New contractor in New subdivision needs good MKT'ing advice

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by brentsawyer, Nov 9, 2001.

  1. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    I have been in the business throughout college and just graduated. I am landscaping all of a friend of mines fathers new houses, around 20 or so/year. This is a good for me and I want to make it the best that I can to build my business. Each house landscaped by me covers less than 20% of the entire circumferance of the home ($855 in 3 hours paid at end of week). So alot is left for the homeowner to do after moving in. So far, one has moved in and I just put six trees around the property, not bad. What I want is to ensure that every or as many as possible of the homeowners use me, so beyond the basics of doing good business and looking professional, what is the best way for me to ensure that I gain alot of business in the subdivision, marketing ideas, etc. (mowing, fertilizer apps, whole nine yards) Homes are priced 140's-180's, demographics, baby boomer reaching retirement, mid-management type. Kentucky:blob1:
  2. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    I'm not keen on offering discounts, but that's an option.

    The best thing to do is to do a quality job. People will see you and ask you over to their place. That's how we get a lot of our work. We just need to get the first house in a subdivision. Our work takes care of the rest.
  3. diginahole

    diginahole LawnSite Member
    Messages: 249

    I am also not big on discounts, I lose very few jobs to pricing and I am not the cheapest guy around. The biggest thing that sells jobs for me is being more professional than any of my competition. First thing to do is to answer the phone, I carry a cell with the business line forwarded to it. If you can't answer the phone right away, return the call within an hour. People tell me all the time that I am the only one who even bothered to call back. When you make an appointment GO TO IT. Again I hear about my comp not bothering to show up for the first call. Be prompt about getting proposals prepared and GO BACK WHEN YOU SAID YOU WOULD. While you are working on site talk to everybody who walks by, even if you just say good morning. Being friendly will make alot of people stop and talk about the job you are doing, make appointments to see them on your way home. Never make an appointment unless Mr AND Mrs Homeowner will be there, if only one is there I guarantee there won't be a sale made there. Flyers, Yellow Pages and Newspaper ads are OK but pricey, I use all three, but word of mouth is my biggest tool. Lawn signs are a must because some people don't come home until after you are gone. Remember Customer Is King, treat them like royalty and they will tell others. Good service is hard to find these days, if you make it your top priority people will notice and may talk about it, bad service they WILL talk about to everbody they know. I believe service is our first business and then landscape contracting.

    Oh ya, almost forgot, people love to hear how much you want to do their job, so don't forget to mention that, don't pretend that you don't care if you get this job or not, show them that they are VERY important to you.
  4. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Will the contractor let you meet with the new homeowners before they take possession of the home? If so, work up a proposal for an upgraded package that incorporates the standard items plus more and larger shrubs and trees to present to them. They pay for the upgraded portion of the package. This gives the homeowner the option of moving the standard items to the sides of the house and putting specimen-quality goods in the more prominent areas.
  5. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    I put the absolute best plants that I could put in. 30-36" Hollies, 12-15" Green Gems etc. Not small container plants. This way, the homeowners see that they will get top quality landscaping and don't have to wait years to see results, they're too old for nickel and dime junk. Yes, he has mentioned that it would be OK for me to meet with the homeowner before they move in and draw up a proposal. I however have been busy making up a CD_ROM with a plant database including pics, description,etc. for those that are interested, this way when I give a plan, they don't go out to the local nursery and waste time and this makes the job seem better than anyone else and quicker turnaround. Sorry to stray, but the subdivision is close quartered until all homes are complete and the way I see it that homeowners will ask him who is doing the landscaping, however, some will rarely see him, still working 8-5 and I was wondering what the best way to enter that market and gain that business. I was thinking of doing followup watering after they move in on weekends for 30-60 days. All this is time on weekends that I will do and gives opp for me to see and talk to owners.

  6. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    Another thought. The builder offers add-ons for the homeowner as most do. Since I am a long-time friend, approach him with another add-on that would give owner option to pay more in buying price of home for differrent levels of landscaping. The builder is very fair and straightforward, he may add on a little or none at all. Downside is some may not want to pay for their landscaping for 30-years and be turned off entirely.

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