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  #1  
Old 04-26-2014, 07:33 AM
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LawnMowerMan2003 LawnMowerMan2003 is offline
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Getting Ready To Start!

OK, I have my truck, mower, trimmer, and 100 flyers ready. I just need to pick up a broom (didn't have enough money for blower yet) and I'm ready to mow, so I'm going to go see how long it takes me to pass out 100 flyers today.

I actually wanted to do a daily special, so if they call me while I'm in the neighborhood, I could give them a discount. But I didn't design a flyer for that yet, and I'm a little concerned about leaving my new Echo Trimmer in the truck (even though there is a locking cable, somebody could undo the screws to the handle, if they had the tool). So maybe next time I'll just write "X Discount on X Day"

I have a very simple flyer, so I'm interested to see what my response rate will be. I might attach my flyer later, if anyone wants to make suggestions. I know it wold be nice to have color pictures, but I really can't afford that right now.
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  #2  
Old 04-26-2014, 07:39 AM
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" I just need to pick up a broom (didn't have enough money for blower yet"

That's funny!!!
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  #3  
Old 04-26-2014, 09:57 AM
TuffTurfLawnCare TuffTurfLawnCare is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnMowerMan2003 View Post
OK, I have my truck, mower, trimmer, and 100 flyers ready. I just need to pick up a broom (didn't have enough money for blower yet) and I'm ready to mow, so I'm going to go see how long it takes me to pass out 100 flyers today.

I actually wanted to do a daily special, so if they call me while I'm in the neighborhood, I could give them a discount. But I didn't design a flyer for that yet, and I'm a little concerned about leaving my new Echo Trimmer in the truck (even though there is a locking cable, somebody could undo the screws to the handle, if they had the tool). So maybe next time I'll just write "X Discount on X Day"

I have a very simple flyer, so I'm interested to see what my response rate will be. I might attach my flyer later, if anyone wants to make suggestions. I know it wold be nice to have color pictures, but I really can't afford that right now.
Best thing you can do is get more fliers. dont think just because you put out 100 fliers you will havlf of them to call. The return on fliers is somewhere between .5 and 3%. So for every hundred you send out, you will get less than one call to maybe 3. Of those you bid, you could expect to get to about 25-50% unless you are under bidding and locking in 100%, but at that point to you are selling yourself short and leaving money on the table.

I would get at least 1000 fliers printed and sent out. The more the better. Then put them out a few times a year. Don't worry about getting too many calls, or requests to bid jobs that are to big for you. Just tell the caller that their property is bigger than you could do efficiently and don't feel comfortable taking on the job. Customers LOVE when contractors are honest. I just did this with a bid on a 30+ yd mulch job. The customer thanked me for being honest and has since sent me two more leads.

I would highly recomend getting what ever blower you can get your hands on, even if it means a homeowner model from walmart. The time it will save you and the look of the property after your done will be well worth it.

I dont see the "discount today" offer working out well, as many people are at work and wont see the flier until its too late. A popular offer is 3rd cut free, after 10 cuts, get one free, etc. The reason is, because it easier to recoup the loss of revenue from the free cut after you have gotten a few full price cuts from them. If every 10th cut is free, then you are giving them a 10% discount over the 10 ten cuts. Its alot easier to absorb that than a 50% discount on a one time cut. A 50% discount on a one time cut would cost you money to do the job with no garantee that you would have any more work coming. Free 10th cut, you would be making money on each cut and you would have made money before you give the free cut. Worst case, you made money on 10 cuts then one for free. But those 10 cuts gave you the money buy your blower. As opposed to the one time cut at a discount that took money out of your pocket.

If your using contracts, then you could do the first cut free, but even then it is common to have a prepay clause to get the free cut. This ensures that you wont be loosing money for the free cut.

Be careful about your promotions. Done right, they will make you money, done wrong and you will be paying to cut some ones lawn.
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:48 PM
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LawnMowerMan2003 LawnMowerMan2003 is offline
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Thanks TuffTurf

I passed out 100 today. It took me about 4 hours. I think I could do it faster, but I was looking for neighborhoods with small lots and I really didn't find too many. Also, at least half of the lawns didn't look like they were growing much. I didn't leave flyers on lawns that barely had any grass, and it seemed like I spent too much time walking and not leaving flyers. I may look online to see if I can see what neighborhoods have smaller lawns.

I was hoping for a 2% response rate, but I knew it might be 1%. Hopefully not 1/2% because then I might have to pass out flyers all day just to (maybe) get one job. The reason I didn't print 1000 is I may want to revise my flyer. I'd rather make enough for the day and pass them out. Maybe the estimate on the flyer will help the response rate (unless I'm too high, because I hate underbidding them). Maybe tomorrow I'll try for 200.
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:00 PM
TuffTurfLawnCare TuffTurfLawnCare is offline
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Dont be too picky right now. Its like carpet bombing. Bomb the hell out of entire areas and hope you hit a target. Dont cross off customers before you know a thing about them. Everyone gets a flier. Then when they call you, decide what you want to do. Take as many jobs as you can right now even if your efficiency isnt the best. If you get the jobs and make a little now, that shlould give you the income to buy better equipment, which increases your efficiency which increases your profit. Its called growing a business.

I think your shooting yourself in the foot by turning down work before you even give them a flier. Get hungry, and go after the work. Build your client list and buy more efficient equipment and make more money. Remember, faster equipment isnt to give a better price to the client, its to put more profit in your pocket. Stop thinking like the neighborhood kid and start acting and thinking like a business owner, within reason. Wouldnt bid a 2 acre lot with a push mower, but a 1/2 acre, yeah. Sure it will be hard, bjt when you get a bigger mower, it will mean more profit at faster times.

