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MAllenT
06-28-2010, 01:12 PM
Anyone using classified ads?? What do you guys think of this one that I'm running starting July 1st? I'll track and post some results at the end of the July run, but in the meantime if you think I could change it & make it better please let me know.

Beat The Heat
Leave The Mowing To Us!
ABC Lawn Mowing Service
Affordable, Dependable, Insured
Residential, Commercial
FREE ESTIMATE
(XXX) XXX-XXXX

The problem with classifieds in my area is that the price goes up dramatically when you have more than 20 words in the ad, bummer. In case you've not guessed, ABC Lawn Mowing Service is not my real company name and (XXX) XXX-XXX is not my real phone number, LOL.

If you're running an ad in the classifieds post it here!!

Steve
06-29-2010, 12:47 PM
I like the ad a lot. You are using the heat as a marketing angle. Have you considered taking out the company name in the ad? I think you could take it out and people would still call. Maybe that would say you some money.

What's your thought on that?

MAllenT
06-29-2010, 07:09 PM
I like the ad a lot. You are using the heat as a marketing angle. Have you considered taking out the company name in the ad? I think you could take it out and people would still call. Maybe that would say you some money.

What's your thought on that?

I didn't think of that but now that I do I see both good and bad in it. Good is that it would save some money on the ad, but the bad part is that it would cost in lost name recognition. One of the keys to effect adverts is being consistant, keeping the name in front of the public. I'm using this same advert angle on my door hangers & flyers.

Comon guys, isn't anyone else out there using classifieds? Let's see'um!!

jymie
06-30-2010, 01:42 AM
Honestly, I have not had any real success with classifieds in print publications. Most of my responses has come from:


online free classified sites - no limit to size (craigslist, backpage, google search for others)

door to door advertising around properties I already have

existing customer referals


I have found that print advertising is becoming obsolete. Internet advertising is where its at since that is where everyone else is searching for everything. Google maps has gotten me a lot of inquiries and was the best move I have made for the business. I tripled my customer base this year alone on google maps. If I triple again next year, I will be looking into expanding my work force.
I didn't think of that but now that I do I see both good and bad in it. Good is that it would save some money on the ad, but the bad part is that it would cost in lost name recognition. One of the keys to effect adverts is being consistant, keeping the name in front of the public. I'm using this same advert angle on my door hangers & flyers.

Comon guys, isn't anyone else out there using classifieds? Let's see'um!!

Steve
06-30-2010, 01:41 PM
The thing I wonder is this.

How important is brand building when a business is small versus simply getting customers?

If extra lines cost money, is it worthwhile to save that money and use it elsewhere?

I was looking up other classified ads on here and we had a discussion on one that said

When your leaves Fall
Give us a call
555-1234
10% off fall yard cleanups by 10/15/09

Something short, sweet and to the point.

There was another discussion on it here
http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=6601

Here is another potential classified ad from my blog discussion.

How a lawn care business should write a classified ad. (http://lawnchat.com/?p=1829)

FREE LAWN MOWING
I will mow your lawn for free.
Find out how! Call now!!
xxx-xxx-xxxx

Free always seems to be the key word in advertising that stops a reader dead in their tracks. If you ran an ad like this, you would most certainly get more calls than the one above. With this ad you could have a promotion where if a lawn care customer signed up with you for an annual contract, they could get 1 or 2 free mowings throughout the year.

The customer would benefit because they would be getting something they could use for free. You would benefit because you would get a lawn care customer that would generate revenue all year long.

MAllenT
07-01-2010, 02:37 AM
I like them both & I'm sure they will both work.

Steve
07-01-2010, 01:37 PM
I am glad you liked them. I wanted to throw a few more ideas out there. Keep us posted on how your ad works out. I love hearing the updates.

MAllenT
07-01-2010, 04:46 PM
Steve I have a question for you about the mow for free ad. This ad invites the reader to call and find out how to get the lawn mowed for free, so what do you say to the caller? Seems like it would be inportant to say something that gets you to the property so that you can give an estimate, right? So what would you say? I'll be the prospective customer,

"Hi, I was calling about the ad in the paper that says I can get my lawn mowed for free. How can I do that?"

Steve
07-02-2010, 12:48 PM
How about something like this?

Hello, can I get your address so I can see if you live within my service area?

Great you do. What time would be best for me to stop by and give you an estimate? I offer two free lawn cuts throughout the year when you have me service your property.

