PDA

View Full Version : Marketing Plan 2005 "Fert n Squirt specific" __What will your Company be doing..


grassworks
12-28-2004, 07:06 AM
As the Busy season is just ahead and In many areas January marks a great time to add new business, what will your marketing stategy be. I have noticed the addition of some very expeirenced new members and some succesful veterens whom I know have a wealth of knowledge. It would be great to hear from the those with over > 1000 customers how you grow a customer base (with marketing) and what return you expect from those techniques this new year. With the demise of Telemarketing , How will you put yourself in front of prospective buyers at the time of decision.

How many customers you have,how many sales people and rough $budget for advertising would be great also.

Ric
12-28-2004, 08:31 PM
Glassworks

I have used the yellow pages and Customer referral for the last five years with success. However I feel it is time to go for the gusto. Now telemarketing might work but has a real sore spot with me. You have to have the right person do the calling and a good phone list which really is not hard to get from a crisscross phone book. Mailing lists can also be copied from the same type of Crisscross.

I feel Clover leafing around your regular customer with door hanger will give you a slow but stead growth that is more controllable. It also keeps your route consolidated. There is such a thing as too much business. Buying equipment and hiring help can in fact break you quicker than too little business.

Remember Customers cost money to acquire. Spend that money wisely so not you get a good return.

Dman1214
12-29-2004, 10:41 AM
There is such a thing as too much business. Buying equipment and hiring help can in fact break you quicker than too little business.

Ric, I do not subcribe to the theory that you can have too much business - IF YOU HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE IN ADVANCE OF PUTTING ON THAT NEW BUSINESS. It's the ole chicken or the egg thing. I think you must have systems in place to be able to service your client base FIRST, then come up with your marketing/growth plan. Why would you even want to add customers if you could not properly service them? I belive you must have the bus and the right people on the bus before you can drive it.

Ric
12-29-2004, 12:12 PM
There is such a thing as too much business. Buying equipment and hiring help can in fact break you quicker than too little business.

Ric, I do not subcribe to the theory that you can have too much business - IF YOU HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE IN ADVANCE OF PUTTING ON THAT NEW BUSINESS. It's the ole chicken or the egg thing. I think you must have systems in place to be able to service your client base FIRST, then come up with your marketing/growth plan. Why would you even want to add customers if you could not properly service them? I belive you must have the bus and the right people on the bus before you can drive it.

OK You D man 1214

Hiring help and buying Equipment is easy Right. I mean good employees are just waiting on every street corner for you to come hire them. They are already trained and loyal because they are so thankful for a job. They won't steal or do side jobs for your customer and they will work their Butt off without any supervision.

Of course Equipment purchases is just as easy. After all why wouldn't the bank raise your credit line another $ 500,000. After all you have too much business. The LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS has nothing to do with the fact you have Too Much Business because you have a plan.

diminishing returns, law of
Related: Economics

in economics, law stating that if one factor of production is increased while the others remain constant, the overall returns will relatively decrease after a certain point. Thus, for example, if more and more laborers are added to harvest a wheat field, at some point each additional laborer will add relatively less output than his predecessor did, simply because he has less and less of the fixed amount of land to work with. The principle, first thought to apply only to agriculture, was later accepted as an economic law underlying all productive enterprise. The point at which the law begins to operate is difficult to ascertain, as it varies with improved production technique and other factors. Anticipated by Anne Robert Jacques Turgot and implied by Thomas Malthus in his Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), the law first came under examination during the discussions in England on free trade and the corn laws. It is also called the law of decreasing returns and the law of variable proportions.




Know your limitation and don't fall victim of the PETER PRINCIPLE

Peter Principle

NOUN: The theory that employees within an organization will advance to their highest level of competence and then be promoted to and remain at a level at which they are incompetent.
ETYMOLOGY: After Laurence Johnston Peter (1919–1990).

Dman1214
12-29-2004, 12:32 PM
Ric, you obviously are an educated man - that's great. However, i think it hinders your entrepreneurial spirit.

