Marketing/Advertising your Hardscaping business

bigslick7878

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Towson,Maryland
I haven't had any type of "real" budget for this kind of stuff in previous years but I will this coming year. Obviously I don't want to waste any money so what has everyone found the best way is to draw in business? Website? Direct mail? Signs? Videos? TV or radio commercials?

I have the word of mouth thing locked down and get a ton of referrals from various clients and friends, but I need to expand outside of that circle and start drawing in from other avenues. Never can have too many leads.

So what do you do and what is worth paying for?
 

crazymike

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Ontario
IMO, word of mouth gets your the best leads.

I've done a lot of print advertising this year, but it's mainly for maintenance work.

I'm also doing a home show, but not sure how that will work. Not putting too much faith into that as I'm against some "brand name" companies.

The problem I have had in the past with print, internet, etc... is that you get a lot of tire kickers, price shoppers and people who just want cheap budget work that isn't worth my time at this point.

My marketing plan for hardscape is as follows this year.

My residential maintenance crew will be driving a key truck and small trailer. These things get looks and stand out. It will have my website on it. My residential crew also is a lead generator. People want to deal with someone they trust and have a relationship with.

My commercial crew is driving a box truck. This is a massive rolling billboard. It has my website as well as hardscape services (interlock, water features, etc...)

Most jobs I do get a sign out front. It's in the contract that it will remain there for a couple weeks. Nobody complains. Also have your guys hand out some post cards when you're doing a job. Something along the lines of "sorry about the noise and mess....". Finally, keep a clean jobsite. It helps out huge to keep the neighbors happy.

My biggest goal for this year is branding. I'm creating an image and marketing campaign that people can associate with. I have a theme for my advertising and will stick with it. I'm not sure this will work as much as I want it to, but it's my plan.
 

DVS Hardscaper

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
County Jail
The problem with online marketing discussions is that our competitors are lurking here. I may not participate but if another member participates and shares their marketing successes - then that gives other contractors ideas and fuel. You never know who you're inadvertantly helping.

I'd love to chime in. But I must draw the line at this point.


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Posted via Mobile Device
 

shovelracer

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
North Jersey
I agree fully that there are some proprietary secrets for each organization. The thing with advertising though is it has different purposes. Some of it is for lead generation, and others are for name recognition.

The odds of getting a call off your truck are slim. You are more likely to get the jerk behind you to call and complain about how slow your driving or whatever. On the other hand if someone sees your truck 100 times, than when they are in need of service and come across your name it won't seem as foreign to them thereby increasing your odds of getting a call, or if your guys drive like idiots secure the chance that you won't. Still no one is going to right your number down while driving. Well occasionally, but this type of client is either so desperate they will hire anyone, or more likely the type that will waste your time for free advice. Your vehicle though is a first impression.

Then something like postcards is pure lead generation. No one reads their junk mail. If you happen to strike an interest in the split second they take to look at it to determine junk or save you might have a chance of making it to the bulletin board or fridge. If they are not already thinking pavers, or lawn cutting, or what have you than regardless of what it says it is garbage and the name means nothing. Perhaps very small name recognition with this, but I would not place value in it. I personally would tend to avoid these companies cause I am ticked that they keep sending me garbage.

Advertising costs money. Some more than others. Some are more effective than others. It is possible to spend 3000 and get 1 or 0 calls, it is possible to spend 200 and get 20 calls. Typically 1-3% callback is considered good, but it can vary so much. A good advertisement can work for you. A poorly designed, amateur, or misleading advertisement will actually hurt you. Your biggest thing is to know who you are trying to reach and what appeals to them.
 

NC Greenscaper

LawnSite Senior Member
The problem with online marketing discussions is that our competitors are lurking here. I may not participate but if another member participates and shares their marketing successes - then that gives other contractors ideas and fuel. You never know who you're inadvertantly helping.

I'd love to chime in. But I must draw the line at this point.


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Posted via Mobile Device
I would tend to agree with you. However, if your competitors are in the county jail you shouldn't be to concerned!!! :rolleyes:
 
OP
B

bigslick7878

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Towson,Maryland
The problem with online marketing discussions is that our competitors are lurking here. I may not participate but if another member participates and shares their marketing successes - then that gives other contractors ideas and fuel. You never know who you're inadvertantly helping.

I'd love to chime in. But I must draw the line at this point.


.
Posted via Mobile Device
LOL. Yeah it is all a "big secret" and there are hundreds of companies "lurking here" ready to steal your ideas. Give me a break. Go to the other forum and you see multiple 20 page threads on this topic, doesn't seem like anyone but you is concerned about someone stealing your marketing strategies that have been around forever. Classic DVS.

Thanks for the other responses so far, keep em coming. Here I will spill some top secret beans of my own, I heard websites these days are the best way to go. They can get pretty pricey though if you want them done right.
 

NC Greenscaper

LawnSite Senior Member
LOL. Yeah it is all a "big secret" and there are hundreds of companies "lurking here" ready to steal your ideas. Give me a break. Go to the other forum and you see multiple 20 page threads on this topic, doesn't seem like anyone but you is concerned about someone stealing your marketing strategies that have been around forever. Classic DVS.

Thanks for the other responses so far, keep em coming. Here I will spill some top secret beans of my own, I heard websites these days are the best way to go. They can get pretty pricey though if you want them done right.
Website can be costly to set up. Once it's up you just pay for the hosting and domain name which isnt' very expensive. You still have to find away to "drive the prospect to your website". You need to market your website.

Someone earlier said, vehicles don't work well. I get frequent calls from prospective customers that saw our vehicles in their neighborhood or going down the road. Best advertisement I've ever done.
 

shovelracer

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
North Jersey
It's 2012, I did not think that a website was even a option. The buyers are changing. It is possible to go from initial contact to final payment without even needing a phone number. The new breed of buyers does thing electronically and paperless. How you implement this technology into your business can break you just as fast as it can make you. In the old days an angry client told his neighbors. Today the same client tells the entire world on yelp or whatever the site of the month is.

Ever log onto a site to see the spring special from 3 years before. I shouldn't need to say any more.
 

DVS Hardscaper

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
County Jail
It's 2012, I did not think that a website was even a option. The buyers are changing. It is possible to go from initial contact to final payment without even needing a phone number. The new breed of buyers does thing electronically and paperless. How you implement this technology into your business can break you just as fast as it can make you. In the old days an angry client told his neighbors. Today the same client tells the entire world on yelp or whatever the site of the month is.

Ever log onto a site to see the spring special from 3 years before. I shouldn't need to say any more.

We did a demolition job in January. I never met the owner. She lives in another state 900 miles away. Handled the entire transaction electronically. I priced the work without ever leaving my home. Payments and draws were made via her credit card. Card number provided at time of accepting the proposal.

Did another job near last October. Never met the owner. Never even saw him. Entire transaction done via computer. Again, priced it without leaving my home. Payment via his credit card. Again, card number provided at time of accepting the proposal.

Technology BABY!


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