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View Full Version : anyone else finding that leaf removal marketing isn't getting much response??


GarPA
11-03-2002, 07:35 AM
first season to cold sell leaf removal....4000 flyers hung on knobs in "leafy" nice neighborhoods....consisent block ad in a well thought of community newspaper for past 6 months.....results have been almost non existent...not even tire kickers calling for leaf info...they do call for other things...started the marketing in late august and repeated the flyers twice...thats 8000...we are having a late leaf drop...could that part of the problem? I have plenty of other work but I hope to get a dozen or so larger cleanups ...if nothing else than to justify why I spent all that money on the Z and the vac system...maybe its just a little early here in the Mid Atlantic...thanks for your perspective

65hoss
11-03-2002, 08:35 AM
Late leaves? Yes. Also, many people will wait until a lot are down before they call. I have had people that had my fliers for months and even years to call. "I just kept it in case I needed it". Just the nature of the leaf beast.

The Mowerdude
11-03-2002, 09:36 AM
And to add to Hoss's post....

I've found that leaf customers don't do anything until those #%@*! leaves are driving them absolutely bonkers crazy!! THEN they call and want it done yesterday.

So don't sweat it too much just yet.

When they DO start calling, tell them that you'll add them to the list and will get to them as soon as you've done everyone else's before them. And you don't know exactly when that will be because of rain/snow, early dusk, some yards having a lot more than met the eye, etc.

Hang in there, it'll come.

If you've done 8000, I think you're going to end up with a lot more than a dozen or so. I think you might be slammed getting toward Christmas. Around here, everyone wants the yards cleaned up for the holidays. The closer to Christmas, the crazier everything gets.

dr grass
11-03-2002, 10:00 AM
dont sweat it! i put a mail-order flyer out about 2 weeks ago. it goes to every house in my county. only had about 4 calls for cleanups. like its been said, most people wait til the last minute, than they will blow your phone off the wall!!!!!!!


shep :p

rodfather
11-03-2002, 04:27 PM
Gary,

Most people approach the idea of taking care of the leaves like they do when having to go to the dentist or getting their hair cut...they wait until the VERY last minute.

Hang tight and just hope you have bitten off more than you can chew with 8000 flyers floating around my friend. BTW, the leaves are late this year...at least a week, maybe even 2.

Cooper Landscaping
11-03-2002, 05:12 PM
this year we passed out a little over 400 fliers and had 9 people call from them. We put a 10% off coupon that was valid if they were booked before October 20. It worked pretty well as opposed to last year without the coupon. But yes there are still te people who are calling now and thats just to be expected. I wish my leaf season went until christmas lol
-Coop

Richard Martin
11-03-2002, 06:55 PM
The Mowerdude wrote:

When they DO start calling, tell them that you'll add them to the list and will get to them as soon as you've done everyone else's before them.

Wait a minute here. Isn't kitzy soliciting their business? You don't bait potential customers in and then tell them they will have to wait. Now if they were cold calling for a cleanup then you can end list them. If you want to advertise a service then you'd better be prepared to do it in a timely fashion.

The Mowerdude
11-03-2002, 07:07 PM
Well....maybe I didn't explain fully.

By the time this season gets rockin, it's the only way we can handle the traffic around here. Obviously you wouldn't have to do this at first. Sometimes I take a little much for granted, but hey, I'm just thinking positive :)

I've found that, as a general rule, the most that we can handle in one day is 3 small to medium sized yards. So, if I get 5-8 calls, I'm already getting stacked up. I've also found that I cannot guarantee any kind of arrival time. The weather is turning foul, one yard has a few leaves while the next is buried and maybe some of the guys decide to take an unscheduled day off.

Based on past experience I'd say that once the calls start coming in, they're going to come in truckloads.

