Door hanger distribution question

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Our crews are supposed to distribute door hangers when they have no work to do. That means that for mowing crew #3, they are to mow 2 lawns on Tuesdays and then distribute door hangers the rest of the day. For crew #1, they are supposed to mow 11 lawns and distribute door hangers the rest of the day.

    We pay $.10 per unit. We know exactly how many homes are on each street. One crew just isn't getting it done. They aren't lying to us. Like yesterday, for example, they mowed their 11 lawns and then delivered a whopping 112 door hangers. The other crew, who does this on Tuesdays, is just earning terrible pay. They worked last Tuesday, July 4th, for around 6 hours, two men, and delivered 911 door hangers.

    I can tell if they really deliver the door hangers because it is impossible to deliver 1,000 of these things and not get a call, regardless of the time of year. I know this from experience. I can also tell exactly, through our record keeping and probing of clients when they call, if they are signing up as a result of our recent door hanger distribution.

    I would like for the workers to earn more money when doing door hangers. The slightly empty schedule, combined with the pay-per-job method makes things bad if the schedule isn't at least 90% full. That is our job...to keep the schedule full. They in turn, do the labor for far less than full retail.

    So, if anyone is still reading, here is the question:

    Would you simply increase the unit rate from .10 to .11 or .115 or .12 OR would you keep it at .10 and pay a bonus for each new client that results from their work? How much of a bonus would you pay?

    We like to keep our customer acquistion costs below $50 per client and right now, just paying $.10 per unit, our customer acquisition costs for the year are right at that mark. A $10 bonus would bring our customer acquisition costs to around $60. Last April, we experimented with a third party contractor who hires the homeless...the results were not very impressive.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  2. Dallas Turf

    Dallas Turf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 246

    I will some times pay my guys to hang flyers and pay 10 cents each. I don't want to step on your toes but you are trying to run a lawnservice not a flyer service or charity. There is no way I would send a crew out to cut 2 yards. You need to keep all of your drivers and cut back on your labors to drop a crew. This way when you get more yards you will still have your drivers and can seperate them out and add a crew back later. Last year I found my advertizing dollar wasted on flyers this time of year. When school goes back I may run another round to pick up the yards that had all of the starving students doing them, but not until then. you might be best off holding on to your advertizing dollar until spring and going heavy during the spring rush.

    just my $.02
    Good luck

    Jason
     
  3. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,064

    I pay by the hour to distribute flyers when I use day labour it cost $13.25/hour.
    and each guy can deliver about 500 in approx. 7 hours I think that's about 19 cents each. I can get flyers delivered in an adbag for 4.2 cents.

    The only think I like about my door handles is that I design them with blank spots and put them through my own printer which prints addresses and prices on them in a word merge. But I'm starting to sour on it because it takes ME so much time organizing them not to mention inputing the info into excel. I could have delivered 4 flyers instead of one for the same price.

    I would not want to pay ppl to delivery flyers that are unsupervised...
     
  4. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I don't think it's possible to keep good people around if they only have work for 4 days per week.

    That was the deal we made with them when we hired them...when they have no lawns to mow they will have door hangers to distribute. If I can get them to distribute the door hangers, the schedules will grow..and they are growing...just not as fast as I'd like, mainly to crew number one's refusal/inability to get this done.

    Crew number 2 is at 104.6% capacity right now. Everything runs so smoothly with that operation. It is perfect. It is a win/win situation for everyone. We need all crews at that level and that is only possible with door hangers. If we sit and wait for people to call from WOM/YP/Internet/SawTruckOut we barely keep ahead of the cancellations.

    Door hanging & direct mail are the only two forms of advertising where you can work harder at gaining new clients.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  5. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,064

    Thats the crux of the matter. When I hire day labour they consider delivering flyers to be easy work compared to what their used to but the people I know who are experienced window cleaners won't do it because its beneath their dignity.

    I do like that Idea though, don't go home early, deliver flyers. But I think I would supervise. Get all the lawns done in two days then deliver flyers for two day out of a cargo van or something. When I supervise I drop them off at corners and make sure they are working and delivering 100% of the time I pay by the hour though. I would never allow people to go unsupervised, the flyers will end up in the trash not all of them but.... you know what I'm talking about.
    When I was an employee I wouldn't deliver flyers or wash the bosses care or do anything that wasnt what I was hired for. Younger guys might but I was a pro window cleaner but if I could make some GOOD money rather than the norm... who knows.
     
  6. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    If I have a crew leader who would rather do nothing than earn something, knowing full well that he will defenitely be laid off in November and have no work for four months, then that crew leader is telling me he doesn't really want to work.

    As for supervising the crews, that is not something we will do. If a crew needs supervision, they need to find another place to work. We are not baby sitters.

    The deal with this crew leader is, he is not lying about distribution by throwing them away and telling us they were delivered. He is just not motivated to deliver them. If the price is too low to motivate them, perhaps we are at fault. We have three crew leaders who do a good job of DH distribution and one who is not. If we are not paying enough, we need to correct it instead of expecting people to do hard work for next to nothing.

    That is the whole point of this thread...to discus whether or not we should hold firm at $.10 per door hanger or if we should pay a little more. Abandoning the strategy is not an option for us at this time.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  7. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,064

    How about going outside the box and supervising mexicans?

    4-6 of them at 6 bucks an hour, make em work a long day and you have 4,000 flyers out at a bargain price then your lawn mower guys might have lawns to mow.
     
  8. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Around here, you can't even get the day laborors to work for $6/hr. Besides, I have too many other responsibilities...no time to micro-manage door hanger distributers who are unemployed.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  9. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I don't want to pile on but I have to strongly agree. If you will not take the advise I want to be sure the newbies in the business reading this get the massage.

    Having a gas guzzling truck and lawn workers delivering fliers is a poor use of your resources.

    If there is not enough work park the truck cancel the insurance and have another crew work at 110%.

    Pay a professional service that hires people to deliver fliers that do it all day long day in and out to do what they do. How silly would the Mc Donalds look if the cashiers were cutting grass because it was a slow day?

    Look to the professionals in any industry and follow their lead. Do Brickmans guys pass out fliers? I have not seen any Vally Crest crews passing out fliers around here. I wonder if Jim's down under has his fellows passing out fliers.

    I know you have a good business model and have always viewed your operation as very professional from what I have read. But I would be remiss if I didn't say I think your off track here.
     
  10. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,064

    and another thing, if you start grabbing lots of work by having your mowers pass out flyers you are showing them how to start their own business.
     

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