Word of mouth advertising is the payoff...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Bassman, Feb 2, 2001.

  1. Bassman

    Bassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    Friends, I know from previous business experience that word of mouth advertising is the best and of course cheapest referral source. I've been in the lawn/landscape maintenance biz for 7 months now and I'm FINALLY starting to see it work for me. I started out of the blocks like gang busters last July but when November rolled around I really slowed down as far as new biz. I have been running a small ad in the local paper every day to help make ends meet my first winter with this biz. I've picked up odd jobs to help pay the basic bills and such. I got a call from a prospect in an exclusive, very high income end area of my county and went out to estimate and then bid this full service, (yearly), account. Customer agreed and I worked my rear end off and put his property into perfect "show it in a real estate magazine" shape. Next thing I know, his immediate neighbor walked over and asked for an estimate to do his property. Now keep in mind these people are upscale, well to do folks that have 40 ft. plus sailboats and power boats on the water behind their very nice homes. I got his account and then learned he was made aware of me by his neighbor but waited until he saw my work before approaching me. Now he is going to refer me to his next door neighbor, (and he says I can count on him signing up with me), and the people across the street as well. I talked at length with his wife and she requested extra business cards to pass out to friends who are also in this immediate area. These folks do not mind paying well for superior work and an added benefit to me is they all shuttle back and forth over the course of the year to their other homes around the country and are not even there most of the time. ( I love no hassle customers who leave you alone to just do your work, I can move much faster). I feel like I struck the mother lode all of a sudden. I know I don't need to state this to all you guys who have operated a succesful L/Lmc over the years but to the fairly new guys in this biz like me... do superior work, always be there when you say you will and sooner or later it will pay off with increased business as a result.
    P.S. I know there are two schools of thought about getting contracts signed but I personally ask every yearly customer to sign an annual agreement. I like to have that commitment on file at least. That way there is no dispute about what my responsibilities are and how much I will get compensated and when.
  2. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    This is how I got started on the little :) homes I do. All you have to do is get one and then if you do good work, they all start asking. Word of mouth is the best advertising you can get when you do good work. But remember, bad news travels faster, so just keep up the good work. Congrats.
  3. George777

    George777 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 305

    Hey Bassman, I think I remember you posted something about "jerked around". or something to that effect. You were ticked because one of your customers did not pay for your service. Well here ya go! You provide quality work and it is now paying off. This is awesome how you landed into a gold mine. I strongly believe that if we do the right things long enough it willpay off in the end. Even when it does not seem like it. Right now I'm chasing business, but the day will come when business will be chasing me.My baseball coach use to tell me to just try to get a base hit
    If we keep swinging that bat we will soon hit the ball. Sounds like you hit a grand slam (out off the park and into the bleachers).
    Good job, and keep the hammer down.
  4. bob

    bob LawnSite Platinum Member
    from DE
    Messages: 4,260

    I don't advertise anymore at all. Most of my business comes from word of mouth. I'm so selective about the accounts I want that I probabaly turn down over 50% of potential new customers.
  5. Mueller Landscape Inc

    Mueller Landscape Inc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    Way to go Bassman. That is the best way to win new clients. Remember that satisfied and happy customers can be great non-compensated sales people. I learned that from Marty Grunder. If you keep providing that type of service, you won't have to chase jobs anymore; they will find you.:)
  6. You can't stop the momentium now. Go to the courthouse and pull the names and addys from all the high end homes in that area. Make a MS access database of the prospects.
    Make up a postcard print the names and addys on labels and send them a postcard every month for six months
    straight. Try to keep you work in one general area to control overhead and make life easier.

    Get a hold of a digital camera and get pics ot those
    hi end jobs up to a website and get that url on those postcards.
  7. Bassman

    Bassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270


    Yes, that was me complaining about a deadbeat customer that was trying to "stiff me" for work already done. I am happy to say I collected that debt in full. I'm not sure who posted it on this site but someone said they went by the customers house at night on a Friday because that is when they would have the most money and be in a relatively good mood givin the weekend coming up. Well, that's what I did and they had friends over and it would have been extremely embarassing I'm sure for them to not pay on demand for work that was over two months old. I have had to dog a few customers at their house after I knew they were home from work but am proud to say I have, ( so far), collected every penny I have been owed. A couple that were liars and outright cheats were sent letters, (after I collected in full),that I would be unable to continue with maintaining there property. I refuse to be denied payment for agreed to services rendered by deadbeats and will hound them endlessly till payment is forthcoming. We work too hard at this trade to passively let cheats off the hook.
    Nuff said about that subject. Regarding the sudden good fortune with picking up yearly accts thru word of mouth...
    I honostly must say that I have given every customer the best possible service "and then some" over the last 7 months but until now have not had the good fortune to gain new accts. from word of mouth. Go figure. Maybe it has something to do with the wealthy area involved, I don't know. On second thought , that probably has a great deal to do with it. In middle class neighborhoods, even if your work is very good, they still seem to hire the low ball operaters and I am not the cheapest.

    [Edited by Bassman on 02-02-2001 at 11:02 PM]
  8. Bassman

    Bassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    Lawrence Stone,

    Yes, good advice. I have more time than money this time of year so I'll be heading to the court house come Monday. Thanks for the tip. Mailings to the folks in this area should be a "no brainer". Appreciate your response.
  9. jay

    jay LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    Great job! The good thing about word of mouth customers there not customers who are shopping around for bids, they just go by the quality of work makes it alot easier to land your estimates.
  10. This is how movies and eating establishments generate huge profits. No cost advertising, and we are in the perfect business for this kind of marketing. I did'nt have business cards until last year (got them free at iprint.com). And I've only placed ads in local paper about 5 times. Been in the business since 1985. Go figure$$$$$$$$$$$$$$...!!!

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