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Discussion in 'Lawn Care Business Management' started by RigglePLC, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,218

    Is this section, new, Donavan?

    Somebody say something. The business, after all pays your bills.

    Are mailers still the best way to sell new accounts? What if too many compaines are sending mailers? 5 competitors, what if there are 10 competing mailers? Can you match the quality of the flyers from TruGreen and other major companies and top franchises?

    How do we compete with big budget companies with saturation advertising?
  2. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,620

    All good questions that continue to be asked that seem to have no definitive answer.
    With direct mail are our expectations too high? We send out 10k post cards and expect 100 new accounts when realistically we may only gain 10.
  3. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    I'll admit. I didn't even see this section until just now. I assumed everything was kind of covered in the general "Business Management" section. But if we are just talking the lawn care business then I understand. I haven't yet ever tried direct mail but it always seemed to me that the guys on here had unrealistic expectations of the number of people expected to call and the amount of new clients they would get from those that do call. For the price it costs, I guess I might have a certain expectation as well. Maybe depending on the size of lawns "10" new clients would be worth it and be considered successful. I would say that if I mailed out 10k cards to certain areas I service and only gained 10 lawns, that would be a horrible return. In another service area, 10 would be quite successful.
  4. doug1980

    doug1980 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 276

    I've heard direct mailing nets 1% if that of new business. Doesn't seem worth it. TruGreen likes to put there ads (in the form of a lawn sign) right next to my lawn sign to get business. Referrals are the best way I think.
  5. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,132

    I did a test last season with my mailers and set up an additional phone number and domain name linked to my fert page. We did Three rounds of 5k cards. These were not EDDM, but were addresses from a mailing list using our target demographics such as homeowners, home values, incomes, etc. From the 15k post cards that went out our site we gained 42 customers for full fert programs, which equates to .28% of the postcard recipients signing up for service.

    Here is the general brake down of the numbers for that mailing campaign.
    Called us directly utilizing campaign specific phone number on post card: 28, Estimates 22, CLOSED SALES 10
    Visitors to website utilizing campaign specific domain on card: 298
    Initiated a FERT request on the website: 112, Estimates Provided 84, CLOSED SALES 32

    We did continue to bring in some more work from those particular cards, for example 14 people who found our website from the cards used the links to our irrigation pages and received either irrigation service or winterization last year. These cards also brought in roughly 3k in Sod, and 7k in hardscape install revenue
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,218

    So...you got .18 percent response to the cards you sent out to a selected homes mailing list. What is the cost for each? If you paid 10 cents for each postcard mailed that would be a cost of $53 dollars per sales lead. If you estimated 22 that brings the cost per estimate up to $68. If you closed 10, your cost per sale is $150. This is not counting the time and gas it took to give the estimate, and the salesmen's time to call them back.
  7. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,620

    Do you know the response rate for each hit? How many called on each round? Was it the third time mailed that had the most response?
    Thanks for sharing your data.
  8. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,132

    Sorry, I thought I typed it clearer than I now see I did. The numbers you are using Riggle were just for people who contacted us via phone from that campaign. A couple lines below those numbers are seperate numbers for the people who did not call but instead contacted us through our website after receiving the cards.

    Here are the total of phone+online requests for the 3 mailings totaling 15,000 mailers.
    Requests for Proposals: 140
    Proposals Provided: 106
    Sales Closed: 42
    The first mailer was a 5.5x8.8 post card, the 2nd was a trifold, the 3rd was once again a 5.5x8.5. The postcards were distinct for the months they were sent out, 1st one "It's not to early to start thinking about spring", the 3rd "It's not to late to protect your lawn this summer", the 2nd (trifold) was more general about or fert service.

    We use all heavy stock and high closs, full color. The 15k averaged out to $0.41 each printed and mailed to our demographics. That equates to $43.92 per contact, $58 per proposal, $146 per sale.

    These numbers are strictly for fert programs. This does not take into account for the roughly $12,000 in other sales and services we gained from the people who visitted our site after receiving the mailings
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,218

    Considering the high cost of sending them out and the cost of each sales lead. It makes sense to make sure that the mailers are the best they can be. And that your salesmen, estimates and followup are the best that they can be. Every incoming phone call is worth $43.

    I think this makes a free ap when a customer refers a friend, relative or neighbor...a bargain by comparison.
  10. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,132

    We get a number of accounts from referals each season. We credit the existing customer $50-$100 for referals depending on the size of the property and package the new customer takes. We credit their account after the new customer has received and paid for their 3rd service.

    I'm hoping to see the closing rate increase next year. I ran a good amount of the sales as well as my lawn supervisor. We both had good closing rates, but also had my fert tech running leads as well, he's a great tech, knows his stuff inside and out. But he's not a great sales guy. He has come far since last spring, so hopefully he'll be doing better this coming season. He's already begun calling some of those missed sales from last season and has now closed a couple of them.

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