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  #1  
Old 01-28-2010, 12:47 PM
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FourTrees FourTrees is offline
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Services for FREE is GREAT marketing!!!

This post is in regards to a current thread about providing extra services for free or heavily discounted. I have seen more than once on this site someone saying something like:

“Do not give away services for free, even if advertising. You are wrong if you think other companies in other industries do this.”



This attitude is so wrong. If you can tastefully find a way to provide your services free or discounted to advertise your skill then you should.

Real world examples. Have you ever seen:

A new car wash giving away extra services through a grand opening or spring special weekend.

A grocery store cooking food and giving free samples to shoppers as the roam the store. Saturday morning shopping is great you can get lots of samples.

Every grand opening (and I would compare this to an LCO entering a new are were they want a lot of clients) gives away tons of free services/products.

Nearly every sporting/concert event give away thousands of tickets to local businesses prior to event to get name out there.

Nearly all service companies I know of, when they PAY for advertising add a coupon giving some sort of discount or service free with something else.

THESE ARE CONSIDERED GREAT MARKETING TACTICS.

Why then would someone say to not exchange services for some free marketing. This is were the potential customer will be able to see your work.

My suggestion is in a scenario were you have a client on a high profile location that does not fully utilize your services. And lawn does not live up to full potential, then work out some sort of agreement such as:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sehitchman View Post
In a neighborhood of about 90 upper middle class homes (250-400k) where we have 4 accounts. One of my customers is an absentee out of state owner. He only pays for mow and blow and the yard and landscape needs some work to make it look good. It is the 2nd house as you enter the neighborhood and next to the common area and clubhouse. Thinking about offering to trim the bushes, put down new pine straw, fertilizer, edge, and perhaps some annuals in exchange for a yard sign. I would continue to charge him for the mow and blow. I think he would allow the yard sign anyway, but since it looks so average, I did not want to advertise his yard looking the way it does. If we could pick up 2-3 more accounts in there is would easily pay for itself. We don't have much else to do right now anyway.
What do you think?
GREAT IDEA
Maybe only put out sign for acceptable amount of time say one or two weeks following said marketing service when lawn is looking its best. This will be the cheapest effective advertising you could do in any neighborhood. Explain to client that you are trading services for advertising and tell them what you typically charge and if they are contacted that is what they might tell their neighbor

I will go further to say that letting your truck sit in front of a home that does not fulfill your expectations of quality work actually advertises that you are not capable of quality work. Potential customers will not know that the client does not want to pay for said services they will just think you are not a quality service business.
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:18 PM
AdamChrap AdamChrap is offline
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Like I said in the other thread.
We do free Lawn Care for a small (very small) community park that is downtown and we get to have a sign up all year. The park was knee high when we took over so people have noticed and are happy about it. It takes one guy less than 15 min to Mow, Trim and Blow.
It has worked great for us.
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  #3  
Old 01-28-2010, 01:23 PM
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SangerLawn SangerLawn is offline
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It is very possible to spend thousands of thousands of dollars on advertising and hardly get any new customers. At the same time it is very possible to do something free and end up picking up new customers….I don’t see anything wrong with it as long as your not locked in. if you do something for free for several weeks then with no return then it is time to end doing that free job and move on.
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:50 PM
AdamChrap AdamChrap is offline
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I agree that you have to watch how much you are doing for free very close. But I don't agree with people who say "No never do it". But to each his own what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another.
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:54 PM
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lawnkingforever lawnkingforever is offline
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Although I agree somewhat in your position. I don't like working for free, but that is just my thinking. If you had a commercial account on a high traffic intersection, I could see striking some sort of deal to put up a sign. Putting free cheese and crackers out or offering buy one get one free soda in a grocery store is called a loss-leader and is an accepted form of advertising in the grocery industry. Next time you are at the grocery store ask the manager if you can get a discount on your bill if you put their logo on your truck.
Furthermore, if you are already in a neighborhood a yard sign should not be needed. Over time I bet 90% of the residents are going to see you anyway and approach you if they need your services. Those are the type of customers you want.
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:10 PM
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SangerLawn SangerLawn is offline
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Every person that says they don’t do something for free to get or keep customers is a liar. Every one of us had a customer ask us to do something and we did it with out charging extra. Something as simple as a homeowner asking us to mow over there monkey grass to them bringing a rug outside and asking us to blow it off with our blowers.

