The Pros & Cons of Groupon

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by PostcardMania, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. PostcardMania

    PostcardMania LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    So you’re a small local business (such as a landscaping biz) and you’re trying to decide if Groupon is worth your time. Well, no need to make a list of pros and cons — I’ve done it for you!

    Since Groupon’s target market is roughly the same as PostcardMania’s (i.e. small to mid sized businesses looking to promote), we get a lot of questions about whether our clients should do a Groupon deal, too. Unfortunately, it isn’t a cut and dry answer. It comes down to your situation.

    Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:


    • Potential for massive increase in foot/web traffic
    • Potential for increased name recognition
    • No upfront fee


    • Groupon takes half of proceeds
    • Severely discounted prices
    • Potential for failure
    • Long waiting list
    • Chance you will stop marketing waiting for your big “Groupon payday”

    Now let’s look at an example, so we can see the pros and cons in action…

    Say a landscaper advertises a Groupon for $25 that gets the customer $50 worth of service, and they sell 100 of these deals.

    Groupon is going to take half of that, so the gross for the landscaper is $12.50 per Groupon, which comes to a total of $1,250 gross. Not bad, but when you consider they are putting in $2,500 (or more) worth of time and effort just to make that $1,250, it starts to look a lot different.

    Now, there is something to be said for the exposure and traffic that the landscaper will see, as well as the potential for additional sales above and beyond the $50 mark. There is also the opportunity to wow those customers and turn them into repeat customers and get them to refer their friends and neighbors.

    Ultimately, it comes down to your situation. If you have an amazing product or service but are having trouble getting traction in the community, there is a good chance that the exposure from Groupon will help you. But if you are already established and successful, you will probably just end up giving discounts to customers who would have called you up anyway, which means you would be losing money.

    If you've definitely decided on taking the Groupon route, make sure you and your employees are prepared, here's a few tips:

    • Deliver amazing service
    • Go for upselling the customer on other services
    • Get customer's contact info (including name, email, phone, address) so that you can continue marketing to them for future services
    • Bring some promo with you, such as a business card, postcard, magnet, etc. so the customer has your contact info
    • Offer customers an incentive to use you again, provide them with a "refer a friend" coupon
  2. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,924

    Im not sure how long the waiting list is....but I signed up for groupon to do a listing 2-3 months ago and never heard back from them. Im not sure if you can put multiple listings up at once. ( I was going to try! ) I wanted to do a deal on Pre-emergent fertilizer applications,post emergent weed control & 4 weeks of mowing service....or something along that line to bring in some new maintenance clients.

    I got tired of waiting and called and have been very satisfied with their product. My return % is spot on or up a bit with their product also!
  3. PostcardMania

    PostcardMania LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    I know, the wait is pretty long, especially if you live in a major metropolitan area. Have you tried LivingSocial yet? Never heard of What product did they do for you?
  4. ptjackson

    ptjackson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    This is a well written even handed treatment of Groupon. I guess the other "con" I have heard is that it takes a while to get all your money from Groupon. Of course there are no shortage of daily deal sites out there, but groupon and living social are the main ones. In our area there's on called "seize the deal" that gets a fair amount of traffic.
  5. charmill26

    charmill26 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 369

    Groupons would be good if you sell on price/volume vs quality
  6. PostcardMania

    PostcardMania LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    Exactly ptjackson! It's a great loss leader style of marketing. You're basically paying for a database of people who are interested in your product or service, so you better jump on the follow up marketing bandwagon to really get the most out of your money!
  7. Ducke

    Ducke LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 353

    I've know 3 or four guys that tried it and it didn't work for them.
    The problem with group on is it attacks coupon people.
    they get their discount and then move on to the next discount.
    They do not become seasonal customers.
  8. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776


    I've heard nothing but bad things from people who have done a groupon or similar type of deal.

  9. robroquet

    robroquet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    I recently ran a Groupon ad. It was a tremendous turnout. The ad was for aerations, and covered a 30 mile radius from my city center. I sold 171 aerations. They can be done either in the spring or in the fall. I have upsold half of these for seeding, fertilizer/weed control, mulch jobs, mowing, etc. On one particular one, I bid on a customers hardscaping project and won. The project is worth $80k. I would say that it worked out for me.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  10. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    How did you set it up for aerations?

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