What you should be doing NOW

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Jan 7, 2002.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,830

    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.
     
  2. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 648

    Jim,

    Very good points, in the accounting business the best source of additional work is existing clients. Unfortunately we don't always realize that.

    Many times over the years we have learned that clients have used other professionals for various services that we could have provided.

    Many times when we ask the client about it, they reply "I didn't know you could do that."

    Maximizing the work for current clients is one of the best ways to expand our businesses.
     
  3. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    Jim,

    Excellent post. I couldn't agree w/ you more. I don't know if you even have to offer the g.c.'s, just a note of thanks goes a long way. You're 100% correct in the upselling of services to an existing client base. We're in process of finalizing 2002 residential contracts for fert. program and maint. programs now. We're currently revamping our introduction letter to better address our add-on services.

    Thanks for your input.

    Bob
     
  4. ohiolawnguy

    ohiolawnguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 391

    very good post indeed. i have a similiar idea and would like some input. within this thank you note, i would like to includ a list of all the various services that our company offers. then i would like to tell the customers that any customer who gets the company a referral for any of these services, would receive a discount on their services. my dilemna however is i would like to give the discounts based upon the total price of the new account or landscaping job.example: over over $1000.00 and $50.00 off of their services that month. over $2500 and $100 off.the numbers arent set in stone, and arent really the point right now.
    would this be considered acceptable for customers to be aware of the price cost of the new referral?
    if not, what type of structure should i use for the discounts to be received as a result of a referral?
     
  5. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    As usual, very good advice. Thanks Jim!!
     
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,830

    You're right. And that will work well too.

    I include the gift certificates for a few reasons.

    1) It's always important to give people a reason to call you as opposed to the guy down the street or the truck they see next door. That gift certificate keeps them loyal to you. This is especially important for those clients who have used your company only one time.

    2) In most all of our one time jobs we can afford to lose $25 and still make a good profit.

    3) I really do want to send them something of real value. They've given me good jobs in the past. I want to thank them by giving them a slight discount on their next purchase.
     
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,830

    ohiolawnguy wrote:
    Well I like that idea. If it were me, I'd try to simplify it a bit.

    If someone refers a new maintenance client to us I always give them one month of service for free.

    So if it were me, I guess I'd write something like this;

    "We have a referal program that can earn you big money off of your next bill if you refer a friend to us. Here's how it works;

    1) If you refer someone to us and they end up signing up for one of our maintenance programs you'll get 1 month free!

    2) If you refer someone to us for a large landscaping job you will get a big credit on your next bill. (Credit varies depending on job size.)"

    People will get the idea that way. And they'll be anxious to see how much they get with #2.
     
  8. ohiolawnguy

    ohiolawnguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 391

    thanks very much for the input jim lewis. that is a much more simple explanation to give to the customers indeed!! ;) i am fairly new to the site. in the short time i have been logging posts, i have received lots of valuable information that we can hopefully apply to our company strategy.
    thak you again,
    kevin
     
  9. LAWNS AND MOWER

    LAWNS AND MOWER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,129

    As always, very good points Jim. A coulple ideas I employ are--

    1. Make things sound urgent. For example I strongly suggest people to get on my mulching list for the spring before March 1 because the mowing season kicks in full force in mid April. Also I tell potential mowing customers that I only have a few spots open and that they need to act quick.

    2. A good idea to stimulate cash flow in the spring is to offer 1 free mowing or free fertilization if the customer prepays for 10 cuts upfront.

    3. I agree 120% with trying to turn accts into high maintanance accts. I have 55 accts and two of those accts account for 20% of my gross. It would be nice to only have 10 high maintanance accts and concentrate on those. Only problem is that if you lose one of these it takes a big chunk out of your gross.

    LAWNS AND MOWER
     
  10. Robert Ewald

    Robert Ewald LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    :D These are some great points. Wow do they ever work great. We have been in business for 2.5 seasons and we used them at about this time last year and it worked very well.

    Thanks for sharing a great idea.

    R. Ewald
     

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