residental work

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by whiffyspark, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,220

    Has anyone had any luck advertising for residential work? Who do you advertise to?

    I've been searching rfps for state/federal for the last 3 years and haven't found a single one.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated
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  2. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,790

    I advertise grading and bobcat service for clearing demolition etc. 50% of the time i can convert it to selling something else too like a walkway or material delivery etc
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  3. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,780

    I do almost exclusively residential though a lot of times that means ranches and ranchettes but those are not commercial ranches.

    I advertise to people moving to my area, landowners who may own equipment but don't have specific equipment and I also advertise to people who want to clean up their property but don't know where to start. I try not to pigeon hole myself into this service or that. It can be overwhelming being a small operation with a lot of tools/services and scheduling can be challenging but when you land a good job it pays you back.

    It takes a little time if you switching from commercial. I occasionally do a small commercial project but the word of mouth generated from residential can keep you working. Though things are a little slow right now, there is almost always something in the pipeline.

    I do advertise to other contractors who do residential. Making a few contacts/alliances helps and you can find someone who compliments your services and you can both benefit by offering the customer more. It is a little harder working with contractors and you have to be specific about expectations but the same advertising net can bring in both residential and small commercial and then word of mouth for both can get rolling.

    The main thing I've found is consistency in advertising to your target. Whether it's websites, a newspaper ad, or your business cards or sign at the same locations, that name recognition helps. I get a lot of "I have seen your trucks and name for years and decided to finally call.." phone calls from some of my target advertising.

    Hope that helps.
  4. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,220

    I was waiting for you to reply. I know you do a lot of residential work.

    I live in the middle of a farm county. 30 mins north is mcmansions +$1m and up. Huge farm and horse estates.

    Have you tried contacting people through mail? I have a few websites, not many bites
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  5. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,780

    Whiffy. I was just discussing this over lunch with some folks. My work comes in waves for me personally and right now it's slow so i question my methods BUT on average, what I do is websites, business cards, small ad in local paper, oh and my local chamber of commerce.

    The folks that can afford you will talk to their friends.. ask everyone to refer you. I forget to do that a lot but they refer me anyway and I am appreciative and take extra good care of referrals.

    I put some signs up on properties, too.. "another job by.." etc., That helps with name recognition or if you work on a busy road, and the property looks good, that will be a great advertisement. I had a customer print up a bunch of signs for me (he had a sign business) and though I usually forget to take one with me, when I have put them out, I get calls off them. I have two signs at the entrance to my ranch. One facing each way down the road. Not a real busy road but I have received several good jobs just from folks passing by.. name recognition. Signs on all my trucks, too.
    I don't nail stuff to telephone poles or trees.. Tacky..:).. but everyone else seems to do that. Don't know if it works. As a guy who cares about trees, if I see a sign nailed to a tree, it's the last person I'd call for working on my trees. :)

    In order of how well it works, here's what works for me in my area:

    Websites (plus my competitors who recommend me and online directories/service directories and Google adsense, Bing ads, etc.). I also reached out to a couple of competitors who get web traffic and asked for referrals and vice versa so I'm not stepping on toes in some areas OR if they can't get to something, they have someone to refer to.

    Newspaper ad. There's just a few of us in the paper. It's about $160/month but I do get calls. Before the Internet was popular, it worked better.

    Signage on the roads.. Works but takes remembering to put up and take down when they get faded so it doesn't represent you poorly.

    Business cards. several vendors give out my card and I put it up on bulletin boards outside of stores and restaurants (Again, if I remember to carry cards and thank God for my wife's purse which holds everything but the kitchen sink).
    Chamber of Commerce-- gives out my card, websites, and can recommend me to people who inquire or move here. They also have little "newcomer" newsletters and magazines I can advertise in. Sometimes I will but when things are tight, I cut back on those extras.

    Phone book. Small ad online and in print. Few calls but I see more price shoppers from that.

    Craigslist. Had a few bids.. no jobs yet in a year of running free ads. People on craigslist seem to want the cheapest bid and I don't like being the cheapest.

    Your area sounds like mine. I'm within 30 minutes of a major metropolitan area but it's BF Egypt where I live. It's not easy out in the boonies BUT with a smaller community, I think it is easier to be visible or get referred.. I just have a much smaller pool of potential customers unless I travel to other areas.
  6. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,220

    Thanks yellow. Im going to start revamping this weekend. Ive got to finish building a stupid fence
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  7. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,780

    Oh. GAWD.. I hate fencing. I have several miles of fence that always need something. My mom's gate has been acting up.. Have to set an extra post to fix the sag. Not my specialty anymore though I used to build fences for some of my better customers.
    Lately, I've had to work harder to get bids because my prices aren't as competitive as some of the fly-by-nights. I won't sell my soul on quality and it is starting to hurt when people are only interested in price per acre.
    I just looked at a big job that was cleared with 3 dozers working a fence line. They left a wholly mess but after they raped the land and charged what they did to build the fence, I don't know what's left to do clean up. I know that the fence job cost more than many moderate sized homes. Crazy.

    What I'm trying to say is I'm always revamping and evolving with the market and technology. Right now things are a bit slower than they should be so I need to see what I'm doing wrong or if something better is down the pipeline. I don't feel like doing a big ad blitz but it may come down to that if my tried and true methods don't generate more QUALITY work.

    Good luck! If you come across something novel or something that works, please share with us.
  8. swanny

    swanny LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    Long time friend of mine in Silver Spring, MD primarily does drainage correction. Used to advertise in local papers and yellow pages, but now gets 75% of his work from Angie's list. I think he spends around $5k on it. Like Ebay, the feedback plays a huge part in why it works.
  9. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,220

    I have my own opinion about those sites. I hate them
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  10. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,737

    ^^ I feel the same way!
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