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Stupid? Or Smart?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by kc2006, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    So I was thinking, and this crazy thought came to mind. I'm not doing this but just thought it was interesting and wanted to see who thinks it would be a resonable thing to do and who wouldn't even think about it.

    I was thinking, lets say theres a church right near your home. The lawn there is small. It would take you maybe 15 mins to mow this weekly. (for a better idea lets just say 40x100 rectangle space with curb around it and one bed in the center to trim, and a small 20x20 area with one tree and no curb around it in the middle of the parking lot). Now this church is on the main road of town, lots of exposure. The church also has 300-400 people attend it every week. Lets say you made a proposal to the church that you would mow the grounds (28 weeks) for free, IF they put an advertisement in their weekly bulletin with some sort of heading that states your donating your service to the church and the church would like its parishners to remember you when they're looking for service, lets say a 1/2 page ad.... Now the other benefits are, you would get the plowing/salting (lets say $200 per push, not sure what you would charge for salt since I dont know measurements but it would take probably 1.75 hours to plow with one truck), you would get the bed maintenance (roughly $750 job to trim the shrubs and put down 5 yards of mulch)

    Do you think it would be foolish or do you think it would actually work and be a profitable thing to do?

    Now this assumes that you know what its going to cost YOUR business to do this. Think back to the measurements to calculate your costs, and we'll say its on your way from one account to another, doesn't have to be near your house. Also just for kicks, recall that I'm spending $300 to put a small 1"x1" ad in a local church bulletin with same size parish. Interested to hear what some people say. :waving:
  2. slebeau20

    slebeau20 LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Posts: 103

    I personally mow my church every week. This is a tythe for my business. I've picked up a few customers from the church. But every Thursday after I finish mowing I get a phone call from a possible new customer. Then during the winter months I do all their snow removal, and I'm paid for that service. This year I was able to pick up four more commercial sites due to my efforts at the church. It amazing the people that Pasters know, and are willing to pass on your name if you do a good job. God will provide if you are willing to give your time to him.
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,839

    I dunno. Personally, I think it would come off wrong to a lot of people. My church doesn't have advertisements in the bulletin. So it's odd for me to even think about a church trying to push services and goods on it's attendees.

    Regardless, I think if I read something like that at church it would come off as odd to me. I'd be thinking, "So this guy is only donating his services because he wants to get more customers?" To me, the gesture of kindness (doing the work for free) is completely overrulled by the request for business. I'd respect someone who was offering their services to our church for free. That's a nobel thing to do. But if I found out they were doing it just for personal gain that would ruin the nobility of it. I wouldn't be as impressed anymore because I wouldn't view the person's motives as pure. I would view his motives as being for personal gain.

    I understand your thoughts. As a business owner, it's maybe a wise business decision to do work for a church like this for free. It could well pay off in the long run. Especially if it doesn't take you much time. But to be in people's face about it, "Helloo!!!! We're taking care of your church for free! So you better call us!" is the part that seems a little over the top.

    I would think placing a small sign somewhere on the property or maybe leaving your truck outside in the parking lot for half a day once in a while would be the most I'd do.

    Of course, if you also attended the church on a regular basis too that's your best bet. People would see your truck in the parking lot and when they met you after service and asked what you did then they'd say, "Oh! You own the company that maintains this property! Wow. Well good to meet you. You guys have been doing a great job....Hey, I could use a bid on some yard work..." And then it just goes from there. Of course, this isn't the reason you attend church. It's just a fringe benefit of going and being part of a group.
  4. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Posts: 5,407

    Why not try a one year contract? I think it is probably definately worth a shot. It may only cost you a few hundred dollars and this really nothing for advertising.
  5. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    Lawnworks, I was just tossing the thought out there to have alittle discussion (winter boredom). I'm not going to do this. Although I did describe a church that is in my neighborhood.

    The biggest thing for me is I don't go to the church I described and I feel it would come off like Jim said. The church I do attend has advertising in the bulletin, but the property is rather large (used to take us 4 hours with 2 guys mowing back when I worked for another company). I did offer a large discount to my church, I figured it would be a nice thing to do and it could get me a few more accounts since it also is in the center of town on the main road. But lucky for them someone really underbid the job and got it even cheaper! So good for the church I guess :D
  6. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,613

    I mow a church 1x a week in the spring summer and fall. I give a relatively large discount to the church and in return, they have a section in their weekly periodical thing with a name and number for me. Have picked up a few customers but I feel it is the right thing to do mentally and business related.
  7. tuscanvalleylandscaping

    tuscanvalleylandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 47

    I wouldn't't advertise in the bulletin but i would ask to put up a yard sign. i have thought about doing spring planting for a couple of churches if they would let me put up a yard sign
  8. steve45

    steve45 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,325

    When I was young, my dad was a deacon at our church. He was charged with maintaining the grounds. Guess who got to do the mowing...:)
  9. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    Kurt, I know this is just a "what if" question, but I don't think I'd be comfortable in that type of situation. We take care of a rather large church, and I charge them the appropriate rate. I'd feel kind of funny if we had an ad in the Sunday service program. I have never seen a church with paid advertising in the programs (around here, at least), and even under the seemingly "right" circumstances,I'd personally be a little miffed on Sunday morning pulling up to church and seeing an 18 X 24 coroplast sign in the lawn. Word of mouth travels quickly in church groups, and even more so among pastors and staff. Our truck is parked sideways, with the lettering facing traffic for about 2.5 hours each week. I've never met more than 10 people from the church, but everyone there knows who we are, for sure..lol
  10. PLS-Tx

    PLS-Tx LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 2,385

    I would not do it, I maint. 3 churches, been doing them all for several years, they all say they are very pleased with the work, but have never gotten 1 other maint. contract from anyone in any of these churches.

    I charge them all full price.

    I don't maint. our church, don't want that kind of pressure.

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