New customers

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by scottt, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. scottt

    scottt LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 269

    I have already done a search but I am posting in this forum for more specialized responses. What have you found to be the most effective means to getting more customers? I have about $2000 to spend now and probably $1000 more in three months. I can get 15000 full color brochures for about $1700 and this was my plan so far. Please list what has worked best for you. I got my license last year and practiced on about 20 lawns and have decided to greatly expand in the fert & weed control area.
     
  2. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

    Hi Scott,

    Here is a great post to show you what others have tried and their results.
     
  3. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 1,218

    Whats your plan with the 15k brochures? How many customers do you have now?
    I started with telemarketing, the cheapest and easiest way of getting customers. Now I do direct mail, (post cards) and newspaper inserts. As well as yellowpage ads.
    If you gonna do direct mail you should expect 1.5-2% return. so if you mail out 15k brochures then you should get around 200 customers(1.5%)
    It would cost around $3900.00 to mail those brochures
     
  4. scottt

    scottt LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 269

    James,
    Right now I only have the 20 accounts I started with last year. I planned on putting the brochures on doors. Last year I used doorknob hangers for maintenance, but I wanted to put more information about our applications in the brochure. Also if someone called from another source, I wanted to be able to give them a brochure with all the info they need. I know I can't put out 15k alone, and thought about hiring a local company to help me pass them out. Any other ideas on what is the most cost effective method to get new customers on my budget? I posted on this forum so I did not get answers from people doing only maintenance or installs.
     
  5. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 1,218

    Scott,
    Handing out the brochures will take too much time and doesnt look to profesional (my option),I would look into telemarketing, you can call people to sign up for a free survey and leave your brochure at that time with prices.
    But here's the main ??? How many customers do you want? or could handle..Do you live in a big city? or what s the biggest city (pop) near you? any big newspapers in you city? Answer these ?s first before you spend money.
    Then I could maybe help alittle more.
     
  6. scottt

    scottt LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 269

    The city I live in has about 85k, connected to a city with 380k, and the county has almost 800k people. Yes, there is a large paper in the 380k city, but my town has a fairly small paper also. I would like to keep as much of my work in my city as possible, but realistically know that I will have to go to other areas eventually to reach my future goals. This year I could handle at least 300 accounts. Maybe not at first while I am still fairly new, but by midway through the year I think I could handle that much work. And yes I do have some business experience from the maintenance portion of the business. The 20 accounts I spoke about earlier were apps only, I had more in maintenance. I am just wanting to get away from that area. About the telemarketing, do you know what it costs to have an outside source do this? Cold calling is not my specialty.
     
  7. Tscape

    Tscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,370

    http://www.reversedirectory.langenberg.com/

    1. Type in the street name and city where you want to get accounts
    2. Take the names and phone #'s returned on a printed sheet and drive by their properties and estimate pricing
    3. Return home with a list of names, addresses, phone #'s, and prices and prepare proposals.
    4. MAIL them directly to the prospective clients who will be impressed that their personal info and pricing for their property is right there for them. Include brochures at this step. Just have them sign and return the proposal to sign up.
    5. Offer a coupon or incentive of some kind (could be built right in to the pricing i.e. "one year trial offer").
    6. Update your files as the contracts role in. (upwards of 10% in my case).
     
  8. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 1,218

    Post above is good!! You may need to spend alittle more to get to the 300 level and will need to travel as well. The mowing will drag you down, I finally sold off my mowing business (2 years ago) to grow the fert & Squirt. I would look into insert ads with the big papers, 8x11 flyer stuffed into the paper.
    My local big paper has a great program, They do all the art work for free and you choose your areas you want it stuffed in. Cost was $68.00 per K, sales are lower then direct mail (.005%) So lets say you buy 42,000 inserts it would cost you $2800.00 but you should get 200-250 customers from it.
    Your cost per customer is okay.
    Look in you phone book for telemarketing companies, I wouldnt use this, you can buy software, (procd) and do it yourself, Yeh it sucks but it is the cheapest way to get customers and IT WORKS!!
    Good luck
     
  9. BB36

    BB36 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 171

    I've tried everything; what works for me is the service section /classified of my local newspaper and flyer's 3000-5000 each season just before the start of the growing season. Everything else is not cost effective.
     
  10. scottt

    scottt LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 269

    James,
    I checked with the newspapers in my area and they want much more than you were paying. I will be trying some of the ideas I have received and have started a new thread on some other ideas I might try. I have decided to invest more personal money into the business so I can try a few different ideas. Thank you for all the responses and any more would be appreciated.
     

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