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KERRTURF
01-20-2005, 07:26 PM
I was throwing around ideas to generate some new business this season, and thought about getting some gift certificates made to sell to potential customers. I was thinking of making them for a maximum $25 amount, and have them expire six months from the purchase date. With Father's day coming up, I though it may be a good gift to give "the guy who has everything". Has anybody tried this? If so, what were the good things and the bad things about them? Thanks in advance for the help.

Smithers
01-20-2005, 11:26 PM
that is a great idea. we will be doing that too. however, dont limit the max to $25. if you do landscaping, go higher limit.

Or why limit at all? if i want to pay you for a season up front, and it it is $500, would you not sell me a gift certificate for $500?

Dont put an expiration date. be honest and do the work that they have paid for. a gift card to Target does not expire. why whould your certificate expire? any reason?

KERRTURF
01-21-2005, 07:55 AM
My biggest reason for the expiration date is to avoid those who simply want a leaf removal service, or spring clean up. I want to be able to draw them in to a steady service instead of doing just want they don't want to do. I am looking to gain seasonal customers instead of one time jobs. That is my only concern with the whole idea. For example, someone buys a gift certificate for X amount, and it covers what would normally be a one time cut. You have to go over there at the begining of the season, and pick up the trash that has been thrown out of everybodys car window throughout the winter, all of the limbs that have fallen off the trees because of the ice storms we have had in Ohio this year, then do your mow and blow dance and go home. The owner probably would not be the person that bought the gift certificate. What are the chances that the homeowner will keep using you?

Team Gopher
01-21-2005, 11:23 AM
Hi KERRTURF,

I think that is a great idea. I have seen some store gift certificates that do expire although I think the date was 2 years from the time of purchase.

mastercare
01-21-2005, 01:03 PM
I try not to be negative, but just some thoughts:

What happens when someone buys it for their dad who lives 3 towns over? Are you going to drive for 2 hours just to honor a gift certificate? If not, then are you going to discriminate who you sell to? A gift cert is different than a service. Just like a sears card, people expect that they can use it howeve, whenever, and wherever they want. What if someone buys a cert and then its used for pulling weeds....on a job that you wouldn't have taken. We all sometimes turn away jobs we don't want....they're too far, too big, don't have time, people won't pay what we're asking, etc. Can you deny service to someone who has a gift cert that's already been paid for?

I know this isn't the intention of the gift cert, but be careful of what people might expect, and what positions you could be put into trying to honor that gift.

Smithers
01-21-2005, 01:58 PM
i agree with dan. there is a difference if you are buying a card from target and GS from mastercare, for example.

but you are going to have interaction with the person that will buy it, right? you can hand him a piece of paper with the policies, or just let them know what you and wont do. i agree....if you dont do weeds, you will not want to do them just cause they are holding a piece of paper in their hands.

it was not too negative at all!!

Green-Pro
01-21-2005, 02:09 PM
I am going to offer gift certificates as well and intend to market/advertise it roughly this way: service area only, and as an annual program, i.e. offer the very basic (my least expensive package), will consider one time mows/jobs, will approach landscape/hardscape jobs on individual basis based upon needs of client. There will be a signed agreement.

Again just a rough concept of what I think will work best for my target area and market. Finishing touches on ad campaign in Feb. begin Ads in March, just prior to, during and after all the spring guides come out in the local papers.

My .02

-Geoff

KERRTURF
01-21-2005, 02:16 PM
Thanks guys, this kind of feedback is exactly what I was loking for. What about using a two sided document with the front being the typical gift certificate (amount, expiration, etc.), and the back with written polices of use. I am thinking along the lines of indicating 10 or 15 mile radius from the shop, and used for mow, trim and blow only? I think the difference between offering a gift certificate from the local LCO, and a gift certificate from a larger company like Home Depot or whatever is that you can only be expected to provide service within the area that you serve. But, that area should probably be spelled out and known before the purchase of the gift certificate was made.