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View Full Version : Door knocking - does it work?


Precision Lawns
12-14-2004, 02:44 PM
My partner and I are getting ready to launch our business at the beginning of next season. We're on a limited budget, and we keep reading that flyers and direct mail and the like have a very small success rate anyway, so we were thinking we'd just save some money (although not time) and go door knocking in our target areas. Has anyone done this? Did it generate any business for you? Does anyone have tips on how to win potential customers over? Thanks so much.

Kev's Lawncare
12-15-2004, 06:34 AM
The answer is YES (IMO). I took a leave of absence from my job Sept.03 to care for my father that was suffering from altzheimers. Mid May he was no longer with us and was not in the mood to go back to work for the old company. Every since I was a kid I always mowed 3-5 lawns on the side. told the wife that I'd like to do yards full time, so went out and bought a Zmaster 255 from my dealer and a new 16' trailer. On the way home from the dealer we (wife) past a couple of homes that were in need of mowing. I told the wife that I should stop and talk with them (she said I had to start somewhere. So we turned around and went to the door and talked with a little ole lady. She had (over the years) neighbor boys that mowed her yard but could never count on them. Her yard was roughly 20,000sq ft and gave her a price of $30.00. she said to mow which we did. After we were done she ask if she could count on me and if I'd mow it every 5 days. I told her I was in it for the long run and she could count on me! At that point she asked if I'd be interested in another yard 3 doors down ( the other house I was planning on stopping at) Yes, I said. So she called her neighbor and they wanted the same!
By doing this I was up to 14-15 lawns the first 10 days another 10-12 by the first week of June from referals from these people. Over the summer I gained a few more and I am now up to 33 lawns, rangeing in size from 20,000sq ft to 12 acres. This fall I did the same with leaves on 18 new properties 10 of which want me to mow for next year.

Sorry for rambling on but just remember--- If'n it ain't trimmed--The job ain't done!

chevyman1
12-15-2004, 09:02 AM
I began my partime company this year completely on knocking on doors. It works...some people in this industry either are comfortable doing face to face sales, aren't well spoken enough, or too lazy. If you are a professional and feel comfortable, your success rate will increase. People are buying you, just about anyone can cut a lawn. In one area, I knocked on about 100 doors not knowing what or who else was in there in terms of other companies, but this neighborhood is awesome for potential. I ended up with 9 accounts there this first year, and I will certainly pick off a couple more in the spring. #1 reason why I gained their business? Some guy who used to dominate the street started treating people with an attitude, never returned calls or did the work timely, and I was seen as a professional substitute. He went from 17 places there, and at the end of this year has left. Sell them yourself. You will probably get as many clients knocking on doors out of 200 homes than a company who distributes 1000 flyers, plus you can pick the homes you want to work on, not just blanket an area

Team Gopher
12-15-2004, 09:28 AM
Hi Precision Lawns,

That's a great idea to go out and hand out flyers. The more people you meet the better the chances of landing some new jobs.

Here is a flyer idea you could use.

http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/uploads/post-9-67028-free_flyer_2_preview.gif (http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=1;t=942)

Expert Lawns
12-16-2004, 10:40 AM
I wouldn't recommend it. People don't want to be bothered at home. Leave a nice flyer on their doorknob. If they are outside when you pass by, introduce yourself. Other than that, you're probably going to annoy/disturb them

chevyman1
12-16-2004, 10:46 AM
I couldn't disagree more. People don't mind to be bothered if you are professional, to the point, and can add value to their property. You aren't preaching the gospel or selling candy bars, you are simply introducing yourself, offering a quote on site if they are interested right then and there, talking about how you work in the area with references available, and walking away. If you feel like you are bothering people by their body language and attitude, perhaps YOU are, but I certainly didn't feel that way at all

MImowerkid
12-16-2004, 06:24 PM
I find that one of the most effective advertising methods is to just be known in the area that you are working in . One time I am out and it would start raining and on my way home I see a elderly man out trying to get clippings off his sidewalk in the pouring rain , I figure I'm already wet so I stop and help next day I get a call and It is the man who I helped the day before and he would like to know if i could mow his lawn for the rest of the season. I had my little trailer on the back of my mower with my phone number . the man thought of me and hired me not the big lco mowing next door because they arn't part of the neighborhood they wouldn't of stopped to help! just get out there and help others and you'll get alot of business that way . I don't see why going door to door would make anyone angry , it makes me happy to accidentally push the garage door button and have the lco trip while he is walking away after hew sees the "little boy's " equipment! GO for it! good luck next year!

KINGjosh
12-16-2004, 08:29 PM
Absolutley positively knock on as many doors as your feet will let you! This has become the only way i advertise now adays. As i am almost up to my max amount of accounts, I knock on about 30-50 houses every saturday, starting at noon and ending when i get at least 3 customers. As someone else already said you have to be a person to person salesman because your are really selling you and your company. Plus person to person advertising will give you a chance to rebuttle anything they say, unlike dropping a flyer on the door and running. Dress to impress in your company polo shirt and kakis to do the trick, armed with bssiness cards and estamates you are like a dangerous weapon! KEEP BACK OR ILL SHOOT!