I recently watched the movie "Good Will Hunting" - did u see it? Well anyway, you remind me of the Harvard guy in the bar scene that qoutes arcane facts out of some book somewhere and calls it knowledge.

Ric
12-29-2004, 01:06 PM
Ric, you obviously are an educated man - that's great. However, i think it hinders your entrepreneurial spirit.

I recently watched the movie "Good Will Hunting" - did u see it? Well anyway, you remind me of the Harvard guy in the bar scene that qoutes arcane facts out of some book somewhere and calls it knowledge.


You D man

Thank you for calling me an Educated Idiot. I some times jokingly call myself an Educated Idiot. However this Educated Idiot owns several companies that do over a Million in gross business each year. BTW This Educated Idiot also holds multiply licenses in Pesticides, Irrigation and Commercial Landscape. This Educated Idiot offers every thing from a Wholesale Retail Nursery, sod and landscape installation to full blown maintenance.

Whereas I am 64 years old and in fact just got my Horticulture degree in 2002. Whereas A divorce in 1994 left me stone broke and living under the bridge so to speak. Therefore I believe My education and it's arcane facts, has actually increased my entrepreneurial spirit.

GooD LucK and God Bless you. Fools Rush in Where Wise Men Fear to Tread.

Green Dreams
12-29-2004, 04:34 PM
I am ending my sixth month in business. I am up to almoat 150 customers. Starting from scratch and having a budget of nada to start, I'm pretty proud of myself...so far.

I appreciate Ric reminding me that I am luckier than I am smart. And I don't care how sarcastic he gets, or when he rips me personally, just as long as he answers the dang questions...lol.

Drew

MacLawnCo
12-29-2004, 08:48 PM
consider this... of all the telemarketing violations reported, the FTC has decided to go after a total of 4 companys... what are the odds you will get fined for telemarketing? Im not utilizing it stricktly for image reasons, but for those of you who are thinking of chancing it, the odds are with you.

Triple R
12-29-2004, 11:01 PM
I'm thinking of trying a local home and garden show which usually atracts several thousand potential clients ready to spend $, has anyone tried this and what results did you get.

grassworks
12-30-2004, 12:01 AM
Great Response's.... Anyone ever keep up with thier #'s as far as Closing percentages on doorhangers / mailouts or customer referall plans ? How about "costs to add a new customer"

What are some of the "other" many have voted on in the poll


I know for me, telemarketing is out. Cancellation rates can be too high. Just because you can get em to say yes doesn't really mean they want the service or have any intentions on keeping it.

I like the "cloverleaf" Idea Ric proposed and Have used that in the past along with a customer referral incentive.

Door Hangers ? Never had enough success (ran lesss then 5000) did not see return coming in to continue(maybe a little premature on that one).

I can't see a dedicated lawncare operation succeding with less than 500 customers in a route( average app profit of $25 with 6 app plan).Having said that , Do those of us with these type of mumbers( or more )just use a 4,5,6 year plan to build it up.

I guess I was hoping for a few more details but perhaps those "marketing secrets" cant be divulged just yet or Maybe most are still growing at a 50 or less a year (solo ops) and trying to just replace the natural attrition /cancel rate.

