2011 outlook, where to spend money.

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by srl28, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. srl28

    srl28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,176

    I set goals almost monthly for my business, during the season and off season. One of my goals for the upcoming year is to add at least 15 to 20 additional lawn maintenance accoutns. Happy with our commercial accounts and have some new ones we will be doing this coming year, really I'm looking to add to our residential list.

    So lets say I'm setting aside $3k for this "advertising campaign". What in your mind is the best way to spend that and get a good return in the sector I'm targeting?

    We've used flyers and doorhangers in targeted neighborhoods and had some decent results with that but I'm looking for a larger return this time, again 15 to 20+ new residential accounts.

    Thoughts now are Val-pak, Local newspaper (pretty inexpensive), or direct mail (need some numbers on this, how much would say 10k direct mailings be, mailed say twice)
     
  2. gasracer

    gasracer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,049

    Val-Pak is $425 per month for 6 months(10,000 mailings per month). Newspapers are not worth it,
     
  3. srl28

    srl28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,176

    Ever advertised in the newspaper or are you just making an assumption or good guess?

    Val-pak seemed to be an ok option. Little pricey but not when its broken down. Friend of mine in a different business did a lot of research on it and how it worked,returns, ROI, etc and it worked very well for him, granted he is in a completely different industry but his facts and figures were pretty good.
     
  4. gasracer

    gasracer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,049

    My point about newspapers is so many people read online (including me). I would check with Val-pal in your area and see what they had to offer.It's based on zip codes and full service Landscapers. They don't cover my own zip code so it doesn't help me.
     
  5. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    I did some math awhile back and $3000 bought me 15000 5.5x8.5 postcards. mail list, postage, print. Basically everything except the postcard design which would cost around $450 (thats for 3 different designs). I was going to mail 2500 to a specific market and another 2500 to a specific mail carrier route. Thats 5000 postcards mail 3X.

    You could save money and just do mail carrier routes. Then take the money left over and buy 500 yard signs for about $500. Then take $300 and buy 5000 small flags from blackburn and stick them in the ground in front of the houses. Goes much quicker that putting up door hangers or flyers, but has less info. Just a couple ideas.
     
  6. srl28

    srl28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,176

    Did you ever go with the flyers/mailings? How did it work out for you? Who did you use for the printing, etc.
     
  7. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    I had used printwarehouse.com years ago and they did a good job. gotprint.com has the best prices on postcards I have seen recently. I did a mailing of postcards about 5 years ago, but didnt pick up many mowing jobs. I did 5000 (2500x2) and got about 30 or 40 calls and picked up 3 mowing jobs. I've done monthly HOA newsletters and other monthly newsletters with no luck at all. Newspaper usually does a decent job. I spent about $300 last year on that and picked up about 3 accounts. I could of had more, but there were not in my area.

    If you're going to do a mailing and need a list, take a look at your current customer base and find a target markey there.
     
  8. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Posts: 1,895

    I'd have to agree about the HOA newsletters. Most people who pay dues to an HOA don't give a rip about the newsletter or participating in some committee.
     
  9. srl28

    srl28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,176

    That was my next question. I find it pretty easy to drive around neighborhoods we re already in or want to expand into and just jot down the addresses and compile our own marketing/mailing list.

    Question is, what would be the best thing to do with this list next. Obviously sticking a stamp on each piece would be costly and somewhat unprofessional, so Im guessing a mailing house or something that we can just hand over "our" mailing list to and let them do the work?
     
  10. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    You can go to melissadata.com. Navigate around and do a search for Mail Carrier Routes and punch in the desired zip code. You can see a map of mail carrier routes. With those routes come other info, like average household value, average household income and some other stuff. Call your local Mailing Services and get some estimates on cost, but here's the kicker. I was quouted postage for up to (and mayber larger) 5.5" x 8.5" postcard (these stand out more than the aveage piece of mail) for only .139 cents each. Why pay .28 each? The savings is huge. I was quoted $60 for the mailing list and around $200 for the print on the postcard. This was a quote for 6000 postcards at the time. Like I said, call you local Mailing Services from the yellow pages to get your own quote. I am curious is that postage rate is national.
     

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