Everyone gets a flier. Maybe the people your skipping have a small rental property. Maybe they need someone to cut their elderly parents property. Maybe they only need it cut once while on vacation. Maybe they only want the front cut. Maybe the people with thin lawns dont want to do it anymore, would you even know? No cause you never gave them the chance to even call you. Again, EVERYONE GETS A FLIER. Be a business owner. Go get your paycheck
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:10 PM
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LawnMowerMan2003 LawnMowerMan2003 is offline
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OK, your logic makes sense on passing out flyers to every home, if I'm going to be walking by the flyer only costs 6 or 7 cents. I thought about the fact that I really can't look at a lawn and have any idea if they will call me or not. So I will go with your advice and just put them on every house.
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  #7  
Old 04-26-2014, 07:36 PM
FireLTMower FireLTMower is offline
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I'm a new guy on the street too, but i've found some quick success. Enough to give you some advice as I see it anyhow.... Handing out flyers by hand is a waste of valuable time. The days of someone appreciating a smiling face are of an era gone by. It will take you FAR more time to hand them out than what will ever be worth it in returned work. Make yourself some professional looking flyers using one of the online based printing companies, i.e. VistaPrint, etc... Then, instead of wasting your time walking around handing them out, head over to the US Postal Service website and check out their "every door direct mail". It gives you the option to target certain neighborhoods, demographics, etc. that may better suit your needs, as well as preventing you wasting your flyers. It makes very little since to send a pile of flyers to a neighborhood with an annual average income of $30-$50,000. Your odds of finding people in those neighborhoods who can afford to pay someone to mow are slim-to-none. Also, pay special attention to average household age (yes, also an option). Far more clientel will be those who just can't physically mow their lawn anymore.
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  #8  
Old 04-26-2014, 08:20 PM
TuffTurfLawnCare TuffTurfLawnCare is offline
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While I agree with the idea of using EDDM (I sent out 3k this year). But since he can't afford a blower, I didnt think he could afford EDDM. I dont agree with the idea of going towards older demographics. Its been my experience that the older ones are tighter with their money as many are on fixed incomes. For me, my best clients are 30-50yr olds. Professionals, execs, or self employed. Just like selectively leaving fliers is bad, so is targeting certain demographics. Some older folks have made millions, and are willing to pay whatever to have the nicest lawn. Some are on SSI or partial pension and have little to spend. Some young families are supported by a single parent making $200k a year while the other stays home with the kids, and goes to mommy meetings at the local Starbucks for two hrs a day and they are willing to pay someone else to the work that they don't WANT to do. Others, are struggling young families. Daddy works 14hr days, mommy is wrangling the little ones all day so they HAVE to pay to have the lawn cut as cheap as possible. Then you have the people in the middle of those. Either way, if you target a certain age demographic, you are limiting your exposure.

As a business owner, or the guy making first contact, it is your responsibility to interview the potential client to see if that person fits your business plan. If your looking for large lush landscapes with lots of beds, annual plantings, and full service lawn/garden care then you don't want the person looking for the cheap cut, no matter the age. If your a mow 'n go, you probably dont want the guy who is in a war with the other neighbor over who has the better looking lawn/landscapes. A bid request is an interview for both the company that is doing work, the and customer who wants work done. Don't shoot yourself in the foot. Interview as many potential clients as you can that fit your business, no matter how old they are.
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  #9  
Old 04-26-2014, 08:51 PM
32vld 32vld is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireLTMower View Post
I'm a new guy on the street too, but i've found some quick success. Enough to give you some advice as I see it anyhow.... Handing out flyers by hand is a waste of valuable time. The days of someone appreciating a smiling face are of an era gone by. It will take you FAR more time to hand them out than what will ever be worth it in returned work. Make yourself some professional looking flyers using one of the online based printing companies, i.e. VistaPrint, etc... Then, instead of wasting your time walking around handing them out, head over to the US Postal Service website and check out their "every door direct mail". It gives you the option to target certain neighborhoods, demographics, etc. that may better suit your needs, as well as preventing you wasting your flyers. It makes very little since to send a pile of flyers to a neighborhood with an annual average income of $30-$50,000. Your odds of finding people in those neighborhoods who can afford to pay someone to mow are slim-to-none. Also, pay special attention to average household age (yes, also an option). Far more clientel will be those who just can't physically mow their lawn anymore.
EDDM is not cheap. Last I knew it was $.19 a piece. At 2,000 pieces a route is $380. PO has 20 routes is $7600.

Should be able to put out a lot of flyers and advertise in a local weekly newspaper for a lot less then EDDM.

Not against EDDM. Though many a guy just starting up may not be able to afford EDDM.
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  #10  
Old 04-26-2014, 09:25 PM
FireLTMower FireLTMower is offline
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I agree with you both, and while I mentioned selecting demographics... I guess I mispoke my primary intention. That was to AVOID wasting money on demographics that will have no return. Every area is different, even within each state and county. What works well in one area, make work horribly in another. In my area, if you were to target 30-40 y/o's, even in higher income areas, you would be wasting your time as most capable men (country guys) in this area enjoy and take pride in maintaining their own lawn. You are also correct that a "blanket approach" is best, IF you can afford to do so. If not, make the most of your money. Also, in this area, newspaper advertising is a waste of money. It is very expensive, and has shown (me) very little return. The bottom line is this - Nothing is better advertising than a job well done. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool!
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