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help me create a referral promotion for lawn care business
Old 12-18-2007, 09:18 PM   #1
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help me create a referral promotion for lawn care business

What can I offer my current customers to ENSURE they refer us a new client this spring? they all like us, are happy with the work, etc...and we've been getting referrals...but my goal is ONE NEW REFERRAL PER CUSTOMER this year.

In February I'll be sending our spring newsletter...and with it will be a few promo...but what kind will promote referrals? Our ultimate goal is for them to refer neighbors and people close to their own residence, thus reducing our windshield time which is my biggest expense.

A few ideas:

one free cut with every referral that signs on for a full season

2 free cuts if they live within 1 mile of your home

(fine print will explain that free cut is given as a credit xx days after new customer pays first bill or something like that)




On another note, we will be adding a $1 per cut fuel surcharge to every account this year as gas rose 20-30% this season! So what about allowing those who refer someone an exemption? Does that even seem enticing?

"due to the rapid increase of gas prices, we have been forced to add a fuel surcharge to all accounts in the amount of $1 per cut. Dont forget to check out our promotion page to though to learn how you can avoid the rising prices of gas!!"





just throwing ideas around....

the $1 x 25 cuts is still wort a $600-$1200/yr account
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:37 PM   #2
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one free cut with every referral that signs on for a full season
yawn.......
Quote:

2 free cuts if they live within 1 mile of your home
waking up a little......
Quote:




On another note, we will be adding a $1 per cut fuel surcharge to every account this year as gas rose 20-30% this season! So what about allowing those who refer someone an exemption? Does that even seem enticing?
Threatening a price increase unless I provide a referral doesn't actually sound all that enticing.......

I'd never refer a product or service provider unless I was absolutely thrilled with the value and performance and wanted to do someone a favor by sharing the good news with them. I'd never, never refer a product or service I was only marginally happy with to save a few cents. So, are you customers absoluted elated and thrilled with the service you deliver? If yes, just write a letter asking them to refer you to neighbors. If they're only satisified with your service, ask them what you can do to delight them. Then, do that. Then, ask them for referrals.
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:54 PM   #3
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Personally, I like getting cold hard cash (or even a dollar amount off a bill) for referrals.
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:20 PM   #4
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just throwing ideas around....

the $1 x 25 cuts is still wort a $600-$1200/yr account
How does this math work? Oops....I thought you meant worth it to the customer....$1/cut is an insult. The free $25 cut is good, but offer both which is a compromise between a single free cut and two free cuts. Its a 4-8% discount.

I thought about approaching the lawn service that is already doing 3 lawns on my block and asking for a discount 'since they are already on the block'...think its worth a discount? The fee around here avgs 60-75/cut including edging and clipping dispersal. Nevermind I still cant afford it
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:40 AM   #5
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Actually, to get referrals, you must think in terms of what the customer gets out of it. Not what you save. Now if you believe that your customer really likes your work and is elated with it, then provide them something as an over the top reward, and yet allows them to give you support without them feeling like they are being asked to shill for you.
As an idea, and there are many - explain that you would like proudly proclaim your work, so if they would permit you to post a "small and unobtrusive" sign at the corner of their yard, stating that this yard is "proudly groomed by thefed", with a contact number, and that's all, then you would give them a free yard design/tree trimming/flower bed design and planting/ or other service that you can expertly provide.
This also shows the homeowner an additional service that you can provide, that they may currently not be procuring from you, and allows them to chat up the neighbors about your service, when the neighbors/HOA/drive bys, notice the sign, admire your work, and ask the homeowner about it.


My marketing commission is reasonable.
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:58 AM   #6
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sorry whitestick, I hate those signs in my yard and won't permit them. Seems to trash up the place. My home is not a billboard.

As a consumer, I would rather have discounts on the service, but....these offers do not motivate me to bring in others - makes me feel like a hired salesman for the company. Good service - good word of mouth, but I only offer this information when asked by neighbors, friends, etc. I am also more likely to talk up a service if it is an expensive rarely used one (contractor) than something that is frequent use (yard, hair stylist).

TheFed, you might consider altering the times of day you work in different areas, so that different people can see you working. Like Jazz4Cash, I would be more likely to walk up to a service provider I see frequently and ask to add on to their service, since you are in the area. I would also expect a better price than asking someone to come out just for me (forgo the gas fee?).
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:54 AM   #7
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It seems like working in the same neighborhood doing several yards would be cost effective for you. Why not offer something like a discount schedule

2 yards 5% off
3 6%
4 7%
so on and so on until you get to where you feel comfortable with the discount. That would encourage your clients to bring in neighbors. This happened when my dad had his driveway hot topped, the price per driveway went down when we both had them done, dh then asked the kid next door and a neighbor down the street. The guy doing the hot topping was thrilled and did all 4 drives for a great price and we where happy to get a great discount. FYI, this wasn't one of those fly by night hot toppers but a guy my dad used when he was building houses.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:10 AM   #8
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Great ideas! for clarification, the $1 increase is being instituted for those very reasons...customers who got in too cheap, and we need to slowly increase their cost due to OUR increasing fuel costs

My reference to givving a free pass on the fuel surcharge was in addition to the free cuts....not just a blackmail that we're rasing youa buck if you dont refer!!!


