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How Much money should be spent on Marketing to get to the next level?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by MJK, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    I would like to take my company to the next step. I currently do 5 jobs a year on the side, but would like to take the company to the next step for next season. How much money were you guys putting out in marketing when you guys started to take the next step. I don't do any maintenance. I have a LLC, Insurance, and pay taxes. Just so you know.

    Thanks for the help. I was thinking of spending about 2-3 thousand. What do you guys think?

    Would a website be a good or bad idea this early in the game?
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    My attitude is UP to 10% of gross, but you have to know a few things or you might not make it... In my case I found not all mediums work as well... For example newspaper ads work, but some are way better than others... I've spent 80 bucks and got 60 calls, and I've spent 2g and got like 12 calls before, no joke. Now those are extremes, but unless you already know your response rate, I would be careful and do trial runs.

    Maybe spend a g and spread it out as much as you can to different places, run for the minimum time (usually a week or a month).
    Study your results, then spend another g on the best.
    Know that one set of results isn't a fortune teller, but it helps.
    And save the last g for emergency :)
    You might can play with it, I would try and spend less on the trial run, more on the main (after you get the results).

    Oh yeah, it helps to know your annual gross, predictions are so-so...
    But in my case 2-3g is about right, actually I get away with less but maybe I shouldn't, if that helps.

    On the website, I would wait unless you got nothing better to do.
    I get a few calls, it helps but it also costs me... 4-5-6-700 / year?
    In my case $300 / year in paid listings alone, then hosting, registration, several proverbial never ending nickels and dimes.
    It may not sound like much by the month, 5 here, 10 there, but I notice it.
  3. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 537

    what type of work do you do ? You said i don't do maintenance ... it depends on what type of work you do.......
  4. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    Define the "next step"

    Do you want to double your workload (i.e. 10 total accounts) or do you want to do 50 so that you can do this full time. A lot will depend on where you want YOUR business to go.

    SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 763

    ok, here is my plan. I am running part time right now and have been since
    February 2006. The first year I went on word of mouth only and did ok. This season i lettered up my truck ($350), started a basic webpage (yahoo small business/$12/mth), and had some yard signs made ($20ea.). This year I did 4 times what i did last year. I have plans to go full time in the spring and here are my coming out plans.

    1. Yellow Pages Ad (2"x8" Color) $1,200/year
    2. Professional Web Page: $2,500
    3. Purchase of Direct Mail list with specific criteria
    4. 3 innitial direct mailings (full process color front and back) targeting specific customers timed one week apart: unknown price
    5. Possible newspaper add (mixed results on response rates)
    6. Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament and possible other
    7. Set up Both at any local Trade shows (Southern Spring and Garden Show)
    8. Letter to current and past customers letting them know that i am going full time and to keep me in mind when they know someone looking for a landscape/hardscape company.
    9. Possilbe charity renovation for local home. (free tv, radio spots.)

    I know that some of these may be a bust and some may be great, but you will only know until you try.

    Also check with your local SBA office and see if they have any ideas that have worked in your area.

    SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 763

    Just to cut any critisim to a minimum on the "4 times more" thing. I am on target to do $80k-$90k in sales this year which i feel is pritty good for a part timer doing weekend projects.
  7. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Southern Greenscapes- Your plan sounds good but i would eliminate the mass mailings. Direct mail is great but only if its highly targeted. Go build your own mailing list. You will save $ and get much better results. Trust me. In 2007 i signed 3 jobs from direct mail for 180k gross. All with my own list. Average job from direct mail 60k.

    Get in your truck on a saturday or sunday and just drive and write down addresses of people who you think will need your service. Its not rocket science and it works.
  8. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Oh yea, those 3 jobs came from a mailing list i built with about 125 names on it. Not bad eh? I think i mailed it 3 or 4 times. It ran me under 250 bucks total.
  9. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,616

    we only mass mail our existing nursery customers or landscape customers people that request it, and that are within my "realm." TV is the best option, don't waste money on newspaper. radio is good too. billboards even better. flashy trucks are good too, uniforms help, keep stuff clean and of course word of mouth- this is what's kept my family going for 76+ years now, not rich yet but I'm working on that.
  10. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    I do all Landscape Construction, from Softscapes to Hardscapes.

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