Newbie advertising question

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by eruuska, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 454

    Hey everyone,

    I've spent the last week or so reading the forums, and I have to say that I'm seriously looking at starting up next spring. I've got enough equipment to start, except for trimmer/edger/blower, which I'm going to purchase over the winter.

    The big hurdle to get over is getting the jobs. That's a no-brainer. But how do I GET the jobs? That's the $64,000 question.

    The location is in a small town of about 5000 people in a farming community.

    I'm willing to commit $1000 into advertising to get things going. I've thought of several ways to spend the bucks, which I've listed here:

    * Send out a mass mailing of approximately 3000 pieces. (Pro: I'll hit EVERYONE in town, Con: How effective is it?)

    * Put out LOTS of door hangers. (Pro: Maybe more effective percentage wise than mailers, Con: Lots of legwork to get them out)

    * Purchase about 30-50 spots on the local radio station. (Pro: On a small-market radio station, spots are cheap, Con: How effective are they?)

    * Small ad in the local paper's "marketplace" section. (Pro: In a small-town paper, ads are cheap, and just about everyone gets the paper, Con: Do people even read the Marketplace section?)

    I know that all of these will work to one degree or another, and I'm considering a "mix and match" approach where I'll allocate some of the money to one, a little more to another, etc.

    Is there any one of these (or one I haven't listed) that stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of effectiveness? Would you split it up between them, and if so, how would you split it? I'm a big fan of getting the most bang for my buck, and going from 0 clients to enough to keep me busy is a big priority.

    Any thoughts?

  2. boxoffire

    boxoffire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    My first question living in a smaller town would be how many other guys/companies are already covering your area? If there are many, then I would say you better do just about all of those things you mentioned in advertising. You will need to get it out to the public that you are very serious and do quality work. You may have to go out of town a ways to other areas for more work if need be. This coming from a newbie who has 0, count''em, 0 clients. So take my opinion for what it's worth. :rolleyes:
  3. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 454

    There may be some others in town, I'm not exactly sure. I know, though, that I'm going to have to raise the bar on service and professionalism. I once heard someone say that out of good, fast, and cheap, you can have 2 of the three, but never all three at the same time. I don't intend to do it cheap. So I'm going to have to be good and fast (translate: be there when I say I'll be there).

    As to professionalism, I'm going to get a half dozen golf shirts embroidered with the business name (yet to be determined), a couple of hats done the same way, and ALWAYS make sure I'm wearing them when I'm out working. Not only does a "uniform" enhance professionalism, but it enhances visibility and recognizability. (On a side note, I'm leaning toward NOT GREEN for the shirt and hat color. Something very bright and out of the ordinary that will make people say "I've seen that guy before". Even if it's gaudy as hell.)

    But I think you're right, it's a bigger crime to under-advertise than over-advertise. Perhaps a combo of all the methods.

  4. cleancutccl

    cleancutccl LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 698

    I'm originally from a small town also, I think that most people would have a good idea of who you were if you grew up there, so going door to door in only the areas where people would pay would be the best option. Out there it might be hard to get a fertilizer program started with all the farmers but if you add everything into a contract and give the customer a flat monthly fee you would have a better chance.

    Good luck with it and do it door to door, it sounds like a lot of work but you percentage of client pick up is much more than mass mailings.
  5. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    Small communities can not handle that many landscapers. You may want to do a little more research and make sure you are not digging yourself a hole so to speak. If it is a real small community I would spend some money getting my name out...mass mailing, flyers, doorhangers....and get a few customers. Word of mouth should get around real quick.
  6. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

    Hi eruuska,

    I think you are on the right track. Keep up the great consistant work and you will most definitely grow.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    People DO read those Marketplace ads. My community prints a tiny monthly newsletter thats passed out to each house on the first of the month. I ran my business card in the back (free for residents), thinking that probably no one reads the ads. I was shocked to get 10 calls the first time it ran. Picked up 7 new customers. So if the advertising is cheap I'd definitely run an ad.

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