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Advertising Method

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Lawnboy85, May 19, 2007.

  1. Lawnboy85

    Lawnboy85 LawnSite Member
    from South
    Posts: 62

    This is my 6th year in the business, and I've gained about 25 new customers this year alone, bringing me to about 65.

    I have one customer, an older man, who is not in the best of health. He usually doesn't like for me to mow weekly, however, his yard is very small, takes 2 minutes to mow the front with my 60" ExMark, 3-4 minutes to weed-eat the back and alley. He says he can't afford to pay me the $15 to mow his yard on a regular basis.

    I recently made a deal with him, saying I would mow his yard for free for this year, if he would allow me to post a sign in his front yard about my mowing service. I have 4 other yards on this street, and they are all weeklies. All I asked is that he would let me mow it when I wanted to (meaning, let me mow it more consistently to help the sign and my "work" appeal to people passing by).

    It will be a generic sign, made of sign board and stick-on letters from Wal-Mart, probably costing about $15 and 30 minutes time to create. I have one more sign posted in another neighborhood and it has already picked up 3 new customers in that neighborhood.

    I was wondering if anyone else has offered something like this, as well as I would definitely encourage you to help those out that may be in need. Take into consideration, I don't mean to "be taken advantage of" but I'll bet we all have those one or two customers who just can't afford it.

    Lohse's Lawn Service

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Sounds good, and I'm sure the old man will appreciate your generosity. I have a couple elderly clients that I'd mow for free, if they ever couldn't afford it.

    And if it gets you business, probably cheaper than printing/distributing flyers or other means of advertising.
  3. Gimp

    Gimp LawnSite Member
    from Houston
    Posts: 63

    Let us know how it goes. Very interesting idea...
  4. Big M LawnnSnow

    Big M LawnnSnow LawnSite Member
    Posts: 217

    Around here I wouldn't try that.
    Once the word gets out that you are cutting his yard for free every senior in town will be wanting it done for free also.
    Or at least will be wanting huge discounts.
    Sooner or later this guy will tell someone your doing it for free and the calls will begin.
    Around here they are all poor and broke and want to pay next to nothing for landscaping or lawn maintenance.
    But they have lots of money for atlantic city trips.
    Good Luck anyway I hope it works out for you.
  5. BD Bone

    BD Bone LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Posts: 53

    We have done what you mentioned. A friend of my late mother's hired my husband to do maintenance. The first year things were fine. Last year, she was diagnosed w/ovarian cancer and her husband has emphysema.. which is the reason she hired us to begin with. They both were on Soc. Sec. and of course their income was limited. We are christians and my husband made here a deal... if she would attend church with us... he would mow her yard for free. She did.. and he mowed it for her last year at no charge. Funny thing, they would offer to pay and sometimes he took a few bucks for gas... She passed away just a month ago. Her husband now wishes us to mow this year is happy to pay. He could not say enough about our generosity and caring and you know what, if we get too big that we can not be a blessing to others in times of crisis, then I think the customer service we stand behind falls by the wayside. I realize there are some who may try to pull a fast one on you by wanting something for nothing, but you can usually tell who they are.

    We believe we want to give something back in addition to making our living and by us helping just one person, it not only gave us a positive feeling, but more importantly, extended a helping hand to someone who was in need. There is no price on that and I believe you will reap the rewards of what seeds you sow. Take care and I wish you all the success. I see nothing wrong with that approach. It is your business and you have that ability to do something unique. I say enjoy that opportunity and run with it.

    Paulina (Mrs. BD Bone)
  6. Prestige-Lawncare

    Prestige-Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 753

    Great post! There will always be those who try to pull a fast one, and get something for nothing ... but those people are usually easy to recognize. It is when we are blessed (yes blessed) by being put into a situation as you describe where we can actually be of help to someone, that we have the opportunity to help and make a difference in someone else's life.

    I met a guy last year who was grinding a stump from a tree removal down the street from me. I stopped to ask him how much he would charge me to grind a stump on a tree I was removing from my yard. He came down, gave me a price ... and then we talked for a while. He had initially started out mostly mowing a few years ago, and came across this stump grinder. Now he mostly grinds stumps and removes old, overgrown flower beds and roots for overgrown shrubs. He was telling me that he works one day a week for free. Yep ... you heard it right ... free. He mostly does work for people in his church ... mowing for a few elderly ... was currently mowing for a mother who had recently divorced, but could not handle the lawn work until her home was sold ... etc. This was his way of giving back to those in his church and community. It didn't break him ... it did cut into his possible income ... but it made him feel more complete as a Christian and a person by helping those he knew in need of help.

    I wouldn't have a problem at all doing what you are doing. After all, we are all human, and we all need a hand at some point in our lives.

  7. Lawnboy85

    Lawnboy85 LawnSite Member
    from South
    Posts: 62

    You seem to have a negative approach to my idea. Nothing wrong with that, as I have disagreed with many others on this site while giving my opinion.

    However, I do understand that word may "get out" and others will be calling, requesting free services. This problem can be simply avoided by saying "no." When people start asking for free services, just to take advantage of you, then I say, "you'll probably need to find someone else" or "I'm sorry, but I have no room for new customers at this point in time, may I recommend...." Your made a comment about my customer telling others I will do it for free. You know what? I HOPE HE TELLS OTHERS! This business is not all about the money. It's about getting your name out on the market with a positive background. When people see my business out and about, I want them to say, "that business is doing very well; they are doing great things for the community." One way I believe my business will grow is by stepping out in faith and helping out those less fortunate. Why else do you think I've gained 30 new customers this year alone?

    I recently had t-shirts made for my business. Probably $500 worth. But what you don't realize is the effect it will have on people when dozens of customers/friends are seen wearing my t-shirts. It's advertisement. And the more shirts that are seen, the more people may give us a call to do their lawn.

    I wish you well this mowing season and please don't take my comments as being rude or sarcastic. I'm simply trying to set an example for everyone else on this website to be in this business for the right reasons.


    Lohse's Lawn Service
  8. Lawnboy85

    Lawnboy85 LawnSite Member
    from South
    Posts: 62

    I couldn't agree more. Business will expand when you lend a helping hand. Yes, that's corny and I just thought of it, but I believe it's true! Good luck to you this mowing season and in the future.


    Lohse's Lawn Service
  9. Lawnboy85

    Lawnboy85 LawnSite Member
    from South
    Posts: 62

    Great words. I wish there were more people like you out there. Keep it up, God will honor your work.
  10. cranium2001

    cranium2001 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    I think it is an excellent idea. I would, however, try to go to a vinyl graphics sign shop in your area and see if they can make you a double sided sign to put up in this mans yard. It will look more professional and would probably grab more attention. You may be surprised by the cost too. If you go in with your own design, something you could make on the computer, they should be able to scan it or come up with something cool. I know it's not easy to part with the cash but you are quite possibly going to spend close to the same amount making your own. Give it a shot and good luck.

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