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coastallandscapesolutions
08-08-2010, 11:53 AM
I thought I would start a thread for a marketing discussion. There are those of us in this business that have been doing this for a while. Therefore I was wondering if others would like to share their typical and non-typical marketing efforts and the results from their endeavors. Newspaper, direct mailing, fliers, etc.

I know for us that the typical stuff hasn't worked this year and now we are exploring some different efforts like direct mailing to homeowners in a particular zip code. Anyone care to share their experiences and results?

Hell on Blades
08-08-2010, 01:33 PM
I mailed 1000 postcards earlier this year -- not one call.

Paid to have 300 flyers pasted on doors -- 1 call and it did not even come close to closing a deal.

I'm having a huge problem getting routine maintenance accounts - mowing etc. But I have a huge demand for tear outs -- new gardens -- etc... I need mowing accounts...

mowerbrad
08-08-2010, 02:02 PM
The "normal" things I've tried have included just the newspaper and flyers. I ran a small ad in the newspaper during the spring for a couple weeks, with almost no response. The only response I got from the newspaper ad was from a guy looking for work. As for my flyers, I usually get a couple calls per 500 I pass out and maybe 1 or 2 jobs from them. Being part-time I don't do the 10,000 flyers or door hangers, I get 500 flyers at a time and pass them out in certain neighborhoods that I would like to get work in.

I did do a local parade a couple years ago. In my town we have a huge festival every year around the beginning of August (its a celebration of the coast guard since we are considered coast guard city usa). The festival lasts about a week and we have 2 parades during that time, the first one (which I did) is a Kid's parade, smaller parade with lots of candy for the kids. The other parade is the "grand parade" which is enormous (160+ floats, 75000+ people). The smaller parade I did went okay, it was more of a last minute thing so I really wasn't as prepared as I should have been. I decided to do the parade about 2 weeks before and was out of town for the week leading up to the parade. So I had no flyers prepared to hand out, just candy to throw to the kids. I wish I would have been more prepared, because that could have really brought in some business. I haven't done it since, mainly because I'd rather try to enjoy the festivities than have to "work" during the whole festival.

I also had a website for about a year. I got a couple jobs from it, but they were all crappy, one-time jobs. Never got anything else from it. It was nice to be at the top of the page on google when you searched for LCO's in my town. The web designer who created it, did great graphics and logo work, but was horrible with the grammar on the website. The grammar was what killed me, it made me look like an idiot...there were tons of words misspelled throughout the entire site, punctuation was wrong in many spots and some of the sentences made me look like a hillbilly. Then the designer never finished the site to put my correct address, contact info, etc. Plus he never corrected the grammar mistakes. So needless to say, I no longer have that website.

I'd like to participate in the large parade that I mentioned earlier, but I'd have to think about it. I don't want to gain too much more business....just a hand full of accounts would be nice.

watatrp
08-08-2010, 06:36 PM
I've had the best success when sending letters directly to the business or property owner. I try to target potential customers that are on my route. Find a property that looks good and just send them a very personal letter describing what you have to offer and mention some of the neighbors that you also service. I've also done well with just asking for help from existing customers to forward my name to potentials.

gene gls
08-08-2010, 09:38 PM
The best form of advertising is visual apperance of each property and word of mouth for quality work. You have to set standards for your way of doing things and do the same for each property. You compeat with yourself on each visit to each property to make that property just a bit better looking each time you service it. Every property you service needs to look better than all the others in that area. Make them stand out. It may take a while but people will notice your work and your phone will ring. Its a nice warm fuzzy feeling when you over hear people talking around town about how nice your properties look and even better when someone comments directly to you about one of your properties.Treat every customer as if they are your best coustomer. All customers want a little extra now and then, be flexable if its a minor request and consider it as a form of advertising,PR work. A happy customer bragging about how nice thier property looks to other friends goes a long way in the form of advertising. Your competition will hate you for having a high standard of work quality.

Keegan
08-18-2010, 08:43 PM
I am sponsoring my sons soccer team for the first time. See how that goes. I usually just do a small ad in the local paper with some success.

coastallandscapesolutions
08-20-2010, 11:48 AM
First, Here's what we are doing right now. We have developed a letter directed to real estate brokers and are sending it to select brokers in the area that deal with high end homes and rentals (both annual and beach rentals). We are sending out about 100 letters at 10 per week.

