buying accounts vs marketing: which is best at what time?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cjermaine30, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. cjermaine30

    cjermaine30 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    I'm starting a lawn service next year. Right now I'm working with a person who does alot of yards to get experience. I'm also reading alot of books on this industry in general, marketing, legal matters etc. To get started next year, I was thinking about buying about 8-10 account to get me started and save money the next year for a hard marketing campaign because even though I'm reading books on marketing. I'm not really confident in myself in that area. does that sound like a good idea?
     
  2. SNAPPER MAN

    SNAPPER MAN LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,443

    Spending money on buying accounts is always money better spent than advertising because you are guarenteed a return. With advertising you just have to hope you get a return.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  3. MooseMan89

    MooseMan89 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 138

    Yeah snapper man is right.
     
  4. cjermaine30

    cjermaine30 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Then why don't more people do this starting out?
     
  5. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,501

    I bought 11 accounts this spring for $1600. I think that I will only renew 8 out of the 11 next year. Many seem to be PITAs, I think they are used to manipulating the last guy...he was a lot younger than me, and maybe they thought they could take advantage. Still, it worked out well business-wise. I made almost the entire $1600 back just on 2 mulch/edging jobs from them. So it worked out well, because my advertising did not deliver much this year.
     
  6. cjermaine30

    cjermaine30 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    So how do you calculate buying the accounts? What the difference in the payoff if you pay in the beginning of the mowing season rather than the middle or somewhere toward the end of the mowing season?
     
  7. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,501

    Well, to keep it simple, I paid him $125 for each customer that signed up. We agreed that I would pay him on June 1st, so I had some time to make sure they would stay with me, plus I billed them for a few cuts. I also gave him a fee for some other work (like the mulch jobs) the customers signed up for. Added up to $1600.
     
  8. cjermaine30

    cjermaine30 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    hackitdown, how did you go about getting the accounts? Did you just call a lawn care company and just asked them if you could buy some accounts? If you didn't go about it that way then how normally would you go about buying accounts? especially if you are trying to target one specific location? 10 accounts is what Im aiming for in 2011.

    sorry for all of the questions, I'm just new to this and im trying to get as much info (asking and reading) much as i can.
     
  9. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,501

    Well it is not one of those things you can plan. I heard a rumor that a guy was selling his business. So I sent him an email asking him if he wanted to sell. Eventually we came to an agreement on terms. I bought a mower from him also for a separate amount of cash.

    A few years ago I decided to stop working in one area. So I sold about 8 accounts to a friend who still worked the area. It doesn't happen all the time.

    I guess you could just call or email all the people in the green industry in your area and let them know you are looking to buy some, or that you are looking for referrals and would pay a finder's fee. You never know, you may get lucky.
     
  10. NarNar

    NarNar LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 489

    We spent about $700.00 in advertisement... we recouped ... very little. All of our accounts were from word of mouth and joining local business organizations.
     

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