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RedRed
06-08-2007, 09:59 PM
Why can't I get my phone to ring for new customers? I have been owner/operator of a successful lawn mowing landscape business since 1992. I do this for fun more than anything else. I am a 36 yr old college educated individual with a fulltime job with an excellent company making excellent money. I left the landscape lawn mowing business three years ago to build my dreamhome. Now that everything at my home is the way I want it, I want to get back into the business. In early March I put out fliers all over my town of Lancaster, PA and have gotten a total of two calls which beared no fruit. The county I moved from had less per capita income than the one I'm in now which made me think it would be easy to at least pic up some side mowing but even that has had no activity. Has this market saturated with lawn mowing and landscapers so much that there is not that much work left? I'm glad I don't need the extra income because its just not happenin.

Attached a pic of my toys which were parked behind my barn.

Uranus
06-08-2007, 10:12 PM
I put an ad in the paper for 6 weeks in the spring. Got a few calls for every other week mowings and one time spring cleanups. I wanted full time accounts. I got NONE. I did 2 estimates for weekly mowing and did not get them. I wanted to hire a full time guy to help me out this year. Had a list of all the equipment I needed for the expansion. Even bought a leftover lazer anticipating the calls and the need for a second rider. As time ran on with the ad I started doing the estimates for the one timers. Still NOTHING. Most of the people I know who one a business say they are not getting the calls that they used to. Good friends of mine are a carpenter, slate roofer, landscaper, concrete guy, and one owns an excavation company. They all say they have 2 weeks of work and nothing after that. 2 or 3 calls per week each. Everybody is slower this year. I think that to many people are hearing about all the bad things that are going on around the world and are a little hesitant to spend more money than they need to at this time.

Lawn_Boy
06-08-2007, 11:10 PM
My advice would be to keep spreading those flyers. Try to land 3-4 and then maybe neighbors of those yards make take interest in your services. Either way, keep speading and don't give up.

Also, you could try the walk up to their door/house and introduce yourself method.

Stillwater
06-09-2007, 03:09 AM
I put an ad in the paper for 6 weeks in the spring. Got a few calls for every other week mowings and one time spring cleanups. I wanted full time accounts. I got NONE. I did 2 estimates for weekly mowing and did not get them. I wanted to hire a full time guy to help me out this year. Had a list of all the equipment I needed for the expansion. Even bought a leftover lazer anticipating the calls and the need for a second rider. As time ran on with the ad I started doing the estimates for the one timers. Still NOTHING. Most of the people I know who one a business say they are not getting the calls that they used to. Good friends of mine are a carpenter, slate roofer, landscaper, concrete guy, and one owns an excavation company. They all say they have 2 weeks of work and nothing after that. 2 or 3 calls per week each. Everybody is slower this year. I think that to many people are hearing about all the bad things that are going on around the world and are a little hesitant to spend more money than they need to at this time.

I lost 8 accounts this year they bought their own mowers and are trying to do it themselves where abouts in MA are you...?

Midwest Lawn Services
06-09-2007, 04:06 AM
First rule in business Uranus...NEVER buy it if it is not needed. :nono: You may have got a deal on that lazer, but how good of a deal is it if your not getting any more income from its purchase? ;) :confused: I beleive it's all about your individual markets. We have expanded 30% this year...with no advertising other than a new website (finally after 10 years!) REFERRALS, REFERRALS, REFERRALS!!! Anyways, here's my point. HANG IN THERE!!! Don't get ticked off if there is a slump in business. Everything eventually rebounds, just don't buy if it isn't needed.

Grass Kickin
06-09-2007, 09:35 AM
I think most of us have ex[erienced some hard times because of the gas crunch. I've lost a couple of customers who want to mow their own. It is part of the business. Eventually you will make it up. I was thinking about offering a discount to my existing customers for referring new accounts. I get most of my business word of mouth anyway so it might help revamp things.

razor1
06-09-2007, 10:09 AM
I wonder if it has anything to do with the estimated 20 million illegals. :cry:

http://www.vdare.com/king/illegals.htm

If you can't beat'em, hire'em. :laugh:

ALarsh
06-09-2007, 10:21 AM
I would say it is your advertisements. I went from 15 accounts (after about 4-5 cancel from last year because of moving, want to do it their selves) at the beginning of this year to 40 weeklies and several one timers. Post your advertisement here.

Vikings
06-09-2007, 11:15 AM
I want my phone to stop ringing. This is the 2nd month in a row that my cell bill has been $150 :(

and now I have to put out window flyers :(

Lohse's Lawn Service
06-09-2007, 12:29 PM
The only advertising I've done so far this year is handing out business cards, ordered some green t-shirts with my phrase and company name on them (and have handed out dozens and dozens) and I just recently bought a few 12"x18" yard signs. This year alone I've picked up about 25-30 customers, and that was before all of the above was out there for people to see. Most new customers I've gained this year were by word-of-mouth. Be patient and do not give up. Keep getting your name out there and just because spring is over and summer is here, does not mean you still can not pick up more customers. It's about to get real hot (depending on where you live) and people who mow their own yards will suddenly realize how convenient it is to have someone else mow it. And there's you, waiting. Plus, summertime is vacation time and even if you pick up a one-time customer, you do a good job and your name WILL be passed along to their friends. And since you aren't as busy, I sure wouldn't turn down any one-timers. Good luck and keep your head up.

justanotherlawnguy
06-11-2007, 12:18 AM
Why can't I get my phone to ring for new customers?

