Landcaping referrals

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by TurfGuyTX, May 25, 2003.

  1. TurfGuyTX

    TurfGuyTX LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 648

    I'm working on ideas for a flyer to send out to some of our better customers. I'm thinking offering $50 for landscape install, irrigation and drainage. I'm not sure what kind of minimum or how I want to word it. Any suggestions or examples? Thanks for any help.
  2. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    Why are you offering them money for referring you? If you have to pay them money to tell their friends about your company then I think you are doing something wrong. Maybe not something huge, but maybe just enough where those customers don't feel like they are clients. (client is defined by the dictionary as: one who falls under the protection of) If you can turn your customers into clients, then they should be selling for you without needing a finder's fee.
  3. TurfGuyTX

    TurfGuyTX LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 648

    First, thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions. We don't have to pay them to tell their friends about us. It's an idea to make them a little more aggressive about it. Think of it this way...I may have a favorite restaurant that I recommend when the opportunity comes up, but I would likely recommend it more often if I got a discounted meal out of it. Would that mean I wouldn't recommend them without the discount? No. We have a wide range of types of customers. We're looking to get more of our preferred type. (Easy going with money to burn) :D

    Thanks again. Any examples out there?
  4. NYRookie

    NYRookie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 240

    I started a system this year where I would give my regular mowing customers a 15% discount on their next service on any work they sent my way or 25% if the people they sent me signed up for the season. I am relatively small, but I have received quite a bit of work from it.
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I tend to agree with fblandscape. I don't know that it's necessary. I understand your logic - that maybe they'll be MORE inclined to refer people to you if you offer a financial incentive. But I don't know that it's really necessary. I do offer financial incentives to those who refer a new year-round maintenance client to us (1 month free service) but that's a different story. There are reasons I can afford to do that without losing much. But for landscape installations, drainage, irrigation, etc. we already get TONS of referrals without paying a dime. It's just something that comes with doing good work and leaving people happy. And it will increase with the more clients you have and more jobs you complete. Today, it's a big part of our business - referrals. But it's taken a long time to get there.

    I think there are other options. For one, when you finish a job, go on a walk-through with the client and make sure they are 100% satisfied. If not, do whatever it takes to make sure they are. Next, tell them that if anything comes up in the coming weeks that bothers them about your job to let you know and you'll be right over to fix it. Third, warranty your work - and make sure they understand that it's warrantied. I always warranty every plant or tree we install for 1 year (there are reasons in the contract that would invalidate the warranty of course - e.g. not watering, improper care, etc.) and I work the price of replacing plants into my initial costs. We warranty sprinkler work for 3 years, walls for 1 year, etc. And I make sure each client knows that what we've done is warrantied and this all helps the customer feel happy about the job we do.

    Finally, it's a good idea to send a thank you letter in the mail a few weeks after the job. Just something saying you appreciate them. Good customer service is rare. But a thank-you card is just icing on the cake!

    I am not saying DON'T do the $50 thing. It probably will help. I am just offering a differing view. I think most of our previous clients give our name out pretty liberally as it is - without a referral fee. I think if landscaping comes up - people will generally refer people to us, regardless of any referral fee.
  6. TurfGuyTX

    TurfGuyTX LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 648

    Thank you, I always respect and appreciate your opinions. The landscaping is something we're having to reorganize due to some bad employees of past. I'm not saying that a referral fee would be our only way to do it, just a thought to spur things a little more quickly. Customer satisfaction is something I've always felt strongly about.

    With some pain I've been enduring lately, I'm not always the most clearly thinking. I can't even seem to put together a flyer to announce "We're in your neighborhood".

    Thanks for your views. One day, I'm going to look you up in Oregon and pick your brain. :D
  7. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    I am going to second what Jim said in regards to the thank you letter. It doesn't have to be 10 pages long, or even a page. Just a quick sentence or two thank you note. What I was also referring to though was that you should visit properties you have done work at in the past. Of course only the ones who you want to do business with again. Walk their property once or twice each year... even more times if you can manage it. After walking the property, leave a quick note in the mailbox, or on the door saying you just stopped by and you will report on what you find, if there was something, or that everything looks fine. Whether that be an issue with a plant you installed, some form of addition to the landscape you think might look nice, an issue with a plant you didn't install, or what have you.
  8. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    I don't really offer anything, but I do try to do something for them. Maybe a little something on there next job, maybe just a thank you note. Acouple bags of fert for their lawn, on new installs, that kind of thing.
  9. mklawnman

    mklawnman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    Id say give your customers your business cards, and if say you get a customer that owns a business give them more so they can pass out, that way you will be getting some referral work, dont really see the need to have people pay for referral work. I have been getting referral work alot this year, due to getting one lawn mowing customer who works for a roofing company, next thing ya know Im getting a lawn job to do today, always do quality of work and it will pay off.
  10. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    We put lawn signs out whenever we are doing an install. A good example is a job we are on now. We are about 1/2 way through and have gotten 2 estimates off the one sign already. As far as paying people to refer you... that sounds a little weird to me. I don't advertise anymore than a website, truck signs, and installation signs. We primarily depend on word of mouth. When we are done with installs, 99% of the time we have another job off the one we have just completed. Whether it be a neighbor, family member, or just someone passing by. The customers tell us, "we wouldn't hesitate to recommend you guys to anyone".

    I just don't see the need to offer $$, unless business is that slow. Our installation crew is currently on a 3-4 week wait list. I agree with others that stated, follow-ups, and thank you letters. It looks more professional on the companies behalf. A discount, or payment, sounds like a company that is hurting for business to me. Don't take me the wrong way, or think I am saying anything bad about your company. Just looking at it from a business point of view. :cool:

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