PDA

View Full Version : So what is the best way to get customers?


Mikegyver
05-28-2011, 12:17 AM
I cannot seem to get any hits anywhere. I have posted on a group we are apart of, no hits. Craigslist, one sod job that did not materialize.
My main issue is that I am doing business under another company name that has nothing to do with lawn care. So would this work on cards and fliers?
Mike .......
Such and Such LLC
Lawn Care and Landscaping
Any other tips? What is the best way to get those yards? Word of mouth has not treated me well.
mike

Mikegyver
05-28-2011, 12:19 AM
Also, has anyone tried joining a BNI (http://www.bni.com/) group? Its about 965 bucks a year in the local chapter.
mike

jwsland
05-29-2011, 12:29 AM
My main issue is that I am doing business under another company name that has nothing to do with lawn care. So would this work on cards and fliers?
Mike .......
Such and Such LLC
Lawn Care and Landscaping
Any other tips? What is the best way to get those yards? Word of mouth has not treated me well.
mike


Well if people are searching ads for lawn care why would they call someone who's name has nothing to do with it? Main issue indeed, fix that you might get some calls.

I have generated alot of work over the years from newspaper ads, flyers and craigslist by including the words "owner operated" in my ads. People feel more comfortable dealing with the owner. I have employees but I'm always on the job and the customer always deals with me. My business is smaller so that usually works well.

Mikegyver
05-29-2011, 01:32 AM
Well the way we have to do it this year (since I am 17 and my dad owns the biz) is under a different business name. Its not weird or anything its just people do not understand what it means. We are doing this for simplicities sake as we have never run a business until now ( and now we are running 2 business under this name)...
thanks

jwsland
05-29-2011, 03:32 AM
I missed the word of mouth part. You have a problem if word of mouth advertising has not treated you well also.

When you present yourself in the form of an ad or flyer you don't want to be unclear, misleading or confusing. It seems like your getting ignored because of your business name.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
05-29-2011, 04:32 AM
You can still keep your main legal name and still have a ''doing business as name''


THM Aqusion Doing business as Southern states toyota lift. As an example.

Mikegyver
05-29-2011, 09:34 AM
We were going to do that, but that is one more biz to get sale tax # for, insure, account for. Both are really small right now. I am seriously reconsidering though.
Topsides, I have finished school, I will be taking my senior year off for the most part and then going to college in "12
MIke

Mikegyver
05-29-2011, 09:38 AM
I have been doing this for 3 seasons and only have 8 accounts. i look professional, act professional, and keep a tight, clean cut operation. I do good work also. I just cannot seem to get those jobs. Yes I did just nab a 10k a year contract but that was because I know the maintenance director. Most of my yards are large country yards that are hard to make a living at, but its all i got.
MIke

topsites
05-29-2011, 11:16 AM
Lower your prices dramatically, start lowballing.

ALC-GregH
05-29-2011, 11:48 AM
I have been doing this for 3 seasons and only have 8 accounts. i look professional, act professional, and keep a tight, clean cut operation. I do good work also. I just cannot seem to get those jobs. Yes I did just nab a 10k a year contract but that was because I know the maintenance director. Most of my yards are large country yards that are hard to make a living at, but its all i got.
MIke

humm, sounds like word of mouth IS working. I've done a dozen jobs all big from one customer so far this year. This is on top of all my regular work.

Don't listen to Topsites, he's just disgruntle because he doesn't have much work and the lowballing didn't work for him.

cbegap
05-29-2011, 01:46 PM
If you want more residential customers, make sure you mow on Saturdays and Holidays when everyone is home. I get more customers from people walking up to me on those days than any other way I have tried.

