Aeration - brilliant idea or scrubby?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bruces, Sep 12, 2002.

  1. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    I've purchased a Plugr 600 aerator. I will pick it up tomorrow.

    I am seriously considering doing a direct mail campaign to target certain neighborhoods, and offer a set aeration price for the neighborhood, a "one size fits all" approach.

    And yes, I am considering something substantially below the $10 or $12 per 1000 sq ft benchmark that seems to be common.

    I have found a website - that will let you target a neighborhood (put in an address, say that you want 250 pieces) and it will generate a mail list or use a zip code, etc. to generate a mailing. You can then custom design a postcard and they will print and mail it for about .42 each.

    I could hit all of the 260 homes in my neighborhood for $120 to 140. I am thinking of offering a price of $89 for any home in the neighborhood if they call and schedule by a certain deadline (like within 10 days of the mailing) for October or November aeration. Lot sizes range from 8-14,000 of turf area.

    I believe I could aerate any lawn in the neighborhood in less than one hour, most would be 30 to 45 minutes.

    In my simple mind, that would yield a fairly decent hourly rate.

    I know everyone talks about aeration being a premium service, but if I can generate 100 aeration customers this season at $89 per, I think that would be a great return on my investment in the aerator.

    Comments, thoughts, criticisms.

    What is wrong with this scenario?
  2. Nebraska

    Nebraska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I would bet that your mailing would generate between 2-7 customers....

    I think you are on the right track but increase the number of direct mail prospects dramatically to get to the magic number of 100.
  3. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    Right, I am just using that for an example, I know that I would have to get a lot more mailings or flyers out to generate 100 customers.
  4. Nebraska, nice to see you back.

    Bruce, sounds and seems like a great idea. Also while you are there, give them a bid for other services.

    I think the name of the thread was "aeration for $45", look at it for some pointers.

    BTW thanks for the link.:D
  5. Nebraska

    Nebraska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    Bruce, there are going to be those that will tell you not to "devalue" the services by offering a lower than "usual" rate. Toss their advice in the trash because that is where it belongs.... This is the reason lawngodfather says "nice to see you back"..... I used an idea similar to what you have but took it as far as possible and generated a multitude of new customers that take advantage of many of the services that we offer that are more re-occuring than an aeration (hint: you can't aerate more than 1-2 times per year). I have had MAJOR increases with this method just as long as you are presenting the full package!
  6. Nebraska you must have been "real" busy, no email, no posts in months.

    Lot's of work huh?
  7. Nebraska

    Nebraska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    3 trucks and 2.5 crews later.......some weird in law **** brought me back a few days ago...
    that "****" was krap!
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I don't know about direct mail. But in general, this concept works very well.

    I have a friend who owns a business where all he does is just aerating and dethatching. Day 1 he will go lay a few hundred flyers in a neighborhood. The flyers say, "AERATING SPECIAL TOMORROW." and he charges like $20 for front yard and $40 for front and back. (keep in mind, postage stamps around here. Aerating time = 10-15 minutes tops most yards 'round here.) The homeowners put the flyer out the next day with a check and if he sees the flyer on the garage he stops and aerates. He makes a good $500-1000 per day doing this.

    There is another outfit called "Aerate America" who does the same thing, except they literally go all over the United States doing this. They hit nice neighborhoods in big cities all over the U.S.

    It's a great concept. And it seems to work really well if it's aerating time.

    Again, I think Flyers would produce a lot better results than direct mail would. But of course, flyers take work and effort. ;)
  9. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    well Jim the concept you mention might be fine if you know the lawn...what about irrigation lines, Invisible Fence, and the fact that there might be 'whatever' hiding a few inches under the turf...not having any kind of agreement signed would concern me a bit but I do like the marketing concept
  10. RMDoyon

    RMDoyon LawnSite Member
    Messages: 230

    Do it, but multiply your quantity by 10.

    I spent $1600 on 3000 direct mail pieces two weeks ago and have generated $6000 in in new business month-to-date. $4500 of this is in new annual accounts, the rest in aerations which of course get solicited for additional services.

    One suggestion: don't limit youself to "any lawn in the neighborood", canvass multiple neighborhoods in which you already work and state:
    $89 most lawns* call for details. This way you'll get more calls and can qualify more prospects.

    I put out 3000 pieces and have received around 30 calls thus far but i continue to receive calls every day.

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