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Advice for marketing

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by LawnMowerMan2003, Jun 10, 2003.

  1. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    I had to start over this year, and getting customers is going vey slow this year. I've only been able to land about 10 residential accounts, and while this wouldn't be too bad if they were every week, the worst part is that most only need cutting about every other week, due to a lack of rain in South Texas. I've had some success with making my own signs in the past, but this year I haven't done very well, so I tried flyers again. But out of 5 or 6 hours of passing out flyers, I have only found one customer. It's been very discouraging, and I'm not sure what I should do. I realize that word of mouth is the best way to advertise, but with 10 customers I can realisticly expect word of mouth to do the whole job. Any suggestions?
  2. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    LMM '03
    Be persistent, remember a good response with flyers is 1 or 2 percent.
    If there are any grocery stores or any business that have public bulletin boards, post a flyer with tear offs on it there.
    Contact some realty companies for maintenance on their listed properties.
    You sound down, hang in there if you can, do a little brain storming for ideas of who else to approach for business, turn through the yellow pages for possible inspiration.
    Best Wishes, hang in there
  3. UGA

    UGA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    Having similar problems in Tenn, Natural. I'm waiting on my logo to be finished so I can get my cards/contracts/bid sheets, etc together to start running around getting my name out there. I've already called on some real estate people that I know about doing propertys they have up for sale but as of yet have no calls. I would rather give them a card(S) and list of services in one of my shirts when I go to see them so I can't wait to get that stuff.
    Best of Luck
  4. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    I should probably try going around to some smaller commercial properties and placing some bids.
  5. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    Thanks for the bulletin board idea. There is only one large grocery store chain now in San Antonio, so you can imagine the traffic they have at those stores, and people have advised me to post some sort of flyer there. I think I'll give it a try.
  6. Ajays

    Ajays LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    I've said this a million times it seems. Flyers work great. You can't just pass out flyers for 5-6 hours and expect some type of good return. I usually get an average of 4 new clients off of 1000 flyers. Thats not even a half % return but for what I put into it, its well worth it. It costs me $60 at kinkos and all day passing out 1000. If you only have 10 biweekly clients and not a lot of rain then you should have plenty of time to pass out lots of flyers. Remember to pass them all out in areas you want to work and areas you already have work. Once your in the neighborhood, thats when word of mouth becomes important. Also remember that the type of clients you are going to get a lot of at the beginning are the PITA clients that nobody else will take. You can forget about 99.9% of commercial business (large or small) if you show up with a pushmower. stick with the flyers. make them seem as professional as you possibly can. pass out as many as you can and you should see the results.
  7. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    Well, if I could pass out flyers all day and get 4 customers I would be happy, but that's not what happened last time.

    In the neighborhood I picked, most of the lawns did not look overgrown at all, so I drove around and looked for lawns that needed it. In addition, I even wrote the estimates on my flyers (one price for the first cut, in case it was overgrown and one for a regular basis). Sometimes I would drive past 10 or 15 houses before I found one that looked like it needed mowing.

    So, even though my response rate was close to 1%, it took me longer to pass out the flyers, because I was selective about which lawns I picked. I'm guessing it would have taken me a whole week or more to pass out 1,000. And yes, I do have lots of extra time right now, but I was hoping there would be a more efficient way to market, cause at this rate I'll be ready to retire by the time I build up a sufficient cutstomer base! :)
  8. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    You're making an assumption passing out flyers the way you said. You're probably trying to hedge your bet, and material expenses, by putting flyers only on houses where the lawns looked like they needed your services. But, how do you know there weren't more homeowners willing to purchase your services.

    Pick a neighborhood that's convenient for you, one with some higher dollar homes, if possible, and put a flyer on each house.

    Your original method is fine, if you have some really large areas with lots of homes needing lawn service, but like you stated, the way you're going about it will take a very long time.
    Obviously no need to go to homes where you might see another LCO at work, or their signage in the yard, but you've got to think mass marketing.
    Or, you have to be willing to grow at whatever rate your earlier method is bringing you.
  9. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    I see what you are saying, but one additional problem here is lack of rain. Isn't it a waste to be putting flyers on lawns that homeowners have not been watering?
  10. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    Would you mind posting a flyer for me? I think my flyer is lacking some in professional image, partially due lack of software. I just used Microsoft Word. I realize I can go to the copy place and rent a computer, but it's going to take me a long time to figure out how to use Page Maker, so maybe I should just pay them to desing a flyer? I can post my flyer if anyone wants to take a look at it.

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