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View Full Version : When to start advertising for the season?


S&S Outdoor Services
12-22-2009, 10:57 PM
Hello everybody,

I started my Landscaping business last summer after not getting my old landscape job back (downsizing). We put some craig's list ad's out and got some accounts here and there which added up to about a day's worth of mowing per week for two guys. This summer we really want to hit it hard and have two guys that can go out and mow 4-5 days a week. My question is, when do you guys start advertising for that and what has been then most cost effective way to get your name out there? I still have around 750 flyers and 1500 door hangers left from this summer but anything else we do will have to be cheap. Thanks in advance for the replies.

S&S Outdoor Services
12-22-2009, 10:58 PM
Another question right away... we want about half residential, half commercial stuff. Do any forms of advertising work better for one than the other?? Thanks

buffalonick
12-23-2009, 12:54 AM
I am also new to the business, we will be a brand new company starting this upcoming season. I plan on starting to hand out door hangers in mid feb. hopefully with my huge tax return!!!! But we will do about 5000 or so color, front only, glossy paper. I see alot of guys hate to see ads on craigslist, and think its bad, but in my opinion any advertising is good advertising. I also plan to put an ad in the local town newspapers for spring clean up and mowing in early march to early april.

S&S Outdoor Services
12-23-2009, 01:01 AM
We got about 50% of our business off craig's list this last summer. There is a lot of BS that goes along with it though, spam mail up the *** and phone calls from people 2 hours away from you. You will get some business though, I have a few different very professional looking ads on craig's list that make me look a lot better than joe shmoe cutting lawns with his 21" for 10 bucks. Peope also don't expect much from craig's list, so if you actually answer the phone, show up to meetings on time etc. etc. they will be pretty impressed and hopefully spread your name around. I have also found it works great for snow plowing if you post 3 or 4 ads up right before a big storm. Someone's snowed in or their snow blower broke etc.etc.

Keep in touch with me Buffalonick, we'll see if we can't bounce some ideas off each other being that we're both still in the early stages of an established business.

PLS-Tx
12-23-2009, 01:48 AM
Feb 1 is when we start.

We are on the Gulf coast, so we have an early spring, and a loooooooooooog hoooooooooooot summer.

S&S Outdoor Services
12-23-2009, 01:53 AM
Since we are in such different areas, can you give me an idea of how long before the season you start to advertise. We start mowing lawns near the end of April at the earliest. I was thinking 2 months is advance which would be more towards the end of February. I just don't want to put my expensive door hangers out before people are even thinking about it and have them all end up in the garbage.

PLS-Tx
12-23-2009, 02:19 AM
Since we are in such different areas, can you give me an idea of how long before the season you start to advertise. We start mowing lawns near the end of April at the earliest. I was thinking 2 months is advance which would be more towards the end of February. I just don't want to put my expensive door hangers out before people are even thinking about it and have them all end up in the garbage.

Our season begins in med to late Feb.,

If our season began in late April like your does, I would start putting door hangers out April 1. Maybe late March depending on the weather. It you have a few sunny warm days people will start to think about their lawn and landscape.

I definately agree with not putting them out too early.

Where are you getting your hangers from, and how many?

I sure am glad I live in the south. I HATE winter and ours is short.

Good luck to you.

S&S Outdoor Services
12-23-2009, 02:30 AM
My dad's old friend owns a printing shop up here so we get a pretty good deal and do some trading. I've about 750 flyers and 2000 door hangers to put out. I'm thinking as soon as the snow starts to melt is when I'll start walking the nieghborhoods.

I was born and raised here so the winters really aren't that bad. You just have to have a hobby for the snow (snowmobiling, skiiing etc.) then it can be fun. Now that I've got a plow I pray for snow. I will say that the girls on South Padre island are a lot more fun than the girls around here haha.

PLS-Tx
12-24-2009, 01:50 AM
I spent one winter in upstate NY about 20 years ago. That was one winter too many for me.

We have a COLD front on the way, it will be in the 50's for highs this weekend. :laugh: I'm going fishing.

S&S Outdoor Services
12-24-2009, 03:47 PM
Just got 8" of snow overnight... same is expected for tomorrow. We do have one thing in common... fishing. I have to drill a hole in the ice first though.

PLS-Tx
12-24-2009, 05:50 PM
Just got 8" of snow overnight... same is expected for tomorrow. We do have one thing in common... fishing. I have to drill a hole in the ice first though.

;););)

Man I love to fish but if I had to cut a hole in the ice to get to them I think they would be safe.

I wasn't interested in fishing when we lived in NY, but the Salmon run was a huge deal up there. In fact,the mall was called Salmon run mall. I wish now I would have fished up there.

Down here we chase Redfish. You talk about a blast, we go way back into the shallow flats and marsh. At times we find them chasing bait in shallow water, there backs and tails will come out of the water. Now that will get your heart pumping.

