PDA

View Full Version : He's driving me crazy...


melanieb3
03-09-2009, 03:26 PM
So we ended up spending more than I would have liked to to get our equipment and to get this business ready for business! We didn't budget advertising when we were spending.

Now, we have the equipment and are ready to go..but no business. He works for another company so he goes the jobs he does get when he's not working that job.

At any rate, he has had 2 whole jobs in the past 2 weeks and I was hoping that this business would do well. I know it's gonna be slow starting out, but how are we gonna get customers if we don't advertise?

My husband's thoughts on this: cold calls. Ok..so I call the business in town and already have 9 that want a bid...Walmart being one of them...but only one seemed interested, that being Walmart. The others were like, yeah ok you can give me a bid...but none of them were like..yeah I'm looking for someone.

Well, now his thoughts are: cold calling people's houses....

I'm thinking that I don't want to sit down and go through the phone book and call every Joe Schmo just to find someone who, at the moment I call, will somehow thank for me calling them AT HOME and interrupting their peace and tell me that they were waiting for a lawn care company to call them to cut their grass.

I may be wrong...but should I SERIOUSLY call people at home and ask them if I can cut their grass?

Also, any one have a generic flier idea I could use to start with? I have seen a lot of GREAT ones on here, but I don't want to steal anyone's ideas....just maybe borrow them if they are willing :)

Like, should I put all the jobs like mow/blow/trim, pesticides, spring/fall clean up?

I don't know..I just need something so I can go get some fliers to put around...we gotta do SOMETHING before it's too late! ANY IDEAS???

and please don't tell me that if I don't have the money to advertise, then I shouldn't be in this business(read that one on someone else's post),...it will happen...probably not as fast as I'd like..but maybe next year I will have the $$ for great advertising!

We're getting signs put on our box truck, that's a rolling advertisement...hopefully this will help a bunch!

Greg78
03-09-2009, 04:19 PM
Place a couple of ads on www.craigslist.com . It is free. Some say all you get is tire kickers and cheapskate customers, I'd have to disagree. Our experiences have been real positive. Ended up landing a property management company that we service approximately 65 properties for and several year round clients.

Greg78
03-09-2009, 04:24 PM
Also on the flyers if you have Microsoft office you can search the templates for all sorts of things:

Flyers
Invoices
Estimates
Service agreements
etc etc....

DLAWNS
03-09-2009, 11:18 PM
I personally don't like to cold call for residential customers, because I hate when people call me trying to sell stuff. Plus you probably should be careful doing that due to the do not call registry. I would just print up a simple flyer off of Microsoft Word. That is what I did, but I'm trying to upload it for you, but I'm having a hard time. Might I also suggest putting a Refer A Friend ad on the flyer. Offer 10% off of one month's service if they refer a friend or neighbor to you as long as they sign up for a contract. Good luck and keep asking questions!

tyler_mott85
03-09-2009, 11:29 PM
Word of Mouth is the absolute best way to advertise. Make sure you give all of your customers that you do get more than one business card that way they can give out your information to their friends! But you need to get some business first, right?

Just talk and meet people for one thing. When you are first starting out you really dont know a lot of people in the industry so go to garden shows or trade shows and shake hands and stuff. Always have business cards with you! If you go to lowes and you see someone scratching their head about what type of mulch to buy or which mower to buy ask them if they need some help but make sure you give them a card and tell them who you are and what you do!

But I've always found that graphics on your trucks and trailers is the best thing... period...

Be personable with people and get to know them. No-one wants to give money to someone who thinks they "deserve" their money cuz they own a business. You have to earn their money.

good luck...kick him in the BUTT and get him out the DOOR meeting people!

kmclawn
03-10-2009, 04:37 PM
Company clothing is another way to advertise. I have my logo on the back of my coats and will have people come up to me and talk and ask questions right in a store. I have picked up maybe a half dozen customers this way.

a plus bob
03-10-2009, 04:58 PM
Do you plan on doing chemical apps? maybe talk to a local chem. company that might give you name out to customers looking for a mowing service.Mower repair shops get calls for info about commercial cutters give them some cards.

hole in one lco
03-10-2009, 05:29 PM
well i hate 2 tell you you did it in the wrong order . truck trailer dont make a business you need costumers for that. It took me 4 years before i had a full rout now i didn't advertise word of mouth is the key. dont just talk 2 potential costumer talk 2 every 1

mowerbrad
03-10-2009, 07:25 PM
I never buy pieces of equipment unless I already have the work for it.