Neal Wolbert
12-30-2004, 02:59 AM
Bill, We lose less than 2% of our customer base from year to year for lots of reasons, rarely because they are disappointed in our care. We have grown about 10% each year through word of mouth rewarded by a referral bonus. Ten years = 100% growth...that is very manageable given the challenges mentioned by Ric. This is slower than most companies want to grow but slow and steady wins the race for us. We try to do things different and better than anyone else and have a clientele that expects the best and is willing to pay for it. The best salesperson is that satisfied customer who found you through a neighbor or friend and is willing to tell others about his good results. They deserve a place of honor and appreciation in your company. Pay them a healthy bonus and write them a personal letter of thanks. I have to agree with Ric on some points. More growth doesn't always mean more profit or enjoyment. It depends on your long range planning as mentioned also. Will you pass your business on to a successor working with you now? What do they want in the future? Are you going to work to build for future sale? Healthy growth certainly will be an attractive selling point. Do you just want to make a comfortable living and keep things simple? You have to decide what definition of "healthy" is for you. You'll need to set your goals before you can decide how fast and big to grow. I think the personal contentment issue should be factored in early on in the process. There's no formula for contentment available in any book or business strategy today, the Bible being the exception. Paul had some enlightening things to say about contentment being great gain. When is enough, enough anyway? What's the purpose for you being in business? When you have those answers you'll know better how to navigate the future. Neal

grassworks
12-30-2004, 09:29 AM
Thanks for the valuable info Neal. After looking at your website , (Very Impressive) I can see your dedicated to the principles you outlined above. Slow, Controlled growth ...but rock solid. As a matter of fact , I think the website you have would easily oustell any doorhanger or TGCL literature I have seen or used. Trick is to get it(website) in front of many prospective buyers , but with that comment , perhaps I am missing the point.

I live in a transient area , alot of buying /selling homes (as much as %10 of my customer base has thier home on the market at one time or another)

Ric
12-30-2004, 11:06 AM
After looking at your website , (Very Impressive)


Grassworks

While Neal's website is very impressive and he must be at least a second generation businessman. Customer have to find his website. Now having a website myself I do get an occasional customer who has surfed the web to find someone and end up with me. However in my case the website is nothing more than a closing tool. It tells the customer that I am in it for the long run and not a fly by night. Since My website is an informational site it also lets the customer know I am not an other Idiot. I advertise my website in the phone book and on the side of my trucks.

Now websites are valuable in marketing your service. However in Neal's case his family has been in business since 1960 and nothing beats longevity. Therefore name branding or name recognition is an advantage that Neal has over those of us who are newer. I am sure Neal's website is more valuable to his business than a new guy.

Ok the trick is to get your name out in the public eye in a favorable way at a efficient cost. Depending on Your Market and it's competition as well as your budget and need for volume is the decision.

Now there are a couple of MUST HAVES. Yellow page advertisement big or small, and Truck and trailer signage. A good name that is easy to remember and a phone number that will stand out. Numbers like 5555 are the best, but in my case 9273=YARD or 2687=ANTS.

Marketing is a whole education un to itself and must be planned from day one of the business. TRUEGREEN is in fact a marketing company that just happens to do Lawn care. They use all of the above poll tactics as well as door to door salesmen. I believe one of the most successful tactics is door to door salesmen who pull a weed from the yard and show it to the customer. If the customer is not home they put it in a bag and hang it on the door with a sign that says "look what I found in your yard". Can we as small guys afford to hire a full time salesman?? No but certainly Clover leafing around our present customer with this tactic can be very fruitful.

DUSTYCEDAR
12-30-2004, 11:28 AM
i have found it is eaiser to keep a customer that has been through the ringer with the big companies
they see what good service is all about and the u get what u pay for
on the flip side is new home owners that have never had lawn care think its a 1 app and it perfict "yeah right" they tend to be the pains and the higher turn over rate for me at least
they r also the people with the least money most times and when they get a cheeper bid the jump on it most times or try to get me to lower my price which i wont so off they go
word of mouth is still my best bet to get a new customer and the customers that reffer me have the nicest lawns around hint hint

Green Dreams
12-30-2004, 11:51 AM
I agree, Dusty. My best cussamahs are the big guys former ones....

Ohio ProTurf
12-30-2004, 12:00 PM
Last year was our first in operation, and we did a little of everything in the marketing arena: 3 "Home and Garden" shows, Door hangers, 1 Direct Mail Piece, 2 Radio Ads, 1TV Ad, and we hired a telemarketing company to call the people who received the mailer. Like most in our industry, we also definitely encourage client referrals, and we are in the Yellow Pages. About the only medium we didn't try was a billboard.