MAllenT
07-02-2010, 09:15 PM
I tested the ad and it works. I got a call on it today and am meeting with the client tomorrow to look over the lawn. This one called on the ad because her mower is broke, her husband is working a lot of overtime and does not want to mow anyway. She said the lawn is a bit out of control and is fairly overgrown. We'll see what happens but so far so good!

lukus223
07-03-2010, 12:26 AM
Never had luck with the paper. All of my non-referral leads have come from google maps, google adwords and my websit.

A little CL here and there, but they are mostly crap leads

cleancutlawncare5382
07-03-2010, 07:30 AM
I bet you could use “free lawn mowing” in a flyer or door hanger too.

Steve
07-03-2010, 02:21 PM
I tested the ad and it works. I got a call on it today and am meeting with the client tomorrow to look over the lawn. This one called on the ad because her mower is broke, her husband is working a lot of overtime and does not want to mow anyway. She said the lawn is a bit out of control and is fairly overgrown. We'll see what happens but so far so good!

That is great! I bet you will be getting more calls.

I bet you could use “free lawn mowing” in a flyer or door hanger too.

Absolutely! If you are already giving a free cut or two away why not promote the heck out of it?

MAllenT
07-03-2010, 07:17 PM
Went to look at the property & meet the prospective client. The lawn was just over an acre in size and had not been mowed in a very long time. Excuses ranged from having two non-working mowers to the husband putting in massive amounts of over time at his job. Some of the grass in the back was taller than I, & I'm 6 foot tall.

I explained that I was going to have to put a brush blade on my Stihl 110R and knock all the tall stuff down before I could mow the lawn the first time. This place was way way over grown! Told them that would take most of an entire day. After that I would mow it once per week and would give them the first service in August, and the first in September for free.

For pricing I told them $300 for the initial clean up and mowing, $55 per week after that. They asked when I could get to it and I told them on Thursday. They said they would have to look at their finances and get back to me. I harbor little hope, but at least the ad got me in front of a potential customer.

lukus223
07-04-2010, 10:53 AM
Went to look at the property & meet the prospective client. The lawn was just over an acre in size and had not been mowed in a very long time. Excuses ranged from having two non-working mowers to the husband putting in massive amounts of over time at his job. Some of the grass in the back was taller than I, & I'm 6 foot tall.

I explained that I was going to have to put a brush blade on my Stihl 110R and knock all the tall stuff down before I could mow the lawn the first time. This place was way way over grown! Told them that would take most of an entire day. After that I would mow it once per week and would give them the first service in August, and the first in September for free.

For pricing I told them $300 for the initial clean up and mowing, $55 per week after that. They asked when I could get to it and I told them on Thursday. They said they would have to look at their finances and get back to me. I harbor little hope, but at least the ad got me in front of a potential customer.

You never know! I still go to each and every lead we get. We have never turned anyone away as sometimes we didn't get the job, but got a referral. Sometimes I have quoted a clean up very high and never expected a call back and they do.

I try to think of each bid as a marketing visit. I would like to get the job, but making a good impression, being professional and very personable are more important. I've gotten referrals from something that I never worked for and just gave them a bid 6 monthes ago!

MAllenT
07-05-2010, 05:02 PM
YIPPEE!! It worked!! I just got a call from the client accepting my offer. $300 for the initial clean up and $55 a week for normal mowing service. Considering the remaining mowing season in my area this single ad and resulting client makes me about $1000. AWESOME!!

Thanks Steve & everyone!

Steve
07-06-2010, 01:25 PM
That is awesome! You should take a before and after picture of the property. I can only imagine how it must look.

Keep us posted too on how long it takes!

MAllenT
07-06-2010, 11:30 PM
Oh Yea, I can't wait to take some photos of this place and post them here. Some of the grass is taller than I & I think there is probably at least two hours of running my 110R trimmer with a brush blade on it before I can mow the back. So I'll post before and after photos.

One thing is for certain, the folks that live around this property are sure going to be happy to see me out there cleaning it up. I have an order of door hangers that are going to arrive the day I'm doing this job. I doubt I'll have the time or energy to get any of them hung around that area that day, but maybe the following day.

Steve
07-07-2010, 12:15 PM
I bet before and after pics of this property could be great marketing tools as well!

