I have just been reading an old blogg/thread thingy (how can you tell I am not a geek) called What does a gardener charge? http://www.landscapejuice.com/2008/04/what-does-a-gar.html
"Why discount for regular clients or OAPS??? you should be doing the same job for every client and be being paid the same. in my expierience both of the above will drop you like a tonne of bricks if circumstances change so once again you are selling yourself short."
Now this made me wonder as I do give discounts to my "lovely" senior citizens - my eldest was a hundred last September. I went to a funeral of another, Rosemary, 82 (a ex-head gardner of a large family house in Northamptonshire - no pressure there then!) last Thursday.
I also have given a small discount for certain clients who use me for example all year round.
I would be interested in members comments and thoughts on the above statement.
I would never personally give a 'discount' as it sets future expectations for existing and new clients and sends out the wrong message.
I would, however, be prepared (and do ..) offer 'extra' services or go above and beyond normal service(s) at no extra cost for seleted, valued clients.
People that are attracted by discounts, select purely by and on price. Therefore its a downward spiral (almost low-balling..). For me, they would not be my target market
You could say that is ultimately the same thing, but it's the way you package and present it that matters to your business (and image). It's also a way of rewarding existing, loyal clients.
I guess the analogies are out their - Lidl vs Waitrose etc
Its where you want to be, where you can be that utlimately matters
Agree Gary, it's better for the customers and your business to give "added value" as opposed to discounted prices. In my opinion, it creates an unlevell playing field in your customer base. I would much rather offer additional services for no extra charge than discount prices. However, if an elderly client approached me for a normal sized gardening job I would refer her to a trusted local landscaper to do the work as it would be more their market thus better suited to their business set up. I think discounting for OAP's etc is a popular marketing tool in the domestic gardening market, but what I say is, how does the customer really know their are getting a discount from the companies set rates or hourly charge. I have heard of plenty rougues claiming to do the job at a discount, but when I have looked at the job their prices are higher than what I would have charged, I believe discounting devalues the genuine companies, if you take a "across the board" view. Added value is always the way for my business.
Thanks for that Graeme.
Yes I am a one-man-band, yes I do give discount to most of my OAP's who as I said vary from 77 to 100. (The centurian still potters in her garden). They all live in my village, everyone in the village knows I garden for them; it also means that there is very little travel all within a mile of my lock up. Alright my turn over takes a hit but my name and reputation is very good and appreciated.
I would not take anymore on than I have, they are not always the most interesting jobs, having said that some have lovely gardens and are a pleasure to work in. They look forward to my visit, sometimes I am their only regular visitor. I check them out over the winter to make sure they are ok.
They add value to my life! In the end that's worth more than money, because folks money is not everything believe me.
Graeme @ BGS said:
There is nothing wrong with adopting the discount approach for clients if that's your thing but I do wonder are we really saying this is my true hourly rate and add a few quid on to those that don't fall within the selection process? Or are you really giving up a few pounds per hour out of your own pocket?
A discount implies your normal price is too high. Much as I care for clients, especially elderly ones, their status shouldn't impact my business. I set a price, and potential clients are free to accept it or not.
Thoroughly respect your point of view on this, and I can see that working for your clients is giving you a lot of satisfaction and rightly you are seen as a valued member of your community.
I don't personally give discounts at this point Bob for a number of reasons. First, geographically being in Scotland means the season for full-time garden maintenance can be quite short as the previous two winters have been extremely harsh, which impacts on available work days and obviously profitability.
Additionally, as mentioned I will do the odd extra job for no charge for regular customers/go the extra mile, as others have stated. Also, as a father-to-be, I have to do the best for my family.
I sympathise with OAP's etc and money being tight, but I will be a hell of a lot worse off than they are when I'm an OAP if I start giving discounts. At the age of 42 I have zero pension at present and won't be in a position to start one for another couple of years, having invested in the business.
The other thing to consider is that not all elderly people want a discount. Last year we were asked to put in a price for a lady to clear her garden and she made it quite clear up front that she considered OAP discount patronising; a view that my own mother shares - she refuses to have a free bus pass saying she doesn't need it!
Personally, I like to put in a fair price based on the job not the person. If you are discounting your own calculated profitable rate you are losing money - simple as that.
Interesting - haven't the super citizens ( that's my preferred terminology) got the largest disposable income, have the greatest buying power and are possibly more inclined to want to spend money to enhance their lifestyles - in general I hasten to add - than their more frivolous, mortgaged up to the hilt, kids at uni counterparts?
Most of the pensioners I work for have a lot more money than me, although it might be tied up in a house worth £1M-plus and they often plead poverty! Why should I discount "OAP"s as a group?
I'll always have a number of clients who are, effectively, charity cases; paying less or taking up a lot of time. They're not all pensioners, they are people who have a need. Might be a single mum, or someone with health issues, or an older person. Both my parents still work at 70, they'd find it very patronising if they were offered an OAP discount!
I always quote a fixed price for each job, and take no account any more of the persons age or circumstances - Some will find the OAP discount patronising or offensive, Some will chase after it hoping for a bargain, others will ask Tentatively and see, many wont even think about it, but on the whole most retired people are realistic and understand that my running costs do not suddenly drop by 10-20% the moment I walk onto their property.
However I do schedule alot of my OAP's on bin days, as I appreciate that 1 min of my time taking a full bin up a 100yard incline is nothing compared to what could be a big struggle for them. For me the help and extra value is in the extras that make life easier for people.
A wild stab in the dark - McDonalds?
Cedar Garden Services said:
Interesting remarks concerning discounts. Some see it as a problem and seen as unfair pricing but one of the worlds leading companies has just reported record profits and they run a discount scheme for students. Their discount scheme has not had any impact on their business and while it's a world apart from this work it does prove that discounts do not divide a customer base.
I'll see if anyone is clever enough to work out the company.