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Old 04-18-2013, 10:16 PM
Armsden&Son Armsden&Son is offline
LawnSite Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: adirondacks, NY
Posts: 2,329
I agree there Jc1 but in a different sort of way... I think the market is generally oversaturated but I also think that 70% of the companies in any one area are garbage. I think that anyone, and i mean anyone should be able to conviince a potential client to go with your service that is professional, insured, licensed, experienced over the guy who is obviously a scrub. If everybody has door hangers out and is doing EDDM, then you just have to do something different... think outside the box... If you are truly the best option for people in your area, show them that you are!
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:28 PM
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DQL10 DQL10 is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 277
I am in my 3rd year and only have 10 residential customers and 3 commercial accounts and one townhome complex. Its not all about getting customers, it's about getting good quality customers. If you do good work, do what you say you are going to do, be on time every time, professional, friendly, and all that good jazz. My company has a 98% retention rate. All of our clean ups and mulch jobs are all repeat customers along with a few new ones. It's all about the quality of work you perform. Maybe on the next few jobs you bid, give them an incentive to go with you. Something along the lines of 3 free yards of mulch if you sign a contract or something along those lines. Also in your first couple of years don't limit your services to just lawn maintenance, maybe clean some gutters, or a few odd ball things. Word will travel fast but a bad word will travel faster!
- nate
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:22 PM
Dylan's Lawn Care Dylan's Lawn Care is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 117
I live in the same type of area as you farming town with a population around 10,000.

First problem I find is most of our customer in this industry are older retired and most of them grew up on farms worked hard and continue to do so for as long as they can so they are not scared to mow the lawn. Just this last week had a lady wanting brush cleanup and she went on about of she worked on a farm here life and she is a hard worker and it would only take her a hour if she could do it.

Second thing is living in a small town is relationships. We have one large LCO operation that has almost every commercial account in the town and he has done that by being in the community for years and knowing the right people biggest thing is he is buds with the local relators. Overall he does horrible work scalping yards and shabby work. I drove by one of the business that he plows and the whole front yard is plowed up from his guys plowing.

I went on a commercial bidding spree this week and got turned away from everyone of them with the same answer "we are happy with the current lawn company" not even wanting a bid.

Sometimes I almost think it is harder to run a LCO in a small town with little competition then a large city.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:39 PM
herler herler is online now
LawnSite Platinum Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 4,898
I am not afraid of the lowballer.

I am, however, afraid of the guy who does good work, cheap.
Mostly because I am usually that guy.

You won't find better, for less.
You won't, I don't care how hard you look.
We're not talking puny 5 dollar discounts here, that's no trick.
I do for $30 what the competition wants $80 for, same or better quality finish.
That's the guy who will take your lunch and eat it, too.

And I have more work than I can finish.
The phone rings incessantly from 4am to midnight, off the hook it rings, call after call.
I can't answer it because I'm too busy finishing the work from three weeks ago, the messaging service fills up.
I try to keep up but the piles of paper with messages scribbled on in 2'am hand-writing are just piling up.
And the customers, are they pissed because it took so long?
No, they're glad I showed up because my work is THAT good!

Granted, I may have exaggerated just a tiny little bit.

The trick is to nail it somewhere between where you are, and what I've just described.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:40 AM
Mt. Zion Lawn Care Mt. Zion Lawn Care is offline
LawnSite Member
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: McMinnville, TN
Posts: 27
Thanks guys for the advice. I spent some time tonight and thought of a good add to put up on the local classifieds. Hopefully I get some return with this one.

Here's the link to the add.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:06 AM
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CreativeLawncareSolutions CreativeLawncareSolutions is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: cincinnati, oh
Posts: 1,964
Quality is great, but it's not the be all and end all. Most people do fine work. Customers will still drop you in a second. Churn 'em and burn 'em I say.

14' landscape trailer
52'' Wright Stander
21'' Personal Pace
Stihl handhelds
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:18 PM
RonWin RonWin is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Albany, NY
Posts: 554
Buisness is good for me, I get atleast 2 voicemails a day asking for free quotes on my services, mainly spring cleanups but every once in a while I get customers asking for grass cutting. I am actually turning away the small annoying jobs because I don't have time for them, if I did I would do them but so buisy that I might leave my state job that's nights next year. I have been picking up a lot of accounts from other LCO's because the companies have gotten to big for their britches n are charging more for lower quality work. That's atleast what everyone who calls me says, I don't bad mouth them, I just smile to myself and tell them my prices (: The best part is when I'm done and they tell me that their property has never looked better and that they want extra business cards to give to their friends. Ice gotten 3 extra jobs just from referrals which turn into a spider web of more referrals as the people referred to me ask to give their friends my cards.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:25 PM
RonWin RonWin is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Albany, NY
Posts: 554
I think the trick is once you get a job, always take the time to do Ur absolute best, that way you feel good about what you did and it is almost like a you have a glow of confidence around you and customers take notice that you uve pride in your work and think "wow this guy is just as satisfied, if kit more satisfied, in making my property look good, as I do" they will tell all their friends about you and the great work you do. If you do your beat and leave a property as detailed as possible then even if for the rarest of circumstances that they do not think it looks as great as you think you left it, you will never feel guilty or question yourself.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:45 PM
Paul's Green Thumb Paul's Green Thumb is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Ill Annoy
Posts: 130
This is my first season and I feel lucky to already have a client. She is bi-weekly @ $55 for a smallish mow trim & blow.
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:13 PM
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GreenUtah GreenUtah is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 866
I guess I'm puzzled with a generic flyer/online/classifieds approach in a small market.

In areas with a small population, it's highly likely that you'll end up driving all over the place IF your ads spawn a response (and that's a whole other discussion). You need customers close to what you have or where you live/launch from. Taking such a passive approach is not going to get them. Go knock on doors of neighbors anywhere near what you do, right after you've serviced a property. Tell them where you were just working, ask if there is anything that you could be doing for them anytime you're in the neighborhood and put your card in their hand, again repeating that you'll be in the neighborhood servicing each week and are available to take care of any of their needs.

That's active marketing, it's establishing recognition, adding some peer pressure with a neighbor(along with a stamp of legitimacy because the neighbor already committed to you), it's route building and adding a convenience factor (you'll already be out and see their lawn each week).

Remember that small jobs are what lead to large jobs. Pulling weeds, planting flowers, shaping shrubs, fixing a sprinkler, trimming a tree or laying in mulch leads to mowing. Mowing a house for a business owner leads to their commercial property, etc. etc.

Why are LCOs so afraid of face to face selling? It's like a death sentence in a small community.
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