I think I can honestly say that our most effective "marketing tool" was not anything mentioned above...We probably had the largest percentage of our accounts (acreage wise) come from relationships with other contractors in the green industry that don't provide our services. We are going to work hard again this off-season to strengthen those relationships we forged last year, while also attempting to create new ones with contractors we haven't worked with yet.

Just my 2 cents

Ric
12-30-2004, 12:09 PM
i have found it is eaiser to keep a customer that has been through the ringer with the big companies
they see what good service is all about and the u get what u pay for
on the flip side is new home owners that have never had lawn care think its a 1 app and it perfict "yeah right" they tend to be the pains and the higher turn over rate for me at least
they r also the people with the least money most times and when they get a cheeper bid the jump on it most times or try to get me to lower my price which i wont so off they go
word of mouth is still my best bet to get a new customer and the customers that reffer me have the nicest lawns around hint hint


Dusty

I would like to think we are on the same page. Now the truth of the matter is, a one man operator can make a nice living doing just what you are doing. Their customer base becomes an asset they can sell at retirement time. In many ways I wished I had stayed a one man operation.

Neal Wolbert
12-30-2004, 01:28 PM
Ric, Our website is, like you said, mostly an educational tool. We don't have our information fliers posted now with the holidays, but when they are there is a good chunk of info. for our customers and interested parties to peruse. It was pretty spendy in the beginning but fairly easy and inexpensive to maintain. I'm on the hunt now for a new look with more interactive appeal. I'll probably fiddle with it soon. We have used clover-leafing successfully in the past but it does take production time to pull it off and that can get expensive also. Your last statement about working alone being appealing is a thought that passes through my mind quite frequently. The trouble is the "man" gets worn out easier now! :) Thanks for the good responses everyone. Once in a while a thread pops up that really helps everyone. Aim High, Neal

Lazer_Z
12-30-2004, 01:38 PM
I have a question for the guys who run crews. Why does going solo cross your minds?? I'm not quite seeing it being as productive as say 2 or more crews. Please forgive me if this question sounds stupid but, I would like to learn as much about the fert side of the green industry as I can. Because I do one day hope to add this on to what I currently do.

Thanks for your time

Rob

timturf
12-30-2004, 01:49 PM
Dusty

I would like to think we are on the same page. Now the truth of the matter is, a one man operator can make a nice living doing just what you are doing. Their customer base becomes an asset they can sell at retirement time. In many ways I wished I had stayed a one man operation.

And I plan too!!!!!, but I don't give my services away!

TSM
12-30-2004, 02:58 PM
undefinedI have a question for the guys who run crews. Why does going solo cross your minds?? I'm not quite seeing it being as productive as say 2 or more crews. Please forgive me if this question sounds stupid but, I would like to learn as much about the fert side of the green industry as I can. Because I do one day hope to add this on to what I currently do.

Thanks for your time

Rob

probably the most common reasons are....
"i know i can count on myself to show up for work and be productive"

"i know i will care for the truck and equipment like I own it"

jajwrigh
12-31-2004, 12:44 AM
I am going to rely on referals and word of mouth.

DUSTYCEDAR
12-31-2004, 02:18 PM
the reason i am solo is i get more work due to guys sloppy apps
they kill bushes break stuf with the hose and just do a bad job
i had guys that had problems with easy landscaping task i sure as hell wont let them lose with a truck full of chem and think they r going to do a good job
i dont care how much u train some people they just dont care

Dman1214
12-31-2004, 09:05 PM
I firmly believe that most people do not want to be owner/operators - However they convince themselves that they and their customers are better off for it. The owner/operators then tries to rationalize and support his deadend business plan with excuses such as hiring, training, selling, blah,blah, blah is too hard. Who said it was going to be easy? But, if you develop a plan and have systems in place to execute that plan, it can be accomplished. I know that may come off as harsh - but be honest with yourself.