I know if we are mowing a lawn and the neighbor just got done mowing there property…a lot of times we will blow off that persons driveway as well as our own. Especially if it is an elderly person. A few seconds of time has landed me jobs time after time…..and if anyone reads my post on how I got started…well, that should say it all
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=280306

but like I said….you can only do free for so long before it starts costing to much. If you not getting anywhere then its time to move on
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:22 PM
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FourTrees FourTrees is offline
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What is the difference in paying $1000 to advertise and giving away $1000 dollars in service to advertise.

One might say nothing or even that it is easier to pay out of ad budget, than give away service.


BUT I say service is cheaper and more effective if done in a high profile area. In that it is not an actual hard cost of $1000 and it specifically targets your market.

I agree that in a neighborhood, as used in example, the sign is not needed and your truck should be enough, but say that a sign would be effective in short term just after service.

PS I get the grocery store lose leader as you mentioned (7 years of management in retail; before, during, and after getting a Bachelors degree in Business Management. I hope I picked up more than a few things.) So I understand the sample correlation is not exactly the same in all terms. But it is also very common for a company to give store free merchandise to sell at no cost to them in order to claim a prized location in store. And this is not only something that is accepted in grocery industry. It is acceptable and effective in nearly any market and industry. (Would say every market, but I hate to deal in absolutes.)


PLEASE BELIEVE ME this strategy is far more common in all industries and very beneficial as some of the best marketing.
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:33 PM
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SangerLawn SangerLawn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FourTrees View Post
(7 years of management in retail; before, during, and after getting a Bachelors degree in Business Management. I hope I picked up more than a few things.) So I understand the sample correlation is not exactly the same in all terms
Ok…this post kind of ticked me off. Personally I never went to collage and have an extremely well groomed lawn care service. To be honest, most of the people I ever meet that went to collage failed in this industry because they absolutely suck at marketing….funny how we are talking about marketing here.

Long story short….to this day I have not found a single collage that teaches common sense so please don’t get on here talking about schooling.

If I misunderstood then im sorry but this kind of crap aggravates me
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:52 PM
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FourTrees FourTrees is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SangerLawn View Post
Ok…this post kind of ticked me off. Personally I never went to collage and have an extremely well groomed lawn care service. To be honest, most of the people I ever meet that went to collage failed in this industry because they absolutely suck at marketing….funny how we are talking about marketing here.

Long story short….to this day I have not found a single collage that teaches common sense so please don’t get on here talking about schooling.

If I misunderstood then im sorry but this kind of crap aggravates me
Sanger the only reason I pointed that out was that another poster was telling me my grocery store example was not really applicable and yet I worked in a Grocery Store as a manger for 7 years, part of that while going to school and enjoyed the benefit of practical application of what I was learning.

NOW SHOULD I TAKE OFFENSE that you say everyone you know who went to college were idiots and could not market effectively. It would seem to me that you are the one "name calling not I". I choose not to take offense and hope you will not either.

Now your posts have made great sense and did not say that this marketing was a bad idea, SO sorry for the offense you took.

I am only pointing out that in my education AND in my practical commonsense real world experience that this form of marketing is very PRACTICAL and EFFECTIVE. Highly recommended both in college marketing education and by real world businessman.

I to get tired of the crap that people put out there and feel equally aggravated when people belittle my or anyone's education. I put tons of effort in it, and disagree that it does not teach common sense. Now there are tons of idiots with degrees, but also many more successful people.
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  #10  
Old 01-28-2010, 03:07 PM
sehitchman sehitchman is online now
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