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cannot seem to find more customers

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mower_babe, Mar 16, 2003.

  1. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Messages: 1,540

    Heres how I do it:

    My loyal, long-time customers bring me a new account (that meets my criteria...(in my area of operation, desires weekly service, not a gnarly rock-strewn moonscape, not a grumpy 'ol PITA owner, ect...) and I go and check it out.

    Yes, my referral-base has been trained as to what kind of clients I'm looking for...and they don't bring me any crapola situations.

    If 'the deal' goes through then the referring customer gets their lawn mowed free the next time. Most of my customer's lawns can be done in 1 hour or less...a small price to pay for a new weekly client, IMHO.

    I'm practically booked for the season now (they know this too)....so they better get it while it's still available. :D

    Good luck with the upcoming season, mower_babe!
  2. mower_babe

    mower_babe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 790

    I am sending a personal letter out to all my customers Monday that will explain the referral program and I will send $50(residential) or crediting the account $50(commercial), for each referral that turns into a solid account, not a one time thing. The way I figure, $50 is a small price to pay for a minimum $500.00/year account. Thanks Guys, couldn't have done it without all your help. I hope you all have a very positive and profitable year!!!:D
  3. heygrassman

    heygrassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 509

    $50 seems high unless you have some reason to believe something less will not work. I was thinking $25. I guess it would be commenserate with your avg price per cut. If $50 is the right number, you may want to stagger if $25 now, $25 if they stay on for 90 days.

    Good luck.
  4. mower_babe

    mower_babe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 790

    Hey Grassman,
    Thanks for your reply. Ya, I know $50 might sound high.I think I am just getting frustrated with spending mega $ on advertising that doesn't render me any clients. I feel like I am just wasting it, I know I easily spend more than that in a month of newspaper, not to mention my other efforts. Looking at my advertising budget over the last 5 years, I feel comfortable with $50. But, I do like your idea about staggering. Had not thought of that. Very good idea. :)
  5. LCAmerica2

    LCAmerica2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    i find refer a freind progam work i tell them refer some one and we will cut you 2 times for free. i know it sonuds like alot but if you think about it now you have that customer for shubrs,fert,gardening,clean-ups. so in the long run you will make your money back on the new customers. hope this helps/
    Lawn Care America
  6. outdoordynamics

    outdoordynamics LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    I did this when I needed to get alot of new customers to give me a higher client base:
    Pick out subs that look appealing for you; i.e- wide open spaces for large mowers,easy whiping and edgind and most of the lots the same size.
    Then print out door hangers(flyers attached to door knobs) with a note that you are a local company and will give every house the same rate. Start out with a low price(I know this doesn't sound good) but it will get you a large client base quickly,and you can make it up on side jobs. Give the best service you can and raise your prices a buck every year or so. I did this when I started this business and picked up so many customer that I had to start turning down work. Hope this helps.;)
  7. This is a formula I have used for over 16 years. This could be critical for you especially now when you are considering the serious step of bailing out, and your attitude toward the lawn care business is waining.

    Keeping current customers is far more important than getting new ones! You only get a certain number of chances with advertising and promotions. You can screw up and try again-until the money runs out. But if you don't know how to keep customers, finding advertising and promotions that work may only increase the number of people who buy your service and then walk away, quiet and non-complaining, unhappy with the results, and never to return.
    Defensive marketers focus their efforts toward fortifying current customer relationships with consistent and enhanced customer care, with the knowledge that happy, satisfied customers return again and again and bring new customers with them.
    For instance, checking into one hotel, the clerk enters your name in the computer, looks up and says, "Welcome back Mrs. Jones! It's been nearly three months since your last stay, so you haven't seen our remodeled restaurant. Let us know if we can make you a reservation. I will get you back on the 8th floor in a smoking room just like you requested last time, unless you have another preference."
    Compare that to: "Good afternoon. Do you have a reservation? Under what name? Could you spell that? Have you stayed with us before?
    Which hotel do you think will end up with loyal customers, as opposed to merely satisfied customers?
    I can only speak for myself, and can look back on my failures in the business and it almost always comes down to my not showing enough concern for all of my clients interests. And if I don't adjust my attitude then I can create a snowballing effect.
    In particular clients notice if I do what I say. They notice how quickly phones are answered; the accuracy of billing, responsiveness to customer questions, complaints or concerns; and the efficiency, effectiveness and friendliness with which they are handled. I was terrible at some of these essential business practices and it hurt me.
    In the fast-paced business world of a few years ago, customers were often willing to overlook service lapses and business sloppiness. Not anymore. Now that the economy has slowed, customers expect an all-new level of appreciation and care. They will definitely leave if they don't get it! Don't you?
    So, after applying all the fine suggestions given thus far on this forum, remember its a new market (changed even in just 5 years since you started!), and we all need not just satisfied customers, but loyal ones that bring new clients with them!
    No business is without its flaws, but a little tweeking the ruff spots will help entrench your presence in the market. Looking for clients will rarely be an issue. No offense implied and hopefully this has given you a new slant to consider before you jump ship. You probably will regret it if you do. Hang in there!


  8. mower_babe

    mower_babe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 790

    Dear Paradise, don't worry, no offense taken.

    The deal is, I have not lost any customers in our five years except for the inevitable, ie. deaths or moving out of our service area. What I am looking for is to see if we can expand on what we already have. We have enough accounts to keep about 4 full timers and several part timers very busy, but I want to see if there is room for expansion. We are always trying to improve wherever we can and each year we analyze our current customer base and our available manpower and try to decide if we can expand, without compromising customer service.

    Honestly, I believe the only way that we HAVE survived these 5 years in our small area with the lowballers that are here, IS our customer service, not to mention our quality work. Anyone can cut grass, but I think we all know that not everyone can give consistent, good service and have the customer relations to back it up. I guess I failed to point out that I am in a town of 4K people, and the next town is 20 miles away. So, there is probably only so much expanding that I can do unless I decide to put the miles on.

    I completely agree with your points and don't we wish that we could find others with these attitudes in our own day to day dealings - especially sub-contractors. Thank you for putting so much time and thought into your message. I really appreciate it. I even printed it off for my employees to read. Very well said.

    Sincerely, Mower Babe :)

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