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When To Advertise?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by MOturkey, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    I'm thinking of attempting to expand my business next year. I'll still be part-time, but am hoping to retire from my "day" job in less than 3 years, and want to have a larger customer base by that time. I have a friend who is willing to help me, also on a part-time basis (yes, he has worked for me before), so that I can handle more accounts until I go full-time.

    My question is this: How long before the usual first mowing in your area do you feel it is most productive to advertise? Also, would like any input on the most useful form of advertising, with regards to your experience, i.e. door hangers, newspaper, etc.

    Thanks, for any advice. Neill
  2. yrdandgardenhandyman

    yrdandgardenhandyman LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 953

    I don't think there is a bad time to get your name out there. Before you can build the business you need to build credibility (the customers knowledge that you will still be there in the years to come), name recognition (so when a customer needs service, your name pops into their head), and a reputation (sounds like you are already building that). It also depends on your market.
    I have just started to put out flyers again, in neighborhoods where I haven't got much visibility as well as ones I am already in. Also, some kind of newspaper or shopper directory is a good place to advertise. Even if it is only a couple of times a month. Sure you get some of the price shoppers but most of my best accounts came because of these ads. Once you get a few quality customers, then the referrals come. Quality customers tend to give quality referrals.
    Since you intend to build a business slowly with quality clients, you need to get that name out there as often and in as many ways as possible.
  3. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 952

    Advertising is a year around endeavor, think about it. Everyone always spends money on adverstising in the early spring, then they almost do nothing all year. Adversting is not just to generate new business, it is so when a potential customers thinks about services or goods you sell they think of you. So to answer your question all the time is a good time.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yes I agree with Year-round BUT in my experience, the STRONGEST response rate is right around 1.apr - 15.apr or so, then it tapers off a bit but stays good until end of June. As for me, I like placing the ad 15.mar or so (because the first day of when-the-chit-hits-the-fan can vary by as much as 2 weeks) and let it run for a minimum of 8 weeks and I will extend the run without hesitation IF my schedule is not full.

    It also depends what part of the country, I'm in virginia and generally start cutting my first yards sometime in march (thou it is few) and it gradually picks up until mid-to-end of april, then I might catch a few stragglers, too.

    The next best-time for me is sep-nov thou in my case, I don't care for it too much after 15.oct due to leaves, even if I don't put 'leaves' in the ad, I get calls for it and what a waste of time that is for me.

    As of september this year, I start my next advertising campaign and from here on out it is very likely I will not stop running it (I did a LOT of that, to control cost and volume, but in the end year-round is just as well if not better). The september campaing runs for a full 12 months, heh, and again, likely it will never stop anymore.

    Year-round is the way to go.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Not to mention it replenishes what you lose over time in customers. Perhaps for some things are different but in my case, word of mouth and retention / loyalty factors are not enough to keep things going indefinitely - I can run without advertising for about 6 months but it slowly dies out and the more I do this, the more I question why I didn't run year-round right off the bat. Oh well, live and learn.

    That and with higher volume you can ask for more money for the same work, even thou some the money goes to pay for the ad, in the end you get a piece of it, too. Advertising truly doesn't cost - It pays!
  6. Team Gopher

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

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    Hi MOturkey,

    Flyers seem to be a cheap and helpful way to get your company's name out. Here is a free flyer you can download and use. Maybe it will help inspire you.

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