Second, we are having one of our Isuzu's with a 16' Box done is the body wraps. I mean it is a rolling billboard. I cut a deal with the place that does it so that they get a 2'X3' spot on each side of the box to plus their business. It dropped the cost down from $3300 to $1000. If we generate enough leads from that then we will start wrapping some more trucks.

We also popped for $100 to put an 30 day add in the local trade paper, the one that lets you place an ad for free and you find at the store on leaving. It's a quarter page ad so we'll see if that does anything.

Next week we are going to do some cold calling on larger accounts that we would like to have. We specialize in larger area mowing so that is our target market right now.

Will keep everyone posted on updates.

coastallandscapesolutions
10-18-2010, 09:38 AM
Anyone care to add anymore input? We are trying a local penny paper that is given away in the free racks at stores. $115 per month for a 1/4 page ad. We are getting 2-3 calls per week that are relating to one job a week. The best of the year so far.

gasracer
10-18-2010, 04:54 PM
Be seen. I have shirts with my Logo on them I hand out to my customers and people in my area that I know will wear them. I had magnetic calenders made this year I am sending out for Christmas to everyone on my list and to property management companies. Everyone at our church is on Facebook. I have my business page and I post to it regular announcing my services for that season. Network with your local Lawn shops and agents.Some of the business I am getting now is neighbors,friends and people who see me around regular in areas and see my work. I have banners that I use at local soccer fields,race tracks,Even local events at community centers to hand out cards and have drawings for a free service. Ink Pens are another idea. Every time you go somewhere and sign something leave them your pen.

gasracer
10-18-2010, 05:24 PM
I had even looked into Bus stop benches, getting my truck "wrapped" and the side or back of a MTA buses.You have to do 5 buses(each one changes routes every day) @$250 each per month for 3-6 months. That would get DEEP in the wallet.
Yard signs are good but be careful where you put them. I only use them on properties that I do every few days or week in high traffic areas like our church.It sits at a intersection. Putting them in public places will get in trouble.

gasracer
10-18-2010, 05:37 PM
My yard signs read "This lawn maintained by" with my company name ,logo and phone number.

mark123
10-22-2010, 08:36 AM
I advertised in the local penny saver paper but their distribution is too wide and I only got calls from way out of my service area. Flyers with tear-offs netted zero calls, probably because the places that let you post them have 1000 other flyers with tear-offs.

So far my only viable advertising plan is from my website. Half of my new customers this year found me there. Some are from out of town which poses a problem of "out of sight, out of mind" where they sometimes forget about paying and it also attracts one-timers and straight up rip-off artists but making a policy of pre-payments for out of towners clears that up right quick.

Website works wonders for me, everything else has been a total bust.

coastallandscapesolutions
10-22-2010, 09:18 AM
I am going to order some license plates, refrigerator magnets, bumper stickers, labels and some other items to plaster all over our equipment and such. We are also having them make some nice signs that will be posted while we are doing jobs. If anyone is interested in the site PM me and I will give it to you. This is my first order with them but their pricing is good and they check out.

TheGoat
10-22-2010, 06:48 PM
Advertising is the single most important thing to do in business.

No one will buy your service if they do not know it is available for purchase.

The thing about marketing is that it is cumulative. It builds. A train building up speed takes time to be moving very fast but once that train is rolling it is a very efficient way to move tons and tons of stuff. A marketing campaign is the same.

why this is true is because of the nature of the customer. people will typically look 2-3 times at an add before they buy. Think about your own shopping behaviors, or your spouses.

A persistent add campaign sends a message of consistency and dependability. A gripe I commonly hear from new customers about the old guy, "He just stopped showing up."

People see hiring a company for a regular service in a similar light as shopping for insurance. it's a chore. They don't want to have to do the chore again in a month or two. Persistence matters.

You need an add that you can afford to keep for a period of time. A month before the start of the mowing season in your area and two months in would be a great way to start.

A website is a great way to get some inexpensive exposure.
you can get a site hosted for less than $50 a year, and there are lots of templates out there for free, you just download one, change the text to fit your business, and upload it to your hosting server.

look into local radio spots.

Ideally you want to earmark a portion of your income exclusively for generating new business.

If you get too busy, and are turning away clients, raise prices, and reduce your ad budget, but never stop advertising.

coke never stops, ford never stops.

willretire@40
10-23-2010, 02:46 PM
Mcdonalds spends $2 billion a year in marketing.

Gmgbo
10-25-2010, 06:16 AM
I call places or ask around to find out who is in charge of building maintenance, send them 2 or 3 letters or flyers. Then I call or show up "I was in the area and noticed."

