How do your customers/clients perceive the Prius?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by rondocap, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. rondocap

    rondocap Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    64
    28
    0
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    OK, so I do estimates for construction, and customers range from small middle class areas to richer areas.

    I have always tried to think of how a customer will perceive me and perhaps the price of the work based on the car that they see me driving.

    I used to have a Mercedes S55, and I would get a lot of funny comments, such as "Economy must be good", etc. Even though it was a used car and probably worth less than their new Toyota.

    Likewise, I have been using my Prius Plugin lately to do estimates. It's a very understated, and non-showy car that goes mostly unnoticed. I really like that, I rather be neutral and not even give me the reason to think either way.

    Now my question: How do people perceive the Prius?

    I don't want them to think it is too expensive of a car, and I rather them assume its cheap or something. So how would you view it?

    And likewise, how do you think they'd view something Prius-like, such as the Lexus CT200H?

    I know Lexus is a "status" brand, but I would want it for the drive, comfort, and tech compared to the Prius, and not for status. I rather be low-key.
    Some people see the badge, and automatically assume it's expensive and my prices may be high. Others may be confident that the work will be better, who knows.
     
  2. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    5,683
    946
    124
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    Nobody thinks Prius are expensive and some closed-minded individuals might assume/joke that you're gay.

    Any Lexus would be a step-up so avoid that if you don't want expensive.
     
  3. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    12,539
    2,104
    1
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Heh. If I saw that and it didn't look too old, I'd also think the same thing.

    Only people who don't know cars don't realize how expensive cars like the S-Class are, at least when new.

    Sometimes I point out to my parents some expensive cars (at least to me and them) like BMW 7-series, Mercedes S-Class, AMG SL-nn, etc. and make a guess about the price (and look it up later). They're generally surprised and have no idea. These aren't the types of cars they or I would buy, even though we have the money for them.
     
  4. mad-dog-one

    mad-dog-one Prius Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    1,181
    415
    0
    Location:
    Whereabouts Unknown
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    ----USA----
    I might wonder if your driving pattern fit the efficiency characteristics of the car. E.G.; if your car is a PIp, do you drive short stints that take advantage of the technology or is the Pip feature largely wasted by exceeding the battery range.
     
  5. rondocap

    rondocap Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    64
    28
    0
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    You may be right mad dog, my driving pattern certainly does not always take advantage of the Prius being a Plug-in. I often go longer distances instead of shorter ones.
     
  6. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    12,053
    6,324
    1
    Location:
    Greenwood MS USA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    Here in the South, you are either man enough to drive a (Ford) Pickup or unfortunate enough not to. No other distinction matters.

    I am not from here.
     
  7. car compulsive

    car compulsive Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    741
    271
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    I used to work in high tech field operations. Generally, if your territory is anywhere other than the Left Coast or Hawaii, your best bet is a GM, Ford, or Chrysler product. Many folks don't care for import brands, no matter where the particular vehicle was assembled. If your employer reimburses for your actual operating expenses, a domestic non-luxury brand full-size sedan or SUV is preferable. If your employer pays a fixed monthly stipend, a domestic small car or hybrid are good choices. The traditional recommended brands were domestic premium brands that conveyed success but not luxury - Mercury, Chrysler, Olds, and Buick. These used to be called doctor's cars. These brands conveyed business success, but not overpriced pricing to the prospective customer. While used foreign luxury cars may be a good buy, customers see two negatives: foreign brand & price gouging.
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    86,233
    38,139
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    i was sitting in my office the other day with the pip outside my window. a customer hopped up on my bumper, rapped on my window and shouted, 'what, are going to save the world?' and left laughing. i think he was partly kidding. partly.(n)
     
  9. car compulsive

    car compulsive Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    741
    271
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    In my mind, jumping on the bumper of one of my vehicles may lead to justifiable homicide.
     
  10. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    4,539
    1,417
    9
    Location:
    Northern California
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Around here they are some common that they are seen as just another car. And, I am in a county that is 2/3 right wingers.
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    86,233
    38,139
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    ya, he's lucky he's a good customer and pays his bills. i'll take a look at his pricing matrix to see if i can make a few extra rubles to get those scuff marks out.:sneaky:
     
    xs650 likes this.
  12. mad-dog-one

    mad-dog-one Prius Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    1,181
    415
    0
    Location:
    Whereabouts Unknown
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    ----USA----
    Following through on your impilse would, ever so slightly, raise the average IQ on the planet.
     
