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Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Shane Scaife, Feb 9, 2005.
Doorhangers, doorhangers and then some more doorhangers.
IMHO, talk to people.
You can put flyers out on doors, mailboxes, where ever til you are blue in the face, but most of them will just be more litter. I get to do a lot of quotes, and get a fair number of jobs, just by hitting the doorsteps in a preferred target neighborhood on Saturday mornings.
I start about 9:00 to 9:30--earlier and too many people are sleeping in, later and too many people have already left the house to do their grocery shopping, recreation, whatever Saturday activity. Usually I notice a lot of people aren't home starting about 10:30 or 11:00. so you have a fairly narrow window to catch the potential customers.
I have a handful of flyers when I ring the doorbell. I don't shove one at them first thing--first I introduce myself. Just a quickie: [big smile] "Hi, I'm Mike and I have a mowing service and I do very good work." Slight pause, they may want to start right in with "Great. Give me a bid." Otherwise I prod for a response: "Could you use a good lawn service for this season?"
At this point they can only say yes, no, maybe, or close the door in your face (that means no). You have spent all of 30 seconds up to this point and may get to give a quote. Any reply other than shutting the door, and you should be offering them your flyer. No's and maybe's turn into customers later if they see your flyer laying on the kitchen counter right after they have thought of all the things they need to do besides lawn maintenance. People who already have a lawn service may call if they get that guy's letter with the new season's price increase. (But DON'T say "I beat anyone's price" unless your goal is to be a lowballer scrub)
I think right now selling lawn care in many areas of the country is something of a lost cause. I wait until the days have warmed enough to make people think of spring. But not until the grass is already growing--you will pick up some then, but only from the procrastinator types.
If you decide to do this direct sales route, remember you are only a nuisance time waster unless you are pushing something they will need. Skip the small talk and jokes until you have established a sort of tentative relationship. You cannot usually annoy someone into giving you their business. You aren't their friend (yet) so don't be too familiar. Mrs. and Mr. are the rule unless they are much younger than you, or tell you to use their first name. Appearance is a biggie. Professional appearance to me includes clean and neat clothing, and uniform shirt with your name is super. Trimmed beard (I think clean shaven is better) and if you have very long hair I think it should be tied back and not obvious when you are facing the customer. The truck should have signage, even if it is just magnetic door signs, and clean never hurts here either.
I really don't know why this process seems so difficult to many people. If you are reluctant to introduce yourself and talk to strangers face-to-face, make up your mind to just give it a try for 2 Saturday mornings. I expect you will be pleased with the results.
Doorhangers, priced on the spot, seem to be an inexpensive way to grow. Especially if you've got plenty of time. You can target the areas you're already strong in and/or select the type of area you wish to grow in.
Keep a record by address and your basic price. You can use this info in the future for postcard mailings (as you free up more advertising money).
Saturday mornings are an excellent time to do some of your doorhanging. Like mbricker said, look sharp and keep your clean, lettered vehicle nearby. A 2% close rate is pretty good for an unsolicited, priced flyer. But not unheard of on a warm, spring-like Saturday morning.....
I spent $125 to buy a weekly list, for a month of the homes that just sold in areas I selected around me. No sense in trying to convert people with existing LCO's, try and snag some when the just move in. Here, outside of Los Angeles I got around 200 labels per week with the areas I selected (Richer areas). The cost of the flyers was around $400 and the stamps were like $275 or so... total cost around $800, and around 30% of them called for one thing or another and out of those ~250 that called I got around 70 for regular lawn service, plus quite a few random one time jobs which more than paid for the advertising.
I am damn happy with my results. Most of my success with it had to do with the real estate market around here, and the fact that a majority of new homeowneres (Primarily 1st time owners) here will need someone to cut their lawn. Also, the direct mailing, to them with their name on it probably made a bigger impact then a business card tucked into the flag on the mailbox. I took the time to put all mine in printed envelopes so they didn't look like all the other random junk mail.
I sure would like to know where you can get color copies for $.30 . I can't get a color copy for anything less than$.69 per page, and thats with 300 copies... less than that and it is $.89. Id have to hit 1000 to get$.69 per sheet. I need to color copy my door hanger stock. two hangars per sheet, two sided. That makes each hangar cost $.69. Thats a bit much for 99 percent of them to be tossed.
Ive got to find a cheaper way.
Do you have business cards.
If not get some, copy max or some printer. Cost about $60 to $100 for 1000.
Get flyers made black ink on yellow paper. Don't put to much on them just what your going to do. Put free estimates on flyer and cards also put fully insured, and be so.
Go to real estate offices introduce yourself explain what your doing, and if they would be in need of your services you would appeciate a call. And leave some cards.
When you find a nice area that you would like to work, blanket it with flyers
stuck in doors not in mailboxes. While you are putting out flyers if you run into
people talk to them and give then a business card makes you look legit.
Grocery stores, conveinent stores, hardware stores, wal-mart are good places to hang flyers with permission of course.
I admire your courage....in our area if you knock on the door you better have a pizza.
I went to Minuteman Press on the web. You can look up a local place from their website. For 2000 color copies, one side, the cost to me was $700, tax included. Let's see that's $0.35 per copy. Not exactly the $0.30 that I said but the guy was willing to move more if I was going to make even more copies. I paid him another $122 and he is having them folded (in half), printing my return address on the other side, placing a marker on the same side so it will be easier, more consistent when I place my mailing labels on them. Also, he was willing to print the bulk mail stamp on that side at no extra charge. However, since this is my first time doing a "bulk" mailing I'm going to go with the stamp first and see what type of turn around I get.
I was informed by my insurance agent to never put something like "fully insured" on any type of flyer, truck, whatever. She informed me that first and foremost you can never be FULLY insured, there is no such thing. Second, she said you are stating that you are insured for any and all damages you cause but perhaps you aren't. She informed me the best, safest, most accurate thing to do is place "certificate of insurance available upon request". That way you are informing them you have insurance and they can review exactly what you are and are NOT covered for. She did say I could place "insured" on the flyer but even recommended against that. I choose the certificate deal.
Not trying to pick on you or say that you are wrong...just some food for thought.
Interesting! I never thought of that! I'm gonna change that for next time.