Why is it so hard to find new customers?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by f50lvr2, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. f50lvr2

    f50lvr2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    I've been doing this mowing thing now about 8 years total and I'd say about 4 years full-time after graduating college.

    Back in the day, I'd put out 2000 flyers and get 10-20 calls and close 4-5 of those. I grew fast to the point where I didn't want any more business while I was finishing school.

    But now that I'm full-time and trying to turn this thing into a proper small-business with employees I'm really struggling to fill my schedule. The last few years I've been solo and doing about 60-70 residential mowing accounts per week, which was busy for just me but I'd really like to expand at least to working with one employee and doing around 100-110 per week.

    My prices are fair for the market, probably a little under average, the quality of work is excellent, equipment is new and clean and the truck and trailer are kept clean and look professional.

    Now I'm doing at least 5k flyers per month, a FB page, CL ads, and asking customers to refer me to friends and calls trickle in. Then factor in the "my grandson is going to mow for me for a while", and the "can you mow every 10-14 days instead of weekly?" excuses to save money and it seems like it's 1 step forward 1 step back.

    My main focus now is on residential accounts, should I start chasing commercial business more? Any tips, tricks for picking up new folks?
  2. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    A properly set up website has been a great seller for us
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,478

    It sucks sometimes. having a website has been helpful and i am happy with the amount of calls i get now. However, i'm frustrated with the cheapskates as well. Everybody seems to want the best job at a cheap price. Now most of the calls i get are from people who say the last guy just quit.. I give them my price, and then they will come back with "well the last guy did it for $10 cheaper.." well, i guess thats why he quit. I don't even drive to the estimates anymore. I look it up on google earth, give them a quote and move on. If i can't see it online because they have to many trees i pass on it. I get people who just want free advice with no intention of hiring me, and that crap pisses me off sometimes.

    If i lowered my prices anymore on mowing there is no way i would make money at this. I guess the prices are still pretty low in my area. I still have no clue what others charge, i just know what i need to charge. Its been a frustrating week for me! but i know its just something that i'm gonna have to get used to. i focus on customers that want quality work, and make sure to go the extra mile. So, i expect to grow pretty slow. I have a few crap lawns myself that i hope to be able to let go some day. haha.
  4. monoshock

    monoshock LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,325

    Around here, seems like there's more people ever year with shinny new mowers running around, to answer the question, more competition.
  5. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,478

    $17 to $19 lawn cuts must be where its at. this is what i found on my local craigslist http://www.lawnmowingonline.com/jobs.php i mean, if you watch the video this guy claims that he makes $350 to $400 a week if he is busy.. wow, he is really killing it. Quality of the work is there too.. love the magnets on the van that say $17 dollar lawn cuts too. I hope one day i get to have a van like that when i'm lucky enough to pay myself 7.50 an hour. I should have kept my job at the rubber dog turd factory.
  6. blk90s13

    blk90s13 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,453

  7. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Back in the day "it was the economy stupid"

    The economy started it's big collapse in December 2007. A year later the dump was done. From January 2009 the lay offs began. Many people are now in jobs paying half of what they were making before.

    Unless one can not physically do the work there are things that are a luxury. Pay someone to wash your car, mow your lawn, paint your house, water proof your deck, vacuum and add chlorine to a pool. Not much is needed in equipment or skill.

    It is nice to sit in front of a TV, sit on the shore with a fishing pole, sit in a movie, and more fun then sitting on a mower, standing on a ladder, or doing other chores.

    When push comes to shove people are going to have to put down the remote or fishing pole and do their own chores when they can no longer afford to pay someone to do it for them.

    Just keep advertising and be patient. And remember many people throw out fake low prices trying to get a green LCO to match or beat them. Do not fall for that trick. You know your costs. You know the profit you have to turn.

  8. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,909

    As inzane and ring point out, a web site is becoming a key part of the standard marketing mix. If you don't have a site, you will get left behind. We're well past the notion of "I'll do it some day, but I just don't see the value.".

    I'd suggest immediately creating the free Google/Yahoo/Bing local business accounts and, at least, put up a quick site to start establishing yourself, as web marketing is not an, "Okay, I'll do it today and get new leads tomorrow." process. There are quite a few DIY offerings out there, so you might want to spend some time reading through the web sub-forum here, and figure out the best direction for you to take.
  9. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,478

    good post! :drinkup:

  10. georgialawn88

    georgialawn88 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    haha your making me :laugh: ive had those rough weeks too. I have them a lot. I just try an sit back reset and keep going

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