James Cormier
01-03-2005, 11:37 AM
I firmly believe that most people do not want to be owner/operators - However they convince themselves that they and their customers are better off for it. The owner/operators then tries to rationalize and support his deadend business plan with excuses such as hiring, training, selling, blah,blah, blah is too hard. Who said it was going to be easy? But, if you develop a plan and have systems in place to execute that plan, it can be accomplished. I know that may come off as harsh - but be honest with yourself.


D- You know I have great respect for you and admire what you have done in this industry. But...I must disagree with you on this ( Im sure your surprised :) )

Why cant a small owner/operator have that same plan in place and systems in place to succeed as as a small company? I think it entirely possible. And a big marketing plan is not very important in that case.

One down side is a limit to earnings, I realize that Im pretty close to maxing out at where I am, but Im fine with that, my family is fine with that. I just feel there is plenty of room in this industry for small mom & pop style companies as well as medium to larger companies, to all be successful.

Ric
01-03-2005, 11:55 AM
D- You know I have great respect for you and admire what you have done in this industry. But...I must disagree with you on this ( Im sure your surprised :) )

Why cant a small owner/operator have that same plan in place and systems in place to succeed as as a small company? I think it entirely possible. And a big marketing plan is not very important in that case.

One down side is a limit to earnings, I realize that Im pretty close to maxing out at where I am, but Im fine with that, my family is fine with that. I just feel there is plenty of room in this industry for small mom & pop style companies as well as medium to larger companies, to all be successful.


James

There is no in between when it comes to profitability. Either you make money as a small guy (Mom and Pop) or your make money as a large Corporation. Anywhere in between you are only surviving.

Dman1214
01-03-2005, 12:09 PM
Jim - Hope you and your family had a great holiday season! I too have great respect for you. Notice I said most not all owner/operators ...
Part of that plan, the starting point for that plan, must be what your goals are for your company and how it relates to your personal life. You obviously have many systems in place in your company - as you should - no matter what the size. I see far to many posts on this site from people that don't have a clue on developing their businesses.

James Cormier
01-03-2005, 12:14 PM
James

There is no in between when it comes to profitability. Either you make money as a small guy (Mom and Pop) or your make money as a large Corporation. Anywhere in between you are only surviving.

Ric, profitability of my company and what I earn are 2 different things, I could show less profit and earn more, or show more profit and earn less.
My company earns small profits, because I choose to earn what I do, but bottom line is I can only do so much without hiring help.

Now I could reduce my earnings for a few years re invest back to a marketing/growth plan and within time ( if I have the systems in place that Dman refers to ) increase my earnings by 2fold, over what I earn now.

I think Dman ( as well as others out there ) cant see why I would not choose to do that. And it may well be I cant do that, because I dont have the knowledge or experience to implement those types of systems or desire to try.

James Cormier
01-03-2005, 12:17 PM
Jim - Hope you and your family had a great holiday season! I too have great respect for you. Notice I said most not all owner/operators ...
Part of that plan, the starting point for that plan, must be what your goals are for your company and how it relates to your personal life. You obviously have many systems in place in your company - as you should - no matter what the size. I see far to many posts on this site from people that don't have a clue on developing their businesses.

Holidays went great, Santa was great to the girls ( or I should say Mrs. Clause was great ) Hopefully all is well for you and your family as well.

Now I understand where your post came from.

Dman1214
01-03-2005, 12:21 PM
There is no in between when it comes to profitability. Either you make money as a small guy (Mom and Pop) or your make money as a large Corporation. Anywhere in between you are only surviving.
__________________
I enjoy reading your posts, they are helpful to me. It is healthy to exchange differing view points. My company philosphy combines the expertise on the large corporations with the service capiblities on the small ones. I have found it to be a dynamic combination. I have prospered greatly as a mid-level business - so I couldn't disagree with you more. I feel most fail trying to become a mid-level company becuase they don't in their minds make leap from being owner/operators.

