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Customers For Free

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by hortboy, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. hortboy

    hortboy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 170

    I have read numerous posts over the years on buying customer lists or entire businesses and I must voice my opinion. I hear people say why buy when you can get customers for free. and this statement gets my blood boiling. I took all my advertising costs, average time spent running a lead (hourly rate I strive for), fuel/mileage for the trip and the percentage of jobs i get on an average. This figured this to cost me approx $$225.00 per customer I sign. Keep in mind this is all averages but how can someone say customers are free. I mean really guys by the time your listed in the yellow pages, signage for truck, time you could be working, these customers cost you money to get them. And to be perfectly honest if you can buy a customer list or business that averages out to $$100.00 per customer and it saves you having to sell yourself at the door and trip over there why not buy a business. This is just my opinion and I know my numbers are the average but look at your individual situation before you make statements that are often not gospel truth.

    Good Luck to everybody in 2005
  2. packerbacker

    packerbacker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,433

    $225.00?!?!?!??!?! Why are you even in business then????

    If you can honestly say it costs you $225.00 to print a flyer, put it on a door , recieve a phone call and then go give an estimate ill be SURPRISED.

    And if it makes your blood boil that much then why do you read it or repsond to it?
  3. Gilla Gorilla

    Gilla Gorilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 923

    That is a great way up putting it so some people can understand it.
  4. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    First of all, there is no such thing as a free customer...even a referral isn't really free.

    I've been on LS for a number of years now and I can tell you the reason opinions here vary so greatly in regards to "business issues" is because there are 2 VERY DIFFERENT groups of people who respond for the most part...I'll try to explain.

    Group #1 is comprised of for the most part individuals who operate a LCO part time and work full time at another job. Lawn care to them is a supplemental income. They either do it for fun or exercise or extra money or whatever. They have little or no overhead and primarily work solo. Since their monthly expense to operate a LCO is lower than a full timer, they can charge less (no question about it). They were here before, they are here now, and they probably will always be around...so be it.

    Group #2 includes guys who run a LCO full time (myself included) and see their business as their main source of income (whether or not they have a spouse and their spouse brings in household income) as well. They have overhead, maybe employees, undoubtably more investment in terms or equipment, etc., and are in it for what I call "the long haul". Operating a LCO is their life and financial means of livlihood.

    It doesn't really matter whether you are presently in Group #1 or Group #2 when it comes to how a lawn should be mowed properly, why trimming is needed, knowing what equipment you need to take with you each day, etc. Day-to-day issues like those are a "no-brainer". But, business issues are not and shouldn't ever be considered a "no-brainer". The fact of the matter is the people in Group #2 have different business issues than those who compromise #1 (and NO, I am NOT saying those folks in #1 don't have business issues)....only different. How different? Their's are at a lower level is all.

    My point is when business issues/topics/ideas are discussed here, people (those in Group #2) who respond will do so quite vocally at times (I know I have) in the past. I myself for one don't want to hear or will ever believe you can get customers for free, that this is an easy business that can run itself in no time, we're bottom feeders, etc.. If you believe that, I suggest you never leave your day job and try to become a LCO full time. You will fail. Period. And you will fail miserably I assure you.

    Finally, let's all try to help one another in 05 by being more open and receptive to other's opinion no matter which group you find yourself in...
  5. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Excellent Post Rod and right on the money !!!!!!!!!!!!
    But why do the people that fit in group #1 insist on trying to prove to the people in group #2, that our ways are wrong? It happens on most threads started that have any informative value. And I'm not saying that group # 2 is always right but since it is a full time occupation they would have many more hrs invested in it and that usually leads to more informative

  6. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Simple. They haven't failed...yet
  7. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776


    One solution is to put packer on your ignor list. I just did.

    Great post rod and mac.

    I'm not sure wich group I am in. I'd like to hbe considered in group 2 but some in that group might not see it that way.

    Lawncare is my carear, but my wife makes over twice as much as I do as a veternarian, and I usually have to find part time work in the winter.
    But I am in this for the long haul, I just plan on staying small enough to keep control of things. And I am still learnig form lawnsite members like you.

    Not the ones who can only see there way or the wrong way.
  8. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Doesn't really matter Paul...believe me.

    What DOES matter is reading replies here from part time people telling full time people they're smarter or know more or try and make you believe their's is the only "right" way and your's will never work...hearing crapola like that goes up my a** like a wire brush I tell ya.

    Second, I'm not afraid to say I have probably forgotten more than most part timers know. Why? Simply cause I have personally experienced more trial and error, everyday issues and situations in the previous 11 years. That's all, nothing more.

    I don't mind sharing my business experience with anyone here on LS (and have done so freely) in the past 4 years or so. BUT, when I get a "in your face" attitude from some propellor head who doesn't know s*it from shinola, I have no use for them. Period.
  9. packerbacker

    packerbacker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,433

    Cmon guys! Do any of you actually believe that it costs him $250.00 to gain each customer?

    Im sorry but im not buying that. thats the most ridiculous statement that i have ever read here.

    Rod, im a solo operator but my company is the primary source of income for my family. Ive been in this field for over 10 years and in business for myself for 5. I know what it takes to be an LCO and its hard work. People like us have to go out and hustle business every chance we get. Its what keeps us going and makes LCOs a success.

    The funniest thing i find about all of this is the fact that nobody here has answered 1 simple question. Everyone has rushed to insult me and TRY to prove me wrong but nobody has answered the question of what happens when the list the guy sells you leaves you high and dry?

    If nobody has an answer just say so but dont sit here and call names just because you disagree with someone. Ive said it over and over and over just because 2 people do things differently doesnt make 1 wrong and 1 right.
  10. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Who cares what it costs him John? His costs are his, yours are yours and mine are mine. Point is, they're gonna be all different.

    Second, what do you mean (and yes, you can spell this out for me word for word) "when the list he sells you leaves you high and dry"? I for one do not understand that point (excuse my ignorance) here at all.

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