Its hard because every person you talk to makes it clear they have better things to do lol, but it works. I have good luck with factories, machine shops, and banks. Ive had no luck with property managers

bohiaa
10-27-2010, 08:48 AM
funny how this will work in this area, while that wont work in the other,

try to second guess the public, and you will drive your slef NUTS

coastallandscapesolutions
10-27-2010, 11:27 AM
The other thing I love is when a company like Service Mxxxc gets your phone number and then calls you to tell you how they can grow your business simply by giving them a substantial fee. For referring customers to us they wanted a four digit fee. Right.... next!

dustinnice
11-08-2010, 10:57 PM
Has anyone used radio before? I was looking into advertising that way and it seems like one would have an edge on the competition, at least around here, since no local lawn maintenance companies have tried this approach. ..or they have and have had no success. Any input?

coastallandscapesolutions
11-08-2010, 11:01 PM
We have got two companies that do a spot on the local radio show, kind of like a garden talk show. They tell me it is/was a waist of time.

wbw
11-09-2010, 08:07 AM
The other thing I love is when a company like Service Mxxxc gets your phone number and then calls you to tell you how they can grow your business simply by giving them a substantial fee. For referring customers to us they wanted a four digit fee. Right.... next!

I use ServiceMagic with excellent results. My cost per customer is wonderfully low. I only wish I had to pay them more money (for more leads). I do great with them. PM me and I'll give you a call and tell you the straight scoop.

AdamChrap
11-10-2010, 08:40 PM
I am sponsoring my sons soccer team for the first time. See how that goes. I usually just do a small ad in the local paper with some success.

I have sponsored a few baseball teams for years and it works great! I don't even put our name on anymore just the 1-800-MOW-MY-LAWN.

AdamChrap
11-10-2010, 08:43 PM
I have heard a lot of great ideas but what do they all have in common?

You are trying to build TOMA (Top Of Mind Awareness).
Here is a great explanation of this http://www.entrepreneur.com/marketing/publicrelations/prbasics/article56452.html

The use of 1-800-MOW-MY-LAWN can help you do that!

dustinnice
11-10-2010, 09:16 PM
love all the sponsors plugging themselves. but i shouldnt be complaining as they are sponsors..

Lawn-Scapes
11-10-2010, 10:30 PM
I thought I would start a thread for a marketing discussion. There are those of us in this business that have been doing this for a while. Therefore I was wondering if others would like to share their typical and non-typical marketing efforts and the results from their endeavors. Newspaper, direct mailing, fliers, etc.

I know for us that the typical stuff hasn't worked this year and now we are exploring some different efforts like direct mailing to homeowners in a particular zip code. Anyone care to share their experiences and results?

Is this your website: http://www.coastallandscapesolutions.com/index.htm ?

I just did a google search for "lawn care conway sc" "irrigation conway sc" "landscape conway sc" and "irrigation 29526" and no results came up for your website... not even in the directory. I personally would invest in having someone working on the website.

AdamChrap
11-10-2010, 10:41 PM
love all the sponsors plugging themselves. but i shouldnt be complaining as they are sponsors..

Ha ha I can understand that but yes we do pay a lot of money to do that. If we didnt lawnsite wouldn't exist. Honestly though it isnt just a plug. TOMA is pretty much the philosophy behind our whole program and TOMA is important.
Posted via Mobile Device

coastallandscapesolutions
11-11-2010, 08:27 AM
Is this your website: http://www.coastallandscapesolutions.com/index.htm ?

I just did a google search for "lawn care conway sc" "irrigation conway sc" "landscape conway sc" and "irrigation 29526" and no results came up for your website... not even in the directory. I personally would invest in having someone working on the website.

The website is currently being redesigned and should be up in a week or so. This one up now is circa 2000. When I Googled us it came up on the first page.

rnd
11-19-2010, 03:47 PM
If you are looking for FREE marketing ideas and also the tools to help you grow your business with proven marketing tools please visit RNDSigns.com or 800-328-4009 for free marketing consultation

dustinnice
11-19-2010, 05:01 PM
I read somewhere that marketing isn't really advertising, it's the art of making friends who can get you business.

mowerbrad
11-19-2010, 09:53 PM
One of the things that I find to be helpful is getting involved in your community. This can mean, donating money to a local fundraiser, sponsoring local kids' sports teams, donating your services for local community projects. When people get wind of your company doing these good things, they will likely be more likely to hire you as apposed to the competition.

