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View Full Version : Advertising Landscaping on Craigslist


JimLewis
01-24-2011, 11:04 PM
Our company is positioned so that we're a little more expensive than most of our competitors. And my experience to date with advertising on Craigslist, in the service area, is you mostly get pikers who are just looking for a cheap bid.

But DVS recently made a comment in the hardscape forum that he actually gets some good jobs from CL. So I'm wondering if any of the rest of you have had success advertising on Craigslist for general landscaping. And if so, what is your price point compared to the other landscapers in your area? Have you found it difficult to sell jobs to CL people? Or did you actually find some good customers?

BIGRIG755
01-28-2011, 04:56 AM
I have gotten most of my work from CL and I charge more than some of the larger companies. You are going to mostly get people who like to talk to the owner not a salesman. The people who want low bid will ask you upfront what you estimate is before they let you come to their house cause they cant say no in person. Hope this helps it has been great for me. Doing a leaf job today for 4 guys all making 32-38$ and hour. Thats good for me.

S&S Outdoor Services
01-28-2011, 05:46 AM
I've gotten some good work off of CL but it's usually smaller jobs in my experience. I've had a couple people call me for 40k plus jobs and then some fly-by-nighter will do the job for dirt cheap. One in particular was a retaining wall I bid for 50k and someone else bid it for 20k. I don't know how the h*** this guy thought he could do it being that it was 17k just for the blocks.
It doesn't take too long to put up a new post and you will get calls. Should that be your only form of advertising? Probably not. Just write up a post that sounds professional and people will probably know pretty quick that you're going to be more expensive than the laid off construction worker looking for side jobs. I've also found it's great after storms for clean ups or plowing when we get 6+ inches.

Outdoors_Unlimited
01-28-2011, 10:02 AM
I've landed several jobs from Craigslist. Be prepared for huge amounts of spam, and price shoppers, but it comes with the territory of free.
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Outdoors_Unlimited
01-28-2011, 11:54 AM
Ok. I got a second now.

I make a ad that contains several pictures. I do this by uploading pics to photovucket, then linking them in my ad. This will set your ad apart from the under employed construction worker. It helps screen them. To weed out spam, I'm gonna encourage text messages, with name address and phone. I will then return a call promptly. I just seem to get wayytyyyy to much spam when I put my email out there.

I will make a dummy ad later tonight, to give you guys an idea of what my ads look like. Last time I posted one of my true ads, a bunch of the LS trolls found it funny to prank call.
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GreenI.A.
01-28-2011, 03:58 PM
I have had good success wih it last fall. I landed 4 lighting jobs (3 of them were $4,000+) and about a half dozen irrigation installs, all but one was over $3,500. Plus probably 45-50 blow outs. I didn't place my forst add on CL until september, it definetly worked for me and I will be utilizing it alot this year.

But like others said you will get a lot of spam. It's been 2 1/2 months since I ran an add with them and I'm still getting spam. i think this season I will set u a second email just for CL adds, so that spam wont beflooding my inbox for my regular business mail. Deffinetly a lot f tire kickers to, i would say 3 out of 5 irrigation or lighting calls I didn't even justify going out to run an estimate as you could tell they were looking for cheap work

JimLewis
01-28-2011, 05:12 PM
Yah, I've made really nice looking, professional ads on there before with photos, descriptions, HTML styles, etc. No problem there. And I've sold enough stuff on Craigslist to know that I'd NEVER put my email address into a post. I just use the anonymous craigslist email link. And I'd probably list our phone number since we have a full time office person who can easily weed out sales or spam phone calls if they come. But I wouldn't ever list any email address on there.

I was just curious if people were actually landing decent sized, profitable jobs via Craigslist. Because the reason I stopped several years ago was because it seemed like every call I got was some price shopper who didn't have nearly the budget they needed to hire a professional to come in and do a nice job. So I wanted to know if that has changed over the years or if it was still the same. Sounds like some of you, at least, have had a little success with it. So that's encouraging.

The other thing that sucks about CL is you have to constantly be changing / refreshing your ad every day or two because it gets buried down the list too quickly. And I just don't have the time for that. So I guess if we were going to add CL advertising to our existing methods of advertising, I'd have to find a way to get our office manager or someone else in the company to stay on top of this every 2 days or so. Cuz I definitely don't have any time for that during the busy season.

I think we'd have to get a little better are pre-qualifying and screening calls that came in from CL too. Because I still think probably at least a high percentage of people who would call would be just price shoppers, who are definitely not what we're looking for.

