actually refer others to you. He understands the work that you do and isn’t willing to do it himself for others, so when they see his system, he will be apt to send them your way. Maybe.

Click over to Residential Systems to read the rest of the story. Seriously, help me help Jeremy which in turn directly helps me to help you. I know it is a crazy kind of circular logic, but just trust me. Plus, the story keeps getting better, with six more client types like the “I just LOVE this stuff!” Guy, the “I’ll do it myself if I can” Guy and the “I guess it’s dead” Guy.

Categories: October 2010, CTA

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1 Comment

Reply Lauren
3:55 PM on October 13, 2010 
Awesome post John! I could use the same analogies for some of our past and present clients too