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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been about 1-2 months since I've hit the top 3 companies when you google landscaping/landscaper/landscapers <my city>.

It seems like I am still only getting about 15 leads per month, with 1/3 to 1/2 being actually good leads. A good lead is what I consider relevant (so looking for services I actually do), serious (not just window shopping), and pre qualified (so giving them a ballpark estimate over the phone before I show up for a quote).

From that I close 2 leads per month averaging maybe $3000 profit per lead. This fills up maybe 1.5 weeks of a full month. The rest of the month I don't have enough work to fill up. Sometimes I get a $10,000 profit job but it's definitely not monthly. I get maybe 1-4 of those a year. There is currently insufficient data.

So the main question I am trying to figure out is, why am I not booked months ahead? My thought processes are thus:

1. I could be missing keywords when it comes to digital marketing and targeting search engines.
Some set of keywords related to landscaping that I am not aware of and is yet very popular? Thus far I haven't found any and this seems like a low probability reason.

2. I am not offering enough services.
I do drainage, retaining walls, and interlocking pavers (build and repairs). Interlocking pavers make up 90-95% of my work. However, unlike other companies i do zero maintenance, i do nothing with plants, and I don't do sod. I don't mow I don't trim. Perhaps when companies are saying they are backed up it's because 50-70% of their workday is filled with these low margin maintenance jobs? I don't know the answer to this one.

3. I am not getting enough referrals.
My typical modus operandi is to get a job done asap and get out of there. What I mean is, near the end of the job, I really loathe to do a thorough clean up, fix their grass that I've torn up with my machinery. So perhaps that is causing me to lose some enough referrals that is doing a lot of damage to my lead generation? I'd say there is some truth to this probably.

4. I am not networking enough.
I did try to network with some local landscapers but half of them ignored me and one wanted to hire me instead with another one fishing for info while pretending to be interested. I have heard at least one company that gets a lot of work from a major construction company in town. I do not have this ability but is this the norm perhaps for most of the top 5 companies? (I don't care what the losers are doing.)

5. Prices are too high.
I know I have lost leads due to prices but there is a difference between those who want unrealistic prices and those who want just a little bit lower. From the limited info I've gotten, it does not seem my prices are too out of line. The increases in jobs I might've gotten also kind of cancels out the decrease in profit margin I'd get per job and overall. In short, this is not an area that I feel is of a significant factor here nor is an area I am going to compromise on at this time.

6. Business is too young.
This kind of ties into the referral bit. I remember talking to an older guy in his 50s perhaps even 60s and he gets nonstop work all year and the word 'referral' was mentioned. Perhaps I have not had enough time to build up a reputation. I've had a total of 20 clients or less in the 2 years I've been operating, with 3/4 of them in the last 12 months.

7. Unknown factors.
There could be factors I am not thinking of that I haven't listed here.

Ultimately I do not want to stagnate at this ceiling of 60-80k a year. Therefore I am looking to figure out the reasons for this ceiling and how I can thus break through it as up until now, I've attributed it to not getting enough google clicks but not that I've more or less hit the top 3 companies on google in my city, it's obviously other factors.
 

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Top 3 for medium sized city would expect 3-10 leads per day. Are you sure everyone else is getting you at top 3.

we are maybe 3rd in city if 100k and it’s about 3 leads min per day sometimes a lot more, the odd day we don’t get any but it’s rare. Need to offer alot of services though
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Top 3 for medium sized city would expect 3-10 leads per day. Are you sure everyone else is getting you at top 3.

we are maybe 3rd in city if 100k and it’s about 3 leads min per day sometimes a lot more, the odd day we don’t get any but it’s rare. Need to offer alot of services though
Yes I used a VPN to check as well as looking at my search console, so straight from the horse's mouth when it comes to ranking.

I see that I get ~5 (ranges from 3-7 most days) clicks a day and my Click Through Rate, Bounce Rate, and Retention Rate (from Analytics) are all average or better than average. So you see it's a bit of a mystery right?

What percentage of your leads are for hardscapes (pavers, retaining walls, drainage)?
 

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I’m one of the boomers you sometimes like to make fun of, but as a former fighter pilot, I’ve got thick skin. Here’s my take on a few:

#3. people are going to have the expectation that their finished product will be a candidate for a better homes and gardens magazine. Put any needed or anticipated topsoil/sod into the price of the bid. Carry around some miracle gro that they sell at Walmart, looks like a pop bottle, attaches to hose. Hit your grassy areas with that, it willl perk right up!

#4. never had any luck for the same reasons. Most want to know what I charge, how much I got my equipment for, what chemicals should they use on lawns ( this tends to be the unlicensed guys), snd generally only a one way arrangement. Anymore I just blow these folks off, I’ve never benefitted from it.

#5. your price is your price, I’m never the cheapest guy to do what I do, and I never intend to be. You’ll find people on here that would immediately drop the price. Hold firm, stress quality, innovation, things like that. Most people are good at their craft, but lousy business people.

I’m not sure what would compliment your hard scaping business, but I agree low margin stuff like mowing or sod I would pass on. Maybe grading for new home construction? Possible to seek govt stuff based on equipment you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Top 3 for medium sized city would expect 3-10 leads per day. Are you sure everyone else is getting you at top 3.

we are maybe 3rd in city if 100k and it’s about 3 leads min per day sometimes a lot more, the odd day we don’t get any but it’s rare. Need to offer alot of services though
So apparently my Contact Form hasn't been working since mid May and I historically got at least 50% of my leads that way, probably more. Oops.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I’m one of the boomers you sometimes like to make fun of, but as a former fighter pilot, I’ve got thick skin. Here’s my take on a few:

#3. people are going to have the expectation that their finished product will be a candidate for a better homes and gardens magazine. Put any needed or anticipated topsoil/sod into the price of the bid. Carry around some miracle gro that they sell at Walmart, looks like a pop bottle, attaches to hose. Hit your grassy areas with that, it willl perk right up!

