Just a tip for those of you who are seriously interested in growing your business and having return clients.... Since most of us have a decent amount of free time this time of year this is a VERY effective marketing tool you should be using (assuming you keep good records). 1) Write all of your clients who used your company for one-time jobs last year (e.g. clean-ups, periodic mowings, installs, etc.) and thank them for helping you have a great year. As part of your thanks, you include a gift certificate for future work. The amount is up to you. We give them a $25 gc good for any pruning, clean-up, install, etc. job. (in other words, they can't call us for a one-time mow and get $25 off that). 2) Write all of your regular clients WHO CONSISTENTLY PIAD YOU ON TIME and thank them for their excellent payment record. Tell them they are one of your "preferred customers" and give them a gift cert. as described above as part of your thanks. 3) Write all of the people who called you for an estimate but didn't use you for some reason. Remind them they called and tell them you hope they appreciated the quick response they got when they called. Point out that for whatever reason, you never heard back from them after that estimate but that you'd like to earn their business in the future. Give them too a gift cert. as above. I also include new business cards with each letter. You can never hand out too many business cards (tip there.) If you'll do this, you'll find that a good deal of these people will call you this year for more work. If you don't, you'll find that only a small percentage will call back. Even if you just got one good job off of your effort (and you'll get many more than that) it would pay for the time and stamps used. One of the biggest problems with businesses is that we don't take advantage often enough of our existing client base. We often assume they still have our card or even still remember our name and will just call us when they feel the need. The reality is they forget and loose stuff just like you and I do. I know we've had our carpets cleaned a bazillion times at our house. And I was pleased with every single job I have had done here. But I can't remember any of their names. If they would only call or write, I'd use them again. But instead I just go back to the phone book and call another company. Your customers do that too sometimes. So remind them. This idea will get your spring off to a great start. Now's the time to do it.