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HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?
Old 02-17-2007, 11:51 PM   #1
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HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?

The list below is my current plan, please add any sources I may be leaving out... My goal is to add 30 yearly customers

Classifieds in 5 local newspapers(big ad in the one losest to home)
10k-15k post cards hand delivered door to door (or newspaper box to newspaper box)
Online advertising with Google,Yahoo
Lead referral companies, servicemagic.com and landscapeleads.com
Direct mail about 300 homes. These addresses are recently transferred deeds from the recorder's office website, minimum value 250k.
Of course, word of mouth


Any marketing guru's out there?


EDIT: Also, what do you think of this brainstorm.... I think/know I can acheive great results with door to door sales. What are the odds of getting a good part time salesmean to work on a very limited basis, selling my service, for commission only? Sound like a recipe for disaster, or an effective way to get the word out??
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?
Old 02-18-2007, 04:43 AM   #2
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?

While you are waiting for the marketing gurus to respond - - I'd suggest putting some of those cards on bulletin boards in supermarkets and elsewhere. Good luck!
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?
Old 02-18-2007, 07:26 AM   #3
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?

More than half the folks in our neighborhood have someone else cut their lawn and powerwash the driveway. As far as I can tell, no one switches from one service to another. If one has moved from nearby, they just get the same folks to do their new location. If one has moved from far away, they just use the service that the previous owner used. I predict door-to-door sales will put people off, but I am willing to be proved wrong.

We get a flyer on the door about twice a month from a lawn service. We do our own yard.

Your marketing list is comprehensive. You might try to get in cahoots with local realtors. You give them a kick-back or free service for their lawnsfor every person they refer to you that actually signs up. Maybe they can hand out free coupons. Of course, you have to tout the reator to you clients as well.

Another possibility is to do more than the others. I mentioned power washing, but add window washing, gutter cleaning, pool service, pest control, exterior house painting, minor repairs, pest control, etc. Now that sounds like a lot of work.
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?
Old 02-18-2007, 11:15 AM   #4
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?

I really think you should concentrate on a neighborhood. Really cover it intensely (card with tear-off phone number in the markets, fliers at the door, maybe even a brochure at neighborhood day-care). Then give each of your new customers superior service because THEY are the best marketing tool. Save the money you would spend on media advertising and spend it on wooing those first customers. Get a few customers who can give you good references.. and you are started and ready to add another neighborhood.

Why do I suggest starting with one neighborhood? Because you can save money servicing those customers - you aren't driving all over creation. If you schedule your work right after their garbage pickup then you can include the service of putting the containers back (if it is the day before you can offer to put the containers out). You can do this best if you manage where you market.

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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?
Old 02-18-2007, 08:22 PM   #5
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?

What happened to the Duct cleaning?
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?
Old 02-18-2007, 08:48 PM   #6
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?

Frankly, I think the classified ads won't pay off. Perhaps the postcards, if you have a hook ... like one month free if they sign up for six.

Even better ... let your current customers know you are aggressively courting new business. You will give them XX weeks free service for each new customer they refer. Your best advertising is Mr. / Mrs. Smith telling their friends what a great job you do.

We never have hired a lawn service provider off of a flyer or postcard or ad ... it has always been based on a referral. We see a great yard in the neighborhood, and we ask. Done deal.
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?
Old 02-19-2007, 10:19 PM   #7
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrapr
What happened to the Duct cleaning?
Going well...slowing down a bit, and that meant i had too much time on my hands....and BOOM, off on a nother venture

The ducts will continue to be m main source of income
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?
Old 02-19-2007, 11:27 PM   #8
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?

Remember that this industry is a little different from your duct cleaning business, in that it's both more stratified and more competitive. Duct cleaning is pretty much a homogenious product (AFAIK, which isn't much ), and the market is still growing in its infancy (relative to lawn care).

Lawn care, on the other hand, is more mature and runs the gamut from an individual, self-employed Mexican - paid by the homeowner in cash, will net about $8/hr, and possibly an illegal immigrant - on an itty bitty Craftsman tractor to a full-blown company with company vans/trailers and can do anything you want.

Unless you snag some ultra rich client who doesn't care about price, there is intense price competition in all of the categories. So, first figure out what you want to do: compete only on price, compete on service, or compete on your depth of services offered. Grocery stores that didn't ever specialize in one of the submarkets are getting killed when Wal-Mart moves into town, since they have difficulty competing with WalMart on price, and don't offer service like the small boutique grocery stores, and don't offer the special produce/goods that other grocery stores offer. That leaves them with stuff that everyone else has, at a higher price, with subpar service. And leaves people with no reason to go to their stores.

