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andyslawncare
01-17-2011, 05:17 AM
This turned from Ideas to a GUIDE... Share your input, please don't be rude though. :)

My mind never stops and I keep thinking of things to do to save money and make more money. I think this will be beneficial to others, and I'm going to share...


There were a few days worth of thinking of past years in the business to come up with this... I haven't acted on everything listed yet, but everything is in the plan for the next 2 months.


#1: Always answer your phone and return calls fast! (this isn't something I've just now learned, but it is the most important thing you can do for your business).

#2: Cold Calling:

-I cold call apartments with a run around--they all want bids faxed, but won't give you any info about what to bid on (you bid apples to oranges, because everyone bids for something different....no standard); I cold call some business with a run around; though I call some with positive leads with the businesses.

#3: NETWORKING!!:

-Meet everyone that you run into. Tell them who you are and what you do, give them cards.

-Facebook - Let people know that you use it, make friends, and update with BUSINESS related info, IE special prices.

-Website

-Join Professional programs to meet people with similar interests---you make money off of each other!

-Chamber of Commerce.... JOIN IT!


#4: HELP YOURSELF BY HELPING YOUR SUPPLIERS!

-If you use mass printing type of marketing,
-If you put graphics on your vehicles,
-If you make shirts or hats,
-OR if you make a website, have your suppliers pay you to advertise for them! (I'm doing most of this except for the website).

----You can cut your marketing costs in half by including non competing suppliers in your advertisements. Charge them 25%, and every one wins....we save money, and they get their names out.

----If you are going to get something on a vehicle that will be permanent, you may consider charging more for saying that you are equipped or supplied by so and so business..... You can also negotiate discounted material from these suppliers instead of them sponsoring your advertisements-------save lots of money on vinyl graphics!

-----Consider putting one or two suppliers on your employees t-shirts...don't charge quite as much for shirts, as they are really more beneficial for you to look professional; but yes, you can save a good bit of money by having sponsors on your shirts.


#5: Always throw fliers, Always talk to People!

-Keep a bag or box of rolled up and banded fliers with you at all times (along with business cards, brochures, your portfolio, etc.... this is IMPORTANT). Throw your fliers as you drive through neighborhoods as you make your way through your route.
----I personally have my employees prepare fliers in the truck between jobs and breaks.... They then throw them on the right side as we pass by homes, all while doing our scheduled work.


-Throw fliers when the wind is calm and rain or snow is 3 or more days later in the forecast! You don't want calls about people finding 'trash', they are not fun calls and = lost customers. Your fliers = trash if they get wet or blow around in the wind! We throw fliers in driveways and put brochures in the mailboxes that have newspaper boxes built in...There aren't many of them, but the people with them really appreciate the effort that you make to not 'litter' in their lawn.


-If you see someone doing yard work while you are delivering marketing material, park your truck and go talk to them with all of your good info available! Greet them with a brochure that explains everything that you do and believe in (a short statement of quality or beliefs on the brochure goes a long way)....
---Always get out of your truck and greet people if you are marketing, especially when they are mowing or working in the yard! THIS IS IMPORTANT! You want them to know who you are; yes? We get out there and talk to them!

Door knocking can be interesting...
-You can piss off people easily.
-Some people will be 100 years old and not understand anything that you say
-Some people are lonely and want to talk to anyone that want to talk to them, and you may waste your time with lots of old ladies....
-Though, SOME OF THEM WILL WANT YOUR SERVICE!
-Know what you are going to say, and practice it before knocking on a door of a stranger.
-Don't go to houses with no solicitation signs, or neighborhoods with that sign posted for that matter!
-Check with your city to see if you need a permit to solicit; each town and county is different, so stay out of trouble and make the call. (I have had the police and post master call me because of marketing before)....Be Careful, and follow the law and learn the schedule of the code enforcement.---THIS APPLIES TO ANY FORM OF MARKETING WITHOUT A POSTAGE STAMP!!


#6: Post Cards:
-I don't recommend post cards for maintenance only; unless you put a price for services on it and change the price accordingly (which means you have to drive past every house and street number and write this down..I've done it and it sucks). If you do more than maintenance, this is a decent way to get good installation jobs.
-Make sure you only get mailing lists to the area you work in.
---If you can't get mailing lists cheaply, you can check with a friend of yours that is a Realtor. My dad is with Keller Willams Realty, and he gets great lists for me, though I have to retype for formatting reasons, it is a good source for information.


#7: T-shirts and hats:

-You can't go wrong here!
-Get some embroidered shirts for your self and your spouse to wear during interviews and any other formal business meetings.
-Get T shirts for everyone working in the field and any of your friends that support you, same advice goes with hats....find hat wearers and give them one!
-Again, we want everyone to know who we are, so why not say who you are on your shirt that you can have enough to wear every day! I get stopped at the grocery store, gas station, walmart...you name it.... because of my shirt and truck/trailer graphics.

-----another note on truck graphics:
-----------You will be amazed when you get calls while driving down the highway with people next to you! This stuff happens, and everyone should take advantage of it! I don't want to give my business away to my competition, but I just want to have some competition that competes!!!!!!....Our industry price is too low, and it needs to change along with the knowledge that the average LCO contains! That is why I write all of this!




I'm tired of typing now. I have a lot more to say, but I'm sure all of you can comment and say what you need to say so we can share with others... Lets help people understand our business some more!

Landscaping is not an easy job! Why don't we change the perspective on the average American about what our job is about AND how to do our job properly! I'm hoping to see some better educated competition in the future!!!


Leave comments so others can benefit; that is what this site was developed for!

Happy new year everyone; I hope the best for all of us!

We are a group of dirty people on a mission...

andyslawncare
01-17-2011, 05:51 AM
I forgot to mention to give your customers a reason to refer you, other than your good work.... Offer your current customers a credit or a gift card to their favorite place to eat in the amount of $25, and you will get calls over time.... This has got to be the best way to market!! Have your customers share you with their friends, and reward them!

mowerbrad
01-17-2011, 04:21 PM
I really think getting involved in your community is HUGE. I know in my area there are always kids' sport leagues, high school events, charity events, etc., that are always looking for people to sponser them or donate money to. You get your name out there and do something good...people remember these types of things.

Even if my I am not sponsering an event, I try to make it to charity events in the area for good causes. Last summer I went to a charity event to purchase AED's for businesses, churches, schools in my area. They had a silent auction that I bought a golf outing for 4 people. People know me throughout my community, so it does make me look like a better person to go to these things (though I'm always glad to donate money to a good cause).

But overall, getting involved in the community really helps and makes you stand out from your competition.