PDA

View Full Version : Marketing Advice Please


Savesutime09
01-03-2010, 07:23 AM
I started my biz as a part time extra income deal. I really enjoy it and want to expand it to be my full time income. I didn't start until late June of 2009 and have 7 customers. I feel I will need to get to approx. 50 customers to achieve the income I need. I have already obtained my business licence and am in the process of getting insurance. I really need some advice on when would be a good time to start marketing to residential customers. I don't want to be too early that they misplace my info or too late they get some else. Any advice would be helpfull.

Thank You,

Stuart

cklandscapingorlando
01-03-2010, 08:39 AM
Well the first question is really whats your budget? If you only got the money to do one round of fliers or door hangers then right before the season starts in your area. If you got enough to hit them more like 2-3 times then I would start a month before the season then do it every 30 days. You'll need a min of 5000 fliers if you get a 1% return and then it's up to you to close the deal. I would say you need 10-20,000 if you want to do more than one round

Steve
01-03-2010, 08:55 AM
Welcome Stuart,

Can you tell us a little about what you have done so far to get those initial 7 customers?

Savesutime09
01-03-2010, 10:07 AM
Steve,

1 was my next door neighbor, 1 was a family member, the others came from 200 fliers i put in newspaper boxes and several fliers at supermarkets. I am in southeast new york. Lots of competition here as I'm sure there is in a lot of places, how do I best compete on a limited budget.

The Cleaning Doctor
01-03-2010, 12:42 PM
Before long you will have to get a web site if you want to compete with the big dogs. Just because a lot of people now do their searching on the web instead of the YP. Fingers don't walk as much any more. Get some great before and after pictures and shoot some video to get ready. Scrimp and save as much as possible for a future advertising campaign. I would continue to do what has been working for you. You can get a web site for as little as $10 per year if you do the site yourself.

arthur712
01-03-2010, 01:31 PM
Get your business cards!! 2500 for better pricing.
Use a local printer for flyers and cards, It may cost a little more than ordering online, But the local printer may need yard work or can refer you to people!

Get Your name out there!

There are tons of great advice here on the forum! Look at older posts.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have!
Someone here will have an answer!

Thanks!

Savesutime09
01-03-2010, 01:45 PM
I was also wondering about door hangers. I know that a lot of people hardly use their front door. Most go in through the garage. Flyer placement also seems difficult as you are not supposed to use mailboxes. has anyone really run into much trouble using mailboxes. and do you think enough people will see the door hangers if hung on the screen door?

Thanks
Stuart

arthur712
01-03-2010, 03:14 PM
What about putting them on the garage door handle, I have seen a lot of people throwing small baggies with info on the driveway.

I know it may upset some people, but you have to try anything, and see what will work for you!

I had a bunch of Magnetic cards made up, and I put them on garage doors.

Good luck!

Artie

Savesutime09
01-03-2010, 03:30 PM
Thanks for the advice i'll give those ideas a try! If anyone else has some advice please post. Thanks

cklandscapingorlando
01-03-2010, 04:52 PM
I pick up alot of those bags off my props then trash them. You should'nt litter. If you hang it on the door or in the door crack then I'll leave it for my client. If they switch then your just cheaper and I dont need that type of client. Alot of people go through the garage when driving. But walk out the front door for mail or when people come over. If it might be a problem maybe wright down the address and mail it to them. Or put it on the garage door. If your on a budget then print them at home. Or go to Kinkos after you design them. The best prices I've found on door hangers is about 1000 bucks for 20,000 of them. The most I've seen was about 1600. Thats full color though not just white paper and green ink. This will make you look like a larger company than you are. If possible leave a blank spot for your price or if the houses are cookie cutter you could just have the price on them. Or take your cheapest property and say prices as low as $xx.xx. You dont have to buy alot. You could buy just 500 and hang them on the houses on each side of your clients. But if your looking for 50 clients or more then it will either take a little money or alot of your time and patience just to get the material. Then more time or money to get the stuff out there. Around here it will take you about 20sec per house to hang these. So 3 houses a minute. Thats 180 an hr. Or 1440 in a 8hr day. Do that for 3 days and you knocked out 4320 hangers. At 1% thats 43 call backs. 2% would be 86 call backs. 43 + 7= 50.

Savesutime09
01-03-2010, 08:15 PM
Thanx to all for the advice so far. As for smaller commercial properties(Banks,Medical Offices and such) I am assuming immediately would be the be the time to start soliciting them for business. What has anyone found is the best approach to use for these accounts. This is my first year in biz and can't sell expeirience. Any advice would help!

SuperiorPower
01-03-2010, 08:31 PM
Personally, I like the idea of anything where you are making in person contact with your potential client. That does more than one thing. First, it lets you leave a good first impression. Second, if they let you give an estimate you can do a better follow up and in one way or another, possibly get the sale with your contact right there.