Ric
01-03-2005, 12:57 PM
There is no in between when it comes to profitability. Either you make money as a small guy (Mom and Pop) or your make money as a large Corporation. Anywhere in between you are only surviving.
__________________
I enjoy reading your posts, they are helpful to me. It is healthy to exchange differing view points. My company philosphy combines the expertise on the large corporations with the service capiblities on the small ones. I have found it to be a dynamic combination. I have prospered greatly as a mid-level business - so I couldn't disagree with you more. I feel most fail trying to become a mid-level company becuase they don't in their minds make leap from being owner/operators.

Dman

I don't believe you realize the size of my operation. I was at one time a owner/operator and like James, put money in my pocket. But in order to grow you must invest. The idea of a owner/operator mind set is a hard thing to break. You feel like you are loosing control because you must delegate authority. It takes Good employees. However once that hurdle is crossed it becomes easier.

Before the Hurricane, on paper I was worth a lot, however cash in hand was another thing. I am expanding my wholesale nursery to retail and lost a lot in the storm. As a medium sized Business major catastrophe event can kill you no matter what your plan. The biggest Flaw in my plan was diversification in stead of specialization.

Now we had an other discussion in another thread about growing too big too fast. This is where cash flow can kill you because of TOO much business. Now at My age why I am still growing a Business bigger is foolish. But some how I have this dream of some one buying me out so I can retire. BTW I don't work in the business I work on the business. and that is what separates the Owner/operators from the Businessmen.

Dman1214
01-03-2005, 01:51 PM
BTW I don't work in the business I work on the business. and that is what separates the Owner/operators from the Businessmen.
__________________
Ric - right out of E-Myth. Good for you! Actually I get the impression you run a pretty good size operation. I agree, the single most important aspect to growing your business successfully (provided you have systems in place), is CASH FLOW. All too often, companies take on too much debt to grow the business - and they wake up one day to find their note was called in. That is probably even more catastrophic then the hurricane ( hope you've pulled through it OK). As far as diversification, I read Jim Collins's Good To Great a few years back am I am a huge believer in his "hedgehog" concept. The 3 components are: (1) Do something you have a passion for (2) Do what you can be the best at (3) Know what drivers your economic engine. I am a fert/pest company and I know what I am.

comperk
01-03-2005, 04:02 PM
I am the marketing manager for a mid sized lawn care company (fert & weedo only, 8200 customers and growing everyday). Here are some things to keep in mind...

1) Charge a fair price. In doing so you allow yourself to do several things, you get better customers that understand what "value" is and you can afford to market for new customers.
2) Telemarketing works but it is a big investment. It is not a "risk". You just have to follow the rules. There are plenty of people to call. I have 22 telemarketers on staff right now and we are not in a major metro area. You can do this the right way that is not offensive and it will not give your company a bad name.
3) Train your staff to sell the "value" of your company.
4) In our industry, potential customers have been "conditioned" by TG and others that we will come to them. Keep that in mind. All of our marketing is focused on us going to them (ie door hangers, telemarketing, etc.)
5) Radio, newspapers, etc. do not work. At least in our market.
6) You must have the proper office staff to execute your marketing plan.
7) Cancelled customers are cheaper to retain than "buying" new ones.
8) Strengthen your referral program.
9) Websites are good for information, but don't get you new customers. Spend that money elsewhere. Especially for smaller companies.

These are just some ideas and thoughts.

Green Dreams
01-03-2005, 04:06 PM
Thanks for your post, CP. How long have you been at this? Have you tried tv? I am planning a run on local cable channels.

Thanks

James Cormier
01-03-2005, 05:02 PM
I am the marketing manager for a mid sized lawn care company (fert & weedo only, 8200 customers and growing everyday). Here are some things to keep in mind...