#4. never had any luck for the same reasons. Most want to know what I charge, how much I got my equipment for, what chemicals should they use on lawns ( this tends to be the unlicensed guys), snd generally only a one way arrangement. Anymore I just blow these folks off, I’ve never benefitted from it.

#5. your price is your price, I’m never the cheapest guy to do what I do, and I never intend to be. You’ll find people on here that would immediately drop the price. Hold firm, stress quality, innovation, things like that. Most people are good at their craft, but lousy business people.

I’m not sure what would compliment your hard scaping business, but I agree low margin stuff like mowing or sod I would pass on. Maybe grading for new home construction? Possible to seek govt stuff based on equipment you have?
Apparently my contact form hasn't been working since Mid May. Yikes.

Good advice on the miracle grow. I'll get some of that. I'll also be pricing the top soil fixing **** up into prices and do a better job. I need to boost up my referral rates as they are definitely lower than average.
 

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Hmmm...
I understand you're not getting enough work in that sense, and it's not your first year but it is only your second... That is frustrating, I am in my 20th year and if I might suggest, enjoy where you are now.
My truck is in the shop, my fourth year with it and the 2nd transmission just went out, there's a U-haul in my driveway... Entire day wasted, going to cost 5-600 for the Uhaul plus fuel, another 3000 for the transmission...
But I have plenty of work, so much I can't get it all done.
Is that crazy or what, I bring in $300 a day but yet it seems like as soon as I think I'm going to actually be able to put some money away I always get hit with another expense.
So do you want my problems or do I want yours?

I'll tell you what worked for me, and I had to not just do this for a while but I had to do this until it became a permanent part of my business... And that's to always do a little extra for each and every customer, every job, like was mentioned carry Miracle gro with you but always look to do little things they didn't ask for.
When you do that, don't say a word to them about it.
And keep doing it.
Day in, day out, let the weeks turn into months and then years and years from now...
One day you will see, the sun will come out from behind the clouds.
Until then, enjoy the ride because believe me this, the joy of life lies in the process.
It's the getting there that we have to learn to enjoy.

Peace out and may God be with you on this voyage.
 

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Most hardscape leave the job a mess. I always figure leaving it looking how it was needs to be quoted for as well. So that might be adding mulch where concrete and dust got in the beds and fixing any grass that was damaged, unless they want that left off the quote
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Most hardscape leave the job a mess. I always figure leaving it looking how it was needs to be quoted for as well. So that might be adding mulch where concrete and dust got in the beds and fixing any grass that was damaged, unless they want that left off the quote
I could probably hide it in there without people really noticing. Afterall it's like usually $75 of top soil, $30 of seed, and I guess another $20 of miracle grow (plus 2-3 hrs of labor and $20 of gas). So total is $400. Not too noticeable on a $4000 job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You don’t have to hide it, just tell them you can’t do the job without damaging their yard and it’s not free to fix. If you tell them then they will know why the quote is higher than everyone else
I have told people that it's going to **** up their yard but it seems to be a turnoff. Better to hide a few hundred in there and fix it and they will think wow this guy is amazing..
 

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Your attitude kind of sucks based on your posts here. Whether you want to admit it or not, people can see and feel your attitude and be turned off. #3 sounds like you're lazy and don't want to complete the job. Your organic SEO wizardry doesn't seem to be working too well. Spend some money on advertising. Or even a thank you card to mail to your clients. Have you actually told your clients thank you and how much you appreciate the opportunity to do their project? Have all 20 clients left you 5 star reviews?

If you're doing all these paver installs, why aren't you doing paver maintenance like sanding and sealing? Plenty of money to be made and low cost to seal pavers.
 

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Just write on the quote that it includes touch up for landscaping. We also have clauses about using driveways (we broke a new concrete driveway after warning that it may break) and even wheelbarrows leaving ruts etc
 

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We cant beat people away with a silly stick here. Im about ready to pull the stupid email and phone number off my truck and trailer so people dont keep calling and walking up to us on the street.
 
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We cant beat people away with a silly stick here. Im about ready to pull the stupid email and phone number off my truck and trailer so people dont keep calling and walking up to us on the street.
The guy I used to work for in the winter doing snow removal has "NOT FOR HIRE" under his name and number on all his trucks. I was cracking up when I saw it.
 

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So the main question I am trying to figure out is, why am I not booked months ahead?
6. Business is too young.
This....
Patience, perseverance and professionalism.
If anyone could make 80K plus in their third year, people would be beating doors down to get into landscaping/hardscaping. And they're not. I have been doing it 15 plus years, and while I have seen my share of companies rush into the cash hoard of landscaping and then fizzle out, it's the grizzled long haulers who I have seen rolling around for over a decade that are booked solid. Including myself. Google will not get you this...
 

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If you have a new build or unfinished area you definitely can leave a bit of a mess. It is always shocking for me to see someones yard after a strictly fence/deck or concrete company has done work there. I don't think any of these companies are telling them they will have to pay someone to refinish all of the damage and its a hidden cost basically. Economy seems like it is slowing down where I am and customers wont be just taking any price to get their job done. As we head into economic collapse things may be slow so may as well spend the extra time.
 
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