I did $36k my first year. I was 17, in high school, and worked 2 other jobs. I used a new Exmark rider. I doubled business 2 years in a row, before I almost went bankrupt in 2008-2009. I dropped all of my low paying accounts, and rebuilt while going to college. Now back over $100k, hopefully will hit 200k next year.
Theses are my suggestions for reaching your goal:
-Craigslist ads will give you cheap leads. waste of time
-Service Magic will give you cheap leads. waste of money
-Start a web page, buy a domain name, and advertise with google adwords. Make sure you understand adwords first or you will overpay quickly. We use intuit site builder and godaddy for domain. Also, buy all domains related to your business that you can--its competive sometimes...people will hold onto domains until others are taken up so they can sell them for a good profit.
-after setting up your web page, learn how to get ranked on google searches...this involves using other free sites to list your business and link to your website with similar key phrases.
-Twitter is stupid
-Facebook has been useful
-We still use fliers---full color rolled and rubber banded and tossed in driveways. The new business outweighs the complaints.
-customer incentives for referrals. Either free annual flower beds, gift cards, free service amounts, or what ever they want. Maybe consider giving them gift certificates so they can gift your service to a friend---haven't tried this yet, but I plan to do it before Christmas. Its going to be $50 or maybe more...if the customer's friend calls us for service, we will grant the current customer with the same $50 off their bill.
-I've gotten accounts and a strong database by driving through neighborhoods with my videocamera documenting each house number and street, also all of the hedges, pruning demands, and possible immideate upsells I saw. Then used goilawn.com to measure the properties and sent proposals after acquiring the mailing list. Its a pain in the butt, but only after sending 1 letter to 4 neighborhoods, I still sell jobs a year later.
-door hangers--we only occasionally door knock when we do a several day install. The flier on the door introduces ourselves, and request that people come and check out our work and ask us questions.
-yard signs---we only use these on installs, leaf clean up, and on new properties in the spring. We only leave them up on a maintenance account for 3 days.
-all 3 trucks have graphics and our logo is consistent in all printed and online stuff.
-Take over your neighborhood...be friendly with your neighbors.
-generic signs placed at busy intersections work sometimes. Signsonthecheap.com would be my recommended place to go. Currently, I have some out that just say, "Leaf Clean UP Licensed and Insured Full Service Lawn Care and Landscaping and my phone mumber". No logo or name goes on road signs like this.
-Figure out a static schedule for your customers. Mine is month by month how frequently we will visit, and its important to memorize this so you can make the sale very fast. Several times you will make the sale before the price has been mentioned through your words.
-I had a quote published about a year ago... it read, "Do what you know and do it well. If you don't know something, research and know it well before you do it."
Landscape management, design, and installation
Horticulturalist with Specialization in Landscape Management
25 years old 7 years in business ownership