In this industry, its all about building a name for yourself. When you have a reputation of doing top-notch work, people talk. And doing little extras for people always helps...you'd be amazed at how grateful customers can be if you do a little "extra" for them every now and then.

Get yourself some cool marketing things too (like refrigerator magnets, pens, etc). Send these things to your customers at the end of the year as a sort of "thank you". Also you may want to send out christmas cards to your customers...nothing special but just a card that says Merry Christmas and shows that the customer means more to you than just a name.

Get some cool t-shirts made up and give them out to your friends to wear. For $15/shirt you can get quite a few shirts out to your friends. Make the shirt "cool" enough that your friends and family would actually wear them but at the same time make sure that your company name and number is on the so that potential customers see it. Put clever or funny slogans on the shirts....something that would make people look twice at the shirts.

Its all about separating yourself from other companies. Make yourself a part of your community and show your customers that you do care. Word of mouth advertising is a wonderful thing.

AA+ landscaping
11-19-2010, 10:32 PM
Ok before I get started I would like say I jump around a lot. I get mad when people that say I sent a 1000 flyers out and didn't get any calls. First, what was the target area? Second, what was on the flyer? You must remember marketing is getting customers to think of your services. When you need building supplies you think home depot. WHY? Because your mind is trained to think home depot for building supplies. Why? Because you see a lot of advertising. The more you see something the more you remember it. Ok lets get back to the marketing area. It should be something you do on your own. What I mean is you should know the area that you already work in. This is the area you should be marketing in. Drive through the area and write the addresses down and there is your list. Also you know what to charge and this should be on the flyers. People like to see prices in this economy. Ok instead of sending 1000 flyers out one time, send 200 flyers 4 different times to the same potential clients. Also make sure they are sent close together and at the right time. For example, to target lawns customers start sending out the flyers around the end of February and continue to send flyers consistently through the beginning of April. Make sure you have your logo on the flyer because you are starting to train your soon to be customers that when they think of lawn maintenance they think of your company. It is essentially 'brainwashing' people with your company just like Home Depot for building supplies. Here is a tip to get more customers in the same area, give them a cheaper price. For example, if you would charge $40.00 charge $35.00 you will still be making money because if you have clients that are clustered together, you have less drive time ,unloading and reloading. I will post some of my flyers so you can get some ideas. This worked for me, I sent 750 flyers 4 different times and got 35 new lawn accounts and 5 landscaping accounts.

AA+ landscaping
11-20-2010, 08:38 AM
205130

205131

205128

dustinnice
11-20-2010, 08:05 PM
very nice flyers aa+ what did they cost? and i like your theory. In the vein of clients in close proximity, ive always thought of offering current clients discounts per referred customer, down to a certain limit. Has anyone tried this and had success? ill be testing it out next season i think.

gasracer
11-20-2010, 10:59 PM
I prefer to give my current customers the discount more than I would new ones.

dustinnice
11-21-2010, 01:41 AM
I would give the discount to the current customer who gave me a successful lead..that is what i meant.
Posted via Mobile Device

AA+ landscaping
11-21-2010, 02:43 AM
Think of it like this as a lawn guy what do we all want? We want the big commercials places. But think if you can get 8 homes next to each another at $35.00 it would be like doing one of those commercials but you could make more. I done this one development has about 250 twins. I do 20 at $25.00 and make $500.00 in about 5 hrs. Most of them take around 15-20 mins to do but the thing is I don't have to drive all around to make the money. So I save on gas and time just like those big commercials. The problem with the big commercials is big companies like brickmans do them at such low prices we can't make any money.

AA+ landscaping
11-21-2010, 02:46 AM
[QUOTE=dustinnice;3797526]very nice flyers aa+ what did they cost? For the design was around $100.00 and to print them was $150.00 But the postage was around $300.00.

Dunlaps LawnCare
11-21-2010, 09:42 AM
newspaper works best for me

Woody82986
11-21-2010, 11:56 AM
As far as advertising goes, my website generates most routine maintenance leads. Around here if you are a non hispanic owned lawn care company a website is almost essential. Marketing is different than advertising. I market my company by getting my logo and name on everything I can. Networking is also part of marketing. The simple fact is that the more people who know who you are and what you do, the better your chances of increasing your client list. If nobody knows who you are or how to contact you then they can't hire you. Shake some babies and kiss some hands! Pun intended.

TheGoat
11-21-2010, 12:51 PM
Has anyone used radio before? I was looking into advertising that way and it seems like one would have an edge on the competition, at least around here, since no local lawn maintenance companies have tried this approach. ..or they have and have had no success. Any input?

