Marketing genius or Marketing madness?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Shane Scaife, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. Shane Scaife

    Shane Scaife LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    Ok this is my first year in the LC business (for myself that is) but it is the second year for a Small Carpet Cleaning business I have. As of now I only do commercial carpets, at night. 2005 I will be LC FT (with employees) and CC nights (myself). I'm looking to pick-up a min of 75-100 clients. I will be putting out LC door hangers, along with ads in three newspapers with "$108 Free Service Giveaway. Call For details" printed at the bottom of each ad, to peak their interest. As they call I will explain we are a full home service company and that along with our LC division we also offer divisions in Carpet and Upholstery cleaning as well as painting and pressure washing (I have a friend that will do this on an as needed account). I will explain that each division is separate from the others and each employee is trained in their specific field.

    The offer is for the FREE steam cleaning of carpet in 3 rooms and a hall. This will be done using our truck mounted steam extraction unit and by our IICRC Certified Carpet Cleaner. Another option that will be offered will be for Free gutter cleaning rather than the CC.

    If order for them to be eligible for the deal they must complete 20 weeks of a service agreement for LC with a min. weekly charge of $30 or have a min of $600 of work done. The cost to me for CC is $15 per giveaway plus time. Since I am the owner (and am IICRC Certified) I will be doing the cleaning after the season. I will also be on most LC jobs but do have others that will be working for me. The idea is not only to quickly build the LC by offering a great deal but it will also open the door for yearly CC at the normal rate of $36 a room. Though I might give a 50% discount each season they keep using our service.

    I run a legit business that is Lic and Insured and only hire employees that are willing to be on the books and pay taxes like the rest of us. So I do not see this as a scrub tactic, just a marketing gimmick.

    Ok, What do you think? Marketing genius or Marketing madness?

    Thanks
    Shane
     
  2. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,847

    Shane, first question i pose to you is this: is your time worth anything? If so, your cost per customer is going to be much higher than the $15 you think it is. How does this effect your net margin when including your cost of labor in the free services? How about depreciation on your cleaning equipment? see what im getting at?
     
  3. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256


    I'm a little confused by a couple things. First, why "20 weeks" of lawn service? Why not the whole season?

    Then I don't understand what you mean about giving a 50% discount each season. On what, the carpet cleaning? I wouldn't. You would already "have" them, why continue to discount anything?

    At most, once you "have" them as a regular customer, maybe give them an incentive for referrals, like a free chair cleaning or something small, steps, hallway, something like that.

    All in all, I don't think it's a bad idea to want to cross market both businesses. But I would change some of the terms you mentioned above.

    One other comment. You mention doing painting and power washing also. At this point you're becoming a handyman. And if I was looking for a professional lawn service to take care of my lawn, I don't want a jack of all trades or handyman doing my lawn. I call a plumber for plumbing, a painter for painting, a lawn service for my lawn, etc.

    Having just the two separate businesses of lawn and carpet is one thing, but going beyond that, and I think it starts to look like "hire me, I'll do anything for work".
     
  4. Shane Scaife

    Shane Scaife LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    You make a good point about the painting. I only have ads out for the CC and LC. I'll keep it that way. As for the 20 weeks, it seems to be a norm of 25-30 cuts in my area. I just figured I could give a little leadway for rain-outs and such. The 50% was just an idea I was thinking of to ensure they keep using our service and would be only for the CC. Like I said the money to me for the CC comes from the commercial work. The residential is just extra as for now and I will have no problem giving a little away. (This year!)
     
  5. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    I have one guy that does my plumbing and HVAC at my house. His prices are reasonable and he is a great guy. Last week, I had him come over to work on my furnace. Initially he said it needs cleaned and it would cost $330.00. I said OK do it. After he is finished he fires the furnace back up and now it will only run for three minutes and shut off over and over. It wasn't doing this before he took it apart to clean it. Now it is going to cost an additional $350.00 to remove the evaporator coil and clean it.

    OK now I'm wondering does this guy really know what the heck he is doing?? As a matter of fact, is his expertise in HVAC or plumbing? I don't even know.

    Anyway my point is... I decided from now on when I need HVAC work done I will hire a specialist, for plumbing ...a specialist, for carpet cleaning ...a specialist, for tree work ...a specialist, roofing ...a specialist etc etc etc

    The exception I will make is if the company I am dealing with has different specialists on staff.

    David
     
  6. Shane Scaife

    Shane Scaife LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    I agree, Dave. Like I said I specialize in Carpet Cleaning. I have 10 years experience (Most working for others) and I'm IICRC Certified (The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification). I will be doing all the Cleaning of any Carpet. I also will be working with the LC in the days but more so as a helper. I do have experience in LC working with others, but the guy I will be working with has much more experience and will pretty much be running that end.

    The reason for offering both is the LC brings in more steady work over the summer ( LC agreements). I can make more money with the CC @ $36 a room but it take more advertising $$$ and you can’t be sure you will keep the jobs coming in, on a daily basses.

    As both businesses grow I will concentrate more on the CC end and He on the LC, but we plan to keep them tied, like Service Master.
     
  7. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    Nooooo! You KEEP them by providing quality service, not by continually discounting the rates! Yikes! You're going the wrong way! ;-)
     
  8. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    I'm sure you probably already know this, but I'll throw it out there just in case:

    Make sure to keep a list of ALL carpet customers that you ever do work for (or even people that inquire about it) and send them postcards each year (or even twice a year) reminding them "it's time" to have the carpets & upholstery cleaned again.
    Over time, hopefully you can get enough regular repeat customers that you don't have to advertise as hard for new customers.
     
  9. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    By the way Shane, I tried to PM you, but either you're not accepting PM's or LS won't let you because of your post count (?).

    Anyway, if you could e-mail me when you get a chance I'd appreciate it.

    lawndawgz@yahoo.com Thanks, Jon
     
  10. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,415

    why not add a new DBA/ficticious name to your current business? one that's more fitting of a lawn company. you could still co-brand all of your advertising by splitting up the sides for each "separate" business. by letting current, satisfied customers know that you own and actively operate the two businesses you could get around the singular jack-of-all-trades label.

    outside of being a services business, there is no logical meshing of one lawn company and a carpet cleaning business. putting the gutter cleaning and powerwashing under the cleaning company's banner would build a solid core cleaning services specialty. my own company operates under one banner, but our name "Curb Appeal: The Exteriors Company" lends itself to encompassing everything on the outside of a home. however our advertising typically features a 50/50 split of the 2 main divisions (Replacement work/Lawn).

    my dos cents...
     

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