Move to Florida and you will be saying "why wont my phone stop ringing". You cannot do anything around here without someone stopping you and bugging you for something.

Too much work is a lovely problem to have....

GELAWNS
06-11-2007, 11:32 AM
I lived in Lancaster County for 13 plus years. That area is all about word of mouth referrals. Spend time getting to know EVERYONE at the local businesses (bank, post office, hardware store, restaurants, etc) and tell them what you are doing and ASK for their business and referrals.

kevinlane
06-11-2007, 12:03 PM
Move to Florida and you will be saying "why wont my phone stop ringing". You cannot do anything around here without someone stopping you and bugging you for something.

Too much work is a lovely problem to have....

Funny, my phone isn't ringing in St Petersburg, FL. I've done 3 weeks in two papers of advertising, a website and craig's list and do flyers everyday. I got nothin.

Charles
06-11-2007, 12:25 PM
Lawncare is in the dumpers here too. I rarely get a call from my ad or flyers. Everybody knows somebody who does lawncare. Most everybody has a family member out mowing lawns. Many are doing it to supplement their regular jobs. Many areas of the Country are in worse shape than others jobs wise. Normal turnover cannot be replaced easily or at all. Lawncare USE to be a great biz in my area. Now the pie is so divided its pathetic. Many who are doing a lot of business are practically giving away their service to gain work. There are exceptions in areas of the country where economic conditions make lawncare a much less desirable field and/or jobs pay better so as to not need a second income. Population of an area relative to % of LCOs has to be taken into considering too when starting a lawncare biz

daveintoledo
06-11-2007, 01:25 PM
now just some things to think about...
when you left the business for 3 years, did that possibly hurt your reliability factor....

im sorry to say that in my area, the part timers dont do very well, people here seem to want the more professional company... maybe try and present the company in a different light....

in your advertisments, make sure you mention that your licensed and insured, get some customers to use a references.....

hope this helps...good luck

topsites
06-11-2007, 01:33 PM
Has this market saturated with lawn mowing and landscapers so much that there is not that much work left?

This is what I suspect the problem is here in Richmond va, I ran my usual ad for 14 weeks solid in the paper and I picked up a few, I have hardly enough to cover my most basic costs...

firstclasslawncareandplow
06-11-2007, 10:50 PM
I get most of my calls from the graphics on my truck. People see it in front of the work i do and call. This is the main reason that I am about to buy a 24ft enclosed trailer...... I mean a 24ft traveling billboard!

justanotherlawnguy
06-12-2007, 12:06 AM
I've done 3 weeks in two papers of advertising
newspapers will yield price shoppers and very little work
a website
most lawn customers dont search for LCO's on the web
craig's list
Junk
flyers everyday
flyers end up in the trash

jeremyt1998
06-12-2007, 12:22 AM
It's all about timing.

kevinlane
06-12-2007, 12:40 AM
newspapers will yield price shoppers and very little work

most lawn customers dont search for LCO's on the web

Junk

flyers end up in the trash

and..... seems like you left something out, lol

lawnman_scott
06-12-2007, 01:05 AM
newspapers will yield price shoppers and very little work

most lawn customers dont search for LCO's on the web

Junk

flyers end up in the trashJust out of curiosity what have you found that works as far as advertising in your ummmmm months of experience?

kevinlane
06-12-2007, 01:31 AM
Just out of curiosity what have you found that works as far as advertising in your ummmmm months of experience?

and that was all I need to hear....this site is to help, so I thought. So I will say this from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your help.

justanotherlawnguy
06-12-2007, 08:34 PM
ummmmm months of experience?

WTF are you talking about?

Diversified Maintenance
06-12-2007, 08:54 PM
When I started out I banked on percentages. I direct mailed flyers (by your permits and make your own flyers and buy a mailing list..saves you tons). Got about a 1 percent return. Started out sending out 5000. mailed another 3000 a month later..so on and so on. Targeted high to middle income neighborhoods. Then started picking up referrals.

New Heights
06-12-2007, 09:11 PM
You should try "cold calls" give your old clients a call back and let them know your back in business this never huts, and it dont cost you a thing. I would avoid the yellow pages and the news paper since the people seeking your serveces are number shopping.

MOWEMJEFF
06-12-2007, 10:57 PM
Have you talked to all the major LCOs in the area, chances are they're the ones getting the calls and maybe not able to take on all the work. Best way to advertise in my opinion, is see if someone else's is working too good, that's how I've picked up 10 accounts in the last 2 WEEKS, a major company slowly getting rid of mowing operations before they terminate all of them next spring. If you're doing tractor work talk to the little guys that can't do tractor work, make that your niche. Chances are there is plenty of property maintenence companies that can't take on large jobs but know someone who needs one for a small referall %.