Cha-ching , that's 5 new ones this year from CL, not bad for a free ad.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by monoshock, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,764

    I forgot to mention in my previous post because I didn't want to hijack the thread......... I love that movie :drinkup:
  2. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    I did well with CL my first season. All of my clients were great and had minimal tire kickers.

    As mentioned, giving them something to look at other than a classified ad helps weed out the cheap bastages.
    I use an actual ad in the form of a hosted image. This also helps to avoid the spambots from picking up my email address and phone numbers since they can't "see" them. (but a human reading them can, so getting spammed is still possible)

    I ran an ad early last season and again early this season, but got less desirable inquiries than I did initially. I find that by using keywords at the bottom of the ad I get calls for weeks and months after having run the ad because people do a search and my ad will come up - even if it hasn't been renewed for a while.

    All that said, I'm liking the inquiries I'm getting from Angie's List a lot better.
    I've had a few that said "Oh, whatever it costs is fine, I just need someone reliable - the guy I found on Craigslist never showed up."
    I can't say that I've ever heard a CL caller say anything like that. LOL
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Yah, more or less. I guess I'd put it more this way; there probably are some decent leads that can come from Craigslist occasionally. And if you can help weed out the bad ones by pointing them through your website first, that can filter out the bad leads even a little more. But compared to the average lead we get, the average lead that comes from CL just isn't nearly as good of a lead.

    Picture this;

    Scenario 1: Let's say Mrs. Smith has just got her $5k tax return and she also had $15k in the bank left over from her end of the year bonus from last year. And it's always been her dream to have a really nice beautiful landscape and outdoor living area in the back yard. They're thinking, "I have at least $20k I could spend on this (and maybe more if I want to turn in that CD a little early). I think it's time I start looking! So assuming they don't have a good referral from a friend or something, the most typical place anyone looks for a company these days is the internet. And sure, some people may go to Craigslist first. But it's not the first place most people think to look for companies. By far, the vast majority of people using the internet to search for a company will start with Google. And let's say (as in my case) they go go Google and type in something like, "landscaping Portland Oregon" or "landscaping companies Portland Oregon". So the results come up and they start looking at the first few options. First company they see is Lewis Landscape Services. Sounds like what they're looking for. So they click on the site. When they arrive, the website looks extremely professional, the photos are just exactly like what they were imaging their yard would be like, the company seems to have great ratings and links to their ratings, they just look like they have their act together. So they call that company to get a quote.

    That's the kind of calls we typically get - and we'll often get a good 15-30 calls like that each day - from people who were looking for what we sell and willing to pay good money for it.

    Now, Consider Scenario 2: Jay Miller just got his $5K tax refund and doesn't really have much more than that to spend. So he goes through all the same steps above. Ends up calling our company too. But at some point during the process realizes that $5k isn't really going to get him very much with our company. So he calls the 2nd company that came up on his Google search. He finds more or less the same thing there. Now he's thinking, "Damn! $5,000 is a lot of money! Or at least I thought it was a lot of money. Forget these expensive guys. I've gotta figure out where I can find a company who is a little more reasonably priced. There's got to be someone out there who could get me what I want for $5,000. I know! I'll try Craigslist! So he does. And who does he find? Newer companies who maybe don't have quite the overhead, experience, advertising costs, etc. And it seems like they sort of do decent work. And you know what? It's all he can really afford anyway. So after calling a few, he finds one that will sort of get him what he's been looking for, for his $5,000 budget.

    Now, nothing wrong with Jay Miller. He's probably a great guy. Just doesn't really have the money to get everything he wants to have done, using our company. He's looking more for a deal than he is for a top shelf company.

    But the point is, if you got people like Mrs. Smith calling you 15-30 times a day, are you really going to waste any of your time advertising to guys like Jay Miller??? Even if the advertising doesn't cost you anything in terms of dollars, you're still not going to waste your time when you could be focusing on the much better leads you're already getting.

    The volume and quality of leads we get is just so much better than anything we'd ever get from CL, that it's just really not worth our time. Me and the other 3 estimators at our company are already plenty busy giving bids to people like Mrs. Smith all day every day.

    Now, of course, I realize we're not talking about $20k landscape installs in this thread. But the same thing applies for any service we offer. Whether it be for maintenance or installations. It's the same concept. My story above just illustrates it a little more clearly.

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