Groundcover Solutions
12-16-2004, 11:50 PM
I would agree that it is quite effective, as much as I don't like being botherd though. I that it works and has a much higher response rate than leaving flyers (Basick B&W flyer only gets around 1% response rate) Also this is a even better way to get commercial customers. If you talk to the property managers and are profesional but also personal you have made a huge leap over the compatetion that just sent a letter or flyer. As for passing out flyers I would recomend using busniess cards with a list of your most promanit services with magnetic backings. Yes these are a little pricy but I can't count the number of them I have on my fridge and I do look at them if I need somthing service oreanted. and of course my disclamer... IMO

Premo Services
12-17-2004, 07:21 AM
I have to say that knocking on doors and talking to potential customers is the way to go. Even if you only have time to talk to 20 or 30 potential customers, the response will be way better that just wallpapering a whole neighborhood with flyers.
At the beginning of the season me and an employee put out hundreds of flyers and only was able to get 1 spring cleanup from them. The employee is no longer with me, and I have a great worker and an excellent salesman now. Since september, we have picked up numerous mowing, maintenance jobs for next season, and about thousands of dollars in extra work. Such as core aerations, installing new landscape beds, leaf cleanups, mulch, fertilizing, lawn seeding and renovations, etc. This has been accomplished with him doing the selling a couple hours a day as we get time and do it.

CURB APPEAL NC
12-19-2004, 12:42 AM
I think I'll try the door to door. But do you recommend walking the neighborhood or driver the rig. I know gas is an issue but i would think if you just walked up they may think you really dont have much to offer! let me know

kootoomootoo
12-19-2004, 02:55 AM
"We're on a limited budget, and we keep reading that flyers and direct mail and the like have a very small success rate anyway, so we were thinking we'd just save some money (although not time) and go door knocking in our target areas."

Do you want 5 customers or 500.

muddstopper
12-19-2004, 10:44 AM
"We're on a limited budget, and we keep reading that flyers and direct mail and the like have a very small success rate anyway, so we were thinking we'd just save some money (although not time) and go door knocking in our target areas."

Do you want 5 customers or 500.

Do you want 5 high profile, high profit jobs, or 500 PITA customers.
Going door to door lets you pick the houses you want to do, it gives you time to actually look at a lawn before and during your talks to the customer. While fliers are faster and reach more people, nothing beats a one on one conversation with the owners. When talking to the customer in person you are actually on the property and can take the time to look for problem areas as you are discussing price. With fliers, you get a call on the phone and the first thing the customer asks is how much? You then have to go back to the property and measure or walk around and then convince the customer your services are worth your price. If the owner already has a lawn service, unless they are completely dissatisfied with that service, they will more than likely throw the flier away and never give you a call. Talking face to face allows you the opportunity to sell yourself and your service. Once you start servicing an area, your service will sell your jobs to the neighbors. Build up to 500 high profile, high profit customers instead of starting out with 500 PITA'S

Carolina Cutter
12-19-2004, 09:09 PM
I think I'll try the door to door. But do you recommend walking the neighborhood or driver the rig. I know gas is an issue but i would think if you just walked up they may think you really dont have much to offer! let me know


Just youins stays outs of me knee bor hoods........LOL just kidding....welcome to the Lawn Business in Fayettenam and good luck

Carolina Cutter
12-19-2004, 09:13 PM
I will sum it up like this........when I go home and find a flyer on my door, mailbox, whatever.......I usually DO NOT read it.......and if its been a windy day actually get a little ticked about the paper being in my yard.

If someone walks down my driveway and asks........I either talk a little or tell them right off that I am not interested. But I do wish them luck.

I will say this.......DO NOT do high pressure sales in someones yard. If they ask you to leave, just say thank you and politely turn and leave. :nono:

kootoomootoo
12-19-2004, 10:39 PM
"Do you want 5 high profile, high profit jobs, or 500 PITA customers.
Going door to door lets you pick the houses you want to do, it gives you time to actually look at a lawn before and during your talks to the customer."

I want 500 PITA customers. Where is this fantasy world where a newbie with a toro 21in can go and "pick" the 5 houses he or she wants to do.

HOOLIE
12-19-2004, 11:14 PM
I think this would be a good method to pick up some additional customers on streets where you already work. Chances are the neighbors will have seen you before, so that helps. To just pick a neighborhood with no customers, and basically go door-to-door, not a lot of people will give you the time of day. But it never hurts to try. If it works, work it hard.

The Yard Barber, Inc.
12-20-2004, 12:25 AM
The door to door thing worked for me for a while but when i got enough contracts i decided that i would stop the door to door thing. then the only other advertising i did was a lot of business cards. In three seasons, i got over 50 lawns!

pgiambat
12-20-2004, 03:35 PM
Many have already said what I was going to say. No matter how you contact people let them know that they are 'buying' YOU! In my print ad I put: Friendly, Honest and Dependable. In person I tell them that I'm Honest and Dependable (In person they can see my friendliness).

I get almost every job I 'OFFER' to get. I'll help someone if I see that they are having trouble (smoking mower, lady cutting in 105 degrees, homeowner cussing out his mower), help them out no charge and leave a card and a quote. Anyone can cut and pretend they care but if you actually do care you will have more than you can handle, I do each year.

Introduce yourself to neighbors when you see them and it's convenient and let them know who you are and who you are cutting for. Always give them a smile and a wave :waving: . Start a conversation. My usual rap is: Hi, I'm Pat, I'm cutting for Mrs. Smith over here and wanted to introduce myself. If I can ever help you out let me know or let Mrs. Smith know, I'm here every Wednesday. If it's ever too hot, your on vacation, your mower is in the shop, you twist your ankle or you just plain don't want to cut your grass... give me a call.

Basically, just talk to people and let them know YOU are into it and will show up, dependability is a big thing, I was surprised how many people were dis-satisfied with their lawn service.

Good luck