For me personally, if you mail me something, or hang something on my door, i will probably put file it with all the rest of the junk mail. If I can connect a face and a name to it, have a need for what they are selling, and if I like the person, I am far more likely to hang on to their material than if I get it in the mail, etc. I am also far more likely to use but on the spot. Maybe that is just me. But I do tend to reward a good sales person, if it is done right and in good taste (if I have a need for the product or service).

One thing I would like to mention about placing anything on a garage door is that I have noticed a LOT of people open their garage door when they pull onto the street or when they are like a block away. Now I know that is a terrible idea, safety and security wise, but people do it so their door is open when they get there and are ready to drive in. Now lets think what if going to happen to that magnet or flier if it is stuck on their garage door. The door is going to be all the way open before they even get close enough to see that anything was on the door. Just a thought....

So with all that said, consider going out in the evenings (or Saturdays) and knocking on doors for a couple hours. With my full time job I do this all day long. I find that after about 6pm or so people tend to be home. There are down sides to this as well but in my opinion, this is the best time to do it if you want to make contact with the person and probably going to be the time when you get the best results as well. Something that I would caution you on is, when it starts getting dark outside, STOP KNOCKING ON DOORS! When people can not see you without turning on the porch light, they do not want to have you knocking on their door. Especially not to sell a lawn mowing service. Besides, at this point you would not be able to get a good look at the yard anymore to give them a good estimate.

Just some thoughts,
Eli

cklandscapingorlando
01-04-2010, 04:47 AM
Talking to the client will always bring in more than just fliers if compared door to door. The 3 problems with this first you need to be able to talk well about what your doing on the spot. Second will be the fact that you need at least 20min per house so 3 houses an hour. The third is that around here many just wont come to the door. For larger comercial this is the only way to do it

Steve
01-04-2010, 10:38 AM
1 was my next door neighbor, 1 was a family member, the others came from 200 fliers i put in newspaper boxes and several fliers at supermarkets.

Isn't that fascinating how you got your first couple of customers through your social network? Have you talked to all your neighbors yet? Have you talked to all your local family? What about the neighbors of your current customers? Have you talked with them yet?

Harnessing these contacts will yield great results.

Keep me posted on this.

SuperiorPower
01-04-2010, 12:31 PM
Talking to the client will always bring in more than just fliers if compared door to door. The 3 problems with this first you need to be able to talk well about what your doing on the spot. Second will be the fact that you need at least 20min per house so 3 houses an hour. The third is that around here many just wont come to the door. For larger comercial this is the only way to do it

That is a good point about the amount of time that it takes but don't you think that your return rate would more than make up for it? If they don't want to answer the door or are not interested in your services it would not take 20 minutes. Besides, if you leave a hanger or whatever you are leaving, and they want to know more, then you still have to come back to this house and take the 20 minutes. I personally think that you can qualify or eliminate many customers, much quicker like this.

I do know that for me, I would almost invariably refuse to call anyone who left something on my door but did not have the guts to try to talk to me (or did not think I was worth their time). This turns me off. Perhaps other potential customers don't feel this way but I do.

Just my thoughts,
Eli

cklandscapingorlando
01-04-2010, 05:21 PM
See I'm opposite. If you walk up to talk to me I think your just looking for money. I dont even want to hear it. See the problem with people is their polite. How many people talk to the church folks for an hour and have zero intrest. Some people will cut you off from the begining like myself but others will let you talk and talk. And if you really know plant culture and bloom cycles and all that, you have to keep talking. I have no doubt you may pull more work on a 1 to 1 basis. But if you can only talk to 3 an hr thats 24 clients a day. How many of those are you gonna get. Good hangers can get up to a 2% call back. So your looking at 20-40 call backs of people that you know want to switch, and if your price is on the flier, they know the cost. Beside, to me the hangers are more than just the inetial calls. It's getting your brand in front of as many folks in one small area as you can. That way when they see top notch work, your truck, it's like word of mouth.

Now once you got the clients and can choose your houses. Your way would be my choice. You can target just the clients you want and do a sales pitch. But if your looking for alot of growth, you got to get numbers.

Steve
01-05-2010, 12:30 PM
Once you get that critical mass of clients, meaning, an amount that will keep you busy, do you find your referrals increase? Or do you find there is a need to constantly be out there going door to door and handing our door hangers due to things such as customer churn?

cklandscapingorlando
01-05-2010, 05:26 PM
If your good at what you do, have a good price for it, you should'nt have much churn. Oncce you got enough to pay the bills, then you have 2 options.

You can grow slow but only the houses you want. Do this through direct mail or knocking on the houses you want.

Or you keep throwing out 20,000 fliers a year and get big.

Steve
01-06-2010, 11:08 AM
You can grow slow but only the houses you want. Do this through direct mail or knocking on the houses you want.

Or you keep throwing out 20,000 fliers a year and get big.

Now it seems at first glance when asked, everyone will answer I want to get big, but do each of those options have pros and cons? Are there reasons why a lawn care business owner should consider one choice over another?