First, a bit of background to set this thread up. Had a good job, got hurt, had spinal fusion surgery, and eventually fully recovered. At the age of 52, found out that age discrimination is alive and well, and living comfortably in America. Started mowing last year, just for some income... completly illegal, but it helped me to get by. Having some formal horticultural training, and faced with dismal job prospects, I committed to this buisness. I got my pesticide certification, dropped all but 5 accounts from last year, and boldly went forward. No money, no cutomer base, no commercial equipment. No ad budget. Begged, borrowed but did not steal.... and I have a 32 Quick on it's way, and will get a Redmax 8001 blower, a Kawi hedge trimmer, a small open trailer, an Echo 265 trimmer all piled into my Chevy S-10 (8 foot bed) and trailer. A backpack sprayer, a Scotts broadcast and drop spreader... and that's my hardware. No fancy signs on my truck, no yellow page ads, no nuthin. Put an ad for $10 a week in my church bulletin. Printed up 2000 single color, double sided door hangers for $350. I have about 800 door hangers out now, and I figure I've walked 45 miles putting those out. So far, 8 customers with full apps, ferts, herbicides, etc, at about $1,200 to a couple over $2,000 gross billings per season. One more with apps only, no maintenance, which is more profitable than the full maintenance accounts are. So, I am closing about 1.1 account per 100 door hangers (actually a tiny bit over 1%). So, including the ad, each new account has cost me about $11 each. That does not include my time when distriuting the door hangers. While the church bulletin ad has generated ZERO calls, It has helped me close about 7 of these new accounts. When I have good reason to think the customer attends my church, I ask.... and that ad, while not generating leads, has made closing much easier. So, I guess what I'm saying is that with some leg work, I have been able to get my business up and going with an ad budget that so far is less than $500. If I can keep the momentum going, I will get the 20 new customers I was looking for, and at a cost that is MUCH lower than what I've seen people talk about here. The more customers I get form the door hangers, the lower my present $11 per customer will go. I am thinking my cost pre new customer, once I hit my target of 20 will be about $7 each, which does not include my time getting the door hangers out. I think for a start up, 7 bucks a customer is a pretty good number. My maintenance charges are in line with my competitiors in my area, but the profit is in the fets and apps. Has anyone broken down their ad ROI this way before? $/new customer/profit. I have the new $/customer formula figured out, but am still figuring/tweeking the profit number. What I guess I am trying to say, is that fancy color print ads, truck signage, all that expensive stuff is nice for image, but I'm not sure it equates to sales and growth. I think advertising can be done very cheaply with more sweat equity and less money. In the end, it's the quality of service and ability to impart professionalism as far as WHAT I do, the service, as opposed to image that makes both an ad campaign and image far less important to the customer when making a buy decision. Free pH testing has so far been my best ad hook! Why pay for lime if you don't need it! Much more effective than a brand new truck with fancy, expensive logo's painted on it. Tru-Green and Scotts have fancy trucks.... but what does THAT get the customer who wants a nice lawn? Just my limited experience laden with my predjudiced opions. Have at it.