MAllenT
07-07-2010, 05:00 PM
Well, the weather is not cooperating. So I had to get over there this morning and try to get the front done, this is the easy part. If the weather holds I'll get the back done tomorrow, which is the hard part. I took some before and after photos of the front, actually I took a bunch of photos and made quick, down and dirty mosaics of before and after.

I started by using my Stihl 110R to knock down all the tall johnson grass on the front lawn which was about 2 foot tall. Then I mowed with the deck all the way up & knocked it down more. Finished up mowing it a second time to 3 1/4 inches. The Hustler performed like a champ, there is a lot of fine grass clippings spread out over the lawn, but when I mow it again next week the mower will turn it all to dust I hope. After that I trimmed the bottom branches and suckers off of the three trees so that I could mow around them, then I trimmed up that big bush up by the front door.

Edging the sidewalk in front of the house was a real trick! The walkway was only about 8 inches or so wide as the grass had grown onto the walkway from both sides. So I use the line trimmer on it's edge to cut strips of grass carpet. Turns out the walkway is actually normal in size, bout 3 foot wide or so.

The flower/hedge bed to the right of the porch, as it turns out, is not mulched or anything. It is edged with bricks and 3 boxwoods are planted in there, but that's it. I went ahead and trimmed the grass down in the bed some but will talk to the client about this, maybe I can talk them into installing a real bed in there and I can make some extra money for the install.

So, that's about it. Blew everything off, loaded up, & was gone. More before and after photos when I do the back, hope to do it tomorrow. In the after photo look at the left side of the house where the side yard is. See that grass that's almost as tall as the front window? That's typical of what's in the back waiting for me. I'm going to install a brush blade on the 110R line trimmer & knock it all down before I mow.

Steve
07-08-2010, 10:50 PM
That is a great job with the mosaic!

What is the size of the property?

Also, how long did you initially think the job would take and what did it take in total when you were completed?

Each job can be such a learning lesson and I think this one will teach a lot as well.

Keep us posted on how the upsells go! I bet they go for them.

MAllenT
07-09-2010, 12:07 AM
All done with the clean up, did the back today. Total time was about 6 hours. In the back I used my line trimmer with a brush blade to mow down all the tall johnson grass then mowed down everything with my deck all the way up. Before I left the property today I was handed a check for $465, that's $300 for the clean up and $55 x 3 for the first 3 weekly mowings. The customer is very happy! I took before photos of the back, will post that with the after photos when I get them next week, started raining as I was finishing up today so didn't get to take them.

One lesson I learned today. I wanted to pick up and haul away all the tall johnson grass that I cut down. I spread out a big tarp and started loading it on, but after the second arm load I realized that I was covered in spiders! Stopped doing that and just mowed it all under. I hope by the 3rd mowing it's all turned to dust. Another lesson I learned, don't take the customers word for what's in the back yard that I could possibly hit with a mower, lol. They told me there were 2 stumps back there. What I found was 2 stumps, a rock fire pit, 4 railroad ties, and a small pile of bricks. Luckily I found all of this while chopping down the big stuff.... o'yea, and 2 basketballs, oddly enough there is no BBall hoop on the property.

While working there in the back a neighbor walked up and asked me to stop by when I was done. Turns out he's 74 and can still ride his JD riding lawn mower but has trouble edging, trimming, and keeping his hedge in shape. In the end I'll be spending about 4 hours a month at his place at $40 an hour.

I keep asking myself if I charged enough ($300) for the clean up. I think so I guess, I mean I got a new paying customer at $55 a week for the rest of the season and another new customer at $160 a month or so and it won't be long before he won't want to mow anymore and if I do a good job for him now I'll probably get that lawn account as well.

My customer is really happy! She was amazed at the clean, wide, & nicely edged walkway in front of the house. I think the thing that has her really happy is having a mowed lawn rather than a hay field, I know her neighbors are happy about that for sure!

Steve
07-09-2010, 07:50 PM
I keep asking myself if I charged enough ($300) for the clean up. I think so I guess, I mean I got a new paying customer at $55 a week for the rest of the season and another new customer at $160 a month or so

Well as you sit there now thinking about it, what range do you feel you would have been more comfortable charging for that clean up?

I know her neighbors are happy about that for sure!

Will you be marketing to all the neighbors there now too? Do you feel like you will be able to pick more of them up?

Would a flyer that shows a before and after pic and the address help you get more neighbors?