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Getting Customers

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by pjhmth, Oct 22, 2002.

  1. pjhmth

    pjhmth LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Looking for some assistance on getting customers. Started this with a partner in mid May of 2002. Got laid off in late June 2002. Only have 3 regular lawn customers, and about 6 snow plow customers, 1 of them commercial. I've tried flyers, but mostly have used advertising. Switched to a regional paper about a month ago and have gotten some regular and big project customers out of it. Usually get about 3 to 5 calls a week from it. A lot of the time it seems the people who call for estimates go with the low guy regardless. I guess my question is how do you attract quality customers and get into more commercial accounts? Doing this in the Southern New Hampshire area. Seems everytime I call in the Yellow Pages for a landscaping quote I don't even get call backs so I know the others are busy. Thanks!! Also how do you figure out how to quote for a cut? Is there some kind of guideline to go by?
  2. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    I know what you're going through, I went through that when I was discharged (honorably) from the service and this was IT! that's the most scared I've ever been in my life. I think there are a few things that you have to think about first, that you may already have done, but I'll list some first.

    Really, there are several aspects to look at in the law and landscape world. What really suits you? Do you just want to do lawncare? If so, does that include the chemical apps that go with that, or the renovations, or the aerations, dethatchings, seedings, etc?

    Or maybe just a chemical business, like TGCL, only better.

    Or do you want to do landscape management? Keep the whole property looking nice year-round? If so, how do you want to do that? Are you going to use chemicals as a part of it or do it all mechanically? Sub some out, or do it all yourself?

    Do you want to do tree work? If so, are you going to just cut and haul, or treat them for diseases too?

    Or maybe landscaping suits you better. If so, what kind? Just plantings, or hardscapes, too? Maybe retaining walls? Or water gardens? Or if you just do plantings, are you going to major on a particular kind, like xeriscaping?

    Then, do you want to do just residential, or commercial too? Or just commercial? Industrial?

    There's so much more to it than just going out there and getting started, although that does have its own place. What you're doing right now is paying your dues. You do have a better start than I did, though, especially since you know about Lawnsite. I wish I'd have known about it before I started. Good luck!
  3. Ryan Lightning

    Ryan Lightning LawnSite Senior Member
    from CA
    Messages: 554

    "paying your dues"
    Thats what Ive been doing for 2 1/2 years :eek: Im ready to cash in!! :D It just takes time.
  4. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    Do the best job on every lawn that you possibly can, every day, every lawn. Go above and beyond. Happy customers will tell 1-2 people, unhappy customers will tell 100-200 people.

    Develop a good, clear and concise flier, and target neighborhoods you want to work in. Choose them carefully, pick yards that you can do now with current equipment, but that will be easier and quicker to do with the equipment you intend to buy in the future.

    Get insured and start paying taxes NOW. Do not wait!

    Keep your mower blades sharp, at least every 8 hours sharpen them, more if you hit twigs and rocks. You'd be surprised how much better the grass looks with sharp blades. The little things count.

    Keep your equipment, truck and trailer clean, neat and organized. This speaks volumes to potential customers. I cant tell you how many times I've heard from customers how they thought because my stuff was clean, waxed and organized they understood this to mean I would do a better job.

    Keep yourself neat and clean. Shave daily, do not wear clothes with holes in them. Develop a uniform, kacky shorts for summer pants for winter. One color shirt every day, green, red, white whatever, but uniformity is the key. IT DOES MATTER. Customers recognize you by your appearence. I'm not saying you have to wear Tommy to go cut grass but dont look like a slob. Holy clothes say, I dont care. Clean, uniform clothes say I have my act together.

    Get professional looking proposal forms printed up, with your company name and logo if possible on them. I get mine at www.nebs.com (I use form # 118T among others, they can be found under manual forms, then proposals) but there are local printing companier probably in your area who can give you what you need. The difference of handing a customer a sheet of notebook paper with some chicken scratching on it and a printed carbonless form is monumental. Again, the little things matter.

    I'm here to offer any advise I can, love to help the guy who is where I was. God bless.

  5. KenGreenPro

    KenGreenPro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Great reply scott........:)

  6. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    Great advice from Scott.

    Use this site and any other site that provides help.

    Ask questions.

    Admit when you are wrong.

    Educate yourself - knowledge is not just power. It also signifies you are truly and expert. People feel better about paying experts. Sounds simple, but it's true.
  7. Great advice above.

    Also don't lie.

    Don't sell what you can't do.

    Do what you say.

    Always whether they pay on time or not, don't ever look like the bad guy. Even the worst customer in the world has 10 friends they will tell.

    Keep you debt under control.

    Keep a watchfull eye on that bottom line. (weekly reports)

    This business is 99% business and 1% the mowing or whatever. It is not a hobby, so please treat it like the full fledge business it is.
  8. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    More great advice from Mike.
  9. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    Great post, Mike!
  10. terramike

    terramike LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I'm new to this site and to the business as well. I live in Kingston, NH and am starting up this coming spring, whenever that may be..wondering how you have made out so far, where you are for the spring and where you advertise?

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