Likewise, figure out where you want to compete (hint: if you're even thinking of hiring a sales person to work on commission, I don't think you'll get much business in competing in the "price" submarket when you have armies of Mexicans to compete against). See what your competition is currently offering, and what they charge, and run your numbers to see what your cost would be (I'm assuming you probably already did this).

I'd agree that word of mouth from satisfied clients is the best (and CHEAPEST) advertising. Hopefully you have a great client list from your duct cleaning business, and will target them FIRST.

I'd be weary of paying money for on-line advertising, since you will also have to pay to set-up/maintain a webpage. Why not take that time to instead cold-call previous clients and see if you can service their lawn care, or know someone that needs a good lawn care/yard work provider.

Realize that many lawn care companies have a huge array of services: snow removal, picking up branches, trimming branches, planting flowers/shrubs, pruning/weeding flowerbeds, fertilizing, mulching, branch chipping, aerating, weed spraying, leaf raking, retaining walls, patios/walkways, etc. You could even diversify further and offer things like pool care (it'd be a cinch to spend 5 minutes to check their pool chemicals while you're there taking care of their yard), or - as others have suggested - things like powerwashing and pest control. Depending on which submarket you want to specialize in, you might end up having to take on a lot of different equipment and tasks.

Are you personally doing the grass cutting, or hiring others to do it? You'd be amazed at how difficult it can be to find people to work for a little above minimum wage and give a crap about their work. My grandmother is forever complaining about how the people that cut her grass are either cutting her flowers down or not trimming around her driveway.

Check out local municipalities, and find out how they award their lawn care. Normally they do competitive bidding with publicly-opened bids. Might be an easy way to see what your competition is pricing 'large' jobs at. Also check out corporations that have large campuses that need total lawn care. Have any friends that know people that make corporate decisions for lawncare? They'd likely be more able to make a deal based on who you know. However, gov'ts and large corporations will also want things like certificates of insurance...so also consider how much insurance coverage you will need, and how that might impact things. Might be easier to do one large municipality/corporate property than try and land 30 homes spread all around the city (as one poster noted).

Also, it sounded like it's currently just you and the other guy in your duct cleaning business - are you set up with an outside payroll provider? If you remain self-employed, it's one thing...but hiring a couple of people might require an outside payroll provider (if you don't already have one), and might impact your cost equation a bit more.
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?
Old 02-20-2007, 07:04 AM   #9
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?

Lots of good points, I'm just wondering if you remembered to let your insurance know of the change?
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?
Old 02-20-2007, 07:57 AM   #10
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?

I had a buddy do this four years ago along with his High School son. Within a year he was turning down business, all based on referrals. He's a full time pilot so he gets some time off to do mowing on the side.

He bought two of the best Skag mowers made, and trimmers etc... He showed up early and did a better job than anyone else and his phone started ringing. He specialized in houses out of city limits, they're larger but don't require the greenskeeping care of city houses.

One mistake he made was taking jobs too far away, travel time will kill you. Also, before committing to a price for the service - mow the lawn once first to see how long it actually takes.

His son is graduating this year and heading to college, at the end of the year they're selling out and cashing in their retained earnings and will have almost enough to pay for college.
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?
Old 02-20-2007, 01:48 PM   #11
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Re: HOW to advertise my new lawn care company?

I wouldn't spend much money on the paid advertising either - i get tons of cards stuck to my door, etc. and we never use them.

When we moved in we asked a few of the guys who were doing the neighbors' lawns and they showed up to give us estimates. there were a lot of flakes - didn't show up when they were supposed to etc.

i will say that you will have an edge if: 1) you are a good communicator, show that you have knowledge about gardening/what plants need 2) you are reliable 3) your billing is consistant/clear - like if you miss a week you say something first, not us!

on the price i would be competitive with the market - but you can add to the bill by adding in the extra services and i don't think people would mind paying for them if you do a good job.

we've had a few times where they didn't show up or tell us why until we bothered them - turned out some of their employees got held up at the border

anyhow, it's annoying if you feel like you have to keep tabs on whether or not they show up.

other services i would love and pay extra for would be seasonal stuff like tree pruning, fertilizer and wood chip coverage for winter, aerating the grass etc.
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