Don't just start calling people and pretty much being a "tele-marketer", basically because people don't like to be bothered by "sales people". I would get some flyers made up and pass those out. Flyers are rather in expensive as long as you do black and white. You can easily design the flyers on your computer in Word or Publisher, it doesn't have to be too flashy. Then print out a color copy of it and bring it to staples or a local print/copy center and they will help make you copies. I had staples do some of mine this year, I got 501 for $37.50. I'll use these flyers to target certain areas that I would like to get more accounts in.

RLS24
03-10-2009, 10:27 PM
at gotprint.com you can get 1000 door hangers made up for like $150. not trying to advertise for their business, but I got mine from there, passed them out and will prob be ordering another 1000 soon. craigslist is good, just make sure you re-post your add every couple days to keep it at the top of the list when people search. around here we have a community paper that doesnt cost much to advertise in, I put an add in there too. I know a lot of guys (including myself) use 18x24 signs to put out on customers lawns after they do work there (with permission of course). these things are rather expensive to make, but get yourself some 1/4" plywood, some paint, and some stick-on letters and make your own. not the best but it will work until you can get real ones made.

Word of mouth is by far the best though, as others have said. Probably 50% of my customers are people from my fire hall (guys come up to me after a call "hey I heard you cut lawns...if you have time stop over and shoot me a price" or "hey, I know you do landscaping, but can you do _______?"). I ended up landing a $4500 job last week just shooting the **** with one of my relatives and mentioning to him I had a business. He just build a new warehouse at his business and needed it all graded, sodded and landscaped along with the rest of his place. I gave him a price and he said send me the bill when you're done and why don't you give my house a cleanup and start cutting the grass while you're at it.

You don't always have to be fancy, just get creative. theres lots of free ways to advertise out there!

green tree lawn care
03-10-2009, 10:54 PM
well i hate 2 tell you you did it in the wrong order . truck trailer dont make a business you need costumers for that. It took me 4 years before i had a full rout now i didn't advertise word of mouth is the key. dont just talk 2 potential costumer talk 2 every 1


I dont understand. if you have customers and no equipment you are in a worse position.:confused:

Dave_005
03-12-2009, 12:14 PM
Print your own Flyers at home and put them on every door in the neighborhood, also put flyers on the boards at the local stores. get some buisness cards printed up and leave some in the local buisness in town and on bulletin boards.. hand out cards to EVERYONE you talk to..

toac
03-12-2009, 02:23 PM
Do you have any money at all to spend on advertising ($50 or $100)?

lawnpro724
03-12-2009, 04:14 PM
Print your own Flyers at home and put them on every door in the neighborhood, also put flyers on the boards at the local stores. get some buisness cards printed up and leave some in the local buisness in town and on bulletin boards.. hand out cards to EVERYONE you talk to..

Agree but design your own flyer and business cards, print as many business cards as you need and print of a flyer or two and take them to a copy place to have copies made its a lot cheaper than doing them on your computer.

lawnpro724
03-12-2009, 04:20 PM
Another marketing thing to do that doesn't take a lot of money is to direct mail specific businesses. I drive around and look for businesses that I would like to have and direct mail them every quarter until I get the account and it works! I send out an intro letter describing my business, what we do, insurance coverage, years in business, and general information about my company that an interested party would like to know. I also include a company flyer and business card. Its cheap and it works and I only get the accounts I want.

topsites
03-12-2009, 08:36 PM
Print your own Flyers at home and put them on every door in the neighborhood.

There's your ticket, design one yourself.

In terms of the work it's about as much fun as cold calling, but you won't catch near the flak,
and free it ain't but it doesn't cost that much either.