1) Charge a fair price. In doing so you allow yourself to do several things, you get better customers that understand what "value" is and you can afford to market for new customers.
2) Telemarketing works but it is a big investment. It is not a "risk". You just have to follow the rules. There are plenty of people to call. I have 22 telemarketers on staff right now and we are not in a major metro area. You can do this the right way that is not offensive and it will not give your company a bad name.
3) Train your staff to sell the "value" of your company.
4) In our industry, potential customers have been "conditioned" by TG and others that we will come to them. Keep that in mind. All of our marketing is focused on us going to them (ie door hangers, telemarketing, etc.)
5) Radio, newspapers, etc. do not work. At least in our market.
6) You must have the proper office staff to execute your marketing plan.
7) Cancelled customers are cheaper to retain than "buying" new ones.
8) Strengthen your referral program.
9) Websites are good for information, but don't get you new customers. Spend that money elsewhere. Especially for smaller companies.

These are just some ideas and thoughts.

Great post, Welcome to Lawnsite, Im sure you will have lots to offer to this site and all of us that visit here.

I highlighted #7 cause that is the most important to me. My cancel rate is so low, and I work very hard to keep it that way. Of course the guy starting out needs the customers in the first place to worry about it.

Different markets also produce different results, where I am at, newspapers work great, or they have worked great for me.

Dman1214
01-03-2005, 05:02 PM
You are right on the $! Quality post!

comperk
01-03-2005, 06:35 PM
Green Dreams,

In our market, I wouldn't even consider TV. For the amount of money that it would cost, you could hire several high school students to hang doors for you after school or during the summer. They should be able to hang 300+ doors per person per day. Invite people to request a free estimate, no obligations. You want to get on their lawn. This way, you can target the "good" neighborhoods and people will "see" your information. They have to physically take it off of their door knobs. Don't place on the mailbox, that's illegal.

It's the way I would go.

Now if you are looking to "brand" your business and have tons of extra cash after you are telemarketing, going door to door, etc. I would consider TV, but even then, I would probably go hire more door to door people or even consider a full time salesperson.

Green Dreams
01-03-2005, 06:52 PM
Thanks CP/ I market on a very low budget. I have just finished 6 months out on my own. I have door hangers. If I see a competitors sign and a bag...the DH goes in the bag! I then jot down the address and find a name to go with it. Then I ad them to my mailing list. That way I mail only to people who who use a service like mine. I hope that repetitive postcards (40 cents a shot) put me into their minds. Then when they get mad, hopefully they'll think of me...

comperk
01-03-2005, 07:19 PM
Green Dreams,

You mentioned that you have a low budget. I would really advise not to do the tv ads. I would concentrate on providing high quality service and "stay the course". Continue to do what you are doing. Take a look at your referral program. I would rather give a nice incentive to my existing customers to bring me new customers rather than paying the tv company. Besides, you only pay when they bring you a new customer. Also, don't be afraid to be the most expensive. It is easy to sell value when you are a smaller company. Marketing isn't necessarily easy, and there are very few million dollar ideas. If you charge correctly, you may be able to increase your marketing spending. What are you putting in your door hangers. Does it focus on price or value?

I hope this helps.

Ric
01-03-2005, 07:53 PM
Green Dreams,

You mentioned that you have a low budget. I would really advise not to do the tv ads. I would concentrate on providing high quality service and "stay the course". Continue to do what you are doing. Take a look at your referral program. I would rather give a nice incentive to my existing customers to bring me new customers rather than paying the tv company. Besides, you only pay when they bring you a new customer. Also, don't be afraid to be the most expensive. It is easy to sell value when you are a smaller company. Marketing isn't necessarily easy, and there are very few million dollar ideas. If you charge correctly, you may be able to increase your marketing spending. What are you putting in your door hangers. Does it focus on price or value?

I hope this helps.

Green Dreams

I might add that start up guys who aren't to ugly can clover leaf their present customers very cost effective. Late afternoon or early evening applications have the advantage of being seen by the neighbor who are home from work and available to canvas. Of course a great looking lawn can go a long way toward word of mouth. Take Comperk advise about high end work and pricing. Smile until it hurts at everyone and take time now to talk to the lonely neigbors. Right now as a start up you have more time than money. Use it wisely.