Mikegyver
05-29-2011, 06:34 PM
I had a neighbor that had 20 this far in the game...similar setup and age. He advised me to go and park in a neighborhood and knock on doors. Is saturday a good day? What time of day? When it is hot :)?
I cannot afford to lowball with one helper and all this machinery to keep up.
mike

cbegap
05-29-2011, 10:45 PM
Are you sure you can't afford to lowball? Don't take this wrong but a lot of people fall into the trap of sitting around doing nothing and holding out for a price to mow. So.... why not try lowering your price until you have too much business, and then raise you prices and keep those that are willing to pay more. Your machinery is a fixed price. You will have to pay, or you have already paid a fixed amount regardless of whether you mow 1 yard or 100 yards. Your variables are your consumables like gas, trimmer line, edger blades and labor costs etc. (Let's ignore depreciating the machines etc. to keep this simple). So maybe at first you leave your helper at home. It sucks but you have to start somewhere. Pull into a neighborhood Saturday morning not too early but at least by 9:00. Get there too early and everyone's asleep. By around 1:00 people are starting to leave to go run errands. It won't take you long to figure out how much people are willing to pay. If you throw out a price and they don't bite, ask followup questions like, How much would you be willing to pay? If it is too low, try to get them to meet you half way between your price and theirs. Go around and knock doors. Target the lawns that look really long. Look for ones that are mowed but no one ever trims or edges. If you get some edging or trim jobs, which should be at least half the price of doing the entire job, throw out the price of the entire job. I started by knocking doors 3 evenings a week in the winter months. I was happy if I got 5 or 6 maybes. Off those, I was happy if 1 turned into a regular. Knocking and targeting neighborhoods keeps your accounts concentrated and not driving all over the place just to mow 1 lawn and then pack up and leave. You may take 1 yard just to get a foothold, but then you knock the crap of that neighborhood to try and get as many as you can. Again, this is for residential. The good is that you don't have as many eggs in 1 basket vs commercial. The bad is working with all the different personalities and invoicing and collecting from a lot of different accounts is a pain.

Mikegyver
05-29-2011, 11:44 PM
Thanks. I am in a position that I would rather not work than work for nothing (still at home)...its not the pricing, I just cannot get hits. I am going to start making my knuckles bleed on all those nice solid oak doors in town LOL.

On a side note, anyone try a referral discount with regular customers, i.e. get a regular customer for me get 2 cuts free? Or a free gift card?
mike

headz77
05-30-2011, 12:31 AM
Yep, I give my customers $50 off the next month's invoice for a referral that pans out. But, I only do year-round contracts- that might be too high if the work is seasonal. But even if you don't offer an incentive- ask for referrals. And if you get one send a Thank You note. Business is relationships- be easy to like.

johnny_boy02
05-30-2011, 04:06 AM
Also, has anyone tried joining a BNI (http://www.bni.com/) group? Its about 965 bucks a year in the local chapter.
mike

I have been doing this for 3 seasons and only have 8 accounts. i look professional, act professional, and keep a tight, clean cut operation. I do good work also. I just cannot seem to get those jobs. Yes I did just nab a 10k a year contract but that was because I know the maintenance director. Most of my yards are large country yards that are hard to make a living at, but its all i got.
MIke

See if there is a LeTip chapter in your area. Cheaper and better. I joined 2 months ago and I will have all my money back after this months invoices are paid.

I was skeptical but I am happy I joined.

http://www.letip.com/

Mikegyver
05-30-2011, 09:36 AM
Thanks all, and keep the suggestions a coming.
mike

Cam.at.Heritage
05-30-2011, 10:28 AM
Around here I often see names Like "Joe's Landscaping" the in small print " A division of "Jim's Hardware", Most people will just read Joe's Landscaping and not even bother to read the rest and it makes the company sound larger then it is usually which can also be a benefit.

Also if you have the time/money do a website. We have recently redone our and the amount of hits is off the charts. New papers and print adds are old news... and it gives you a chance to showcase your work.

Good Luck

Mikegyver
05-30-2011, 11:01 AM
I could do that, its just operating another company (even a sub company) is just a lot more paperwork than either of us wants to handle.
Mike

cbegap
05-30-2011, 04:23 PM
"Thanks. I am in a position that I would rather not work than work for nothing (still at home)...its not the pricing, I just cannot get hits."

Well I envy your position then. I didn't mean work for nothing, just less than what you were maybe hoping to get exposure in the neighborhood. Last time I checked, something is better than nothing. Your opportunity cost for sitting home is not only the wages you would have earned, but the advertising you missed by being out and about.

I will give my customers $5 off of their mowing if they refer someone each time I mow both lawns, for the first season. So I tell them they can get their lawn for free if they refer enough people. If the referral drops out then their price goes back up instead of paying for a referral that might not stick.

