new business advice

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by alex516, Jun 15, 2003.

  1. alex516

    alex516 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I've been cutting with a friend and his 40 account business for about 3 years now- So although I'm a newbie in my own respect, I still know the business more than a beginner, so please base any replies with that in mind. I started up 3 weeks ago, have a 6X10 open trailer, a 21" lawnboy (new), 2 backpacks echo w/w , gas hedge trimmer along with all the hand tools and what not I already have. I currently have 4 regular accounts I frequently see homes with horrible overgrown lawns and I wanted to know what the best way to approach the homeowner is. I've thought about leaving my card in the mailbox, etc.. but after some thinking I've decided that I'd like to print up a simple but to the point letter informing the homeowner that I noticed his lawn or something and that I'd like his business.... Any thoughts on this? I've thought about advertising and will be putting flyers at a few local supermarkets, church boards, and senior day programs, etc. I don't want to build up, or rather don't plan on building up a 400 account business, but I'd like to have 10-15 accounts ultimately so if anyone has any advice, I'd appreciate it. Any thoughts on wording of flyers? Should I offer Fall Cleanups, $25 off for new customers or something along those lines, or??
    Thanks all.By the way, just want to say that I've been browsing these boards for a few weeks and they're great!
  2. mikeymike

    mikeymike LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    Print up some flyers and put them on the mailboxes of the lawns you want to service. Thats what i did starting out and got a pretty good response rate. By doing that and getting a few yards and doing really good work you will get more customers. Word of mouth and neighbors of the customers you already have will eventually start calling you.
  3. alex516

    alex516 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Ok, sound like a plan, however- should I aim the flyers at them directly, saying something like I noticed your lawn, etc... or should I just make it like any other advertising flyer for landscaping you might see?

    I don't know if I should make the flyer simple or have a lot of stuff mentioned on it...

    I don't want to make it, or rather I don't think it would be a good idea making it look like every other peice of junk mail in the mailbox so the homeowner thinks it's some **** that came with the mail..

    Anyone have success stories with how to get the homeowner's attention with a flayer, and also, what about if I see them outside the home, should I personally approach and if so, how should I start the dialouge?

    Simply say, I see your lawn needs a cut or??

    Pardon the simple questions, but the few accounts I have my own now I've either been asked directly to do, or were given from a friend who sold his business... So I've never had to approach anyone at this point...

    Thanks all who read this and this website has been a big help for me so far and I'm sure for many others also!
  4. mikeymike

    mikeymike LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    Well I did not aim my flyers at any particular customer. They were done with one purpose and that purpose was to get business. Some people may take offense if you say "I noticed your lawn needs cutting" type wording on the flyer. Just place them on mailboxes is what I did. If they are outside you could approach them but be careful of what and how you tell them there yard needs servicing. I just politely waved and placed my flyers on the boxes.
  5. Port City Lawncare

    Port City Lawncare LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 75

    Here's what I found most productive in my first week of advertising. If you have time on the weekends, ride around, walk up and introduce yourself to every elderly person outside working in the yard. You'll find that most have a strange look of desperation caused by heat on their face, and you can bet they'll pull your card out before they decide to put themselves through the heat again.

    I had calls waiting on me before I returned home, a few within 20 minutes of meeting the people.
  6. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    OK, the first thing I should warn you about:

    Don't put anything in or on the mailbox because it's illegal.

    Other than that, flyers work well, but you have to pass out a whole lot. Going door-to-door works also, if you would rather talk to the customer in person. It probably works better, but it takes longer than simply leaving a flyer. Either way, be ready to invest alot of time to get good results.
  7. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    Flyers in hand when you go to the door to talk to the owner. If they're not home leave a flyer with price 'estimate' and your tele.

    If they're home-- "I would like to offer you my lawn services. I think a good price for your lawn would be _____."

    Door to door is better because you can talk to them and they see you and based on their impression of you they can easily decide. You can also strike up "is there anything you could use help on like fall clean-up?" You can also skip-over those you don't want to deal with. And you can keep your efforts in one tight geographic area to be more profitable.

    If you have 30 hours to work, mow for the hours you can and do marketing for ALL the other hours. You will quickly fill all hours with paying work.
  8. JerseyJay

    JerseyJay LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    This is almost exactly what I planned to do. There are some real nice housing developments in the area, and it would be nice to get 15-20 accounts per development. They all have irrigation, and I am figuring $40-$50 per lawn for a cut/trim/edge package. Won't be a bad deal if I can actually make it happen. I have my wife designing flyers now. Do you think it's a good idea to put a spot for pricing on the flyer, and then as you hand them out write what you think the estimate would be?
  9. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    Yes, that's always a good idea to at least have a spot for it. Even enter it for those you talk to. And if you don't talk to someone but leave a price make note of it (see below)
    Saturdays and Sundays(dependent on the R. factor in your area) work best for working a neigbhorhood. You will surely run across someone doing it themself. Be prepared for you sales speel for that. Sat is also good 'cause you can see the pro mowed lawns since they usually

    Also be sure to take along a note pad to write down house #'s and notes about each house...

    3453 River Pl. - $45- Needs mulch.
    3458 River PL. -$40- nice old lady. has ABC mowing. 'maybe' next year.
    3459 Riverl pl- Existing customer- Thompsons.
    3542 River Pl.-$50- businessman- does own lawn. may need fert.
    That way you can have it as reference later.

    AND you can develop a mailing list so next month you can send a post card instead of walking and you can send Christmas cards to everyone in your target market or "Happy 4th of July" post card, or send a note when you see their name in the paper. etc. Then get to having their names added to your list and then their telephone numbers (lastly). Telephone can be helpful if they call you with a bad msg... not cold telemarketing. BUT if you know their name (off the mailbox) and they were not home and you call them "Hi Mr. Jones, I left my flyer yesterday. I mow your neigbhor ms. smith at 3423 River place. is there anything I can help you with in your yard?"

    Target the closest market with the most potential and get to the point of OWNING that neigbhorhood. If you can't mail to all the good hoods just mail to the one good one that is closest to you.

    Also consider the HOA common grounds if not too large for you.

    MARKETING! And OWNING a small market. make your firm the MOST prominent name in those neighborhoods.

    Signs on your truck? Trailer?
    Image of YOU (and wife) and your truck on the flyers?
  10. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833


    since they usually get thur/fri service. Be sure to market to these homes also. If you talk to the owner and they say they have someone already,,,, ask what they like their current service. If you see somthing bad about it don't say it directly but more like "A do you like them not bagging it?" while pointing at the clumps.... Well if there's there anything I can help you with or if they are not available next year for you here's my card.

    Have your regular business cards handy too.

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