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View Full Version : How? How? How?


nobagger
08-21-2005, 08:24 PM
A question for the big even bigger boys in the industry.
After 3 years in business for myself how am I not getting bigger in size and I'm not adding many new customers. Has everyone noticed a decline in business in general or is it just me and my little neck of the woods. To respond to a previous post I would be happy with 25k-35k a year and the ability to hire a crew of 2 guys and a new truck or any one of these. I now do this part time and have 23 accounts and we stay fairly busy on weekends with smaller landscaping jobs. A guy I plow for owns a huge llc but he is never available to pick his brain,lol so I thought I would ask in here. My only overhead is a mower payment of $136.00 and regular things like gas etc. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks :waving:

Scotts' Yard Care
08-21-2005, 09:00 PM
but around our area everyone and his brother are losing their jobs and trying to start a lawn care business. It's a real sign of just how bad the economy is
and I see it getting much worse before it gets any better. We just figure we'll tighten our belts and run as lean as we can until the start ups are sorted out by how efficently they run their business. We see a lot of services that really need to rethink their route scheduling, the equipment they use and how they spend their time and money to hang on through the tough times.

Turf Lady
08-21-2005, 09:03 PM
No Different here in Ohio :waving:

Kelly's Landscaping
08-21-2005, 09:37 PM
A question for the big even bigger boys in the industry.
After 3 years in business for myself how am I not getting bigger in size and I'm not adding many new customers. Has everyone noticed a decline in business in general or is it just me and my little neck of the woods. To respond to a previous post I would be happy with 25k-35k a year and the ability to hire a crew of 2 guys and a new truck or any one of these. I now do this part time and have 23 accounts and we stay fairly busy on weekends with smaller landscaping jobs. A guy I plow for owns a huge llc but he is never available to pick his brain,lol so I thought I would ask in here. My only overhead is a mower payment of $136.00 and regular things like gas etc. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks :waving:


First things first you ask how you are not getting bigger before me or anyone could truly answer that we would need more info.

You only do 23 accounts so you are not that visible is your truck lettered or are you anonymous? It was not till I lettered my trucks this season my 3rd as well that I started to really build up the streets I was already on.

What have you done to get new leads how serious have you been about this? How much of a budget for advertising do you have? What kind of advertising methods have you done? If your happy were youíre at you do not need to spend any but if you wish to grow itís the best route. 23 accounts vs. 165 we have both been in business 3 years I have just spend probably 20k on adverting in those 3 years.

As for word of mouth that depends allot of how many clients you worked for who saw you there and how happy they were with your work. I get this now when we go to an estimate we hear oh I see your trucks everywhere that helps allot.

South Florida Lawns
08-21-2005, 10:03 PM
Both commercial and residential. I think Kelly got it right. The harder you push to get your name out there makes it a lot easier to pick up accounts. I have 2 trucks both all lettered up, as I am trying to get my name better known and familiar. We have a lot of work down here and in a year I hope to have over 300 accounts.

QualityLawnCare4u
08-21-2005, 10:14 PM
I have advertised and have lettered truck and nice equipment. So many folks have lost their jobs that on Friday and Saturday its like 1 out of every 10 vehicles on the road are pulling LCO trailers. I have never gotten ONE client from advertising or my signs on the truck. Its usually someone next door that sees me doing my clients yard then comes and ask me to do theirs.get a lot of one timers that way and a few new ones. I still say that LOCATION and DEMAND for you is the most important thing. I don't give a dang how good your work is if there is no demand for you you are in for a rough ride.

Precision
08-21-2005, 10:25 PM
I started the year (year 2) with something like 31 accounts. I run an add in the local area magazine (monthly with 13K distribution) and in a local paper (weekly with 15K distribution). I have my work truck with magnet signs and my father's truck and my mother's car with signage as well.

I am now at 82 accounts. very few have been referals. maybe 10 total (and a few of those were pitas and went away). But that has started to pick up recently. 2 this month.