Baiting?.....Naw, nothing to be gained by that, but factoring what I just said, it's just being honest and not putting yourself under any unneeded pressure. I'm just saying don't make promises that you can't keep. Kinda like the old thing where your mower dealer tells you that he can order a part and have it in a day or two when in reality, it's going to take 2 weeks. At the end of a week you're pretty upset with him. But if he'd told you it was going to be 3 weeks and it only took the 2, you'd be very happy with him.

MATTHEW
11-03-2002, 08:59 PM
Remember that that problem is OURS to deal with.

Richard was right in stating that a sales call matches priority with contracted customers. The last thing they want to hear is that they will have to wait. What you will do is solidify a cancel and probably never get any business from them again.

Especially with new customers. A prompt first response will let them know that you are accountable to your word. Once you sign them up and they get to know you, THEN they will let you slide on being late for a service visit.

greenman
11-03-2002, 09:27 PM
I have only had a few responses so far, because alot of people wait until they are really heavy. They only want a cleanup maybe twice. I have found that most of the non-regular clean-up customers call just right before Thanksgiving, and they want you to come over ASAP. Then again right before Christmas. Then early spring.
Some of my regulars are done weekly or bi-weekly.

The Mowerdude
11-03-2002, 10:03 PM
Originally posted by MATTHEW
Remember that that problem is OURS to deal with.

Richard was right in stating that a sales call matches priority with contracted customers. The last thing they want to hear is that they will have to wait. What you will do is solidify a cancel and probably never get any business from them again.

Especially with new customers. A prompt first response will let them know that you are accountable to your word. Once you sign them up and they get to know you, THEN they will let you slide on being late for a service visit.

I don't understand this post. Are we on the same page?

Premo Services
11-04-2002, 12:43 AM
Originally posted by greenman
I have found that most of the non-regular clean-up customers call just right before Thanksgiving, and they want you to come over ASAP. Then again right before Christmas.

Non regular customers... These are the ones that I like to get, the week of the holiday, the price always goes up higher. You wait you pay....:D

GarPA
11-04-2002, 06:47 AM
thanks guys for your words of wisdom....I think you're right about people thinking they'll wait until the last minute....then we have a major mucky mess....oh well its all by the hour...Leaf Beast....I like that Hoss...

Richard Martin
11-04-2002, 09:56 AM
MATTHEW wrote:

Richard was right in stating that a sales call matches priority with contracted customers.

That's almost what I said. I separated solicited (by way of flyers, yellow pages ads etc.) calls from cold calls (I heard you clean up leaves and wanted to get a price). I don't clean up leaves for non-regular customers so that is a non-issue for me. If I get a referral call for mowing they will get the last available spot, usually towards the beginning of the week. But if I go out and seek a particular job and they, as part of being my customer, request a specific day then I will do my best to get them on that day.

Now if you've found that your solicited calls are causing scheduling problems there is a way to handle this. It all comes back to the first rule of lawn servicing. YOU NEED TO SET THE EXPECTATIONS FOR THE CUSTOMER. I know everybody here has had at least one time or another had a customer ask "What are you going to do?". A potential customer is usually expecting you to lead the way, to tell them what you're going to do, how you will do it and when you will do it. I pass out a 2 page FAQ sheet to every new customer telling them these things. After a new customer reads it there are very few questions that they ask.

Okay, that being said, how do you handle scheduling problems with the flyer? Simple. Include a couple of lines at the bottom of the flyer that say something like "Please call 2 weeks in advance of your expected cleanup to schedule your date" or "Please call 1 week in advance to reserve your cleanup date". This way you are setting the expectations long before you see the customer and they are not disappointed when they can't call you and expect a cleanup the next day. It looks and is professional.

Sean Adams
11-04-2002, 04:31 PM
We often solicited for leaf clean-ups to non customers since we had the man power and equipment to make the money. But we tried something a little different one year. We called it a "Winterization Package". Similar to what you see automotive shops offer car customers (flush fluids, rotate tires, new wiper blades, etc...).

Once we put it out there, we got bombarded with calls. In reality, it was the same service packaged and marketed a little differently.

