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View Full Version : Help the Marketing Idiot spend $1,500!


Shane Scaife
02-09-2005, 11:34 AM
Ok. This is the first year I will be doing any kind of marketing. I have some ideas but would like some advice from those who have "Been there, done that."

I'm a one man (will have an occasional helper) Co with a 36 scag. I'm looking to get 50+ clients to start my business with this spring (2005). I would like the average weekly cut to be about $25-$35. I live in Southern NJ and I'm looking to start marketing in two weeks (Today's date: 2/9/05). I will be offering; Lawn Maintenance (cut, trim, edge, clean), Fall/Spring clean-ups, Dethatching, Aeration/Overseeding, Mulch, Flowerbeds, Small Shrub & Tree Service.

I only have $1,500. to reach as many potential customers as possible. I have no problem getting out there and mass flyer (3-4 hr a day over the next two months). My area has thousands of potential clients (house value over $150,000) along with, what seems to be; thousands of lawn care providers (some reputable, some not so reputable). If I gain 30- clients I keep my fulltime job and work after 4pm, if I get 50+ I leave my job and go full time.

I hope I have given enough information for you to get some insight, as to where Iím at now. (P.S. Sorry if I misspelled stuff, No time to spell check this. LOL)

What would your suggestions be on an appropriate marketing attack plan?

Ad in papers (Local, County), Direct mail, mass flyers (door hangers?)?

Help the Marketing Idiot spend $1,500!

Thanks
Shane Scaife

HOMER
02-09-2005, 11:42 AM
I got an idea!

Send that $1500.00 to me and I'll tell everybody I know how good you are. I think it'll work well for ya.................whatcha think?

Shane Scaife
02-09-2005, 11:46 AM
Homer,
That would depend if your were some one important and since you are here with me I feel that would a bad investment. LOL

But thanks for the offer.

Shane

procut
02-09-2005, 11:46 AM
Seriously, try some ads in the local paper, you might be surpirsed.

SpudsM15
02-09-2005, 12:56 PM
In my past two years... Last year I did solely flyers not to many maybe 1k, Still had a f/t job and was f/t at school still...
It got me going for the first season paid the equip and all.. This season I didnt' even advertise till aug.. which is when i put a add in the local classifieds paper with all the big guys in town... I happen to be right in the middle of the page... I think that gives me an advantage.. Nearly doubled my business since that point..Of course the add costs 2.5k a year... I don't think I even scraped the tip of the ice berg of biz yet...
I'd have to say get some magnets or letter the truck.This depending if your goign to keep it. Then get some lawn signs maybe 25 or so and do good work, I find these work well...
Then do some flyers, Before you drop some serious dough on marketing establish a name for yourself. This way when people look for ads they'll be like yea i've seen a lawn these guys do....Be much more effective then just putting a ad without anybody know who the hec you are. 50 is an ambious number getting 50 high quality customers in one season when your starting will be awsume.. Good luck bud...
Also see if you can put a flyer in the local paper... I can get 5k out for 300 bones...

LB1234
02-09-2005, 01:11 PM
IMO, 1500 will be cutting it close for "advertising". You'll probablly need more than that. The expected return rate (from what I've heard on this site and others) for flyers/direct mailing is around 1%. That means for every thousand expect around 10 calls from it. Assuming you land all the phone calls as jobs that means for 30 cleints you will need at an absolute minimum 3000 flyers, doorhangers, whatever. Assuming around $.30 for a color copy that's 900 bucks. If you wanted to throw stamps on there that's another 1000. There goes your 1500. Goes awfully fast for absolutely no gaurantees...

The landscaper
02-09-2005, 01:23 PM
I would just get as many flyers together as possible. That will be your cheapest route to hit a lot of people with your name. Check the local paper, that will work well as well. Be sure to network. Get business cards made up and give them to everyone you talk to during your days, the more people that know your out there the better.

If inerested in black and white copies....Let me know, I can get them really cheap.

The landscaper
02-09-2005, 01:27 PM
Check with email addy i put in my signature, they can give you great deals on magnets, yard signs, and all that good stuff.

The landscaper
02-09-2005, 01:28 PM
Whats the rate for black and white copies? Anyone know off the top of their head?

MMLawn
02-09-2005, 01:39 PM
Whats the rate for black and white copies? Anyone know off the top of their head?


White or colored paper at Office Depot .02 ea

wbw
02-09-2005, 01:49 PM
Doorhangers, doorhangers and then some more doorhangers.

mbricker
02-09-2005, 02:02 PM
IMHO, talk to people.

