Discount for referrals?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by tamo, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. tamo

    tamo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 213

    I'm starting my second year and am going to send out an email this week to my customers to touch base and tell them about new services I'm offering this year.

    I was also thinking about offering a discount for referrals. I have a pretty tight route heading into year 2, but it would be nice to get more neighbors right off the bat.

    anyone else do this, is it worth it? what type of discount do you offer? I was thinking maybe 10% off the first month's bill if their referral turns into a yearly customer.

    thanks
     
  2. barefeetny

    barefeetny LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 533

    buy them a gift card for dinner out on the town

    don't give away income... make an expense

    Nate
     
  3. tamo

    tamo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 213


    I was thinking about that too. $25, $50 what is a good amount?

    anyone who's done the gift card route, do you find customers appreciate it more than a discount on their bill?
     
  4. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,612

    I like the gift card idea. Gift cards are more of a gift and free gifts make everyone happy!
     
  5. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,280

    If you do good work the referrals will come for free. Thats just my opinion, but if you feel it will give you some immediate business and you need the work try it. Once you put that discount out there, then your pretty much locked into that.
     
  6. barefeetny

    barefeetny LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 533

    i spend between 50-100 dollars based on the account

    i pick a nice affluent place that the people wouldn't normaly go

    when they see people and get talking about the occasion on the town

    they mention me

    it has worked out well for me

    but my goal is only to have full maintenance-no nonsense customers
    i turn down alot of maintenance work even though i still have a few open slots in some areas and a full day to devote to a new neighborhood i want to work

    So when i take on a seasonal maintenance job... its huge for me

    just my plan.....

    Nate
     
  7. Edge08

    Edge08 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    I have a few tactics that get me a lot of referrals. I agree with lawn king, most of them come for free if you work it into your company culture.

    First, talk about referrals in the beginning with every new client you get. Let them know that you are always glad to talk to or give advice to friends and neighbors, whether you do business or not. This actually positions referral marketing as a service you are offering to your client. Your client gets something out of the deal- an opportunity to help out a friend or neighbor who needs advice from a knowledgeable professional.

    This gets your client into the mindset that referrals are a natural part of doing business with you. I constantly remind them of this in newsletters.

    You will probably find that you have a small percentage of clients that will consistently get you referrals. Take care of these people at every opportunity.

    I also send out a killer referral letter twice a year. One of the letters might offer a bonus if I'm looking to add a lot of new clients. Send me an email and I will get you a copy of the letter.

    Next is the referral card. Its basically a business card that reads something like "(client name) would like you to have a free 5' crepe myrtle ($100 value!) when you sign up for annual lawn maintenance". Your client can write their name in the blank and give the cards out to their friends and neighbors. I usually use this to "activate" my clients who have not given me a referral in a while. It works because it allows your client to give a valuable gift away.
     
  8. barefeetny

    barefeetny LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 533

    edge

    i like that... thats a little diffrent but really good idea

    I don't think my customers are selfish and they do provide alot of refferals

    i turn down about half on average and refer them to another solo i know who wants to mow the world....

    i will remember this in case i ever want to break out into another big service

    Thanks
    Nate
     
  9. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Does the current client get anything, or just the new client?
     
  10. Edge08

    Edge08 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    Definitely. The current client always gets something for a referral. At minimum its a thank you note, at most is a $20 gift. Don't do gift cards. I try to do something that is meaningful- a sleeve of Pro V1's (with my logo) for a golfer, dog treats for dog owners, bottle of wine for your high-end executive types, flower pot for the wife. I had a client whose wife died of Lou Gherigs disease. When he gave me a referral I made a $20 donation to MLS foundation. Now he worships the ground I walk on and consistently gets me referrals.

    The service industry, especially one as competitive as ours, is all about relationships. Do something that will strengthen the relationship and you will have a loyal client for life who is also your best salesperson.

    Ben
     

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