I realize that the single most important thing is to dazzle our customers with our work and professionalism...which we do. I'd say that 1/2 of our customers actually gave a $$ tip or referral through the season. I've talked to each customer several times this year, witha final follow up last week, and all but one (moving)want us back in spring because we are RELIABLE, CLEAN CUT, and do good work. Sooooo....I just want to give them an incentive to spread the word!!

YOUBET: I like your suggestion a lot. I will ASK them what we can do to make sure they are thrilled and elated. We send surveys, I ask on the spot ?'s etc...but i think I'll put it in writing just like that!

As far as whoel street discounts like mentioned by Outtahere...I like the idea, but have failed to figure out a good plan!

Fianally, I realize my customers (most) dont want to feel like salesmen..but some of those old ladies have nothing better to do with their time!! The others....well...I figure if we put the offer out there enough...when someone asks "Hey, who does your lawn" visions of $20 bills will dance in their head...lol
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:19 PM   #9
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One way to track it would work good if you have a good recordkeeper on each lawn crew.

Put the "cut by thefed" cards on each lawn with a tracking number written on them. Lawn crew writes the invoice number on the card or whatever and records it. Keeps track of which card goes to which homeowner. Also, on this card put a %-off coupon or $XX-off coupon on the card. If the card is used by someone other than the homeowner, then the original homeowner gets a free cut $10 off or whatever. Make them aware of the way it works.

Make sense? Too difficult to track everything? I don't know, you'd have to be the judge of that.

-CC
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:38 PM   #10
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I now realize just how bad a businessman i've been all this time.
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:51 PM   #11
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I now realize just how bad a businessman i've been all this time.

sarcasm?
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:19 PM   #12
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Sigh...

"Due to increasing fuel and labor rates, we'll have to raise our rates next year by $xx. But the good news is that to reward our customers and help them share our good service with their friends and neighbors, for any current customer that brings us a new customer, both the existing and the new customer will be able to freeze the current low rates!

We're going to make referring easy and take out all the red tape and small print. Any customer that gives us a referral gets the new rate and so does their friend!"

That way, you get referrals because everyone loves keeping their current great deal, and when you raise rates on the people who dont refer, they'll blame themselves for being lazy and not getting someone else on board...rather than blaming you.

Dont screw around with insisting that the new customer be on board for xx months before they get anything out of it. People hate catches and fine print. If you're any good, the new customer will like your work and keep you on board. If you cant make it worth their while, you're out a $1 surcharge.

By the way, I hate penny ante surcharges for BS items like gas. Just raise the price 5% and call it even.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:10 PM   #13
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By the way, I hate penny ante surcharges for BS items like gas. Just raise the price 5% and call it even.
Don't move to an island 2500 miles from the nearest landmass. Surcharges are a way of life here.

All the shippers are raising their fuel surcharges 5-10%, the airlines are tacking them on $5-$10 at a time, the cruise lines have added them, and even the interisland SuperFerry had them on its first day of service.

I'm waiting for the day when the "surcharges" exceed the actual "cost" of the service...
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:25 AM   #14
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sarcasm?
Sorta. Different ways of doing business. I've been very slow to track expenses up and shift the costs to my current tenants. I do bump rents on new tenants, and since we average one turnover/year/unit it seems to work out ok. The upside is that our vacancy time is miniscule. They empty and they fill, often to relatives or friends of current or ex-tenants. Yes, we don't earn the absolute top nickle out of the rentals, but the tiny vacancy rate offsets that to some extent. I work our cost side, sounds like you are focused on the sale side.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:19 AM   #15
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Oh yeah, and while you're at it? Do you have a deluxe "cleanup" or major shrub/fertilize/leaf cleanup sort of deal that you regularly do for $150 or so for an average property?

If you dont, get one. If you do, along with this rate increase/referral thing, "For every customer that gives us a referral, along with retaining our 2007 rates through 2008, we'll throw in our full yard cleanup (A $250 value!) for just $125...half price!"
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:34 AM   #16
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Oh yeah, and while you're at it? Do you have a deluxe "cleanup" or major shrub/fertilize/leaf cleanup sort of deal that you regularly do for $150 or so for an average property?

If you dont, get one. If you do, along with this rate increase/referral thing, "For every customer that gives us a referral, along with retaining our 2007 rates through 2008, we'll throw in our full yard cleanup (A $250 value!) for just $125...half price!"

good idea. we don't have a spring clean up 'package' but we're about to!

This might encourage some people who dont even take advantage of the referral system to at least consider doing the cleanup/trim package....which will of corse increase revenue


calmloki: I see your point. Problem with this industry is it is so competetive. So it's my assertion that o a company must 'lure' a customer is with very reasonable rates and incentives, then wow them with excellence. This will in turn soften the blow of the gradual price increases...and will naturally lead to 'add-ons' like mulch, leaf removal, weeding, retainign walls etc.

On a similar note, we are also trying to reduce our expenses to a minimum as well...to AVOID having the rate hikes. as mentioned, very 'tight' routes will work wonders for saving $$$-less gas and the labor isnt paid for sitting so long
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