The key with a lawn care (http://www.hungrygoatlawns.com) radio campaign is having an easily remembered name and number, and to repeat those things as many times as possible, both in the ad and in the number of ad spots.

think saturation.

juststartin
11-21-2010, 05:54 PM
Do you guys ever wonder why successful companies never post in these threads? Its always the guys that place ads in newspapers and send flyers out. Its kind of like the blind leading the blind. Keep it up!

Arcadius Rex
11-21-2010, 08:19 PM
Do you guys ever wonder why successful companies never post in these threads? Its always the guys that place ads in newspapers and send flyers out. Its kind of like the blind leading the blind. Keep it up!

Wait a second. How did the "successful companies" become successful?

By accident?

Are you suggesting that these techniques don't work?

And I have noticed quite a few comments in other similar threads from people who are quite clearly VERY successful. Another thing is that the hugely successful are not going to have the same need as many of us to frequent a forum like this because they are already firmly established.

What I know from past business experience is that most of these methods will have an impact IF DONE PROPERLY - and that can be a very big IF. Some are going to be more effective than others and in different places and combinations, but to write the information off from threads like these seems like a big mistake.

It isnt about just having a website or a radio ad or any other approach. It is about HOW they are executed and the key principles that make them effective as opposed to being a complete waste of time and money. There is critical information to be found in these threads that make it very obvious why one person's website is working and another's isnt - or a radio ad, etc etc.

AA+ landscaping
11-21-2010, 08:54 PM
Wait a second. How did the "successful companies" become successful?

By accident?

Are you suggesting that these techniques don't work?

And I have noticed quite a few comments in other similar threads from people who are quite clearly VERY successful. Another thing is that the hugely successful are not going to have the same need as many of us to frequent a forum like this because they are already firmly established.

What I know from past business experience is that most of these methods will have an impact IF DONE PROPERLY - and that can be a very big IF. Some are going to be more effective than others and in different places and combinations, but to write the information off from threads like these seems like a big mistake.

It isnt about just having a website or a radio ad or any other approach. It is about HOW they are executed and the key principles that make them effective as opposed to being a complete waste of time and money. There is critical information to be found in these threads that make it very obvious why one person's website is working and another's isnt - or a radio ad, etc etc.

Love it man, I didn't think the flyers where going to do as good as they did. I am now a believer in them. Some of it I got from lawnsite and some of it I got from a marketing guy who I cut weekly. Also I believe as time goes on it will just grow and grow. Because people see me cutting so many of there neighbors houses.

mowerbrad
11-21-2010, 09:01 PM
First we need to define the term 'successful'. Success shouldn't be determined by the number of mowers/trucks/trailers/employees/customers/etc. that a company has, but rather how well they are doing financially and how happy their clients are.

I don't care if a company is pulling in $10million each year, what matters is how much profit they see from that $10million. If a company is just able to make enough to pay its employees, make the payments on equipment/property and have minimal left over...I wouldn't call them very successful. But if a company is pulling in $750k each year and has all of its equipment/property paid for and they are able to profit 20% each year...I'd call them pretty successful.
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When you are marketing for your company, you need to take into consideration the size of your company. Radio and TV ads, probably won't be good if you are a small company that only works in one or two small cities. The reason...because 95% of the people who listen or watch that radio/tv station are not going to be in your service area. So out of a population of lets say 100,000, you would only want to be targetting 5,000 of those people.

I've tried the little classified ads in newspapers and those are not good in the least. If you go the newspaper route, do an actual ad. I'm not talking a full page ad (if you can afford that go right ahead), but do an ad that is 1/4 page...something big enought that people actually take notice of it. It could be color or black and white...just make it stand out to your potential customers.

Websites are a great tool, you just have to do it right. Don't make your own website unless you actually now how to do a professional one...not a free online template one. Use pictures of your actual customers properties (with their permission first of course). Take a look at a some big companies websites and see how they are set up (doesn't have to be lawn companies either).

One of the things a local company around me did, just this past year, was buy a balloon for all the kids in a near by children's hospital. It was one of those "get well soon" type balloons, and every kid in that hospital got one. It was a huge success! This one thing got loads of media attention, had a whole story about it on the local news channels. They interviewed some of the parents and they were really impressed with this company and how such a "small" gesture can mean so much to these kids.

Get creative when you advertise. Think outside of the box. Things that aren't original, don't really get noticed much (or at least remembered). Look at how TV commercials change all the time...and if you think about it, you almost always seem to notice the commercial for a product when it changes to a new one.

juststartin
11-21-2010, 09:08 PM
Wait a second. How did the "successful companies" become successful?