I'm tacking off for the next two weeks, so I plan to get lots of fishing in. I'll try to post some pics.

RigglePLC
12-24-2009, 10:34 PM
Remember get all your equipment ready in advance and try to put out a lot of marketing material and flyers before you get busy--just before the season starts, when you will have some time available to pass out flyers and walk the neighborhoods. And then answer the phone and estimate all the sales leads.

S&S Outdoor Services
12-27-2009, 03:32 AM
Thanks for the advice, that's pretty much the plan for now. We were pretty steady last summer but every once in awhile we'd have a few days with nothing to do. I'm hoping to change that this coming season. We also have more equipment now so it shouldn't be as much of a rush this spring.

DiscoDave
12-27-2009, 11:32 AM
You need to be pursuing those commercial accounts right now. Start with calling to ask who makes the decisions regarding landscape and lawn maintenance. Send a mailer introducing your services adressed to that person and follow-up with a phone call to ask permission to provide a quote.

Start advertising to residentials the first 55 degree day in Feb. and then hit the same residence again 3 to 4 weeks later.

dwight1moore
12-28-2009, 12:07 PM
My advice is ALWAYS advertise!

hackitdown
12-28-2009, 03:28 PM
I have a mowing oriented service, so I do most of my advertising in the mowing months. I have tried to advertise mowing earlier, but the phone doesn't ring. In my area, people look for a lawn service when the grass starts to grow.

We usually do our first cut on the first week of May. So I start advertising mowing around April 20th. The phone rings a lot until the end of June for mowing, and I usually pick up 1 or 2 accounts per week. After that I get maybe 1 or 2 per month in July-Sept. Then I advertise fall cleanup, aeration, etc.

I advertise for spring cleanup, mulch, and dethatching in early April, and that seems to work well.

tinman
12-28-2009, 11:44 PM
Put in bids in winter for commercial. Run ads all year but if I had to pick a time ... 3 weeks before time to mow until end of May.

S&S Outdoor Services
12-29-2009, 12:07 AM
Any ideas on how to get in on the commerical bids? I just don't know where to start when it comes to property managers?

commercialnetinc
12-29-2009, 10:11 AM
Any ideas on how to get in on the commerical bids? I just don't know where to start when it comes to property managers?

If you are trying to ramp-up your commercial biz, go ahead and submit blind bids now. This means you need to find out who the PM is for commercial properties, get their email addresses and fax numbers, walk their properties, then submit bids whether or not they asked for it. You'll be building your brand while showing your ambition. If they have a formal bidding process, they'll let you know (but most won't unless they are the size of UPS or Pepsi ~ trust me on this one).

Oh, and be sure to add your equipment and crew list, plus a few referral letters, to your blind bid. It helps tremendously. You may also want to add a cover letter that offers your time to "pop in" for a visit so that you and the PM can meet-and-greet prior to any decisions or commitments being made.

Contrary to what some lawn care vets may tell you, you won't "piss-off" PMs by submitting blind bids. Showing ambition has never hurt a growing business. If a PM gets pissed because you submitted a blind bid, then you probably wouldn't want to work for that person anyway. Geez...can you imagine?

-Robert-

_

STRINGALATION
12-29-2009, 11:39 AM
aLWAys!!!!

:>

bohiaa
12-29-2009, 02:46 PM
You mean you Guys STOP advertiseing ????

S&S Outdoor Services
12-29-2009, 03:17 PM
When it comes to craig's list, I never stop advertising. But when it comes to door hangers and flyers that are 30 cents a piece, I would rather put them out when people are going to look at them.

RigglePLC
12-29-2009, 05:22 PM
Park you trucks so your signs show--like a constant billboard.
Has anybody tried to measure in the snow (or not) using a GPS device (the one made for golf).

NEWGUYRI
12-30-2009, 12:47 AM
I would say late winter for mail stuff.

jayhawk566
02-04-2010, 06:21 PM
My mowing season usually starts in early April when should I go around giving flyers to people? Also when should I ask my post office about mowing?

wannabemowing
02-05-2010, 11:03 PM
S&S, good luck this spring in getting new customers. I am actually from Rockford, MN on the west side of the cities but currently living in Fargo finishing up my BA at NDSU and am hoping to start up a company next winter or spring depending on finances! Good luck to you this season and hopefully you will find the growth you are looking for!!!

dirt&snow
02-06-2010, 01:24 AM
S&S, good luck this spring in getting new customers. I am actually from Rockford, MN on the west side of the cities but currently living in Fargo finishing up my BA at NDSU and am hoping to start up a company next winter or spring depending on finances! Good luck to you this season and hopefully you will find the growth you are looking for!!!


where are you planning on starting out your business, fargo or back in the metro? and whats your major if you dont mind me asking?

