I still believe this is the most challenging thing for a small business, especially if your average job is only making you $35, because of the number of customers you need to make a decent living. I realize I may have picked a bad area to run a lawn service, since most customers will not mow every week, and the hot weather can be tough on the grass. In addition we are very close to Mexico, which makes us a source for cheap labor. All those factors aside, I have had my share of satisfied customers in the past, and I know there are customers who care about more than the cheapest price. It just seems to be so slow finding them that it makes it difficult to get started. I realize word of mouth is the best way to advertise, but how long can you afford to wait for that to happen? What do you do before word of mouth is bringing you enough business? I live in a fairly large area, so word of mouth doesn't spread like in a small town. Should I focus on marketing to encourage word of mouth? I suppose that would be referals incentives? Those of you who get your business by word of mouth must remember back when you first started. I know flyers work, but I have a difficult time motivating myself to pass out flyers, because they are so slow. And last time it seemed like every customer I managed to land with flyers were the ones with the biggest yards that I underbid, except for one who has just been difficult, not leaving the money for me like I ask, skipping one payment entirely, asking for free hedge trimming after I already gave her a discount for a weekly rate, and then not having it cut weekly... Just makes flyers even more discouraging, though I'd have to admit they did make me a profit. Is there a better way??