You can put flyers out on doors, mailboxes, where ever til you are blue in the face, but most of them will just be more litter. I get to do a lot of quotes, and get a fair number of jobs, just by hitting the doorsteps in a preferred target neighborhood on Saturday mornings.

I start about 9:00 to 9:30--earlier and too many people are sleeping in, later and too many people have already left the house to do their grocery shopping, recreation, whatever Saturday activity. Usually I notice a lot of people aren't home starting about 10:30 or 11:00. so you have a fairly narrow window to catch the potential customers.

I have a handful of flyers when I ring the doorbell. I don't shove one at them first thing--first I introduce myself. Just a quickie: [big smile] "Hi, I'm Mike and I have a mowing service and I do very good work." Slight pause, they may want to start right in with "Great. Give me a bid." Otherwise I prod for a response: "Could you use a good lawn service for this season?"

At this point they can only say yes, no, maybe, or close the door in your face (that means no). You have spent all of 30 seconds up to this point and may get to give a quote. Any reply other than shutting the door, and you should be offering them your flyer. No's and maybe's turn into customers later if they see your flyer laying on the kitchen counter right after they have thought of all the things they need to do besides lawn maintenance. People who already have a lawn service may call if they get that guy's letter with the new season's price increase. (But DON'T say "I beat anyone's price" unless your goal is to be a lowballer scrub)

I think right now selling lawn care in many areas of the country is something of a lost cause. I wait until the days have warmed enough to make people think of spring. But not until the grass is already growing--you will pick up some then, but only from the procrastinator types.

If you decide to do this direct sales route, remember you are only a nuisance time waster unless you are pushing something they will need. Skip the small talk and jokes until you have established a sort of tentative relationship. You cannot usually annoy someone into giving you their business. You aren't their friend (yet) so don't be too familiar. Mrs. and Mr. are the rule unless they are much younger than you, or tell you to use their first name. Appearance is a biggie. Professional appearance to me includes clean and neat clothing, and uniform shirt with your name is super. Trimmed beard (I think clean shaven is better) and if you have very long hair I think it should be tied back and not obvious when you are facing the customer. The truck should have signage, even if it is just magnetic door signs, and clean never hurts here either.

I really don't know why this process seems so difficult to many people. If you are reluctant to introduce yourself and talk to strangers face-to-face, make up your mind to just give it a try for 2 Saturday mornings. I expect you will be pleased with the results.

TurfProSTL
02-09-2005, 02:46 PM
Doorhangers, priced on the spot, seem to be an inexpensive way to grow. Especially if you've got plenty of time. You can target the areas you're already strong in and/or select the type of area you wish to grow in.

Keep a record by address and your basic price. You can use this info in the future for postcard mailings (as you free up more advertising money).

Saturday mornings are an excellent time to do some of your doorhanging. Like mbricker said, look sharp and keep your clean, lettered vehicle nearby. A 2% close rate is pretty good for an unsolicited, priced flyer. But not unheard of on a warm, spring-like Saturday morning.....

Robert F
02-09-2005, 02:58 PM
I spent $125 to buy a weekly list, for a month of the homes that just sold in areas I selected around me. No sense in trying to convert people with existing LCO's, try and snag some when the just move in. Here, outside of Los Angeles I got around 200 labels per week with the areas I selected (Richer areas). The cost of the flyers was around $400 and the stamps were like $275 or so... total cost around $800, and around 30% of them called for one thing or another and out of those ~250 that called I got around 70 for regular lawn service, plus quite a few random one time jobs which more than paid for the advertising.

I am damn happy with my results. Most of my success with it had to do with the real estate market around here, and the fact that a majority of new homeowneres (Primarily 1st time owners) here will need someone to cut their lawn. Also, the direct mailing, to them with their name on it probably made a bigger impact then a business card tucked into the flag on the mailbox. I took the time to put all mine in printed envelopes so they didn't look like all the other random junk mail.

grass-scapes
02-09-2005, 04:57 PM
IMO, 1500 will be cutting it close for "advertising". You'll probablly need more than that. The expected return rate (from what I've heard on this site and others) for flyers/direct mailing is around 1%. That means for every thousand expect around 10 calls from it. Assuming you land all the phone calls as jobs that means for 30 cleints you will need at an absolute minimum 3000 flyers, doorhangers, whatever. Assuming around $.30 for a color copy that's 900 bucks. If you wanted to throw stamps on there that's another 1000. There goes your 1500. Goes awfully fast for absolutely no gaurantees...