BigGreen1
05-30-2011, 04:52 PM
MCC Lawn Care,

1. Getting customers is about timing. My approach is having an add in
the local paper on the first warm day of Spring. Not sure about Texas
though.

2. Why do you need a helper with 8 yards?

3. I assume you are dressed appropriately. You don't need to look like
you just left a golf course but you shouldn't look like you left a
basketball court either.

4. Relax and have a good time. People are drawn to positive people.

I have quit advertising a few years ago. Most of my requests come when I am out working. The more yards you get the more exposure you will have. My first advertisement read "Company Name" "Good and Cheap" we mowed in October and November for free. My first year advertising, I went from 7 yards to 22. I now am over 40.

That's all I can think of,
Tim

edit: Flyers were good for <1% return. Yard signs (2) landed a few huge accounts. If you have a well exposed yard, the signs may pay off but late Spring and Summer are not the best times to advertise.

nancelawn
05-30-2011, 09:04 PM
seems like your lazy to me.

Mikegyver
05-30-2011, 10:06 PM
MCC Lawn Care,

1. Getting customers is about timing. My approach is having an add in
the local paper on the first warm day of Spring. Not sure about Texas
though.

2. Why do you need a helper with 8 yards?

3. I assume you are dressed appropriately. You don't need to look like
you just left a golf course but you shouldn't look like you left a
basketball court either.

4. Relax and have a good time. People are drawn to positive people.


1. Ive been told right now is good as it is getting hot.
2. Lets see, some sides of town are DANGEROUS to mow solo, some yards are around an acre. I try to cram as many in a day as possible as i live out of town. Also its my brother and I like to help him out as he does not have a job other than me. Also, it sooooo hot here I cannot be out all day so need help to get it done in the morning.

3. We where BDUs at the WAIST and wear breathable shirts that are black, red, or grey
4. We are relaxed and always talk to the customers when they want to...some elderly people just need that.

Oh, I am not lazy. I also run another biz on top of this. It keeps me BizE that is for sure. Plus I keep up our family farm. I am a dawn to dusk kinda guy.
mike

Roachy
05-31-2011, 01:29 AM
You gotta brainstorm a little. I guarantee if your determined enough and go knock on 100 doors, youre bound to pick up someone. I started out with 5 this season, and now a month later have over 20.
The best thing I can say is go have some decent looking business cards made up. You can get 200 for around $40. Knock on 50 doors and just say "hey do you have a couple minutes. I do lawn care for people in your area, thought you might be interested..." Act like youre a professional. Write the price of their lawn on the business card and hand it to them. If they waffle a little say you will cut it for half price for the first cut. Dont act desperate, just give them a quick run down on how you do the lawn. Say you cut, edge, weedwack, blow, can bag clippings when necessary. Talk about how you run everything and bill them so they dont think this is your first lawn or something. Tell them to call or email you if interested. If you did this for 100 houses, I guarantee you will pick some up. And if you do a good enough job cutting grass, the neighbors will notice and you will pick up more. If most lawns are cut at $40/wk, nothing wrong with saying $35 if you dont have much work. Present yourself as a clean cut, honest, harding-working guy that people can trust. I sure hope guys in my area dont read this because this is exactly how I snatched up a lot of accounts. Put some business cards out in local stores. People like to communicate through email a lot so leave that on your card. Good luck

Mikegyver
05-31-2011, 09:06 AM
Ya I forgot about the guy who found my card somewhere...he is my top profit job lol.

So where do folks get the best price on cards? Id get 500 made up....

mike

Roachy
05-31-2011, 04:38 PM
Ya I forgot about the guy who found my card somewhere...he is my top profit job lol.

So where do folks get the best price on cards? Id get 500 made up....

mike

I went to staples so I could get them the same day. If you go online you will probably have to pay shipping and wait a week or two before you receive them.

Classic Cuts Lawn Service
05-31-2011, 05:19 PM
The thing that works best for me...and I am sure many others...is simply the word of mouth of loyal customers to their neighbors, friends, etc.

Puddle of Oil
05-31-2011, 06:48 PM
Around here I often see names Like "Joe's Landscaping" the in small print " A division of "Jim's Hardware", Most people will just read Joe's Landscaping and not even bother to read the rest and it makes the company sound larger then it is usually which can also be a benefit.

