Risky marketing idea

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by promower, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,233

    I'm thinking about putting together an idea for potential clients to commit for a full season of lawn mowing. It's kind or risky but the plan was to promote a full season of free lawn mowing. With a signed agreement the new customer is entered in a drawing at the end of the year, to recieve free lawn mowing for next year. Customer must be paid in full to be eligible for the drawing. We have about 24 cuts a year and the maximum payout would be based on a $30 a week account. Anything over that the customer would have to pay the difference. ie. $45 a cut the customer would be billed $60 per month. As an added incentive for additional work any extras the client wanted that required $100 or more in labor would enter them a second time in the drawing.
    I have thought about this for the last few years now, and I'm still not sure I am going to actually do it. Seems like people respond to free or chances of winning something. Other companies give stuff away as marketing tools so it must work. Keep in mind I would be giving away about $720 worth of mowing and thats a lot. I would hope that the winner would want extras considering they dont have a mowing bill and this would make up part of the cost. I know I will probably get slammed for this post but thought I would throw it out there anyway.
  2. two_planks

    two_planks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    I think its just a matter of looking at the numbers. How much new work would $720 worth of advertising land you? How much new work can you realistically predict getting through this promotion? If its the same or more than conventional advertising then I'd say go for it.

    The number one reason is that it will make you stand out from the crowd. If what you are offering is different from all the other lco's in your area people will notice it and it will generate interest. I find that the hardest part of advertising is getting peoples attention and convincing them that they should call me instead of someone else in the 10- 30 sec that I have their attention.

    I know that the consensus on this site is that no one should ever give anything away for free, or even at a discount for that matter. But I am a firm believer in the idea that a dollar spent keeping current customers happy goes way farther than a dollar spent trying to get new ones.
  3. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    Well....at first thought I was going to come down hard on this idea, but I thought about it and my own marketing idea. I am offering 3 free mowings with any new clients. With 10 new clients that would be 30 mowing....equalling one free year. I would like to add about 30 clients this year. The only thing with me plan vs your plan....is that if I am going to give away one year of free mowings, I am guarenteed 10 new customers. What if you ran you promotion and only had 1 person take advantage of the drawing....see what I am getting at.

    Do you have or will you set a minimum amount of clients for the contest to even take effect?
  4. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,233

    Walker-talker, your thinking the same way I am. This could be a great marketing idea or it could backfire big time. I am trying to add around 40 new residentials this year. I did several estimates last year and landed about a third of them. If I could bring my average up to landing 50% of the clients I talk to, a free year of mowing would be a small price to pay for the new customers. I do try to really sell myself but I have a $30 minimum and many other companies in my area start with a $25 minimum and these are good companies, established, good quality of work etc.. But if customers see potential of recieving free work for an extra $5 per cut may not sound to bad. Thats also a good point you made about about setting a minimum amount of customers for the plan to take effect I will think about that and how I could word it so it sound as if theres a slim chance the promotion will not go through. I will have to play with my numbers some more and see what I would lose on a worse case scenario.
  5. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    I have done something similar. Last year I offered a one year fertilization program for free at a fund raiser. The thing is there were 400 people there that were a captive audience as my company was being promoted for being a sponsor. This year I am doing it again at a charity banquet where there will be 150 people. All who attend will automatically be entered in the drawing to win the lawn care package but there will also be a sign up card for them to request an estimate.

    The fund raiser I did last year resulted in 0 new customers. The one I am doing this year is a cause I am supporting for a friend. Basically I look at this as marketing and not advertising. It may not immediately result in new customers but it keeps my name out there. When these folks need a service and they come across my name again, I am no longer a stranger.


    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    What are my odds of winning. I'm only willing to play the game if I know that.
    Most people know that they will never win so why do it.
    A rebate tells them that they will get something. A drawing is a gamble and then you have to tell the odds.
    If you have 10 customers than cool, If you have 500, WELL odds are slim
    I think two-planks had the best thought. Stand out from the crowd.

    Print a flyer heading---FREE LAWN MOWING
  7. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    The plan sounds fine to me, as long as you can get your money's worth out of it. It would suck to have 2 people enter.

    The only con I have is this might be considered a contest and be subject to certain laws in your state. I'd check with an attorney about it before going forward.
  8. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,908

    echoing, mtdman's comments. check your state regulations. the term "purchase not necessary to enter" might ring a bell, typically buried in fine print, and required by law.


    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Just my 2 cents, but I don't think think the chance to win something a full year down the road would be the incentive you think it might be. Is there anything you can give away sooner than later?
  10. two_planks

    two_planks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    Just trying to think outside the box here, but what if you had a monthly drawing for the next months service to be free instead of one drawing for next year. Gives more than one person the chance to win and it gives people a chance to win something sooner.

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