To coupon or not to coupon?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by zz4guy, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. zz4guy

    zz4guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 901

    I'm getting a new postcard together to attract some new customers. I've had some people saying there should be a coupon on there that gives the customer a free first mowing or something like that.

    Do you think that is a good idea? I do not want to attract penny pinchers and cheapskates. On the other hand there is no incentive to call and try me out. I am debating a "15% off first cut if you present this postcard" type of thing. That way it might be just enough to snag a customer to try me out and expensive enough to keep away the ultra cheapskates.

    What do you think? Are coupons a good idea or do they just attract cheapskates??
  2. toac

    toac LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    Don't do it on the first cut, do it on the 5th or 6th cut. That way they don't cancel you after the first cut. I've had luck giving 50% of the 6th cut.

    Remember, if you price accordingly you shouldn't get any of the cheapskates in the first place.
  3. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    Why not give a percentage off the spring cleanup. 10% off a cleanup is less then the price of a mowing.
    If you do first cut for free you may find yourself busting your hump for people who are cutting 2 weeks late. Only to find yourself getting a phone call canceling services before the second cut. :angry:
  4. zz4guy

    zz4guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 901

    I hear what you are saying here. People always try to maximize what they pay for on this. But I have a limit to the lenght the grass can get, kind of like snow depth, so they would pay accordingly.

    I'd rather not have any coupons at all.
  5. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    I dont offer coupons or % off services. My time is worth my labor rate and thats what I charge.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    This is where you have to switch hats...take off your business owner hat, and put on your 'consumer' hat. When advertising/marketing it helps to think like the consumer...what would attract YOU to a product or service? Full price? Not have to remember if you're putting out flyers/doorhangers, most of the people calling don't know your company (not like with referrals) so while of course we are all worth our full-price, it helps to give a little to get a lot more.

    Sure there will be some cheapo's out there, but most people are just looking for something to catch their attention.
  7. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 798

    What i done last year and it seemed to work well. I picked up a total of 28 new lawns. In march here in maryland there is not much going on yet. So i made up flyers and had 2 coupons at the bottom which said 10% off yard clean ups if done before march 25th and 10% off mulch installation if done before march 25th. These seemed to work well.
    End of march and very beginning of April my flyers read 6th grass cut free with seasonal contract before April 15th. this worked really well.
    I got these ideas from the site. People tend to react towards the deadline, it makes them want to get the work done while they can save a few dollars.
  8. Lawn Simplicity LLC

    Lawn Simplicity LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    I don't believe in discounts or coupons. When your doing the attorney's lawn & he or his wife roll up in a BMW, I don't think it was because he was passing out coupons or giving discounts. Good work is good work. This is what I do. Push the empty trash can back to where its kept instead of leaving it at the street or throw the paper on the front steps instead of leaving it on the drive or lawn. Sounds stupid but greatly appreciated.
  9. zz4guy

    zz4guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 901

    My thoughts with 10% are that it is enough to get people to call, but enough that I won't be doing free work. I'm brand new and that is just part of the start up cost (first mowing 10% off).

    Thanks for everyones insight.
  10. mastercare

    mastercare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 289

    My experience is that you'll get more calls with coupons. It's true that you'll attract the cheapos, but I find that the more people I can get in front of, the more services I'll sell. When I'm advertising lawn mowing, I am frequently able to sell a different service (fert, mulch, cleanup) even if they don't bite on the mowing.

    I also advertise vacation cuts. Nobody around here does it, and I pick up a couple extra lawns a week. I have a system that has worked well. When a customer says they want their lawn cut while they're gone for a week, I tell them I have a minimum of 3 weeks for vacation cuts. They like not worrrying about cutting the lawn the day they get home. By the time they're ready to mow again, they haven't had to lift a finger in almost a month. I then tell them that my vacation cuts are more expensive than regular cuts, and give them a weekly price if they continue service. Of course I credit the difference from the last 3 weeks if they decide to go weekly. And, the credit basically gives them what appears to be a "free cut." I've picked up several accounts this way.

    Hope this was helpful

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