wannabemowing
02-06-2010, 02:28 AM
I'm not completely sure on where I'm going to be starting it, obviously that's one of the big decisions I need to make quickly:) As lame as it sounds I'm thinking back home so I can live with the folks while I get my feet under me. I am going to school for Business Management, I am wishing I would have done something more along the lines of Horticulture but I have been doing lawn care/landscaping for around 4 years so I think I should be able to pick up the stuff more knowledge along the way.

dirt&snow
02-06-2010, 02:42 AM
I'm not completely sure on where I'm going to be starting it, obviously that's one of the big decisions I need to make quickly:) As lame as it sounds I'm thinking back home so I can live with the folks while I get my feet under me. I am going to school for Business Management, I am wishing I would have done something more along the lines of Horticulture but I have been doing lawn care/landscaping for around 4 years so I think I should be able to pick up the stuff more knowledge along the way.

small world btw, i go to und, only a freshman though, havent started my biz, waiting til im done with school, because on my business plan ill have a lot better of a chance of getting a loan when it says ive got a BS in Accountancy vs just a high school degree. home for me is in champlin and that is where ill most likely start my biz just kuz itll be easier to live with my parents for a couple years til im well established and can buy a house. ive looked around in grand forks and it seems like there really isnt a market here, plus no dealers. i dont really think its lame kuz just about everyone does that. if someone can show me someone under 20 with their own house and they own their business and go to college full time thats sweet, but i have yet to see anyone do that. i wish there were some turf management and 'scape design classes here but there isnt, so ill probly do some online learning from PLANET, Unilock, ICPI and whatever else i come across. are you a senior?

wannabemowing
02-06-2010, 03:11 AM
There is definately a market down here in Fargo, the only thing is there are a lot of companies and a few very large ones. I actually work for the largest one in the Fargo/Moorhead area right now, he runs 6 or 7 mowing crews and a 3 fert trucks, it's a very impressive operation and he happens to be the Walker dealer in the area so if you want walkers you either buy from him or go a distance to get one.

We have a turf mgmt. program here but I wasn't thinking of starting my own company until my sophomore year and it was too late to switch then but obviously the Business Mgmt. will be handy as well. If you don't mind me asking how are you planning on financing your start up? I wish I would have started saving money sooner because now I'm looking at all the prices of equipment and there is not way I'll have enough even buying used stuff!!

dirt&snow
02-06-2010, 03:20 AM
There is definately a market down here in Fargo, the only thing is there are a lot of companies and a few very large ones. I actually work for the largest one in the Fargo/Moorhead area right now, he runs 6 or 7 mowing crews and a 3 fert trucks, it's a very impressive operation and he happens to be the Walker dealer in the area so if you want walkers you either buy from him or go a distance to get one.

We have a turf mgmt. program here but I wasn't thinking of starting my own company until my sophomore year and it was too late to switch then but obviously the Business Mgmt. will be handy as well. If you don't mind me asking how are you planning on financing your start up? I wish I would have started saving money sooner because now I'm looking at all the prices of equipment and there is not way I'll have enough even buying used stuff!!

I'll vistor msg/pm or w/e it's called i dont wanna hijacks s&s's thread

wannabemowing
02-06-2010, 03:42 AM
Good point sorry for slight thread highjack S&S!!!

S&S Outdoor Services
02-07-2010, 04:21 PM
Hey these things happen Wannabemowing. If you have any questions about the start up, feel free to PM me too, I wouldn't say I'm an expert but theres a lot of things that go into starting/ operating the business that I could possibly help you with.
Good luck to you this season. I'm putting together a bid right now for a townhome assosciation that would be a 50-60k a year account so I'm thinking we've got a good year ahead of us.

dirt&snow
02-07-2010, 05:02 PM
How many hrs do you expect it will it take for you to mow (I assume thats what you're doing) that townhouse?

S&S Outdoor Services
02-07-2010, 05:12 PM
They want everything at this place (Mowing, Fertilizing, Plowing & Shoveling, Spring and Fall Cleanups, Trim shrubs, Aerating and a few other things I'm forgetting right now). I looked at the county property maps and I came up with 15.7 acres of lawn which I would guess 3 of my guys would spend most of the day there between mowing, trimming and blowing. I'll have to wait to see if you we actually get it but there will be some big upgrades from our 44" WBs. I would like 3 mowers, 2 60" zero turns and a 52" stand on but our 16' trailer can only handle two ZTRs or three of the toro stand ons so I'm still trying to decide what I would do with that, possibly a longer trailer. Also would need more trimmers, blowers etc so over half of the revenue from that account would go right into new equipment.

dirt&snow
02-07-2010, 06:13 PM
But the good thing about it is that it will [hopefully] be many years of income, as well as a referral for new accounts of that size.

S&S Outdoor Services
02-07-2010, 06:16 PM
Exactly... it's all about getting your foot in the door on these big jobs and having the confidence and experience to give them a good competitive proposal. Once you've got the in, showing potential customers past work, referrals etc. can win them over if you treat them right.