STL Ponds and Waterfalls
01-28-2011, 05:33 PM
When you guy's say you blow off the tire kickers do you politely tell them your to busy or just not show? See I go to every lead and submit an estimate for the fear of bad publicity and plus you just never know. I need to figure out a way to weed out the window shoppers and save some time and fuel.

GreenI.A.
01-28-2011, 05:46 PM
When you guy's say you blow off the tire kickers do you politely tell them your to busy or just not show? See I go to every lead and submit an estimate for the fear of bad publicity and plus you just never know. I need to figure out a way to weed out the window shoppers and save some time and fuel.

Usually what I do before ever going out on site is discuss the proposed job with the customer over the phone, while I'm talking to him/her I am online looking at overhead and street views of the property, property value and what not. The satalite pictures are often years old so if the landscape and property doesn''t look well kept i ask questions along the lines of "how long have you lived here", "what other changes have you done to the property", "why are you looking into doing this now". Often you'lll find while the house doesn't look great online the ho had recently put on an addition, added a pool, etc and are now looking to finally do the landscape. If I don't get the feeling that this is a good sale then I just tell the ho i'm backed up and can come out in 3 weeks or so, and that we will call to schedule a time. If it seems to be a good sale then I'll go out with in a coupple days to give an estimate.

Outdoors_Unlimited
01-28-2011, 11:57 PM
I straight up explain that I am not the cheapest on Craigslist when they call. But I tell them I will compete with the best.

I can't really speak from a landscape sale, as most of my calls are for tree removal, and maintenance services.
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JimLewis
01-29-2011, 03:29 AM
..... Often you'lll find while the house doesn't look great online the ho had recently put on an addition, added a pool, etc .....

Damm! Why she gotta be a Ho?


.

JimLewis
01-29-2011, 03:39 AM
When you guy's say you blow off the tire kickers do you politely tell them your to busy or just not show? See I go to every lead and submit an estimate for the fear of bad publicity and plus you just never know. I need to figure out a way to weed out the window shoppers and save some time and fuel.

Yah, I used to be more like you and give a bid to everyone who called. For the same fears you have. But after years of doing that I finally took one of my good friend's advice (he owns a very large and successful landscape & irrigation co. in Idaho) and started screening calls a lot more.

I just sat down with the owner of one of the larger landscape firms in my town (they do about $4.5Mil in Revenue a year) and he mentioned that they turn down 2 out of every 3 calls they receive. They will only actually end up going out to bid 1 of 3. They screen the others over the phone by asking questions about what kind of work they want done, what kind of sq. footage, what items, and then they throw out some round-about numbers for what they think something like that might cost and that will often scare off many of the callers right there. For those who say, "Ok. That sounds about right." then they proceed with giving a bid. He also said they discuss budget over the phone too and try to determine if what the client is asking for is even close to what their budget is. And if they don't have a budget in mind they make them think about it and call back when they do. Then if the budget seems in order with what they are asking, again, they will proceed.

I implemented a way of screening calls last spring because things were just way too crazy. I was giving way too many bids and I wanted to narrow it down to just the good leads. So I came up with a 2 page questionnaire based on my friend's advice and my own experience that I make the office go through with every caller during the busy season. Then I review the stack of documents at the end of the day or the next morning and tell them which ones to call back and set appts for and which ones not to.

There's more to how I do it too. But that's all I care to divulge to the general public openly right now. If you want to know more, PM me or email me. I think you have my email address already anyway, right?

As for letting them down, the local guy here told me he just tells them that based on their budget, etc. that they probably aren't the right match and best of luck. They don't seem to get any negative blow back from it, either. They have a great reputation in our area. I do it a little differently. But again, we can discuss that in an email or PM.....

GreenI.A.
01-29-2011, 09:10 AM
Damm! Why she gotta be a Ho?


.

Home Owner, but if she seams like a ho then i might give a discount

STL Ponds and Waterfalls
01-29-2011, 04:14 PM
Home Owner, but if she seams like a ho then i might give a discount

LOL! I was waiting or that.

Outdoors_Unlimited
01-29-2011, 10:34 PM
Today adventures in craigslist.

Text message idea worked perfect. I Google earthed each call. Once I determinded they were in my area, and had an idea of size, id call them back. If it wasn't my area, I texted back that they were out of my range. Id tell them I have a minimum of $xx first thing. If they don't like it cool, good luck.

4 out of 7 Craigslist leads for snowplowing, signed seasonal contracts for the remaineder of the year. 2 hung up on me. The other wanted it done yesterday, PITA, so I declined.

Craigslist has basically built my business. My first ever client, came from Craigslist 4 years ago, and are some of my best clients.
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