I sure would like to know where you can get color copies for $.30 . I can't get a color copy for anything less than$.69 per page, and thats with 300 copies... less than that and it is $.89. Id have to hit 1000 to get$.69 per sheet. I need to color copy my door hanger stock. two hangars per sheet, two sided. That makes each hangar cost $.69. Thats a bit much for 99 percent of them to be tossed.

Ive got to find a cheaper way.

The Logger
02-09-2005, 05:55 PM
Do you have business cards.
If not get some, copy max or some printer. Cost about $60 to $100 for 1000.
Get flyers made black ink on yellow paper. Don't put to much on them just what your going to do. Put free estimates on flyer and cards also put fully insured, and be so.
Go to real estate offices introduce yourself explain what your doing, and if they would be in need of your services you would appeciate a call. And leave some cards.
When you find a nice area that you would like to work, blanket it with flyers
stuck in doors not in mailboxes. While you are putting out flyers if you run into
people talk to them and give then a business card makes you look legit.
Grocery stores, conveinent stores, hardware stores, wal-mart are good places to hang flyers with permission of course.
LOL

ed2hess
02-09-2005, 06:42 PM
mbricker,
I admire your courage....in our area if you knock on the door you better have a pizza.

LB1234
02-09-2005, 06:47 PM
I sure would like to know where you can get color copies for $.30 . I can't get a color copy for anything less than$.69 per page, and thats with 300 copies... less than that and it is $.89. Id have to hit 1000 to get$.69 per sheet. I need to color copy my door hanger stock. two hangars per sheet, two sided. That makes each hangar cost $.69. Thats a bit much for 99 percent of them to be tossed.

Ive got to find a cheaper way.

I went to Minuteman Press on the web. You can look up a local place from their website. For 2000 color copies, one side, the cost to me was $700, tax included. Let's see that's $0.35 per copy. Not exactly the $0.30 that I said but the guy was willing to move more if I was going to make even more copies. I paid him another $122 and he is having them folded (in half), printing my return address on the other side, placing a marker on the same side so it will be easier, more consistent when I place my mailing labels on them. Also, he was willing to print the bulk mail stamp on that side at no extra charge. However, since this is my first time doing a "bulk" mailing I'm going to go with the stamp first and see what type of turn around I get.

LB1234
02-09-2005, 06:55 PM
...also put fully insured...

I was informed by my insurance agent to never put something like "fully insured" on any type of flyer, truck, whatever. She informed me that first and foremost you can never be FULLY insured, there is no such thing. Second, she said you are stating that you are insured for any and all damages you cause but perhaps you aren't. She informed me the best, safest, most accurate thing to do is place "certificate of insurance available upon request". That way you are informing them you have insurance and they can review exactly what you are and are NOT covered for. She did say I could place "insured" on the flyer but even recommended against that. I choose the certificate deal.

Not trying to pick on you or say that you are wrong...just some food for thought.

Robert F
02-09-2005, 08:46 PM
I was informed by my insurance agent to never put something like "fully insured" on any type of flyer, truck, whatever. She informed me that first and foremost you can never be FULLY insured, there is no such thing. Second, she said you are stating that you are insured for any and all damages you cause but perhaps you aren't. She informed me the best, safest, most accurate thing to do is place "certificate of insurance available upon request". That way you are informing them you have insurance and they can review exactly what you are and are NOT covered for. She did say I could place "insured" on the flyer but even recommended against that. I choose the certificate deal.

Not trying to pick on you or say that you are wrong...just some food for thought.

Interesting! I never thought of that! I'm gonna change that for next time.

GetSomeGOJO
02-09-2005, 09:29 PM
Join the local chamber of commerce! No Lie. For small businesses, chamber dues are probably around $200-$300. This puts you (typically) in a mailer sent to all new homeowners when they buy there home, allows you to network with local businesses, gives you an air of legitimacy and a great place to start networking. Remember, word of mouth is your best advertising and allowing local businesses to spread the word for you is a good start. All of us have to buy supplies somewheres, ask a manager at your local garden center if they'd mind your leaving some fliers/business cards. Do you work out of the home or a commercialy zoned property. Find out your local sign ordinances and get yourself a kick ass sign. Also, graphics for your co. vehicles

The Logger
02-09-2005, 10:02 PM
Always have to watch what you say, thanks I will change my cards.

