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Encouraging Customer Referrals - What Works?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Chad at HindSite, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. Chad at HindSite

    Chad at HindSite Sponsor
    Messages: 67

    This post on referral programs got me thinking about the 2015 Green Industry Benchmark Report, which found that most green businesses get their new sales from word of mouth/referrals. Yet few green businesses have actual referral programs.

    So my questions:

    1. How do you get your customers to refer their friends to you?
    2. Do you incentivize them? If so, how?
    3. Does it work? What activity do you find generates the most referrals?
    4. Any advice for someone who's looking to start a referral program?

  2. Mjk1968

    Mjk1968 LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 49

    The best advise on how to get more referrals is to do a great job and the referrals will come naturally. It also helps to tell customers that referrals really help you out in growing your business and you would appreciate if they let others know if they like your work. A few years ago, I paid a $30 incentive to any existing customer that referred me to another if that new customer signed up and then the new customer I gave them a free soil sample. At the end of the year I received 100 referrals which cost me $3,000 which isn't bad, but in an average year I get 100 referrals anyway so I discontinued that incentive program. I am running a new incentive program this year and I open to feedback as well. Details on the referral program can be found by clicking on the below URL.

  3. OP
    Chad at HindSite

    Chad at HindSite Sponsor
    Messages: 67

    I like that idea - give your existing customer a deal and your new customer a deal. Encourages the new customer to buy as well as the existing to refer.

    I also like your new program of ratcheting up the reward depending on how many referrals your customers generate.

    I've heard of other companies that hold "contests" where the person who submits the most referrals gets a big reward. So it becomes a competition. Anyone tried that?
  4. PCLAWN25

    PCLAWN25 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 62

    If you have good customers, hand them a few business cards and ask for referrals. Has worked well in the past.
  5. murraybd1

    murraybd1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    I have told a few this year that if they refer me to somebody and that person signs up, the existing customer will get a free mowing. No results yet!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    I read an article in one of the lawn care magazines (can't remember which one), but the featured company gave away free pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving. They got a special price from a local bakery and gave vouchers to all their customers to pick up a pie the week of Thanksgiving. Guests would ask "Who brought the pie?" and the company name would get a mention. Pretty clever, and only cost them about $4 per pie.

    GRANTSKI LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,121

    Offer a 1/2 price lawn mowing when they refer a friend , family, or neighbor.
    New calls you can offer a lower price if they get a neighbor to sign up.
  8. OP
    Chad at HindSite

    Chad at HindSite Sponsor
    Messages: 67

    Oooh. I like that second one. You're potential getting two customers who are geographically close. Very good idea.

    GRANTSKI LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,121

    This guy in my area Idk what he does exactly : but he must either offer free mowing or next to nothing for everybody on main roads : in exchange to post his signage. You see the guys signs EVERYWHERE on RT 1 through like 4-5 towns !!!
  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,641

    You know, Ive tried that…never had it really work. It SEEMS like a good idea.
    It SEEMS like it would work.
    The problem is people get the idea that if you can half price a lawn for this thing, or that thing, then half price is what it is really worth, and anytime you charge them full price. They resent you.

    You almost have to maintain the idea …this price is as low as it can get or kids starve and die next week.
    It's about the only time anyone feels justified in paying you your rate…if it's the absolute rock bottom.
    Well at least this is true of mowing prices.

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