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RPM90
04-28-2011, 05:46 PM
I have a few questions, I started in maintenance and we do a lot of maintenance work but this year I am trying to do a lot more hardscaping jobs. I just trying to see how some of you hardscaping guys keep the jobs up all year. Do you constantly advertise or just get them cause of word of mouth.

TomG
04-28-2011, 06:15 PM
We do 3 home shows in the winter and that's it for advertising. Almost everything for us is word of mouth.

DVS Hardscaper
04-28-2011, 09:00 PM
You always have to constantly advertise. And stay out in front.

Even McDonalds advertises heavily.

Referrals are always great, but you need at least a million dollars of work under you belt before referral work will keep you afloat.


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DVS Hardscaper
04-28-2011, 09:03 PM
Wrong button

Bru75
04-28-2011, 10:52 PM
you need at least a million dollars of work under you belt before referral work will keep you afloat.
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DVS, I respect your opinion, but from what orifice was that figure pulled?
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DVS Hardscaper
04-29-2011, 05:22 AM
DVS, I respect your opinion, but from what orifice was that figure pulled?
Posted via Mobile Device


As always, everything I type here is derived from first hand experience, never theory.

If it's something I did not experience, you will always see the words "it's my opinion" embedded in my post.

Also, notice I said "under your belt". This is not to be confused with annual sales.

If you have only done 10 jobs over the last 16 months, sure you may get some referrals, but they won't keep you busy and also. Also, a referal does not guarantee you're going to get the job.


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Stillwater
04-29-2011, 05:22 AM
DVS, I respect your opinion, but from what orifice was that figure pulled?
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Obviously reasonable and non argumentative people realize their are exceptions to this, but I think what he meant was longevity, You need to be around a long time and have maintained and built a solid reputation with a level of exceptional quality of workmanship for word of mouth to sustain hardscape construction with full time crews exclusively. Considering these details DVS is mostly right.

Bru75
04-29-2011, 08:44 AM
I agree with both of you on longevity, quality of work, and all that.
I just wonder where the million dollar figure came from.
I would say that the need to advertise, and whether a business can thrive on referals alone can't be based solely on a dollar amount.
You also need to consider other factors, including but not limited to current economic conditions, location, quality of customer service, and the individual goals of the business owner.
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Bru75
04-29-2011, 09:12 AM
Obviously reasonable and non argumentative people realize their are exceptions to this

Easy.
Obviously reasonable and non humorless people realize that my post was half-joking.

To the OP, I advertised a lot when I started out and cut back on the ad budget as referrals and repeat business grew. I still advertise as needed to keep new customers in the pipeline.
This mostly depends on your plan for your business, do you want to build a large business and run a lot of crews, or do you just want to pay the bills, raise your family, and save for retirement? Or something in between?
I'd suggest starting by making sure that your satisfied maintenance customers know about your new services.

DVS Hardscaper
04-29-2011, 09:36 AM
After I had reached 1 mil (dollars) of work under our belt is when a fair portion of my sales derived from referrals.

dollars is the easier way to set a goal in terms of mid level residential work.

I could say after 200,000 sf of Pavers on the ground, but a Pavers job also entails grading, planting, lighting, water features, demo. Etc., so it's best to use dollars as a gauge.
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Stillwater
04-29-2011, 10:28 AM
Easy.
Obviously reasonable and non humorless people realize that my post was half-joking.



Ya know your right, I promised myself to change and not sound like a total dick this season, I guess theirs improvement instead of sounding like a total dick I just sound like a bit of a dick. Measurable improvement.......

DVS Hardscaper
04-29-2011, 05:33 PM
Ya know your right, I promised myself to change and not sound like a total dick this season, I guess theirs improvement instead of sounding like a total dick I just sound like a bit of a dick. Measurable improvement.......

Self employment makes us grumpy!


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Bru75
04-29-2011, 06:53 PM
Ya know your right, I promised myself to change and not sound like a total dick this season, I guess theirs improvement instead of sounding like a total dick I just sound like a bit of a dick. Measurable improvement.......

Good enough.
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Bru75
04-29-2011, 06:55 PM
Self employment makes us grumpy!


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I'm only half as grumpy as I was working for somebody else.
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land_scaper70
05-02-2011, 09:52 AM
Self employment makes us grumpy!


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I attribute it to indecisive clients and cheap ones that want work done at a ridiculous price.

DVS Hardscaper
05-02-2011, 03:27 PM
I attribute it to indecisive clients and cheap ones that want work done at a ridiculous price.

Or the ones who's feelings easily get hurt.

I was having a great morning, in a good, happy mood. I had a job in the bag, people ready to move forward with us. The lady had asked me a legit question, and she ended it with "we've been reading all kinds of horror stories on the Internet..." I responded in a polite tone "you can read all kinds of stuff in the Internet..." and she interupted me from that point and said "well thanks alot" in an offended tone.

Job lost. Me in a bad mood for the rest of the day!



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zedosix
05-02-2011, 05:33 PM
I don't get it Andrew, what was said that peeved her off.

DVS Hardscaper
05-02-2011, 06:26 PM
I don't get it Andrew, what was said that peeved her off.

Neither did I. When she said "well thanks alot" I 1st thought she was joking and going along with me. I hesitated and realized her tone was not a happy tone. While I do have it in me to tear someone a new one, I'm not the type to out of the blue insult customers by any means. I was going to go into detail about what she was concerned about, but never got a chance.

She went on to explain that they have a hard time trusting contractors because an electrician started work and did not finish and he ran off with their money. I understand the home owner's position, but I hate when they say "we're not trusting you because 3 yrs ago we had work done and......."

This upset me. Upset me because I apparently upset her and I had nothing but good intentions. I am tight knit with everyone we do projects for and I think of them as family and would never insult anyone unprovoked. And upset about the loss of a sale. We'll see what happens, there is not a slew of contractors that do what they want. Maybe her husband will call in a week or two.

This is a customer service industry and you will always encounter all sorts of personalities. Just like dating - you're not always going to hit it off with everyone.


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lise
05-16-2011, 04:47 PM
What have you found to be the best form for advertising? Someone mentioned referrals only work well when you already have a ton of business. How does direct mailing work for you? I've heard it used to be great but not so much anymore because the market is flooded. Also, do you find it's better to start on your own or work for an organization like TruGreen (http://jobs.trugreen.com/)? I'm just getting started and was wondering do they have none competes or anything like that?

DVS Hardscaper
05-16-2011, 05:33 PM
What have you found to be the best form for advertising? Someone mentioned referrals only work well when you already have a ton of business. How does direct mailing work for you? I've heard it used to be great but not so much anymore because the market is flooded. Also, do you find it's better to start on your own or work for an organization like TruGreen (http://jobs.trugreen.com/)? I'm just getting started and was wondering do they have none competes or anything like that?


referrals always can work for you. To clarify my point: what I'm saying is you can't rely only on referals to generate work for you. But once you've been doing this for a long long time and you have an extensive list of satisified clients - you'll see referals really play a big part in your sales.


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