scaglawnsnj
02-09-2005, 10:44 PM
I mastered my marketing technque this year, For just shy of 700.00..
That includes a 30 day business display ad in paper, and features in three community papers,250 mail outs,2000 cards. I hope to get at least 250 jobs out of my marketing tech. I thought long and hard, and spent many nights getting my tech ready for the middle of march-june. I will continue these tech's until my 55-60 client base is complete. Not to mansion the one shot jobs from these tech's I'll get. These work well in the NJ area, there's alway someone looking for the cutting edge work for fair rates. I have high hopes for the 2005 season. I will force these hopes into reality with the certain techs I've figured. Hope you develop the esteem to develop your own tech's.
1500 should be thrown out there in increments..of 750 each

Todd's lawncare
02-09-2005, 10:56 PM
i would love to know where you are getting the flyer's from i can get 4000 for a little over 100 and have them put in the paper for 58 bucks a 1000 thats only about 350 bucks and i can run an ad for 3.00 bucks a day a little over 100 bucks a month and i can also run an ad on tv for 50 a month with 1500 smackers i could advertise all season long

scaglawnsnj
02-09-2005, 11:08 PM
i would love to know where you are getting the flyer's from i can get 4000 for a little over 100 and have them put in the paper for 58 bucks a 1000 thats only about 350 bucks and i can run an ad for 3.00 bucks a day a little over 100 bucks a month and i can also run an ad on tv for 50 a month with 1500 smackers i could advertise all season long
good one!!!!!

Shane Scaife
02-10-2005, 12:14 AM
Lots of good info, thanks. I do have 1000 cards (in print). I will be having a card size ad in a county paper starting in two weeks. It will run each Wed. for the next 8 weeks. I have letters going out to all my local realtors and property managers. In mid March I will put a larger (4x4) ad in the same paper for 14 days or I will put 3000 (BW on Yellow) flyer inserts in the same paper (depending on what one is cheaper). I plan to put out 3-5000 door hangers/flyers mid March-April 1st. I will follow up with the realtors and property managers with an in person visit and at that time had them a full color brochure with cards. The flyers will offer 20% off service over $200 or Free gutter cleaning upon completion of seasonal LC. I will also be using mag. Signs on my van that look like my cards.

What do you think? Any other idea for the flyers that would attract callers?

Do you think this could bring in 30-50 for the season?

Thanks
Shane

walker-talker
02-10-2005, 05:46 AM
I would go to www.designoutpost.com and have a designer make you something professional....either door hanger or flyer. Then go to www.48hourprint.com to have them printed. For roughly $1500 you could have 15,000 professional, double-sided large doorhangers or 25,000 single-sided flyers made....both with a gloss finish. Grant it, it would be better to get the flyers since you could get so many more. Also, this will take longer than 2 weeks, but not much longer. 48hour print only too 10 days from start to finish for my 30,000 flyers I just made.

let us know what happens
Matt

tonygreek
02-10-2005, 09:18 AM
the best advice is as walker gave it. for you guys discussing the +/- 30 cents for the price of color copies, the cost break-out through 48hourprint for their single-sided, full color glossy flyers is:
2,000 $275 (13.8 cents per and the cost plummets the more you buy)
3,000 $325
4,000 $375
5,000 $425 (8.5 cents)

double-sided are approx $100 more than the above numbers.

Shane Scaife
02-11-2005, 11:23 PM
Thanks

Shane

walker-talker
02-12-2005, 07:47 AM
I sure would like to know where you can get color copies for $.30 . I can't get a color copy for anything less than$.69 per page, and thats with 300 copies
That's way too much!! At 48hourprint you can get 1000 copies for $225....that's only twenty-two and 1/2 cents per copy + shipping. The more you buy the cheaper they are. I only paid .055 cents per copy...that's five and a half cents for double-sided, full color, glossy prints.

Todd's lawncare
02-13-2005, 03:34 AM
good one!!!!!
do i have to prove it to you

dhess
02-19-2005, 01:41 AM
the best advice is as walker gave it. for you guys discussing the +/- 30 cents for the price of color copies, the cost break-out through 48hourprint for their single-sided, full color glossy flyers is:
2,000 $275 (13.8 cents per and the cost plummets the more you buy)
3,000 $325
4,000 $375
5,000 $425 (8.5 cents)

double-sided are approx $100 more than the above numbers.

haven't shopped around much but we used

http://www.psprint.com

last year and are about to order some more door hangers this year (as soon as I get through with the design this weekend).

Price is $ 0.088 for full color glossy both sides 4x9" for 5000. So your looking at around $444.00 + Shipping.

The batch we got was perfect and we had great service from them last year so we are planning on using them again this year along with our business cards.

Out of curiosity if anyone uses a design company to draw up a flyer please drop me a PM. I'd like to know what the going rates are for designing flyers/logos ect.