Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by msturfsurf, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. msturfsurf

    msturfsurf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Hello everyone,

    Ok here is my situation and what I need help with???? How to market and to brand myself and get more customers???? I moved from the midwest to gulf coast last winter. I purchased my lawn equipment in April with all my savings.
    and bought about 20 yard signs placed them around. And even built a website and created flyers and door hangers have done craigslist adds. And still only have 5 customers as of now. I have asked for referrals and even offer pay $20 for all referrals that sign service agreement ect ect. I have 3 residental and 2 small commerical properties. I don't know what to do any more. It is WAY different down here. More who you know seems and eveything is so darn spread out. Back in mid west was nothing for word of mouth to spread and soon be mowing there family and friends too. I don't know how to approach it anymore and have no money left to put into this lawn business. I don't know if they hold it against me because from north and talk different I am not sure. Like I said it's who you know gets you work not how good work you do. I always get " oh thanks we got someone already" Any advice or suggestions would be much appricated.
  2. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    I don't have enough information to help you. What kind of equipment do you have? What are you set up to mow? How much experience do you have? Are you still working a clock job? I can tell you this, 88% of the people who start a Lawn service are out in five years. I'm sure you know that you spent too much money to start out. I will not beat you up about that, sounds like you've had time to do that yourself. After you answer questions, I will help all I can. I had a really really rough start.
  3. Vecchio Lawn Care

    Vecchio Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 905

    My first year I only had 4 customers. Second year I had 15. I only advertise on Craigslist ad and a local church bulletin. It all comes in time.
  4. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,915

    Reading everything above, and not really knowing what you're marketing/business capabilities are, I have a guess that, while you have "even built a website and created flyers and door hangers have done craigslist add", you likely haven't done them very well or in a volume to be successful.

    Anyone can create a website and flyers, but, by and large, I rarely ever see a DIY effort done well. You can build what you think is a rocket for space travel. Lockheed Martin can build a rocket for space travel. Both rockets work towards similar goals, however the quality, and results, will greatly differ.

    How many flyers do you put out? When did you do them? If you purchased equipment in April, when did you start advertising in CL, putting out flyers, build your web site, and do door hangers? To me, you got a late start that you probably didn't have much chance to recover from, quality marketing effort or not. In Ohio, guys were mowing in March.

    You haven't told us anything about your actual marketing efforts so it's hard to play armchair quarterback for you, but, if your marketing efforts were mediocre (20 yard signs?), you're not going to build a business in a new community that has a tough, competitive landscape, especially with getting what seems to be a late start.
  5. msturfsurf

    msturfsurf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I have passed out over 2,000 door hanger flyers over the summer. I have posted them on bullet in boards around town. And the logo website and everything was done by graphic artist.

    Attached is the add material.

    And my set up is 5x10 trailer 36" belt drive scag walk behind with velke.
    21 toro push mower trimmers and edger. That is my current set up.

    Turf Surfers-02.jpg

    Turf Surfers-01.jpg
  6. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Like I have suggested in the past unless anyone has at least 18 months savings in reserve, don't go into any business. I suspect your reserve funds if any are all but depleted. With only 5 accounts to you support yourself now and for the immediate future I would strongly suggest finding a part time job learning from other LCO'S who may be hiring. That way you may learn from more successful companies in this industry while keeping your own expenses as low as possible.
    easy-lift guy
  7. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,915

    Passing out flyers in the Summer is not when you want to be trying to acquire mowing customers.

    You have a website that is nothing more than an online brochure. This is an example of what I was saying about you can build a rocket and Northrop can build a rocket. There is nothing for Google to process re: your location/service area. I see a phone number and the broad term of "Gulf Coast". If Google doesn't have much on you, customers searching for your service can't find you. Your web designer built you a site, they just didn't build you a site that's even remotely optimized to get you leads.

    - My advice would be to spend some time reading old reviews in the web sub-forum as they'll all apply to your site (trust me on this one). Pay particular attention to SEO issues (title tags, meta descriptions, content keywords, localized content, etc). I'd also suggest downloading the Google or Moz guide to beginner SEO and applying what you learn with.

    - You should download the Yoast SEO plugin for Wordpress. It will really help make the above easier.

    - Hit and use it as a guide to claim off-site listings that will help rank your site. I couldn't see what you might have (Yahoo/Google/Bing Local accounts, for instance) because you don't have the basic location identifier of a zip code on your site.

    - Here's how Google sees your site:
  8. msturfsurf

    msturfsurf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Easy-lift yes the reserves are gone and yes I have already worked for another lco and wasn't even making enough to pay the bills. So I went back to telecommunication industry and on the road a lot. But the money is better but it's hard for me to get ahead to quit to make time to go door to door for business more. I mow on weekends is all rite now.

    TonyGreek yes i agree summer isn't best time but have try make due with cards I have been given. And I understand what saying about the website and that need try tag more words.

    Besides web based what has physically worked well for some of you for gaining customers???
  9. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    It takes 3 years for most businesses to take off.

    1st year 4 customers, retained 3.

    2nd year 6 customers, retained 5.

    3rd year 14 customers, retained 12.

    My first 2 years I had a part time job evenings. And this is what I suggest many newcomers do.
  10. TML

    TML LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    I may be looking at this wrong but seems like you moved to a completely new area with no family, contacts, connections ect. An area with different demographics from where you used to live. Given a late start and starting at zero with no word of mouth to help 5 quality accounts, 2 of which are supposed commercial, to me is not all that bad a beginning. Nothing to write home about but a start. I can't imagine anybody would move to a different area of the country and start from zero with no connections and expect much the 1 st year.

    Almost everyone I know who does this full time worked another full time job at first, slowly backed off, then part time job then made the plunge full time when they had enough work that they could not fit in any secondary job.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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