What is the best way to build areation bus.?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grasswhacker, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,873

    Since we are here in the midst of aerating lawns I would like to inquire about how some of you really grew your aeration business. I am really interested in getting the Plugr800 with the honda of course, but would like to see what has been effective for everyone. I have been renting a Ryan to do my clients lawns, but beyond that i would like to advertise in an effecient way to maximize results and reach out to those who don't really need weekly lawncare, but do want thier yards looking good.
    Is it best to do flyers, or maybe make up some plastic signs and put them in a targeted area, or advertise in a paper which would end up running you all over, not only for est., but doing the actual work.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Green & Clean

    Green & Clean LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Posts: 25

    We have found that putting up a sign in a neighborhood we would like to work in has brought the most $ per investment. When we get a call, we know the size of the yards in that area, and can tell the potential customer an estimated price range over the phone. This saves allot of time going out giving bids to people wanting to pay $10 for a $50 job. We have also had great success giving some kid from the neighborhood we are working in a dollar or two to knock on his neighbors doors and give them our flyer, and report back to us if his neighbors want our services. We then pay the kid $2 per customer they helped us get. This works really well in the late afternoon and early evening. A kid handing out 12 flyers usually brings in 4-8 jobs. We also keep the name and address of every job we do. We send them a post card the next year to remind them to have us aerate, and follow up with a phone call if we do not hear from them. Aeration for us has been the best $ per hour service we have provided, based on the limited investment involved. We simply estimate the time a job will take, and quote a price based on 1$ per minute.
     
  3. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    Flyers have worked the best for us. We can target a neiborhood and stay away from the PITA lots. I did that for two years and now I only do the contract work I have and past customers or referrals.
     
  4. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,873

    G & C and PM, Thanks for those Ideas. I really like the post card idea to remind clients to have thier lawn done year after year. Which should lead eventually to a nice base that will cut down on the need to advertise.
    Since these are usually once per year jobs, what is your rate of failure on getting paid?
    And what is your clue that may have tipped you off about the deadbeat customer?
     
  5. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    I send out a newsletter to all customers 4 times a year. That keeps people up to date.
    All my contract work is by invoice and part of the contract but the one time stuff I tell them when I will show up and most of the time they have a check ready. The rest I just invoice. I have had to send a few statements out,(2nd invoice) but that is the worse I have had to do. I have always been paid. I did a landscape bid where I felt that I would have a problem so I bid it a little high and went in with a 50% down and 40% start and 10% after. They did not do the work and I was happy. They did not go with anybody, the place still looks like do-do. You can not be prejustice but you can get a feel. And by the way I am not talking about race here. just a feel about the way they were doing business.
     
  6. Five Diamond Lawns

    Five Diamond Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 197

    Hay Green & Clean I like your kid in the area idea. How do you find them and what age? Do you get a different kid in every area?
    We just put out flyers. We average 40 aerations per 1000. This does't include other work we get from the flyers ( thatching, shrub pruning and usually one weekly mowing job per 1000 ) I figure $2.5 to $3 per aeration job for flyer distribution. Thats the first 2 years then cut down on flyers and do annual aerations hopefully. This fall is the start of our second go around so we'll see on the repeats.
     
  7. Green & Clean

    Green & Clean LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Posts: 25

    Sometimes I'll ask the kid of the customer I'm doing. (In front of their parent, so there are no questions about my intentions). Many times there is that one kid who watches you work, or asks "what are you doing"? Most often I'll see a group of kids playing and ask them - "who is the smartest kid here"? One usually yells -ME! I'll then hand him 1$ and about 10 flyers with the instructions to knock on his neighbors doors and ask if they want their lawn aerated. The kids are in their own neighborhood, talking to people who they most likely know. I always ask them to point out their house. That way, I can stop by later and pay them for their efforts in front of their parents. Kids about 10 years old seem to work best for me.
     
  8. Andyinchville2

    Andyinchville2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 124

    Flyers work best...Another way is to aerate in the evenings or on weekends (when people are in)....Have a helper do the work while you go door to door soliciting.....Works for us....We also do this for driveway sealcoating
    Andrew
     
  9. Lbilawncare

    Lbilawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    Working on Saturdays has been the best advertisement for us. Neighbors see you, etc. We usually get 5-6 calls or people stopping us every Saturday just because they saw us out. Not all of them hire us, usually price is a factor, but it does get our name out there. The only thing I hate is the neighbors who think if you do all of them you'll cut their rate practically in half. I usually knock off $5 a lawn if there are a lot in a row and they aren't regular customers.
     

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