Also if you have the time/money do a website. We have recently redone our and the amount of hits is off the charts. New papers and print adds are old news... and it gives you a chance to showcase your work.

Good Luck

you've got an awesome website. :)

Dogbonz
05-31-2011, 08:47 PM
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

TuffWork
05-31-2011, 09:00 PM
On the business card side of things go check out vista print. I had my girlfriend design them for me and they look great. They were cheap, too. Cheapest I've seen. Once you get them hand them out to EVERYONE you know. See an old friend from highschool and the first thing you say to eachother is "what are you doing nowadays?" he says blah blah boring desk job wife and kids and you say and I bet you got a yard to take care of too here is my card. Even if someone says they do it themselves give them a card and just "in case you get sick or go out of town". That way they aren't saying yes but they aren't saying no.

Find friends at greenhouses. Give them a stack of your cards. They hand them out to people when they say "I'd love to have one of those but I just don't know how I'm gonna put it in". Subsequently he says "I know a guy who does great work". Next thing you know your mowing their lawn AND doing all of their other landscaping needs.

sorry for the bad grammar. long day I'm tired

jsslawncare
05-31-2011, 09:04 PM
Why the LLC and sales tax #. 16 years with 4 years full time and I still don't have a need for either. DBA and pay your income tax. And pick a name for lawncare.

Mikegyver
05-31-2011, 11:23 PM
Why the LLC and sales tax #. 16 years with 4 years full time and I still don't have a need for either. DBA and pay your income tax. And pick a name for lawncare.
OK I will spill the beans. My other job involves 100,000s of stinging insects, and I want the liability protection for both businesses, hence 2 under the same banner. Its all in my dads name as I am not old enough for a tax ##. According to state law, if I gross over 5k I need one. And trust me I am....Let me put it this way I have a solo job that requires 48 8 hr days a year. $$$$$ Its large.
Mike

Will P.C.
06-01-2011, 12:39 AM
What is the name of your business?

topsites
06-01-2011, 12:42 AM
That's the problem with this forum, it's always either kids who aren't old enough or the dang homeowners barging in
to this section, most I get out of it is some smart back talk but then I like to just let it go too knowing that inevitably
we just might get down to 4 pages of answers later...

Mikegyver
06-01-2011, 08:42 AM
We have Kingfisher Apiaries L.L.C.
Topsites, is there really a reason to be bitter? Was that post really worth it...or does it sweeten your day to ruin everybody elses day? Would you rather me be sitting in front of a Xbox on YOUR tax dollars, Or working to pay my taxes?
mike

Mikegyver
06-04-2011, 09:09 PM
Did I kill this thread?
mike

Darryl G
06-04-2011, 09:54 PM
I find that referrals and neighbors of current accounts are the best. If someone has heard good things about you or has seen your work and likes it you've got a really good chance of getting the work.

I also run newspaper adds periodically. One in the spring (mowing etc.), one in the early fall (leaves) and one in the late fall (for plowing). The spring and late fall ones are for 12 weeks and the early fall one is for 5 weeks typically. I used to have a Yellow Pages listing but recently dropped it.

Mikegyver
06-06-2011, 08:57 AM
Thanks.
mike

txgrassguy
06-06-2011, 09:42 AM
You could try licking a twenty dollar bill and sticking it to your forehead then walking through sub-divisions. . .

Seriously though, multiple businesses that cater to separate work is especially hard to market in a down economy - I'd suggest initiating a marketing campaign under a different name. Also learn to diversify the services offered such as licensed work in irrigation, pesticide applications, pond work, etc.

Regarding professional memberships with Builder Associations, unless you have the required licensing for irrigation and pesticide applications at a minimum, you are offering no relatively attractive service for Builders. Since a majority of these types of businesses are slowing they will perform mowing/general landscape services at a price too low for you to compete.

Texas Lawn
06-06-2011, 11:59 AM
tough love? its probably more than just your name that is a problem here. 8 accounts in three seasons is tough. There could be two symptoms, either you arent marketing the right way, or you dont have a service that people want. I dont know because I am basing on what you have said and I am certainly not trying to be negative.

I dont think you can run both business. For one you dont seem to have the necessary time it takes to build a lawn business. Unless your using a push mower, I could do 8, 1 acre properties in a day. You havent even changed your name to let people know what you do. This is VITAL!! Good luck to you!

