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Pardue
02-13-2010, 11:46 PM
Hi! I own a full service landscape installation and irrigation company near Birmingham, AL. I have been in business for 13 years and have a commercial construction background before starting my landscape business. Due to the state of the economy and lack of new construction, we have expanded to service our customers in the lawn maintenance business. We never had time for maintenance other than a few long time contracts, but find a growing need to diversify. I am glad to be a part of this forum and hope I may be of some help to others as well as get some much needed info.

Steve
02-14-2010, 07:21 AM
Welcome to our forum!

Before you did maintenance, and had those weekly repeat customers, did you find it difficult to reach out to new potential customers?

Pardue
02-15-2010, 12:26 AM
We actually didn't have any trouble getting new customers. We did so many new construction installations and had contact with large amounts of new homeowners. Word of mouth kept us extremely busy with "back yard" work for homeowners and our builders were throwing houses up as fast as they could. We averaged 5 new construction installs a week. Throw in 2 or 3 homeowner jobs and we had all we could handle. Unfortunately those days are long gone. I find myself wishing we had taken on more maintenance back then but we really didn't need it or have the time.

Steve
02-15-2010, 07:14 AM
Oh that is very interesting!

What kinds of marketing plans do you have to reach out to all these new potential customers in the Spring?

Pardue
02-16-2010, 09:52 AM
I am struggling somewhat with the marketing effort. I have been hitting commercial properties pretty hard already but find that most of them have existing contracts or their own maintenance crews. I have landed 4 year contracts and have a lot of places left to hit. I am concentrating this week for instance on apartment complexes.
On the residential side, I am going to do 2000 door hangers now and again in two to three weeks. I am also in the process of setting up a website and Google Ad Words. We are running an ad in a local paper that targets 24000 households in the general area with an average household income of $125000 as well as some small ads in the bigger county papers. I hope all these things ad up to some good returns.

ProCut TM
02-16-2010, 04:47 PM
Welcome to the site and good luck in 2010

If you still have all the addresses for the jobs you did, I would send them all letters with information on the services you now offer. These people already know and trust you getting their business should be a snap.

Pardue
02-17-2010, 12:09 AM
Thanks for the advice. I will definetely do that immediately. I did however have some success today. I fell back on the "not what you know but who you know theory" and went to see a friend who became Mayor of the city I grew up in, which is about 20 minutes away. They recently had a grant to put in new sidewalks around the city which doubled their maintenance work load. They also have a park with ball fields and lots of other amenities as well as some common areas around the city and a cemetery. To make a long story short, I picked up half there lawn maintenance work and a doctors office today. Good day!!!! Hope it continues.

Steve
02-17-2010, 10:15 AM
That is fantastic!

How did you land the doctor's office?

Have you thought of other people you know and could contact that could help you?

Pardue
02-18-2010, 12:19 AM
The doctor's office is where my parents go. They put in a word for me and I went by and talked to them and sold a landscape install for some shrubs and trees as well as the lawn maintenance. I am going to ride this wave of friends that can help until it runs out. It always helps to know someone. I sold two more annual contracts on residential yards and a complete demo and new sod job today also. I think things are starting to pick up with Spring right around the corner.

Steve
02-18-2010, 08:42 AM
When you get a job like this at the doctor's office are you able to use it as a launching pad to get more customers in that immediate area? Do you talk to neighbors or mail them something or even put a lawn sign up for a short time?

What about put a business card holder in the waiting room for the patients?

Pardue
02-19-2010, 12:28 AM
I have already put cards in the waiting room. I also think people in the area are starting to notice our work just from seeing my crew around town. I have had a lot of inquiries this week just from word of mouth. I also have my website 90% complete as well as Google Adwords. I have picked up 8 new year contracts in the last two weeks, so I feel pretty good about getting to where I need to be by the end of March. Is anyone else noticing a spike in interest lately? I am relatively new at trying to get maintenance contracts, so I don't know if this is the norm or not.

Steve
02-19-2010, 09:53 AM
Are you keeping track of where new customers who call had initially heard of you from? That could help you figure out which of your marketing is working and which aren't.

Pardue
02-20-2010, 07:03 PM
Absolutely. We right down the name, city, and where they heard about us on every call. We had a business some years ago that we did some radio ads on a popular morning show. It was very expensive but paid off more than our other cheap ads. So we found that cheap is not always best, however I still find myself trying cheap first!

JP Landscaping
02-20-2010, 09:24 PM
some of us here are starting out. How were your first two years of running your won business? did you start full-time alone or with a partner? What did you do to get your first customers?

so many questions for us newbies

ProCut TM
02-20-2010, 10:46 PM
some of us here are starting out. How were your first two years of running your won business? did you start full-time alone or with a partner? What did you do to get your first customers?

so many questions for us newbies

I started out solo, part time (March-June), and went full time mid season (July). I was making decent money after 1.5 years. The 2 year mark gave me a nice jump, I bought out another companies accounts and also got a bunch of new ones on my own right after that.

Yard Elements
02-20-2010, 11:38 PM
Absolutely. We right down the name, city, and where they heard about us on every call. We had a business some years ago that we did some radio ads on a popular morning show. It was very expensive but paid off more than our other cheap ads. So we found that cheap is not always best, however I still find myself trying cheap first!

The best marketing is word of mouth we all know that the most over looked marketing tools in business are the simple things , like keeping your truck clean, keeping the mower looking fresh. Advertising is only 1/100th of marketing.

It is also 10 times easier to up sell to an existing client then to sell to a new one.

Read Guerrilla Marketing and Guerrilla Marketing for FREE it's great!

Steve
02-21-2010, 10:55 AM
We had a business some years ago that we did some radio ads on a popular morning show.

What kind of business was it?