Has anyone done their own market research?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by walker-talker, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    I am wanting to do a little market research in preparation for a mass mailing in the spring of 2006. Here is my idea. For $240 I can have 500 4.25" X 11" postcards printed, perforated and shipped. This would be a questionaire for be mailed out to different areas where they could answer the questionaire, tear it off and mail it with postage paid. I was thinking of choosing maybe 5 different areas with a sampling of 100 to each area. For the postage would be another $230....if everyone would respond (of course I don't expect that).
    The questions would ask the perspective client if they would be interested in different services.

    Do you think 100 to each area would be an adequate sampling? I am sure 1000 per area would be better, but rather spend $300 vs $1500. I could probably narrow it down to 3 different areas that I would be interested in servicing, so the sampling would be more like 166 questionaires for each area.

    What's involved with setting up the return "postage paid" slip with the post office?

    Has anyone done anything like this that might be able to give me some insight on results?

    If you have done something like this, did you include you logo on the mailing? I would want to keep this as professional looking as possible. My main purpose for this is not to get new business in these areas...not now, do I really don't want in new business in these areas now. My main question is "will you part with your money for lawn care services?"

  2. Appalachian landscape

    Appalachian landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 453

    I've been a part of surveys for a local course i used to manage. I think you will probably be lucky to see 50 of the 500 surveys sent back completed. We used to survey our customers and out of 1000 surveys sent out, we got 75 back. And that was because we pressured them into filling one out when they came to play.
  3. rather be mowin

    rather be mowin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    In the marketing world a 3% return result is considered good, 5% exceptional. The self addressed postage paid will help but probably not much. Your local post office will set you up to do it ... It is pretty straight forward

    Do the math and see if your cost will exceed your potential gain and go from there.

    good luck
  4. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    You are really getting into the 5 w's of lawn care here man! I really have no marketing background but your question got me thinking a little. We have a private college in town that has a pretty good business (mostly International Business) program. You must have something similar even if it is a community college. I wonder if you could contact a Dean and see if you could get some research done for little to nothing? Students are always looking for a project and mayby the Dean or Professor needs a little gratis mowing trimming and fertilizing around their house. Just a thought.
  5. aries

    aries LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 334

    I don't think many people will not respond to a survey! stick to just regular postcard or door hanger might workout to be better for you, and expect a 2-3% reply on them, who know's you may get more.
  6. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    To set up a "Prepaid Postage" deal with the PO you have to fill out certain forms at your local main PO and then pay a Fee (I think it is somewhere between $160-$300) and then pay for the prepaid postage, so it is probably cheaper to just put stamps on them even though you will eat alot of them that will get thrown away and not returned.

    Also you might want to re-check on the 4.25x11 size as a postcard rate. It is my understanding that 4.25x6.25 is the largest a piece can be and still use the .23 postcard rate. Anything bigger goes to the .37 letter rate.
  7. Updog

    Updog LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    We just ask new customers how they herd of us. No cost in that. We found that postcards were the best bang 4 our buck. However word of mouth gives us about 90% of our work.
  8. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    I would rather spend less than $100 for each area and do some kind of survery vs spending $2000 in each area on advertising material. I would consider a "no response" as they are not interested in lawn care services. This might no be 100% accurate, but the best assumption.

    I would have the 4.25x11 perforated so that it would fold in half, making it 4.25" X 5.5". I would then fasten it shut with a sticker of some sort. I will still ask if that folded piece would be considered a .23 cent postcard though.

    Thanks for the ideas
  9. fairwayCuts

    fairwayCuts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    I did a bunch of market research over the winter. I found that the two best sources of information were 1. The US Census Bureau and 2. Polk City Directory. As for the US Census bureau they have a web site, http://www.factfinder.census.gov , where you can plug in any city or zip code and it will give you all sorts of information. Stuff like home values, household income, % of monthly owner cost as compared to income and just about anything els you can imagine. Some of the categories will even bring up a map where you can look at street statistics. As far as the Polk City directory, you can probably find this at your local library. It actually has a listing for the % of households that replied to mailers for specific zip codes and postal routes. It also has lot of other great information.
  10. studentlawn

    studentlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    I wouldn't't attempt to do your own market research. There is tons of information out there, allot of it for free. Like mentioned earlier all of the census information is online, there are also plenty of reports at the library dedicated to market/consumer research. Worse comes to worse, spend the money to buy the information from a professional company. It's ALLOT cheaper then doing your own research, but then again possibly less helpfull.

    What type of questions do you plan on asking? What are you trying to figure out about your potential customers?

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