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How many weekly customers in first year?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by green-pa, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    Just wondering what u guys got your first year as far as weekly customers.
    I'm not starting off big; just 21in, blower, and line trimmer. I've put out about 3,000+ flyers now, yet only have done like 3 estimates on mowing and about 4 others for cleanups/landscaping. And I'm hoping that as the lawns actually NEED cutting that I'll be getting a lot higher response rate when I'm putting them out. But I'd like to know what some of u veterans got your first year or if this is your 2nd or 3rd year at this, what did u get the first one and also, how many flyers approx, did it take and/or was most of your
    1st year just cause u knew people who knew people and thus word of mouth?
  2. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,405

    I think many people don't think about it until the grass really takes off. I'm hoping for that as well. I picked up 10 accounts starting in august last year. I'm hoping to pickup nearly 100 clients this year with some aggressive marketing. Stick with it!

  3. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    Man! 100 acounts in 1 year!? So if u don't mind my asking, how many do u have altogether now?
  4. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,405

    Right now I have 20. I plan on sending out 30,000-50,000 flyer's, poles sign, and some other advertising to pick up the remainder.

  5. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    Wow! That's a very large amount of flyers! U have a distr. crew?
  6. ncls

    ncls LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    When I first started in 1995, I had 30,000 flyers printed and passed out by a company that specialized in that. The target audience was seniors, and homes less than a 1/4 acre. My first year, I got 95 customers off of those flyers. It cost me 1800.00 that got me 70,000 in business the first year.
    Last year, we had 100,000 flyers passed out. Plus, J.B. dollar Stretcher magazines, newspaper ads, etc.

    I have to laugh at some people on this forum, who pass out 2000 flyers and expect the phone to ring off the hook. It ain't gonna happen.

    Your advertising budget whould be 4-7% of your gross. Figure it in on your budgets.
    My second year, my advertising budget was almost 20% of my gross.
  7. GravyTrain

    GravyTrain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    I don't think that's a fair statement. Depending on the area that you are marketing, it can be a much higher call rate. As of this minutes, I have passed out roughly 600 flyers (300 of those within the last few hours). I have received 5 phone calls, and picked up 3 potential customers while walking around. I have also gotten 2 one -time mows (selling the houes, lawn mower broken) that I hope to bring into full time after they see my work).
  8. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    now i know you are just starting out, but you have no real experience, so....... get a few accounts and learn... then get some more and learn.... these guys with 100 accounts there first year.... if they made it through it is because they already had the experience...

    slow steady growth..... especially with no experience...
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    While I can not envision your figures from my end of things, what stands out is an Lco who learned early on a very important lesson in the business: It doesn't cost to advertise, it PAYS, and there is almost no such thing as too much of it and yes you have to put out a TON of it and then some and some more and don't stop, don't ever stop until you are so flooded with requests for work that only a steep increase in your prices helps stem the flood a little bit and by that time you should be feeling right around as good as a pig in the muck.

    You're right, at LEAST 20,000 flyers, then 20k more and you will wish you had more experience and better equipment but at the least you can breathe sighs of relief one after the other as you quote sky high prices and watch people faint and develop headlighted deer looks over the few who accept, now you're getting paid for your work and loving it.

    In short, advertising is key, word of mouth helps but don't count on it, word of mouth by itself really won't do squat for you.
    Thou 20% sounds high, my budget is 10%, for a solo op that's 3 thousand / year for last year, and since I grossed 37k last year, my current year's projections for the ad budget are, well gee, almost 4g... Funny thing is, I don't spend but half of that and still I got a lot of work, but then I took it like a man for a few years while I learned the hard way which forms of advertising worked vs. ones that didn't, nowadays I just spend the money and hope to get it back, but flyers work good so long you put out a LOT.

    Doesn't matter, 10% or 20%, except 20% will grow omg fast while 10% is a bit more controlled, either way it translates to TONS and somewhat unfortunately it is the only way to keep that phone ringing, the only other way is time in years, after 5 or 6 years I find my phone rings on its own, but I wouldn't dare to step back on the advertising throttle, because if I do then the business slowly but surely dies, yup, I know this for a fact too.
  10. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Central NY
    Messages: 1,582

    last year I bought 2000 doorhangers and still have over 1000 of them left. I also ran 4 newspaper ads last year at key times (One when I first got going, One in june for hedge trimming, one in October for fall cleanups and one in November for 'last chance for fall cleanups') I started in May and by July I had 27 regular mowing customers. Since then, mostly through word of mouth I am currently at 45 signed for this year. I also just came off my first season of plowing snow, and was servicing 8 commercial accounts and 24 residentials.
    It definately makes a difference where you are located, and if you know people or not. I have worked retail for years and I have built a lot of trust with many people over those years. I seldom burn bridges and it has gotten me a lot of good work.
    Good luck!!

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