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. Bassman 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.