Toy2
03-12-2009, 08:41 PM
Do you know/retired friends, neighbors? Tell them what you are doing, one might start using you, and tell another........newspaper was a waste, also took out an ad in a Sunday paper.....no good...


Got customers from word of mouth like posted before...good luck...

hole in one lco
03-12-2009, 09:03 PM
I dont understand. if you have customers and no equipment you are in a worse position.:confused: do you go 2 the store with no money. customers are money you kind of need them 2 go 2 the store .

TriadLandscape
03-14-2009, 01:51 PM
Take one day a week and hang flyers. With that flyer have a bid for weekly and Bi-weekly services. In one stop you have done your advertizing and bidding. If the person likes the price you will get a call. Has worked for me for years and years.

melanieb3
03-14-2009, 02:54 PM
do you go 2 the store with no money. customers are money you kind of need them 2 go 2 the store .

OK...so you get a customer that wants something done that requires something you don't have....what do you do? What happens if you need to do the job THAT week but don't want to buy it BRAND NEW and can't find it used anywhere...

we got all our equipment used from craigslist.com and from our dealer's used equipment. I think it's ridiculous to buy a brand new ztr when you can get a used one with minimal hours from someone who needs to get rid of it.

So, then I get the customer and end up paying more for the new equipment because I passed up the offer on the used one that is in brand new condition because when it was being offered, I passed it up because I didn't have a current customer who needed a job that would require that piece of equipment.

i'm not saying to go out and buy EVERYTHING at once..but if you come across a great deal like we did with our ztrs, our edger/weedeater/blower/and our box truck..ALL of which are NOT specialties but WILL be used by potential customers, then get it at the great low price instead of waiting...you'll be sorry you did

Carolina Cuts
03-14-2009, 03:52 PM
Mel... you are correct, you do need some basic equipment to get the ball rolling....
equipment first, then customers. In time, the customers will come.

Field of Dreams -
"If you build it, they will come...."

he built the field... the players showed up..... :clapping:

HOOLIE
03-14-2009, 04:46 PM
Someone else mentioned this already, but putting business cards/flyers in local stores is great free advertising. So many places have a bulletin board or table to put advertising materials. Be pushy...ask if you can put them right on the counter by the register.

HOA newsletters aren't bad either to advertise in. Around here they run like $10-$20 a month to run an ad.

George Mason
03-14-2009, 05:55 PM
There is no catch-all remedy for this. I am in my second year and seeing a much better business develop and I am doing the same thing this year as I did last year - everything possible.

It's the old saying you have to crawl before you walk, it couldn't be more true. I was so frustrated last year at times. I would wonder what I was doing wrong and what I had gotten myself into, but now I see it in a much clearer prospective - businesses are not born, they have to grow and develop! Be patient, do everything you can to grow the business and land accounts, and follow up with good work... and then wait some more, it's the nature of the beast.

Good luck,

rclandscaping
03-16-2009, 12:46 AM
I know what you mean my guy is jumping in way over his head too. I said slow down the economy is very bad. I am the CEO and I told him i would get the business. Myself and a couple of gfs and the kids went into about 5 big subdivisions last week. Roll up a spring cleaning flyer and a 10% off full season mowing contract flyer and put a rubberband around it. Put it on the door. last week 500 flyers 10 calls already. It is also great excercise. Also put up flyers in your local supermarket. Contact me for anything. I am a housewive/owner of a beginning lawn care company

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
03-16-2009, 01:02 AM
I think it's ridiculous to buy a brand new ztr when you can get a used one with minimal hours from someone who needs to get rid of it.

The good thing about new is I know no one else has abused it, and I get a warranty. Yes you might save some money by used, but what if a hydro pump or wheel motor fails? You pay to have it fixed, and thats an expensive repair. Now for back up machines, I always buy used, but my main mowers are new. I'd gladly pay for 2yrs of peace of mind.

Now unforunately, commercial work in our area ( i am fairly close to you) has already been awarded for this year or decissions are being made now as bids were due weeks ago. Go after residential accounts like crazy. Make a flier and then go make copies at staples. You need to start pounding the pavement now as grass is already starting to turn green.