I can go into more detail if anyone wants me to. In a nutshell, we "prepped" thier property for the winter months. Made them feel great, made us money.

awm
11-04-2002, 06:47 PM
just sell your customers on the fact that leaves need to be dealt with just like grass. on a regular schedual.
the job never gets big and your season runs on a lot longer.
to the ones that choose to let them all fall first ,i just be sure an tellum itll really cost that way. not to mention that the lawn will look crummy all that time.
im even sellin them on monthly cuts during winter. im always amazed at how cruddy folkes will let their lawn get during winter.

DMAN
11-04-2002, 09:35 PM
Sean,

What was included in your "winterization" package?? How well did it sell to new clients and what was your method of advertising this service?? Any more details would be greatly appreciated.

Darron

Nebraska
11-04-2002, 09:37 PM
.

dmk395
11-04-2002, 10:33 PM
The calls will come, most don't plan ahead for leaves that I have seen, unless they are on your contract.

AGG Lawn Maintenance
11-05-2002, 10:07 PM
I have found over the years that many people do the "lets play it by ear method". For your old customers set up time frames. Try to push dates. Book up clean ups the are next to each other for the same day. I have found that we get most of our call mid November -December. Finishing our clean ups around Christmas time. About 2 years ago we did clean ups in Januray. We got set back due to all the snow storms we got. I would run your clean up ads in October-December. Maybe even run a customer referal
discount. We pick up tons of good jobs like that. Why not give your exisiting customers a discount for giving you good honest paying accounts. It has worked for me for years. But hey do what works for you. Good luck. And may the you blow tons of leaves and rake in the dough. Get it rake in the dough. LoLs. Travis;)

Sean Adams
11-05-2002, 10:50 PM
Darron,

The winterization package worked wonderfully for existing clients, as one may expect. Surprisingly, it worked just as well for first time/new clients as well - if they fit our ideal client profile.

The winterization package included, bed weeding, dead heading, pruning, leaf removal from all turf and hardscape areas, leaf removal from all beds, short mowing (mulched thoroughly or bagged), aeration, seeding, spot seeding, winter fertilizer application, etc... Depends on what is needed - and we would price accordingly. We had a sheet with each service offered, explanation of each with benefits, and their option to choose after we priced them out.

We even at times offered additional courtesy services that semi-related to the property maintenance as a whole- gutter cleaning, wrapping up hoses, bulb planting, etc....

We would market it just like you see automotive places do it. We would hit neighborhoods with flyers and direct mail pieces (which usually worked the best) where we already had clients.

The letter would explain who we are, the value of prepping their property for the winter, and the value it would have for the spring, etc...

It is a great service to offer if you are located in the right geographic area. People appreciate it, feel better about their property, and feel that you are a sensible choice to pick-up in the spring where you left off in the fall.

lsylvain
11-06-2002, 07:16 PM
Around here the city picks up everyones leaves from the curb so all you have to do is rake/blow them to the street. So there isn't much business for me in that department. witch really sucks because every house in town has atleast one giant oak tree.

so the only jobs I get are pain in the neck jobs with 14 retaining wall I have to climb over to get the leaves out.
I've thought about trying to get the town to sub out some parts of town to me.

greenman
11-07-2002, 10:11 PM
Originally posted by lsylvain
Around here the city picks up everyones leaves from the curb so all you have to do is rake/blow them to the street. So there isn't much business for me in that department. witch really sucks because every house in town has atleast one giant oak tree.

so the only jobs I get are pain in the neck jobs with 14 retaining wall I have to climb over to get the leaves out.
I've thought about trying to get the town to sub out some parts of town to me.

Exactly the way it is here. Thats why its best to charge by the hour for these types of jobs. Personally, I dont like just put the leaves to the curb. 1. It blows right back onto the lawn. 2. It pays me more to clean them up. Like you said above, most people here in my town do the leaves themselves because of the curbside service. I live north of Little Rock. Little Rock does not have curbside, unless they are in proper bags.:rolleyes: