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HOOLIE
11-23-2004, 01:53 AM
With all the threads on how to get business, I decided to go in my database and compile a list of how I got each customer. This is my 3rd season in business, working solo. 65 active residential customers as of now. Just for reference for those starting up. Most customers have been with me at least 2 years.

Flyers- 28 customers (43%)
Referrals- 11 (17%)
Saw truck/Saw me working- 11 (17%)
Community newsletter- 5 (7.5%)
Friend/Relative- 5 (7.5%)
Took over previous owner's contract- 3 (4.5%)
Rental home (2nd house) for existing customer- 2 (3%)

I rounded off so might not add to 100%.

olderthandirt
11-23-2004, 01:58 AM
Good info for the new and old guys

Mac

Green-Pro
11-23-2004, 06:50 PM
Great info Hoolie, I'm saving this thread for sure as a reference. It also seems to validate a whole lot of my research.

Question about flyers, how do you distribute them? grocery stores, local weekly advertising rags? I thought of going the weekly Ad rag way, as well as the grocery/quik trip, but am open to any suggestions that would be most effective.

I also thought I might distribute some business cards with some local Realtors and leave some (with permission) at convenience store counters.

Thanks for the helpful post

G-P

tiedeman
11-23-2004, 06:53 PM
whether out or new everybody, every year should keep track of how the customers noticed them or become customers. Great thread Hoolie!

walker-talker
11-23-2004, 07:10 PM
Question about flyers, how do you distribute them? Yes...I would like to know also?

twwlawn
11-23-2004, 08:51 PM
Good thread. I have Act software for this purpose, but I never broke it down to %'s. I just have #'s.

HOOLIE
11-23-2004, 09:11 PM
I hired 2 different guys to distibute flyers for me. They had been doing this for the old LCO I worked for, so I was comfortable with them. This worked well to get me off the ground, cost was $25 per 1,000 flyers. They came to my house to pick them up as well. They don't overlap in their distribution areas (they are father-in-law and son-in-law), so I could hit a variety of areas. I wish I'd kept the areas a little tighter, but live and learn. I haven't used these guys in a while, now I just hit a few select streets here and there to keep new business close.

Lawn-Scapes
11-24-2004, 12:15 AM
Here's mine with current clients:

Fliers: 8

Referals: 8

Saw me: 6

Website: 3

I solicited: 3

Purchased: 3

Friend of family: 1

tiedeman
11-24-2004, 06:17 PM
I hired 2 different guys to distibute flyers for me. They had been doing this for the old LCO I worked for, so I was comfortable with them. This worked well to get me off the ground, cost was $25 per 1,000 flyers. They came to my house to pick them up as well. They don't overlap in their distribution areas (they are father-in-law and son-in-law), so I could hit a variety of areas. I wish I'd kept the areas a little tighter, but live and learn. I haven't used these guys in a while, now I just hit a few select streets here and there to keep new business close.

sounds like you have it together

HOOLIE
11-24-2004, 11:56 PM
Actually, I think the flyer guy's have it together. I picked up one of their flyer packets once, there were 40 different flyers in it. 40 x $25= $1000 for that delivery, and he delivers 3 times a week. So he must be grossing around 3k a week. Monday/Tuesday he drives around picking up clients flyers, and stuffing them into the plastic sleeves. Delivers Wed - Fri. He's "retired" as he describes it, this is just something to keep him busy.

clemsonfan69
11-25-2004, 12:52 AM
What does he do, go door to door?

-CJ

HOOLIE
11-25-2004, 01:14 AM
No, he throws the packets onto driveways from his car. His wife drives and he throws.

MidAtlantic
11-25-2004, 01:21 AM
I hired 2 different guys to distibute flyers for me. They had been doing this for the old LCO I worked for, so I was comfortable with them. This worked well to get me off the ground, cost was $25 per 1,000 flyers. They came to my house to pick them up as well. They don't overlap in their distribution areas (they are father-in-law and son-in-law), so I could hit a variety of areas. I wish I'd kept the areas a little tighter, but live and learn. I haven't used these guys in a while, now I just hit a few select streets here and there to keep new business close.


HOOLIE,

Did you use professional full color flyers or was it just B&W from kinkos? Seems like those guys are the only ones around that perform the distribution for that cheap. Its great that they will pick up the flyers every monday before the delivery date and deliver your flyers to 1000 house holds every day. I think they are up to 32,000 upscale houses 4 times a year. A relative of theirs will do Loudoun County (South riding, Stoneridge, Landsdowne, leesburg) for the same price. Seems like a great deal to get the word out.

My question to you is how many people actually called you in response to your flyer? How soon after your flyers were distributed did you start getting most of your calls? How professional was your flyer? Did they really deliver it to all of your routes?

I also have a company that gets a national database of all new home purchases and deed transfers every week. You can buy the ones for the counties or zipcodes you services. They say the best time to make a sale is within the first 3 months of move in. They also say that all new homeowners pay $20-50,000 in furniture, improvements, maintenance in the first year. This is a great source.

If anybody needs the contact info of the new homeowners list PM me and I will give you the info.

Look forward to your reply

Robert

HOOLIE
11-25-2004, 01:33 AM
Robert,

That new home database sounds good. Have you been using it?

