Need to double from 40 acts to 80

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by brentsawyer, Nov 12, 2001.

  1. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    I am a solo act and I currently have around 40 residential accounts approx $30/ea. I have a 36"WB, 52"WB and buying a 52"ZTR. I also landscaped $20,000-$25,000 this year. Next year I want to double and am shooting for $100K with one helper. So what I need is gain about 40 more accounts and I think the rest should come into play. What I was wondering is since many of you have been there done that, am I out of line with a budget of $700 for fliers, direct mailing 1000pcs., and alot of time this winter to reach my goals? Also what are some of the practices you all have tried and done with good success. I think I want to stay out of newspaper b/c that's where bargainhunters shop and phonebook adds would blow by budget through the roof and would get accounts out of my tight circle. In the past I've had 1% success with fliers.

    I have tried to find other posts but picking search words is really difficult.

    1000 pcs of direct mail total cost around $350-$400
     
  2. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,746

    Well I hope your not expecting 40 new customers out of 1,000 fliers...that would sound like a dream to me. I put out around 4,000 fliers at a time. So far my ratio is the same as just a few of the local guys not all but a few and thats around 1 customer per 1,000-1,300 fliers. Your goal of how many accounts sounds like it could keep you buisy all through the winter trying to get them but it dosent sound to far out. Keep it going.
     
  3. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 870

    With your operation, you'd be better off going to 10 neighbors on each side of your current customers and writing them a quote, telling your services and what customers you currently do in the area.

    That will yield a much better response per piece than a direct mailing.

    Most folks are quite receptive if they know you work for a neighbor.
     
  4. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    I have been doing some reading myself and it seems that if you use a black and white flyer you can expect 1-2% return calls from your investment. If you send out color copies you can expect a mere 6-8%.

    Either way it seems to me that you are better off targeting exclusive neighborhoods to your service area just as KL stated.

    Good Luck!
    Kris
     
  5. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 773

    I think he's sending out 1000 direct mailings and $700 worth of flyers, whatever that comes to. ;)

    I'm in the same boat as you, Brent, in targeting aggressive growth for the new year. The wife got laid off her job in the Summer and we've been working together to refine our systems and expand. She's the best home contact I've ever had, and customers tell me all the time what a joy it is to talk to her when they call. Now, we just need to market that gift...

    We're in the process of putting together flyers, door hangars, and exploring direct mail and neighborhood opportunities. We're excited about doing this. Marketing has never been my strength and I've always allowed for word of mouth to spread my business. However, it's too slow now that we really want to be a one-income family and not have the wife go back to work in short order.

    As you say, phone books ads are beyond our budget right now, but are newspaper ads really a no-go? Our local newspaper has a three-line "Who Can Do It?" service section for about $90/month that I've been tempted to explore. Having used no advertising in previous years, I think it might be worth it to get the name out there in some forum. Is it something I should hesitate on, invest in, or forget altogether? Worth a try?

    Good luck with yours, Brent, and I'll be looking forward to hearing about your returns!

    Thomas Cummings
    Cummings Lawn & Garden
     
  6. Skip the paper,

    Good idea about the neighbors. I would however only pick 5 of the neighbors, the two on either side and the 3 directly across the street. Since you will have time on your hands in your market
    that's a great idea. Give them an UNSOLICITED proposal to do their yard. Call them or knock on door to find out if it is okay obviously. The best part of this.........the closer together the accounts the cheaper it is to do them. That could even be part of the marketing.

    I have been kicking the idea around myself for the neighbors. It's a good one, that's why I come here. Thanks
     
  7. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    Tony I like what you have brought into the lime light about the neigbors to pinpoint areas. I never thought of this but when I think about it if you arent going to mass market an area this would definitely be the way to do it. ;)

    The only problem that I have with giving a group discount is that when one discontinues services now the discount is not so sweet but costing you money.

    Rather than have to put yourself in the position of telling clients "Find a replacement or get a price hike" I would keep your prices consistent for mowing. You might want to consider giving them a slight discount off their Fert Program or other Renovation Services as a thankyou.

    Just my .02
    Kris
     
  8. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    With the amount of money you are budgeting on flyers, you should price the yellow pages.

    Granted, I have had a terrible customer experience with RH Donnelly, but the results of the ad were good.

    I am at your target- one helper and 100k. Before the ad, I was solo where you are today.

    Ken
     
  9. Point taken.........
    I guess it is up to the LCO to keep the accounts then no worries about the discount........just my thoughts
    Great idea about the discount being given on the extras......perhaps you could discount mulching the beds or some other low profit job that could be done while there...that way the discount really isn't a discount,know what I mean?
    I love it when the ideas start to flow here............
     
  10. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 773

    Okay then, as the missus and I hit the pavement the first stop should be lawns in the immediate vicinity around existing customers. One on either side and perhaps three across the street.

    Should I put my first flyers there, on their door stoop, or should we plan to try sales by door-knocking? I don't mind, personally, getting flyers but I do so hate door-to-door salespeople.

    Also, using search agents online I can probably find the addresses and phone numbers for these potential clients. Would cold-calling be better than flyers or door-knocking? Is a combination the best - such as delivering flyers followed by a phone call that evening?

    This is getting good...

    Thomas Cummings
    Cummings Lawn & Garden
     

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