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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Lawnut101, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,254

    This will be my first official year as an Incorporation doing lawnmowing and landscaping. What's the best way to get your name out there. Newspaper advertising?, phonebook?, yellowbook?, doorhangers? I have a few accounts from last year, operating as a non licensed business (I was under 18), but I need to build up my business. Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,254

    Does anybody have any suggestions? I would like to pick up a few small commercial accounts and a bunch of good residential ones.
     
  3. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    Good luck on your first official year :)

    This is my first "official" year also.

    First, I've gotta say (for future readers), I think how you market your business depends on your location, mainly how large your town is.

    My opinion, if you are in a small town it shouldn't be too much to put a graphical display ad in your local paper. When I piddled around with lawns a few years ago, I ran an ad in our local paper in Keller, Tx (maybe 40,000 population) and got a graphical ad for $20/week and it did alright.

    Doorhangers seem to be the way to go for most people. I've seen lots of guys talk about it and been told to go out and hang them, but frankly, I don't want to spend the time doing that.

    Get yourself in the phone book for sure, either way, that is constant exposure.

    Personally, living in a big city, I took the internet approach. I built myself a website and advertise myself on free classified websites as well as market through superpages.com. When I started with superpages last July, I had so much work I was spinning in circles.

    My opinion, in the very least; get in the phone book asap, get with your local newspaper (in person) so you can design a 1x2 display ad in your paper and see how that goes.

    Others might be able to tell you about the effectiveness of doorhangers.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Lovingreen

    Lovingreen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    I find here that the newspapers and phone books are expensive and innefective. To minimize on drive time, focus on a tight area and work the fliers or doorhangers. Make them simple, yet professional. I had the best success my first year writing a price right on the flier and having them call to confirm service. Not only was this very easy for the customer, It was easy for me, I didn't have to make another trip out there unless they wanted to meet.

    The most important part is knowing the going rate in the area and try to beat it to get started. many customers need a motivation to try someone new and most times it is price that is the primary motivational factor.

    Many established lawn care companies on here would cuss me for telling you to "lowball", but every one of them did it when they were starting. Be careful though. Know how much it will cost you to mow that lawn and price it to make money. The simplest way is to add all the expeses such as truck depreciation and maintenance, fuel, equipment depreciation and maintenance, insurance, and the list goes on. Then take those figures and estimate how much it costs you to operate per hour. Then when you are looking at a property you can estimate how long it will take you and price it accordingly.

    Hope all this helps...Good luck on your first year!
     
  5. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220


    Agree....

    Howdy neabor:

    I'm in a small town now, out here things loke web sites are useless.
    most of my Customers dont even know what a computer is.

    Good luck
     
  6. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,254


    Cool! Thanks for your input. My paper is a lot more expensive. A 1x2 add starts at $55 for one time! I might go with one and see what happens though. I checked out superpages, and it looks pretty good. I'll be looking more into that too. The phonebook, well I have to call them to get some info, but it may be a bit pricey for me at first. But, like you said, I should get my name out there. And fliers don't seem to work really well around here. Last fall I handed out about 50, and no one called me. I was hoping to get maybe 1 call. I didn't though. I may try to hand out more this spring. Thanks again for your help.
     
  7. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    I wanted to correct myself. I think that ad that I had was a 1x1. It was a few years ago when I was just piddling around with the thought of doing lawns so I'm not too sure.

    Reading the forums the past few days, I've seen a lot of people saying that newspaper and phone book ads don't work out too well. And it seems like the phone book is pretty expensive as well.

    Another alternative is to put lettering on your vehicle. I just talked to a guy yesterday at a sign and printing company that said I could get the vinyl lettering on the back window of my truck for $68 and installed for an extra $67.

    Also, he quoted me for decals on the side of my truck (1ft x 1ft) for $30.

    I've had people stop me last season during work and even at intersections for my business card and snagged a few customers that way. And to think, they only stopped because they saw the lawn mower sticking out of my truck.

    I think advertising on your vehicle might do you some good as well.

    Just another idea!
     
  8. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    Sorry, one more thing. If you decide to call Superpages, make sure to ask them for an estimate -for your area- of how many potenial viewers your business might be getting if you advertised on their site.

    When they contacted me, they said that I would get approximately 100-something views per month which would total out to about 40 phone calls (leads).

    They weren't kidding. I only ran that advertising campaign for two months during June and July before I moved, but I was getting 3-5 leads a day during the week (including online estimate requests).

    But that's Houston. Fourth largest city in the states.

    Thats why I say to make sure they tell you an estimate like that so you can estimate the cost of how much it will cost you to advertise with them versus how many customers you may get per month.

    Take care.
     
  9. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,254


    Yes, I'm looking into decals, as well as company sweatshirts/t-shirts. I'm also thinking about donating some money to some local highschool events to get my name on a brochure. This seems like a decent idea. So far, I have had decent success with the newspaper around here. Each time I put in an add, I get around 3 calls. But on the downside, some of them can be cheaper customers, but I gess on the flip side of that, it's a start.
     
  10. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,254

    How did you pick up most of your customers?
     

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