Green Dreams
01-03-2005, 08:33 PM
I don't plan on spending more than a grand on 4 or 5 weeks of run. Some of these spots cost me $5. I have been on the Home & Garden Channel for $7 or so. I want to run on the big channels just to get my name out in my community.

I have visited with a couple of others who used the same system. Although they were not in the same business as we, they were happy with their return. I'm gonna give it a shot.

Thanks All

James Cormier
01-03-2005, 08:45 PM
I don't plan on spending more than a grand on 4 or 5 weeks of run. Some of these spots cost me $5. I have been on the Home & Garden Channel for $7 or so. I want to run on the big channels just to get my name out in my community.

I have visited with a couple of others who used the same system. Although they were not in the same business as we, they were happy with their return. I'm gonna give it a shot.

Thanks All

I think its a case of different things working in different areas, Ive done radio and one thing I learned about that and I would assume its the same for TV, is you gotta get a lot of air time. OVer a long period of time.So spending 1k is not going to be worth it,thats what I was told but I did it anyways, and I learned. Again your area maybe different.
People are less likely to hear a spot on TV or radio and stop what there doing and call you. You need to burn it into there heads so when they are thinking about calling a lawn service your name comes to them.

Thats the way I approached newspaper advertising, I run a dollar bill size ad 5 days a week for most of the year, starting in mid winter, and run it all during the season until fall. Im not expecting the phone to ring off the hook the first day its in the paper. But I burn the image of my company name into their brains cause they see the same dam ad day after day. I have done inserts into the paper where 35-40k inserts hit on one day, that created a huge rush of calls, my problem was I wasn't ready for it, and too many people got busy signals on the phone.

Dman1214
01-03-2005, 09:50 PM
your insert -what was it like? promotional with an offer?

James Cormier
01-04-2005, 10:27 AM
your insert -what was it like? promotional with an offer?
Dont remember, it was several years ago.
Later in the week, when Im back in the office I will post a photo of it.

comperk
01-04-2005, 11:04 AM
We did inserts last year. 100K per run. We did it twice. It had a return postcard built in. Full page glossy and full color. Our cost per lead and cost per sale were not good. You would like to see at least a 1-2% return and be able to sell 60-70% of the leads.

We won't do it again. We will spend the money on door hangers, etc. Way better results.

timturf
01-04-2005, 01:01 PM
Green Dreams

I might add that start up guys who aren't to ugly can clover leaf their present customers very cost effective. Late afternoon or early evening applications have the advantage of being seen by the neighbor who are home from work and available to canvas. Of course a great looking lawn can go a long way toward word of mouth. Take Comperk advise about high end work and pricing. Smile until it hurts at everyone and take time now to talk to the lonely neigbors. Right now as a start up you have more time than money. Use it wisely.

I found aerifying and overseeding on sat and sunday brings in more business!

I don't compet with most lco, most of my clients have tried the nat companies, unhappy, want results, and will pay accordingly!

Ric
01-04-2005, 06:35 PM
I found aerifying and overseeding on sat and sunday brings in more business!

I don't compet with most lco, most of my clients have tried the nat companies, unhappy, want results, and will pay accordingly!


Tim

Yes I forgot to add Saturday and Sunday. However It does take away from Family life. But the point is, as a one man start up the more you can be seen by potential Customers the better chance you have of picking them up. By working their neighborhoods when they are home, gives you a high visibility. I found that evening applications were easier because of the Hot Afternoon Florida sun. We stay light in summer until 9:00 PM. By working late afternoons and early Evening I found many people were home and out side in the yard. Of course when they see me working when they are home, They think I am busier and a hard worker. They want hard workers to do their work. They also want a company that is good and if you are good then you are busy. Little did they know I was sleeping in until 10:00 AM and taking a long break in the afternoon.