My suggestions are do a good job, advertise like it is going out of style, always answer the phone, be rapid in getting there to give bids, surprise people who do give referrals that land accounts some kind of thank you gift. I personally do gift certificates to a nice restaurant.

tinman
08-21-2005, 11:09 PM
I have advertised and have lettered truck and nice equipment. So many folks have lost their jobs that on Friday and Saturday its like 1 out of every 10 vehicles on the road are pulling LCO trailers. I have never gotten ONE client from advertising or my signs on the truck. Its usually someone next door that sees me doing my clients yard then comes and ask me to do theirs.get a lot of one timers that way and a few new ones. I still say that LOCATION and DEMAND for you is the most important thing. I don't give a dang how good your work is if there is no demand for you you are in for a rough ride.I've gotten very few direct call from truck lettering,,, but it all goes together, YP, website, flyers, shirts, truck lettering, etc. The truck just keeps your name in their minds. And when they look in the YP they will know your name. And as for people next door coming up to you while working on their neighbor's yard, I noticed that happening alot more after I got the letting on the truck.

nobagger
08-22-2005, 07:30 AM
I do have a lettered truck, if I could learn how to post pics I would lol. I have a awesome looking sign for the rear lift gate also. I advertise in the Yellow pages and I also advertise in a local Penny Saver with a circulation over 80k people. And yes a ton of llc trucks around here. Out city has roughly 80-90k people living here and probably over 200 llc's. I tried the flyers and out of 1000+ flyers I got 1 customer. We use all new commercial equipment, except for our 48" Exmark all of the equipment is brand new this season, sp I don't know its like there is some hidden little secret for these guys and I'm not seeing it.

J Hisch
08-22-2005, 08:50 AM
The key is simply this, to grow on your own working part-time on your business, how much do you expect to grow? The reality of it all is as a owner operator, you need to have time to work on the business, instead of in the business. It is almost impossible, to run around mowing lawns, servicing accounts and answering the phone. Honestly, growth with your current situation could do more harm than good. How do we grow? Simply put capital! To all the guys who have made it from starting out on their own with little or no money, they will tell you there came a time, when they had to start putting there money to work in order to grow. Growth is simply marketing. Doing a good job has somewhat little effect on gaining new customers. Most commercial operators are doing close to the same level of service. Tru green is not known for good service but they continue to grow why? Marketing..........

HighGrass
08-22-2005, 09:51 AM
Depending where you live, the customers need to be found different ways. First, assuming that you have an area where customers can be found, you have to get aggressive, or at least very pro-active about finding them. Here are just some of the things I do.

-Advertise in paper. I put in a ad starting in the mid week of March and run it through the season. The ad stands out because of the way it's written. Make it work for you, tell them why they should hire you and not the other guy but respect their intelligence.

-Door to Door. During Feb-March during slow days, I go door to door with hang tags and info sheets. I talk to as many people as I can, my closing ratio for new accounts is about 5% but that means if I knock on a hundred houses through the season, that's five new accounts! Also, whenever I'm mowing a house at the beginning of the season, I leave hang tags at all the houses around the account. This works real well!

-Offer free mowing for client referrals! Yep, if I get a newbie because of a referral, that referral gets a free mowing at the end of the year. The more referrals they make, the more mowing they get. I have had limited success with this one.

-Watch for new prospects! Keep your eyes open for long grass. Sounds funny but I can't tell you how many times I've just stopped and asked if I could mow their lawn because I noticed it was long and locked them in for the rest of the year. Most are still solid yearly accounts (90%). I also watch real estate sales. When the sign in the front yard says, "Sale Pending" or "Sold", I stop and knock. This works about 50% of the time. The neat thing about this is you can do it all the way to fall, and still be able to lock them in for the next year!

tinman
08-22-2005, 08:03 PM
The key is simply this, to grow on your own working part-time on your business, how much do you expect to grow? The reality of it all is as a owner operator, you need to have time to work on the business, instead of in the business. It is almost impossible, to run around mowing lawns, servicing accounts and answering the phone. Honestly, growth with your current situation could do more harm than good. How do we grow? Simply put capital! To all the guys who have made it from starting out on their own with little or no money, they will tell you there came a time, when they had to start putting there money to work in order to grow. Growth is simply marketing. Doing a good job has somewhat little effect on gaining new customers. Most commercial operators are doing close to the same level of service. Tru green is not known for good service but they continue to grow why? Marketing..........
great point about Tru-green. It just depends where you want to put your effort......1. Doing perfect work & using Word of mouth over time to build steadily ....OR 2. Puttting more effort into marketing while still doing good work & growing faster but with mopre headaches early on. ...... I like marketing myself