Getting clients?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by juggernaut, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. juggernaut

    juggernaut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Hello I'm the new guy here. A little about me. I'm located in NJ. I worked with my bro 8 years ago cutting and clean ups only. I then went in the military and worked in IT for that time. I'm recently out of the military and decided not to leave IT 100% but would rather go on my own with a business. My bro no longer cuts but we still have all the equipment.
    My questions is I see many are saying a 1% return is average on flyers. I know mailers are around $600 which I would perfer not to do right now. Being flyers mean walking and/or driving around and hanging them or handing them out. Would anyone be able to tell me if there seems to be a better client build up doing it the old school way when I was a kid? IE Just walking up to houses that need a lawn cut and just knocking on the door and offering to cut right then an there? Either one means a pounding the pavement. Thanks and very nice forum...
     
  2. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    Some say meeting custoners and asking for there business is a great way to get clients, Others say Flyers, still other's say direct mail..

    This is a tought question..

    What's makes a person decide to use your service?

    What advertisement works for you and your business.

    I'm afraid no one can answer that question but yourself and years of trying.


    I remember my sister once bought a car Just because of the cup holder..

    Go figure
     
  3. mak2

    mak2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 380

    With flyers you can keep your routes tight by where you put out flyers. Yellow pages, newspapers and mailers do not give you that kind of control. Sometmes I won't put a flyer in a paper box becacuse there is some feature on the property I dont wnat to mess with, like a steep slope. But personally I like business, I dont care where it comes from or where it is.
     
  4. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    Yes With flyers you have more control over the area you want "or dont want"

    If ya put an ad in the news paper, There's no telling who will call.

    Direct mail has control also.

    But so does hanging a flyer at your local mower shop. Kind-of

    2+2=4

    But it doesn't in advertising.
     
  5. juggernaut

    juggernaut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Thanks guys, makes sence. Did not think of the controlling whom you do business with, good food for thought.
     
  6. jim d.

    jim d. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 61

    I've wondered about this myself, juggernaut. I helped a friend of mine pass out flyers for his painting business once and it almost always worked out that I could pass out about a hundred flyers an hour. This means that, given a typical lawn care response of 1%, it would take around ten hours of flyer distribution to gain one customer. I can't help but think that ten hours of door knocking and offering to mow lawns would generate more than one customer. Plus, you could always leave flyers at the houses where no one is home and pick up extra customers that way.

    I haven't tried this approach myself, but the more I think about it the more I'm inclined to do so.
     
  7. jim d.

    jim d. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 61

    Uh, regarding my previous post, 1% would be one customer per hundred flyers, not per thousand. :p

    So amend my comments to reflect that ten hours of passing out flyers would likely result in ten customers, not one. Therefore, knocking on doors may or may not produce a greater response, although I'm still inclined to think that an hour knocking on doors would generate more of a response that an hour passing out flyers.
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    As a general rule, you really want to 'target' 99.99999% of houses, meaning you put a flyer on the mailbox whether it needs it or not, lest you outsmart yourself or you'll never get rid of the flyers, lol. That and there truly is no telling the book by its cover BUT when I did flyers in my first year, I'd skip one here and one there, the important thing is to watch out when you start skipping a bunch as this is an easy mental trap to fall into, so I say this you'll start skipping more and more, don't do that :)

    From my own experience, were I to do it all over again, I'd never do flyers, I'd run a newspaper ad at LEAST 6-8 weeks first thing in spring, and keep running it as long as need be. For me today, paid advertising doesn't cost, it PAYS. Far as the %, I got more like UP to 5 calls per thousand flyers, with 3-4 calls being the average so that's less than 1/2 percent.

    My problem with flyers was volume, I never could come close to matching what a newspaper being distributed to 250k households did for me, I mean instead of 3-4 calls/1k flyers, I used to get 3-4 calls/DAY sustained while the ad ran. In the end, I couldn't argue with the numbers.
     
  9. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    you will get busted BIG TIME....
     
  10. juggernaut

    juggernaut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Sorry for not replying to this. I did not get any notifications via email. Anyway I went out and had 1000k flyers made up for $60, which in reality pissed me off. In talking with the wife I explained to her that the time it would take me to hand out 1k worth of flyers and the cost of time seems like it was a bad idea and will be a very small ROI. I could have used a valpack mailer and hit 10k worth of targeted homes for $500. Simple 1 hour of sitting with the rep to tell them what I need and then Im done. Either way the flyers are here and I will be placing them out. Thank god I can write them off. My new question is when should I start handing them out for fall clean ups? Being the weather is so crazy now, I don't know if I should start 1st week of OCT or wait a little longer till the leaves start to turn. Any ideas?
     

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