Newspaper has been Ok to pretty good.
Yellow page ad 3x3" was expensive and results in my area are bad . Of coarse my business name'Rainier Lawn Service' doesn't do as good as something closer to the begining of the alphabet.Now I just have a regular listing in the yellows.
I have tried a BBB ad campaign - No results at all and very expensive.
Direct mail was ok. That was before computers and if I do it again I will target thr accounts I desire with my own computer and printer. Next season I will target commercial accts. only .
Best results have and will always be word of mouth via your satisfied customers . Also it is free.
I looked into a yellow pages ad, but thought it was to expensive. I very selective on the lawns I take on -no small gates, must be in my area. Most of my new customers come from refferals. Either by a present lawn customer or a friendly competitor.
The Internet. I established my business on the Internet about May 1, 2000. Word of mouth from your present customers is your best and most economical means to advertise. My Internet presence has generated 5 accounts. Not bad considering the Web Hosting is about $11.XX per month. A second thing that helps me with the Internet is that I live close to D.C. and most people have web access.
My customers love to pay online: no fuss and I get my money within two days.
I'm with Dhicks, the Internet is by far the best advertising for the dollar! I have 11 accounts from my web site and had three people apply for service from my site TODAY! Just think, someone goes to http://www.yahoo.com and types "lawn maintenance charlotte", I'm the only one that shows up!
I also have a dollar size, full color ad in the yellow pages that get's good response. Very little response from the paper or local newsletters.
85% of my biz comes from Yellow pages. Alot of times it takes a year or 2 before you become common name thay remember seeing, etc.
Also flyers are good, because you can target the exact area you want.
Stay away from phone book covers, resturant placemats (yeah I had offers on those!), & val-pak mailings. Most people throw 98 out of 100 of those coupons, & your $$ goes to people in ALL neighborhoods, esp. those you don't want to work in.
Business cards are also a must. Good for personal contacts.
Can't wait to get on the web after hearing the response you all are getting! I advertise in the yellow pages, works ok. I also advertise in a local coupon book , by far the best thing i've tried, pretty expensive but i get flooded with calls everytime one goes out. I signed up to get a web page when i signed for yellow pages last year, they asked me a few questions and put it up, it sucked! Cancelled it , but they still have it up, i've actually gotten a couple calls from it but no work, guess i'll design my own in the slow season.
We advertise on every job we do. Always remember that a satisfied customer will tell 3 people while an unsatisfied customer will tell 6. We work VERY close to our home area now. (No job more than 20 minutes away, 90% of work is within 5-15 minutes away) The bad thing about flyers, is you might get 1 call in 500 flyers. One idea is get permission to leave some business cards at your local "diner type" restaurant. Old people and busy people eat out alot. I also found the newspaper works well for seasonal things such as spring and fall cleanup. But a GREAT way to go, is the advice I took from my boss, the owner of a MULTI landscaping and grounds co., and that is to just take notice of the places in your area THAT NEED THE HELP. That's where the market is.
I think with a lot of questions asked here, it really depends upon your area. Many times I read things here that I know just won't work in our area.
When we first started, we tried flyers. Passed out over 1500, and got very little calls back. Didn't work.
Then we tried our newspaper. (The local service directory).
What we found was about 10 or 12 other people advertising their services also. None of these people were legitimate companies. (College or high school kids or uninsured people doing this in their spare time.) We couldn't and didn't want to compete with that, so we pulled our ad. Think we got a couple customers from it. Big deal.
Then we thought of the yellow pages. Opened up the phone book and found only 3 people listed under lawn maintenance.
Two of which were really into the landscaping end of things.
Didn't run an ad because I didn't think it was going to be worth it.
Then I mentioned something to Matt that I had seen the previous year. An advertisement done by an insurance agency. I told him I thought it would work for lawn care. He was dubious, aren't all men?, but he let me proceed. I found out the cost, and was able to target the areas we wanted. The response was too much for us. Honestly we were overwhelmed. We had jumped in so quick, and the calls were coming EVERY day, sometimes 15 to 20 a DAY, that we couldn't keep up. We did the same advertisement this year also, and once again, the calls flew in.
I have never seen this advertisement idea listed here. I would be more than happy to share it with anyone that I knew was NOT in my area. So far our competition has not capitalized on it, and we are hoping again to do it for a 3rd year. This advertisement gives us the freedom to pick and choose who we want to work for, and lets us slowly weed out the less profitable yards, for more of the "gravy" yards.
I guess my point to all this rambling is, you have to find out what works for YOU in YOUR area.
A yellow page ad that works in Chicago does not necessarily mean it will work in Little Rock.