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Try us for free (literaly)

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Smithers, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    Ok, i have been toying with an idea....and i need your opinion.

    Here it is.

    You know how when you go to Krispy Kream, to an ice cream parlor, or pretty much any local store, you can ask for a sample of their product - even bakery. and you ALWAYS leave the place after buying something, right?

    you know where this is going, right?

    So, what about the idea of, "let me cut your yard for free - 1 time. If you like it, sign the contract for a whole season right now. If you don't, i am on my way and you have nothing to loose..."

    now, i know that you guys will not like the idea. or say, "There are going to be people that will take advantage of that.". but how many times have you gone into a store, tried a little sample of ice-cream and then said, "No, thanks". and left?

    anyway, i know the logistics will be a pain for the guys that have a full schedule. but i have only 4-5 clients and i can go and cut their grass on the day that i dont have anything going on.

    I know that i will not CUT EVERY SINGLE estimate i give......but i can throw the offer out there and see if they take it. at least they can see my commitment to quality.

    think about it........and then reply, please!!!
  2. cleancutccl

    cleancutccl LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 698

    I thought about doing it at half price, that way you would cover at least some of the expenses. I don't think that I would ever do it for free. Even at half price that gets you in the door to make an estimate for them and they get to see you work at a cheap rate. If you do it for free, you will get people that have no interest in ever hiring anyone, and most people will probably not even look at the estimate. But you make the final decision.
  3. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    cleancut, that makes sense.....but if you tie it with something while you are out and about and coming back from cutting a yard.. hmmm...

    half price is a good idea.. "try us at half price", not free!
  4. wrightlawn

    wrightlawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 33

    they don't give you a full doughnut or ice cream cone though. If you think about it and compare equally, you would not buy anything if they gave you a whole free one.
    They also have such a minimal loss in giving samples away, im not sure lawn care can be said the same for.
    Just my 2 cents. If you do try it let us know what happens. wouldnt be the first time ive been wrong
  5. WhohasHelios?

    WhohasHelios? LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    I like it! That being said, I think you would be around the 50% mark for people telling you not to bother after the freebey. The real key i think would be to only do this with people who call you. Not start advertising for the first cut free.

    A bit of your time would result in quite a few more contracts in a pretty short time I would say.

    For mowing I agree...Bed weeding or anything else no..

    My two cents!!
  6. Grass Busters Inc.

    Grass Busters Inc. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 75

    I have thought about the same thing also but I was worried is people would take advantage of me:
    Scenario 1
    "Hey babe, can you cut the lawn before you go golfing"
    " I will just use my one free cut coupon"

    scenario 2
    ( mystery person # 1)

    "I really don't want to cut the lawe to day it's 12" long and falling over, I will just call that guy to come out and do it for free, then tell him "it's just not what i thought, thanks anyways"

    scenario 3
    " we need to get some on to cut are lawn for 1 week when we are out of town. Who should i call Jessie?,,,,,,,, OH I will tell that guy that I am interested in lawn cutting, and he will do it for free!!"

    Good idea on paper, but the results could be costly :cry:
  7. lawnranger44

    lawnranger44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 370

    I've had the same idea. Except here is what you can do so you aren't doing free mowings all the time:

    Target a neighborhood and tell everyone you are doing a "Free Mowing Day." Everybody in the neighborhood (who asks for it and listens to your 5 minute business blurb) gets a free mowing on April 20th, say. This way you will make a big impression in the neighborhood, you will have 20-30 yards mowed by YOU on one day and everyone will see what a good job you do.

    My brother and I are trying this idea this year. We'll let you know how it works.
  8. moremowing4me

    moremowing4me LawnSite Member
    from S.C.
    Posts: 148

    I tryed it once on a flyer,but it said that if you call today the first service is free. It didnt work that well though as most of the customers that wanted me on a regular basis made me take payment for the first one as well.
  9. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,439

    the glaring problem i see with the ice cream analogy is that you went in there with the intent to purchase ice cream. how many times have you ever gone into an ice cream shop or bakery with no intent on buying? now, if you had an actual retail storefront for your lco, i could see the parallel, but not as you presented it.

    the only way i see it not costing you $300 to acquire an actual customer is to offer it to people who first seek you out, but then what's the point? if you did this as a flyer or ad, i'd take you up on it just so i don't have to mow my yard for a week, but if i was seeking you out to provide this service, i could see where a 100% guarantee or 1st cut is on you would prove more realistic.

    i love the creative ideas, but i think it needs seriously refined.
  10. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Maybe offer "2 Free Stripes" as a sample...just mow once up and back right thru the middle of the lawn...if they want the rest done they have to pay for it :rolleyes:

    Like tonygreek pointed out, a service-oriented business differs from a retail setup. Although, it could prove to be a good idea. I always get people that want to make sure they aren't locked in for a year before they sign up. They want to know that if they don't like you after the first time they can part ways.

    You might consider trying it on a limited scale to see how it works, maybe just offer it in one particular neighborhood.

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