door hanger timing

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Turfdoctor1, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 705

    I posted a similar thread in the business management forum, but did not get much response. I am really hoping the experts in the pesticide forum can help me out.

    Last year I put out ~3500 door hangers and landed between 1.5% and 2.0% in new customers. They went out starting Feb. 10th through about the 25th.

    This year I really need to add 100 customers, and I have 10,000 door hangers. I have already put out about 2500, but am getting practically no response. So far, 2 new customers.

    The weather is really crappy, and I assume that is part of the problem. But, what should I do? It is going to take me at least 10 days walking 8 hours a day to get the other 7500 out, and I am going to be finishing my spring PreM this week.

    I want to beat the bigger companies (TreGreen) to the punch with their 3 mailers to every house in the region. Also, last year I think i landed quite a few customers that did not want to reup with their previous lawn person. But, if i am later this year, i am afraid i will miss that market. I like to add my customers before Mar 15th, because that is usually the crabgrass cutoff.

    So, do i just need to be patient and wait for the good weather? Or, should i push forward next week, even if it is 40 degrees and no one is thinking about their Bermuda lawn. Because of the extended cold weather, should I just sit on my butt for a couple of weeks and wait?

    It seems that the window is very narrow, and I do not want to miss it. Please, any advice is appreciated.
     
  2. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,541

    I am in the Conway/ Greenbrier area. I know what you mean about the weather sucking. I'm only about a third of the way done with my R-1. The weather has just not cooperated. I have door hangers on standby for better weather. Typically, most of my new sales come from the 15th of March through the 1st week of May. I generally do not see crabgrass until the first week of April. It's gonna have to get a helluva lot warmer soon for that to happen. 22 degrees here tonight. Personally, I'm going to sit on mine for another couple of weeks. People won't even be interested in their yard until it gets a little warmer and I've found if you don't catch them when they're interested your time and effort ends up in File 13.
     
  3. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 705

    Ted, thanks a bunch. I am glad to hear that it isn't just me. I'm just stressed to the gills because of it. this will be my first year solo (previous two years i was full time employed at U of A and did lawns on the side).

    You say that most of the time you add customers between Mar 15th and May 1. That is interesting. Last year, I added several in that time frame, but the door hangers I put out in April were 100% useless, not a single call. Almost all of my new customers last year were either directly or indirectly from door hangers in February.

    I agree that April 15th will be safe for crabgrass this year, certainly.

    I am new at this, and not good at idol time. What do you do when you can't spray and you can't advertise?

    I would love to talk with you sometime, if at all possible. I think i could learn a lot from you.
     
  4. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,541

    Remember our weather last year? It was crazy. Everything greened up way too early. All the trees started to bloom, then WAM! 3 days of 26 degrees. I saw lots of Cherry and peach trees bite the bullet. I don't mean just loss of fruit. I mean dead trees. Calm down dude! everything will happen in time. You've got to wait until just the right time to pull the trigger. Most of my new customers come from referrals and my posting flags. I gave up on yellow pages a couple of years ago. For me it was a waste of money. That may change as I grow. If you don't use posting flags, I strongly urge you to. It lets the customer know you've been there and it lets all their neighbors know who's doing the great job!
     
  5. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    I started putting out my door hangers late last week. I can do about 50 to 60 an hour. So far, 350 out, no calls yet. I'm an LCO start up, and want my route to be very tight. I will hit these same houses again in March. Meanwhile, I'll be out again on Thursday when the weather is better here.

    I also have an ad in my church bulletin running since late January, and no calls ..... and as I type this, I just got my first request for a quote from the door hangers.... and it's snowing! So, it's never too early or too late I don't think. This guy was not happy with his LCO... said the lawn looks worse than it did 3 years ago when he hired him. Never aerated, threw down lime with no pH testing... all the typical mow and blow complaints.

    I'll probably find a thatch problem at the very least. But isn't it ironic I get my first new call of the year on a day when it's snowing!? We have had almost NO snow this year, and I get the call when the winter's biggest storm to date is blowing through!
     
  6. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 2,518

    I go to do my first application estimate of 2008 in about an hour. Friend of a customer from last fall. Kind of hard to measure the lawn with snow on it.
     
  7. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    I just walk it off. I don't need an exact number, one stride is two feet. On the small properties I do, this is like a hand grenade, close is good enough. I can walk off a 4m property plus or minus 100 sq feet or so. I know that wouldn't work on anything over an acre, but it works for me on small plots.
     
  8. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Posts: 2,499

    I was thinking of buying the handheld gps to measure, i hate how my wheel gets all mucked up w/ mud or a small amount of snow
     
  9. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 2,518

    Well I got the job, she didn't seem to even notice the price increase.:clapping:
     

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