Mikegyver
06-06-2011, 05:25 PM
tough love? its probably more than just your name that is a problem here. 8 accounts in three seasons is tough. There could be two symptoms, either you arent marketing the right way, or you dont have a service that people want. I dont know because I am basing on what you have said and I am certainly not trying to be negative.

I dont think you can run both business. For one you dont seem to have the necessary time it takes to build a lawn business. Unless your using a push mower, I could do 8, 1 acre properties in a day. You havent even changed your name to let people know what you do. This is VITAL!! Good luck to you!
I have not done any marketing besides word of mouth. We run a loaded, nice trailer, nice equipment, I am polite (and look and act professional), any helpers are the same, and we do a super job. I am about to post pics of some recent work...
2 are commercial. One is a postage stamp, the other is acres. The postage stamp is the cheapest one, the large one is almost 4 times as much as the biggest residential. The big one is a year around one that is worth about 10-15 average residentials. Large and pays good.
My residentials are just average yards, ranging from 8000 square foot ones to 1-2 acres. They have come via word of mouth...and one from a mailer. only 3-4 are nice city yards, the rest are country yards (and therefore harder and less profit) I really need about 10-15 residential and 3-5 commercial to make a comfortable part time living. I have the other biz to make up for the lawn care.
So what am I doing wrong?
mike

Mikegyver
06-06-2011, 05:29 PM
Oh, the residencials and small commercial take 6-7 hrs, large commercial solo is 8 hrs. I have plenty of time to grow, 3-4 more slots on my main day (friday) then one on the commercial day (thurs) and then some more another day of the week. My other business is what i like doing..this is just to build up and sell or let employees run it.
mike

Mikegyver
06-07-2011, 09:15 AM
Anyone!
mike

abraham
06-08-2011, 11:47 PM
i dont know what you look like or how you act but i will tell you what worked for me.i placed ads in newspapers,flyers on doors (yards starting at $15 and when i talk to the customer i explain that their yard is a $20-25-30-50...ect yard and they know you cant cut it for $15 if they try walk away.i dont cut any lawns for$15.) now most important is how you dress.people want someone they can trust,and who else portrays that than the amish.think about it when you see an amish dude you think hard worker drug free basically someone you can trust rather than the average american d-bag.i know it works because when i wear work pants (nice slacks khakis carpenter jeans) a long sleeved plaid shirt and most important--a straw hat---the straw hat is the clincher.my side burns are long and i actually act the part and people trust and love me.i was being lazy the other day and did not wear the hat (i have long hair-cobain-1994 and tattoos on my forearms)the customer ended up going with someone else-the only one i ever had turn me down.

topsites
06-09-2011, 03:18 AM
I would just be yourself, that way you don't have to try and remember some act, more than anything I would not recommend
trying and fool the customer into thinking you're something else, no offense but that has the potential to backfire in some kind
of a bad way.

No taking short cuts :nono:

If they don't trust you that's too bad, but trying to trick them into trusting you can't possibly be helping.
Do it the right way, and if it takes longer...

abraham
06-10-2011, 12:37 AM
i'm not tricking anyone and i didnt plan this.i bought the hat to keep the sun from frying me and also to protect my head from branches and low tree limbs.i always work with long pants and long sleeved shirts to protect against the sun,bugs,and grass clippings.it just seemed to work with people.they would hire me on the spot.i also am drug-free and hard-working-so im not faking anything.

topsites
06-10-2011, 02:28 AM
i'm not tricking anyone and i didnt plan this.i bought the hat to keep the sun from frying me and also to protect my head from branches and low tree limbs.i always work with long pants and long sleeved shirts to protect against the sun,bugs,and grass clippings.it just seemed to work with people.they would hire me on the spot.i also am drug-free and hard-working-so im not faking anything.

All right I see what you're saying, it's just hard some days, people are funny and people will judge you based on appearances,
believe me I am so glad I never got a tattoo but I had to remove an eye piercing because of it, so I know all too well how it is
and it doesn't make it right... Matter of fact it could tempt someone to lean the other way and I wanted to be sure folks knew
it wasn't as simple a matter of just dressing and acting a certain way because it probably wouldn't be such a good idea to fall
for this temptation.

Peace out