Guys, I might be a future Lawnsite advertiser. But I really don't know if my idea is something other grass cutters will want. So Sean has given me permission to just ask for feedback on this. A lot of lawn service operators will soon be using flyers or door hangers or other print advertising to try to lure new prospects. I think I've come up with an unusual way to: * improve the response rate; * distinguish a lawn service from its competitors; * and provide a reason for the prospect to make a quick decision on committing to a seasonal agreement, or a slew of services (which could include mowing, fertilizing, aerating, bed maintenance, clean-ups). I was at the Southeastern PA Hooters lunch meeting on saturday and among the 5 other men there, none thought it was appropriate for their business, but they all felt that this would be a beneficial tactical move for SOME grass cutters. I feel the same, but I still don't know if others will see it like I do. So, if you think I've got a homerun marketing idea that might be something you would consider, please post your feedback here. I have connections in Russia and I have a small group of very talented, classically trained artists who are ready, willing and able to paint excellent quality watercolors of peoples' homes. And they can do this work at a really reasonable price. There are a number of ways the house portrait can be used as a marketing tool... If you have a goal to pick up an extra 30 customers, or to get enough customers to start-up a new crew, you probably would be happiest to get those customers before the grass started growing. And then you could just blaze away mowing lawns at maximum capacity right from the start. It would be a more efficient use of your time and resources to line up the customers early instead of burning up grass cutting time later while doing estimates and meeting people as the season is underway. So the idea with this advertising incentive is to line up your customers early. On your flyer/door hanger/ad you list your sell points and make the proposition that if they respond and sign a seasonal agreement by a certain date, they get a free watercolor portrait of their home. The offer can specify a cut-off date: "Sign a seasonal agreement by March 20th and get a free watercolor house portrait of your home." The offer can specify a cut-off number, or a combination: "Be among the first 20 to hire us by March 20th and get a free watercolor portrait of your home." Another technique: The offer could be used as a way of moving them to buy more... Example: They agree to mowing, but you use the portrait to get them to agree to fertilizing and aerating. The lowest cost that I think I can provide these custom, made-to-order paintings for - in quantity - will be $55 each. If it is too much, the offer to your customers can be modified - where they help to pay for it: "Be among the first 20 customers to sign a seasonal agreement by March 20th and receive a high quality watercolor portrait of your home for just $20 ----- a $200 value!" For your prospects, the twist of a house portrait makes your flyer or ad a little bit different from everyone else's. It should capture attention and make you stand apart. For the prospect: - It is an offer that has value. - It's unique. - It should capture their attention. - The offer will create a degree of urgency and they must act promptly or this opportunity will be lost. - And they must commit (sign a seasonal agreement) For you: - You get better response rates with your advertising efforts. - You make no price concessions. - And you lock in your customers before the season ramps up - and before you become too busy to run around giving estimates. The artwork will not be junk. Take a look at www.LandmarkPaintings.com I've got 3 examples of the work on that site. If you decide to make the customers pay a part of the cost, you can emphasize that the portrait is a $200 value and that you are subsidizing the cost as a part of this special promotion. "Where else are you going to find a classically trained artist to paint your house for $20?" ...or whatever you are making them pay. Later in the year you could use house portraits again as an incentive to line-up lawn renovation work for new customers. Does this idea make sense to anyone? If it does and enough people say they want to go with this, I'll let you use images of the house portraits in your advertising, and I'll review your ad pieces before they go to print (I formerly worked in the ad business). Either the customer would take a photo of their house, or you would take the photo and send it to me. Minimum quantity would be 10 with the money due in advance. The turnaround time would be from one to three months. For me, besides the costs of the artists, there are shipping and export fees, plus other costs and it doesn't leave much room for profit. So this idea only is viable if I can get volume. When the paintings arrive, I will send them to you for distribution to your customers. Framing and matting cannot be included at this price. If you have a large number of portraits that are coming, perhaps you can make an arrangement with a local custom framing shop to offer another promotion. You could set it up so that you receive a commission or store credit for recommending a framing shop to your new customers. The frame shop supplies a special coupon which will signal to them that a commission is due you if it is presented. ??? Just an idea. This is real art. It is not done by computer. An artist in Russia will be painting the house by hand in watercolor. So what is the verdict? Is it a bird brain idea? Does anyone want me to offer this?