I will have to go back and dig up some more facts and figures on total number of estimates and percentages. I did get a good response from them up until around the middle of May, then it dried up. My flyers were just b&w, on yellow paper. My wife designed it, I have no talent for that sort of thing. I just trust they put them out. My old boss has used them for years, at first he would randomly drive around to check if they were getting passed out or not. Those guys seem legit to me. I like the Loudoun guy better, he hits each area much more frequently than the Fairfax guy.

tiedeman
11-25-2004, 06:44 AM
No, he throws the packets onto driveways from his car. His wife drives and he throws.

nice easy job that his has then, and makes pretty good money

clemsonfan69
11-25-2004, 12:54 PM
So does this guy have (3) sets of 1000 houses he does every week? Does he have like (6) sets he rotates delivery to every week? Or maybe even (12) he does 1x per month.

Just trying to figure out how he doesnt over do his people.

-CJ

MidAtlantic
11-25-2004, 01:23 PM
Robert,

That new home database sounds good. Have you been using it?

I will have to go back and dig up some more facts and figures on total number of estimates and percentages. I did get a good response from them up until around the middle of May, then it dried up. My flyers were just b&w, on yellow paper. My wife designed it, I have no talent for that sort of thing. I just trust they put them out. My old boss has used them for years, at first he would randomly drive around to check if they were getting passed out or not. Those guys seem legit to me. I like the Loudoun guy better, he hits each area much more frequently than the Fairfax guy.


HOOLIE,

Do you service more of Loudoun or Fairfax? I have done my research on those guys and it seems they have been doing an honest job according to the people that advertise with them. I have spoken with a handful of them and they say the same thing. They basically trust the service provider that he is distributing them to all the houses. They also went on to say that they have always gotten a good response from these guys...I dont know maybe I am looking for a reason not to use those guys. Its just thats a lot of houses to deliver to. I have heard about the mailman throwing his load of mail in dumpsters behind shopping centers.

If you think about it most of the people that these flyers are delivered to already have a contract with other lawn service companies. I put some thought to it and the only way to get more out of your flyer distribution is to "STEAL or EARN" business away from other companies. We know how there are a lot of companies or one man shows that customers aren't totally happy with. The only way to make them want to make the switch is to offer services they don't offer or to make your company look much more professional than your competition. Like any other form of advertisement if conveys alot more about your company than you think. So if you want to get more bang for your buck with your flyers you have to improve your image. Full color and photos sell!!!!

As for the new homes database I have yet to try it. I just bought a new freshly built home and within 3 weeks of moving in I was bombarded with postcards, mailers and other forms of advertisement. A couple other friends of mine bought new houses ($600K-975K) and they were also bombarded with advertisements as well. I was wondering just how these companies were getting these buyers names so quickly. So I did some research and found this company. Pretty impressive and seems like they have their act together. Not too cheap though. I think it costs $250-300 a month for fairfax alone. I will be trying them out this spring when the more people are buying houses and in need of our services.

I just refuse to use yellow page ads and sit back and wait for new customers to come. From all the research I have done seems like professional flyers and mailers get a better responses than the cheap fly by night looking ads. I will test this theory this spring when we launch our new lawn care and maintenance division. There will be no yellow page ads just flyers, mailers, truck billboards, website.

MidAtlantic
11-25-2004, 01:41 PM
So does this guy have (3) sets of 1000 houses he does every week? Does he have like (6) sets he rotates delivery to every week? Or maybe even (12) he does 1x per month.

Just trying to figure out how he doesnt over do his people.

-CJ

Clemsonfan69,

In our area there are two guys (relatives) one in each county they do 1 route a day (1000) houses. I know the Fairfax guy does 5 routes each week. He has 32 routes you can choose from. The other guy I think has 2 routes a week and only has 12 routes since that county is still growing.

Keep in mind these is a co-op distribution and is delivered to the driveway or sidewalk not the door.

MidAtlantic
11-25-2004, 01:43 PM
Ooops the one guy does 4 routes a week. He does each route only 4 times a year.

HOOLIE
11-27-2004, 01:05 AM
MidAtlantic,

I wouldn't hesitate to use either of those flyer guys. Like you said, I've never heard any negative feedback about them. I'm split pretty evenly between Loudoun and Fairfax, for the future I'm focusing more on Loudoun, seem to get more calls and referrals from there. Since I'm in Fairfax, I'm also travelling against traffic to and from Loudoun, which is nice.

Yes, if you can do a nice color flyer and follow it up with a nice brochure at estimate time, it can tip the scales in your favor. The thing with the flyer guys, there are usually several LCO's advertising with you, so the people that call you are often getting multiple estimates. A nicely done estimate pack looks a lot better than a single sheet of paper rolled up and stuffed through the door handle. Right off the bat people will perceive you as a better company before they even look at your prices.

GarPA
11-27-2004, 04:32 AM
good thread Hoolie.
I have a friend who moved here from out of state in summer of '03. He had a land business for 10 years elsewhere. In one year, he has grown his business from 0 to over 50 accounts...and most are full service accounts.

And all he did was flyers in high-end neighborhoods. I was impressed with his fast growth...and he is never the low bidder by the way.