By accident?

Are you suggesting that these techniques don't work?

And I have noticed quite a few comments in other similar threads from people who are quite clearly VERY successful. Another thing is that the hugely successful are not going to have the same need as many of us to frequent a forum like this because they are already firmly established.

What I know from past business experience is that most of these methods will have an impact IF DONE PROPERLY - and that can be a very big IF. Some are going to be more effective than others and in different places and combinations, but to write the information off from threads like these seems like a big mistake.

It isnt about just having a website or a radio ad or any other approach. It is about HOW they are executed and the key principles that make them effective as opposed to being a complete waste of time and money. There is critical information to be found in these threads that make it very obvious why one person's website is working and another's isnt - or a radio ad, etc etc.

My point is that anybody that anyone that has executed a successful marketing campaign is not going to come on here and coach you how to do it. It is painful and very expensive determining what works and what doesn't.

There are some that are willing to tell. But it will cost you. Tony Bass knows, of course his expertise will cost you 2k a day with a 3-day minimum.

juststartin
11-21-2010, 09:13 PM
First we need to define the term 'successful'. Success shouldn't be determined by the number of mowers/trucks/trailers/employees/customers/etc. that a company has, but rather how well they are doing financially and how happy their clients are.

I don't care if a company is pulling in $10million each year, what matters is how much profit they see from that $10million. If a company is just able to make enough to pay its employees, make the payments on equipment/property and have minimal left over...I wouldn't call them very successful. But if a company is pulling in $750k each year and has all of its equipment/property paid for and they are able to profit 20% each year...I'd call them pretty successful.
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I agree. I know companies that grossed 5 mil a year and they are now calling me wanting to set up a job interview.

My point is companies that know how to market successfully have spent a minimum of 100k doing it. Why in the hell would someone give away a 100k+ secret without a consulting fee?

Arcadius Rex
11-21-2010, 09:13 PM
My point is that anybody that anyone that has executed a successful marketing campaign is not going to come on here and coach you how to do it. It is painful and very expensive determining what works and what doesn't.

There are some that are willing to tell. But it will cost you. Tony Bass knows, of course his expertise will cost you 2k a day with a 3-day minimum.

I totally disagree. People have put some great information here and it is totally free - save the cost of them having already gone through the process.

I myself have had huge marketing success in my past career and I plan to utilize several of those methods, as well as share generously with others once I have the same success in THIS business - what I REALLY want to be doing.

juststartin
11-21-2010, 09:48 PM
I totally disagree. People have put some great information here and it is totally free - save the cost of them having already gone through the process.

I myself have had huge marketing success in my past career and I plan to utilize several of those methods, as well as share generously with others once I have the same success in THIS business - what I REALLY want to be doing.

So you have incredible marketing success in your past career and now you are cutting grass?

Ever noticed why Jim Lewis, ETW, and others never share their marketing methods?

Most of the info I see on here is complete bullsh!t. This site is mostly comprised of part timers and solo operators. Not exactly what I would consider successful.

Arcadius Rex
11-21-2010, 10:02 PM
So you have incredible marketing success in your past career and now you are cutting grass?

Ever noticed why Jim Lewis, ETW, and others never share their marketing methods?

Most of the info I see on here is complete bullsh!t. This site is mostly comprised of part timers and solo operators. Not exactly what I would consider successful.

Yep. It is what I WANT to do and I just finished my degree in philosophy as well. I left my career to accomplish both of these goals - though I am more in to the design, landsculpting and beautifcation - cutting grass will be done by my partner and his crew. Im managing, marketing, leading and doing the design work.

I took three operations over the million dollar a year sales mark and I am seeing several principles that I used very effectively, outlined here in this new context.

These are not mysterious, hidden secrets that are only available to the elite and the rich!! Sure it is beneficial to PAY someone to tutor you, but much of that same information is available all over the place - forums like this, books, Google...

mowerbrad
11-21-2010, 10:32 PM
The people who have a wealth of knowledge regarding marketing really are not going to come on here and give anyone their secrets.

You could see guys come on here who are marketing experts, but only share a fraction of what they know. They really aren't going to share everything they know with some guy on lawnsite. They could very well give you a "base" to build off of yourself...but really, "juststartin" is pretty spot on.

dustinnice
11-21-2010, 11:30 PM
Sean Adams, the one who started this website, will make you pay for all his knowledge about the industry, true. And lots of people will be glad for you to pay them for 'secrets.' But all you really have to do is explore for awhile. Yes you can pay one person for what worked for them, or you can freely see for yourself what's here and there, what worked for different people and what didn't.
And I don't agree that solo operators are unsuccessful. If you are making a decent living for yourself and your family, I'd hardly consider that 'unsuccessful.' Opinions are welcome on a forum but one does not have to be harsh.

Arcadius Rex
11-21-2010, 11:39 PM
Sean Adams, the one who started this website, will make you pay for all his knowledge about the industry, true. And lots of people will be glad for you to pay them for 'secrets.' But all you really have to do is explore for awhile. Yes you can pay one person for what worked for them, or you can freely see for yourself what's here and there, what worked for different people and what didn't.
And I don't agree that solo operators are unsuccessful. If you are making a decent living for yourself and your family, I'd hardly consider that 'unsuccessful.' Opinions are welcome on a forum but one does not have to be harsh.

I was about to say that there really are no "secrets." With a little bit of work and motivation, the information to succeed is all out there nowadays.

The only true secret someone that is going to charge you for - and still not tell you - is the fact that you really don't have to be paying for it if you are willing to research it yourself.

And this forum is a great resource!

CLS LLC
11-21-2010, 11:46 PM
I agree with juststartin. It's just the way it is. When I see the marketing manager of Brickman on here explaining how to grow your business I'll change my mind, but until then I don't think the good ideas will just come out. He does bring up ETW who has never explained his marketing plan at all (short of saying he gives out mugs) because his marketing plan is what has turn his business into a huge success in a short time. Why would he tell every competitor how to copy him. The fact of the matter is I read alot on here but when I come up with a good idea, I'm not going to share it with the competition. Why should I? Maybe I'm a jerk but so be it. Large companies are full of secrecy because that's what allows them to dominate their market. You won't find Bill gates on an internet forum telling the world about the next greatest thing. If I find some great marketing that works and gets me tons of work, the last thing I'm going to do is give up my competitive edge. This industry is cut throat enough.

Furthermore I have seen very few original ideas in this whole thread. Come on guys... flyers, direct mail, newspaper, website. WE GET IT!

Puddle of Oil
11-22-2010, 12:03 AM
Do you guys ever wonder why successful companies never post in these threads? Its always the guys that place ads in newspapers and send flyers out. Its kind of like the blind leading the blind. Keep it up!

I agree! I can think of couple guys that don't come on here that much anymore, and they seem to be doing pretty good. This is a great site, you learn a lot but soon you get to a point where your not learning anything incredibly new. To me this site seems like a calculator to some people. You don't wanna do the math or put time into the problem your trying to solve so you post a thread.

I think the couple big reasons the successful people don't come on anymore is, 1. too busy 2. Like I stated before, not much more to learn on here. 3. This can be a very depressing site to read, which won't help you grow the business. But I'm small so it may not mean much to you guys, just my 50 cents.
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juststartin
11-22-2010, 09:40 PM
I was about to say that there really are no "secrets." With a little bit of work and motivation, the information to succeed is all out there nowadays.

The only true secret someone that is going to charge you for - and still not tell you - is the fact that you really don't have to be paying for it if you are willing to research it yourself.

And this forum is a great resource!

I disagree. Research what? from whom? what are there qualifications, gross sales, profit margin? Not much too learn from this site, unless you want to talk about which mower/truck/trailer/skid steer is better.

I spent 50k in advertising last year. Do you think I am going to tell you what I learned? Hell no. Go spend your own 50k and learn the hard way. In some ways, I wonder if it is cheaper to hire a consultant that has already built up gross sales of a few million. A 6k education maybe cheaper than a 100k education!

juststartin
11-22-2010, 09:44 PM
Sean Adams, the one who started this website, will make you pay for all his knowledge about the industry, true. And lots of people will be glad for you to pay them for 'secrets.' But all you really have to do is explore for awhile. Yes you can pay one person for what worked for them, or you can freely see for yourself what's here and there, what worked for different people and what didn't.
And I don't agree that solo operators are unsuccessful. If you are making a decent living for yourself and your family, I'd hardly consider that 'unsuccessful.' Opinions are welcome on a forum but one does not have to be harsh.

just using my personal definition. I don't see guys cutting grass by themselves and think "damn I wanna do that one day!"

Weedeating dog doo.... no thank you.

Arcadius Rex
11-22-2010, 11:25 PM
I disagree. Research what? from whom? what are there qualifications, gross sales, profit margin? Not much too learn from this site, unless you want to talk about which mower/truck/trailer/skid steer is better.

I spent 50k in advertising last year. Do you think I am going to tell you what I learned? Hell no. Go spend your own 50k and learn the hard way. In some ways, I wonder if it is cheaper to hire a consultant that has already built up gross sales of a few million. A 6k education maybe cheaper than a 100k education!

Fair enough, and I can understand you not wanting to share.

Fortunately there are many thousands of people who ARE willing to share and that arent threatened by other people's success. I know this because I am one of them and I will gladly be here years from now, offering what Im learning, whether Im making 100k or 1mil. Exactly what I did in my previous career.

As for the research, it is a matter of sifting through enough information and beginning to hear the same principles coming through, from multiple people, concerning the same approaches - and yes, this includes books like the one offered by the Lawnsite admin - as well as recognizing the consistent elements that seem to accompany failure.

I may also be taking for granted my own experience and instinct for this, but I can pretty much filter through people's comments and get a good feel for whether they are giving me good information or not - coupled with verification from other sources. I think most people are capable of this if they maintain a positive, can-do attitude along with a healthy diligence.

dustinnice
11-23-2010, 05:02 PM
just using my personal definition. I don't see guys cutting grass by themselves and think "damn I wanna do that one day!"

Weedeating dog doo.... no thank you.

Just MY personal thoughts but if I'm a solo operator, maybe I don't want the hassle of workers comp., hiring, firing, taxes, extra paperwork, employees who aren't worth a dollar a day, employees who don't care about quality, etc. I don't want to deal with that and I don't think the number of employees or trucks or accounts defines your success. Maybe one day I will want to take on all that work but until that day I am not considered by anyone to be unsuccessful. And the fact that I can choose my clients is a pretty good indicator of that. Now if you're scraping by and not making enough money to live a comfortable life, yes you are unsuccessful and the industry has some things to teach you. On topic, no one is looking for cure-all secrets to marketing. 'If you want success in marketing..do this.'

juststartin
11-23-2010, 08:25 PM
Just MY personal thoughts but if I'm a solo operator, maybe I don't want the hassle of workers comp., hiring, firing, taxes, extra paperwork, employees who aren't worth a dollar a day, employees who don't care about quality, etc. I don't want to deal with that and I don't think the number of employees or trucks or accounts defines your success. Maybe one day I will want to take on all that work but until that day I am not considered by anyone to be unsuccessful. And the fact that I can choose my clients is a pretty good indicator of that. Now if you're scraping by and not making enough money to live a comfortable life, yes you are unsuccessful and the industry has some things to teach you. On topic, no one is looking for cure-all secrets to marketing. 'If you want success in marketing..do this.'

Really when it comes down to it. You really cannot argue with the numbers. When you are a solo operator you can only bill out for 60-80 hrs a week with perfect efficiency. With employees you can multiply that number by virtually anything.

I agree with you about the number of trucks, employees, crews does not define your success. But profit DOES. The fact is you limit yourself on the amount of profit you produce with no employees. You are capped at about 50-70k NET... at least with lawn maintenance. There are not enough hours in the day to produce more profit.

If you are good at delegating workloads, you don't have to put up with any of that hassle. I have seen it done. Hire a payroll service for god's sake. Figure out how to hire good guys.

There are secrets to marketing, but it is kind of funny how the successful don't disclose what they have learned.

dustinnice
11-23-2010, 09:20 PM
Really when it comes down to it. You really cannot argue with the numbers. When you are a solo operator you can only bill out for 60-80 hrs a week with perfect efficiency. With employees you can multiply that number by virtually anything.

I agree with you about the number of trucks, employees, crews does not define your success. But profit DOES. The fact is you limit yourself on the amount of profit you produce with no employees. You are capped at about 50-70k NET... at least with lawn maintenance. There are not enough hours in the day to produce more profit.

If you are good at delegating workloads, you don't have to put up with any of that hassle. I have seen it done. Hire a payroll service for god's sake. Figure out how to hire good guys.

There are secrets to marketing, but it is kind of funny how the successful don't disclose what they have learned.

Right, I agree that you can significantly increase your success by hiring employees. But the fact that one is working alone and not pulling in as big of numbers as the lco with 10 employees does not mean they are a failure. As far as marketing goes you have to find out what works in your area and brings in the kind of customers you want, etc. I can hardly imagine how Tony Bass would know how to deal with your specific situation. Maybe I'm wrong.