Originally Posted by SoonerTurf
I still have had remarkable success with the MLS listing. Find a Realtor that has access to the Multi Listing Service (MLS) list of houses for sale. they can run a list of houses that just closed (just sold). Get that list once a month (once a week for me) and either go by and introduce yourself to the NEW homeowner and let them know you take care of such and such yards in the neighborhood to help keep the neighborhood market up. Or you can send a letter or postcard to these newly bought homes and let them know about a new homeowner deal you have for that specific neighborhood. I used this when I was selling residential security systems and tripled my commisions and now I use it for lawn and have doubled the size of our customer base in 8 months. The only "catch" is finding a realtor willing to help you out. I just called around and asked and the one I work with was about my 4th phone call. I offer them a small kick back ($5 for each one I sell off that list which is around 800 this year) and they are more than happy to give it to me because that is $4000 more than they would have had and it takes them about 5 minutes to produce a list. Try it out... it works!
Agreed, this method works great for me also.. My cousin is a realtor, emails me a list once a week (i mow his lawn for half price in return) and i get alot of landscaping jobs that way, and a good amount of mowing and snow removal too. Most new homeowners are very appreciative of someone who comes up and offers to help them out (if i get a "good vibe" from the owners i will offer to mow there lawn free one time as a "housewarming" gift) rather than them having to scan the phone book or online in a new town during the hectic time during move in.
I've done the door to door flyers bit, but do not knock.. usually just annoys people if you knock. Don't get alot of jobs this way, but one is better then none on a rainy sunday afternoon when all of the equipment is ready to go for the upcoming week.
One strategy that worked well for me, especially recently, was contacting banks who own foreclosed properties (foreclosures are public information, and are in the paper every day) and offer to do basic upkeep of the lawn until the property is sold. Some banks already have a company they work with, others are thrilled that you have called and saved them 25 minutes to find someone. I don't take these on anymore because i have all of the full service accounts i can handle, but it was a great boost to my business last summer, really helped me pull in the extra income i needed to expand.