  13. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    4,539
    1,417
    9
    Location:
    Northern California
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    That goes along with "Revenge is a dish best served cold"
     
  14. JMD

    JMD 2012 Prius 4 Solar Roof

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    3,779
    1,277
    0
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    Growing up my friends Dad had a business employing about 25 people making Custom furniture. He sold in the top zip codes and did a great business. He owned a Nice home where we grew up and his wife drove a new Lincoln Continental. The 2 kids went to private school. They had a Piano in the living Room. His son who I was friends with drove a new Z28. However the dad drove a Volkswagon bug to work. It was clean and spotless and well maintained. He always said I never want them to know just how much $ I have.
     
  15. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    5,769
    3,402
    0
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Depends on the customer base. I would say on average that the Prius is viewed as a "cheap" car. I drive it anywhere that prices are variable. Like dealerships, or tile stores, or garage sales. Show up in a Lexus (like our RX450h) and their bottom price just shot through the roof. Since you are not the buyer, but the seller, they will probably perceive a Lexus as you charging too much. Are you skimping on product and cutting corners? Are you going to hire out the job to cheaper labour and pocket the difference? That sort of stupid.

    Depending on the customer you might want to have defence ready or a joke. For me, I look for and write down local tradesmen with Prii and their number on the car. If I ever need a XYZ service, they get my call first. You can always lightheartedly mention saving fuel bringing their total costs down. Or you can show how utilitarian it is. People perceive them as small, cheap, and ugly. I was at the Home-Cheapo the other day loading in 50 pieces of 10ft 2x4's, and then a few misc. bags of bolts/screws and some bagged mud. I roll it out to my car on a cart and I can see these two guys in their big nice person truck loading their lumber in (hanging off the back end). They are watching, mumbling, and snickering. I have done the same before when someone comes out with a huge box and tries to shove it in their sedan's trunk or rear doors. You just have to think what are they thinking. But I got everything in there and shut the hatch with no problems. I knew it would fit as I have done more with it. I carried more than they did, saved fuel, and my lumber was inside and not outside in the elements.

    I've even made money off of the salesclerks at Home Depot. I bought a chest freezer and when asking if I needed and loading help getting it into my truck bed, I said no the Prius' bumper is low to the ground, I can just slide it in. That got to the "a Prius?" No way is that going to fit, we rent trucks, blah blah blah. So bet them both $5, I pulled up, it slid right in with no fuss in the box with padding and everything. Hatch closed, I got $10. Did the same thing with a fullsized bathtub in packaging at Lowes. Made $1 there. At the tile store I loaded in 800 sqft of 12x12 slate tile. They said it wouldn't fit, it did. They gave me contractor pricing, almost $350 savings because they were impressed by it.

    I think the only downside to having a Prius with customer jobs, is your standard redneck who will hate you immediately for hating 'merica or being one of those communist greenies. I found the best way for those is to mention you want to use less oil based fuel to save the troops' lives. Get them home, and stop giving money to terrorists. No matter how factual that statement is or not, it usually quiets them or catches them off guard enough to shut up. If they are on the brink of trying to come up with a rebuttal but the words haven't coalesced in their head, you can throw in a quick "same reason why the head of the FBI drives one actually".
     
    fuzzy1 and ftl like this.
  16. DumbMike

    DumbMike Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    554
    118
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    I was reading in the newspaper a couple of years ago that you really can't define a Prius driver. Some of them are very wealthy, and they drive the Prius because ... [you can fill in the blank]. Some make a very modest living (me). And they went on to say that many real estate agents in Southern California either had to drive an expensive Mercedes/BMW (to show their wealth) or a Prius (to show they are consciencious about the environment). So, in that field, image is very important. But you don't get a negative vibe if you drive a Prius, which I thought to be very good.

    Mike
     
  17. rondocap

    rondocap Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    64
    28
    0
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    Great posts guys. I really do feel more comfortable driving the Prius to see clients. Sure, they may make the odd joke or so, but it's never really serious or negative. Whereas I feel having a more expensive luxury car can potentially rub them the wrong way.
     
Loading...