He's driving me crazy...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by melanieb3, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. melanieb3

    melanieb3 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 79

    So we ended up spending more than I would have liked to to get our equipment and to get this business ready for business! We didn't budget advertising when we were spending.

    Now, we have the equipment and are ready to go..but no business. He works for another company so he goes the jobs he does get when he's not working that job.

    At any rate, he has had 2 whole jobs in the past 2 weeks and I was hoping that this business would do well. I know it's gonna be slow starting out, but how are we gonna get customers if we don't advertise?

    My husband's thoughts on this: cold calls. Ok..so I call the business in town and already have 9 that want a bid...Walmart being one of them...but only one seemed interested, that being Walmart. The others were like, yeah ok you can give me a bid...but none of them were like..yeah I'm looking for someone.

    Well, now his thoughts are: cold calling people's houses....

    I'm thinking that I don't want to sit down and go through the phone book and call every Joe Schmo just to find someone who, at the moment I call, will somehow thank for me calling them AT HOME and interrupting their peace and tell me that they were waiting for a lawn care company to call them to cut their grass.

    I may be wrong...but should I SERIOUSLY call people at home and ask them if I can cut their grass?

    Also, any one have a generic flier idea I could use to start with? I have seen a lot of GREAT ones on here, but I don't want to steal anyone's ideas....just maybe borrow them if they are willing :)

    Like, should I put all the jobs like mow/blow/trim, pesticides, spring/fall clean up?

    I don't know..I just need something so I can go get some fliers to put around...we gotta do SOMETHING before it's too late! ANY IDEAS???

    and please don't tell me that if I don't have the money to advertise, then I shouldn't be in this business(read that one on someone else's post),...it will happen...probably not as fast as I'd like..but maybe next year I will have the $$ for great advertising!

    We're getting signs put on our box truck, that's a rolling advertisement...hopefully this will help a bunch!
     
  2. Greg78

    Greg78 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,010

    Place a couple of ads on www.craigslist.com . It is free. Some say all you get is tire kickers and cheapskate customers, I'd have to disagree. Our experiences have been real positive. Ended up landing a property management company that we service approximately 65 properties for and several year round clients.
     
  3. Greg78

    Greg78 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,010

    Also on the flyers if you have Microsoft office you can search the templates for all sorts of things:

    Flyers
    Invoices
    Estimates
    Service agreements
    etc etc....
     
  4. DLAWNS

    DLAWNS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,778

    I personally don't like to cold call for residential customers, because I hate when people call me trying to sell stuff. Plus you probably should be careful doing that due to the do not call registry. I would just print up a simple flyer off of Microsoft Word. That is what I did, but I'm trying to upload it for you, but I'm having a hard time. Might I also suggest putting a Refer A Friend ad on the flyer. Offer 10% off of one month's service if they refer a friend or neighbor to you as long as they sign up for a contract. Good luck and keep asking questions!
     
  5. tyler_mott85

    tyler_mott85 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 582

    Word of Mouth is the absolute best way to advertise. Make sure you give all of your customers that you do get more than one business card that way they can give out your information to their friends! But you need to get some business first, right?

    Just talk and meet people for one thing. When you are first starting out you really dont know a lot of people in the industry so go to garden shows or trade shows and shake hands and stuff. Always have business cards with you! If you go to lowes and you see someone scratching their head about what type of mulch to buy or which mower to buy ask them if they need some help but make sure you give them a card and tell them who you are and what you do!

    But I've always found that graphics on your trucks and trailers is the best thing... period...

    Be personable with people and get to know them. No-one wants to give money to someone who thinks they "deserve" their money cuz they own a business. You have to earn their money.

    good luck...kick him in the BUTT and get him out the DOOR meeting people!
     
  6. kmclawn

    kmclawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 82

    Company clothing is another way to advertise. I have my logo on the back of my coats and will have people come up to me and talk and ask questions right in a store. I have picked up maybe a half dozen customers this way.
     
  7. a plus bob

    a plus bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,160

    Do you plan on doing chemical apps? maybe talk to a local chem. company that might give you name out to customers looking for a mowing service.Mower repair shops get calls for info about commercial cutters give them some cards.
     
  8. hole in one lco

    hole in one lco LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,793

    well i hate 2 tell you you did it in the wrong order . truck trailer dont make a business you need costumers for that. It took me 4 years before i had a full rout now i didn't advertise word of mouth is the key. dont just talk 2 potential costumer talk 2 every 1
     
  9. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,273

    I never buy pieces of equipment unless I already have the work for it.

    Don't just start calling people and pretty much being a "tele-marketer", basically because people don't like to be bothered by "sales people". I would get some flyers made up and pass those out. Flyers are rather in expensive as long as you do black and white. You can easily design the flyers on your computer in Word or Publisher, it doesn't have to be too flashy. Then print out a color copy of it and bring it to staples or a local print/copy center and they will help make you copies. I had staples do some of mine this year, I got 501 for $37.50. I'll use these flyers to target certain areas that I would like to get more accounts in.
     
  10. RLS24

    RLS24 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,604

    at gotprint.com you can get 1000 door hangers made up for like $150. not trying to advertise for their business, but I got mine from there, passed them out and will prob be ordering another 1000 soon. craigslist is good, just make sure you re-post your add every couple days to keep it at the top of the list when people search. around here we have a community paper that doesnt cost much to advertise in, I put an add in there too. I know a lot of guys (including myself) use 18x24 signs to put out on customers lawns after they do work there (with permission of course). these things are rather expensive to make, but get yourself some 1/4" plywood, some paint, and some stick-on letters and make your own. not the best but it will work until you can get real ones made.

    Word of mouth is by far the best though, as others have said. Probably 50% of my customers are people from my fire hall (guys come up to me after a call "hey I heard you cut lawns...if you have time stop over and shoot me a price" or "hey, I know you do landscaping, but can you do _______?"). I ended up landing a $4500 job last week just shooting the **** with one of my relatives and mentioning to him I had a business. He just build a new warehouse at his business and needed it all graded, sodded and landscaped along with the rest of his place. I gave him a price and he said send me the bill when you're done and why don't you give my house a cleanup and start cutting the grass while you're at it.

    You don't always have to be fancy, just get creative. theres lots of free ways to advertise out there!
     

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