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Old 12-30-2010, 11:57 PM
tlc1994 tlc1994 is offline
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Rookie fighting the competition for customers

I'm in high school and I am in a neighborhood surrounded by competion, and I am looking for any tips on how to get customers to pick me over the other guys. I refuse to lowball for accounts but I am considering a special offer for potential customers in my neighborhood: offer a free cut with an appointment and estimate. The only reason I am considering this is so customers can realize my seriousness to be there lawn service provider, and I really don't have any drive time to have wasted. I'd rather give up a few free cuts to get potential clients I otherwise wouldn't have. Comments, suggestions, other tips would be great.

Side Note*: I keep my lawn in top shape constantly in case you might suggest that would help. But people really only care about their lawn and their money.

Last edited by tlc1994; 12-31-2010 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:36 AM
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DA Quality Lawn & YS DA Quality Lawn & YS is offline
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My best advice is to be tough as nails - you will have to scratch and claw for those first few accounts. Do a SUPERB job on those, and more will follow.

Advertise (but don't spend too much), and a 5th cut free type offer may get some in the door as well (never do the 1st cut free, people will just bail on you after you cut the lawn once)
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:04 AM
tlc1994 tlc1994 is offline
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Thanks for the advice. I was thinking about doing a 50% off rate for the THIRD month- by then my customers will be settled into my service.
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:07 PM
xclusive xclusive is online now
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I put out fliers offering 3 free cuts to new customers only when they sign up for a 1 year maintenance agreement. When they sign up I tell them the free cuts will be given out towards the end of the year. This way they have to stay with me throughout the season to qualify. If not like DA said people will bail once they receive the FREE offer.
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:20 PM
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AzLawnMan AzLawnMan is offline
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I have never ever gave away free services to new customers. What does that tell your current customers? Its the same as Direct Tv giving new customers 1 year premium channels for $29 a month, but the customer that has been with them for 10 years is paying $100 a month, and when the old customer calls they tell him, "Thats only for new customers sir" That pi$$es me off. If any customer is getting something for free, its my loyal customers. When that 5th week rolls around with certain customers I put in my invoice "0.00" " No charge, thank you for being a loyal customer, I appreciate your business." New customer have to earn deals, they cant just sign up and get better breaks than my long time customers. If they were reffered then maybe a cut them a deal on the first time service. But how would your long time customer of say 3 years feel if shes talking to that neighbor who just signed up for service and they found out your doing it cheaper than their lawn and you gave them free service!!! Not very happy I suppose. Take care of your current clients and they will do all your advertising for you.
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:13 PM
tlc1994 tlc1994 is offline
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Like I said, I'm a rookie trying to get my first customers- I don't want to offer free cuts, and I'm not trying to support an over-saturated market. However, in my area, I have two types of lawn care providers that I need to gain an upper hand on: the professional landscape businesses that charge a large amount weekly, and the cheap lawn care guys with a truck falling apart that charge $60 a month. At this certain point I'm not worried about upsetting loyal customers- I have none. So, besides a discount, if anyone has a trick they used to gain clients in their starting years I'd be happy to hear it.
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:37 PM
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AzLawnMan AzLawnMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlc1994 View Post
Like I said, I'm a rookie trying to get my first customers- I don't want to offer free cuts, and I'm not trying to support an over-saturated market. However, in my area, I have two types of lawn care providers that I need to gain an upper hand on: the professional landscape businesses that charge a large amount weekly, and the cheap lawn care guys with a truck falling apart that charge $60 a month. At this certain point I'm not worried about upsetting loyal customers- I have none. So, besides a discount, if anyone has a trick they used to gain clients in their starting years I'd be happy to hear it.
Once again, another "Rookie" thinking a new truck and fancy equipment makes you a professional. I go to auctions a buy used trucks with no windows, ac doesnt work and so on, does that mean Im not a "Pro"? I know one thing, while your making payments for the next 5 years, my trucks are paid for, which means that $500 your spending every month goes into my pocket. There are companies that charge less than I do, but I dont care, Im not worried about what they are doing and how they charge, if they are making money off of $60 a month and busting their a$$ then good for them. Wake up my friend or you will not last in this business, throw those pre-conception thoughts in your head as to how a landscape company is ran and go slow, you will see the things you thought were the "right" way were just the "way" at that time. No programs, no incentives, just good hard work and you will never "look" for work, work will "look" for you.
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:49 PM
tlc1994 tlc1994 is offline
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Alright, I think you have the wrong idea about me. I don't have a fancy truck, I bought it for 650 on craigslist. And I don't have fancy equipment, I bought most of it used on craigslist, too. I'm not trying to get business to buy and iPod or something stupid, I'm doing this because its the best service I can offer, and I plan on using some money for college. Now I don't consider myself a pro, I'm probably the least experienced person on this site, but I work hard on quality lawn care. I joined this site to learn as much as I possibly can: fertilizing, business technique, networking, etc. Unfortuately, doing a good job on lawns isn't the only thing that will get me customers, at least not this early in my work. I made this post to ask others if they had any suggestions to get customers when southern california is already swarming with lawn care service. If they say incentives aren't necessarily a good idea (at least the way I used them), then I will take their word on it. So, in the most respectable manner possible, I am asking other lawn care providers how they got customers starting out.
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Old 01-01-2011, 03:02 PM
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JB1 JB1 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlc1994 View Post
Alright, I think you have the wrong idea about me. I don't have a fancy truck, I bought it for 650 on craigslist. And I don't have fancy equipment, I bought most of it used on craigslist, too. I'm not trying to get business to buy and iPod or something stupid, I'm doing this because its the best service I can offer, and I plan on using some money for college. Now I don't consider myself a pro, I'm probably the least experienced person on this site, but I work hard on quality lawn care. I joined this site to learn as much as I possibly can: fertilizing, business technique, networking, etc. Unfortuately, doing a good job on lawns isn't the only thing that will get me customers, at least not this early in my work. I made this post to ask others if they had any suggestions to get customers when southern california is already swarming with lawn care service. If they say incentives aren't necessarily a good idea (at least the way I used them), then I will take their word on it. So, in the most respectable manner possible, I am asking other lawn care providers how they got customers starting out.




ask yourself, what makes you special that you would hire you over the other million companies out there.
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Old 01-01-2011, 03:58 PM
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Patriot Services Patriot Services is online now
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Legwork. Do you have an advertising budget? Make a good looking page for CL. Doorhangers with a good layout and colors. Better door hangers seem to be a pretty good value. Upsell, upsell, upsell! Push full service over mow only when you do get calls. Do not put a hand written rouge sign on the corner saying "any lawn 15.00".
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