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View Full Version : New to forum - looking for ideas


alpinenaturescapes
01-29-2010, 04:00 PM
I am a 10 year veteran to the biz. I am basically solo with family employees. I started solo 8 yrs ago. The last two years, I have been holding my own, but haven't grown. In the past I have done referrer discounts, and had some clients who seemed like referring machines. I probably need to do that again. I also run a phone book ad, which this year I have expanded to 2 ads. However, last year, I was probably lucky if it paid for itself. So anyway, this year, I plan to really push at expanding biz. I plan to start aeration and fertilization in March, and will try to get add-on biz, and referrals from this. Leave a brochure about other services such as sprinkler repair, etc. I am trying to make myself a one stop shop for all landscaping needs. I am also going to try to sell some stuff through local channels.

I have spent a good bit of time on site playing with banners, graphics, calculators, etc. I like some of the flier ideas and graphics a lot. I already have a professionally designed logo, but I really appreciate the work that has been done here to help out the little guy.

I would like to expand my commercial side more. Right now we have a few businesses and home owner's associations. We could fit more in. I would like a word from anyone who has or is successfully doing this. How do you make these contacts, and get these bidding opportunities? I rarely get these calls, and then it seems it's just to get a required 3rd bid - they already have who they want, and I know some have kept who they had, even at more expense. HOAs have been good work, but it seems like their biggest budget item and concern is landscape care. It seems like there's always a new president who thinks it should be done cheaper, or with a small army of 21" mowers - you get the idea.

What growth ideas are working best for you right now? A few years ago I was even starting to turn away work, but that has definitely changed. Our area has lost a good number of the low ball fert and squirters, but I don't seem to be able to add any more clients than I am losing. Many still think my price is too high, although it is substantially below the big guys. I've had persons call with 1/2 acre lawns that seem to think I should do it for 30 or 40 bucks. They couldn't even hardly do it themselves that cheap, and they wouldn't do as good a job - that's for sure. I think a $20 dollar profit for places like this is just not going to cut it. This becomes too low after travel, and equipment expenses are figured in. I'd rather stay on site doing sprinkler repairs at 20 odd per hour.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Growth ideas and advice welcome!

Steve
01-29-2010, 10:08 PM
Welcome to our forum!

I am a 10 year veteran to the biz. I am basically solo with family employees. I started solo 8 yrs ago. The last two years, I have been holding my own, but haven't grown.

You have been in business for quite some time! This is a very interesting situation. I know a lot of us would like to think that the simple answer to growth is just to be in business for a while and customers will make their way to you. But I don't think that really ever seems to be the case. It seems more like it's a daily battle. The momentum of the marketing has to constantly be fed to keep it turning.

When you reflect on the situation now, what is your view on why there has been no growth for the past two years?

alpinenaturescapes
02-01-2010, 12:07 PM
Hi Steve - like your forum.
I am in a growing area, and I think I got complacent. I had enough work, and wasn't really ready to hire anyone else. So I just responded to calls from the phone book, and it has definitely not been enough. Late spring last year, I did volunteer to do a little lawn by our city's entrance sign in exchange for their letting me put up my own sign. I don't think I got much from that yet(could count the calls on one hand), but I'm sure the better looking lawn drew some attention to my sign.

So you're right, in this environment it is going to take more active marketing to grow - fliers everywhere, brochures, start back up the referral promotions, etc.

Steve
02-01-2010, 02:00 PM
I would like to expand my commercial side more. Right now we have a few businesses and home owner's associations. We could fit more in. I would like a word from anyone who has or is successfully doing this. How do you make these contacts, and get these bidding opportunities? I rarely get these calls, and then it seems it's just to get a required 3rd bid - they already have who they want, and I know some have kept who they had, even at more expense. HOAs have been good work, but it seems like their biggest budget item and concern is landscape care.

You have already found some success with working with HOAs. Maybe the answer your are looking for is something you are already doing, but need to do it on a larger scale?

How did you make the contacts and win the current HOA contracts that you have?