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View Full Version : Marketing and Let's make money


picframer
10-04-2010, 07:44 PM
We all want to make a living and make a profit.

I tend to do things that are out of the box, yes I let certain clients operate machinery, I give kids rides and a JD shirt/hat etc. I understand this is a grave concern to some, at the same time I grew up on anything from a mower to a bulldozer and perhaps I take that for granted.

The key to making money is finding what the client needs, I dropped most of our lawn mowing a couple of months ago because it no longer fit on the margin side of the business.

The majority of the posters here want to know what it takes to make money, marketing is critical and you have a host of ways to do it, door hangers may work for some, for me post cards designed for the service on a drive by work better, the best is your network, people you know, if you do a really good job for them they want to see you succeed.

I have been blessed to have almost 30 years managing, marketing, financing, this is a hobby to me, I don't do it for the money, I have fun but yes we turn a good profit or I would drop it and find something else.

Many here have excellent looking equipment, if you want the upper end it goes beyond that, spend a few dollars and fix the rust or scratch marks in your trailers or trucks, trust me as my network is the middle to upper end, they do care what is parked out front.

The Gopher software here is amazing, I used some of it and ideas that was suited for what we do.

There is so much information here in the forum, you CAN make it and you WILL if your heart is in it. I personally like getting into industries that people say I will never succeed, that is the challenge to me.

I am in a very different circumstance than most here, and that is I have a lot and I don't want to come across as being pompous, I have the capital and marketing experience to grow what my heart is into but folks the old saying it takes money to make money is true to a point it only takes a little to grow a lot.

Spend a few bucks on your image, you can have thirty grand in machinery that is state of the art, show up in a trailer that looks like it came from a junk yard and was loaded by an armature, you will never hit the clients you want I have seen one website here and it is in this field.

We all want upper end clients, I am fortunate as that is my network from previous companies, but try and offer a free job and see what happens, once you tap this you will do well.

Every client is different but if I sense they want to take part, I make damn sure they do. To me it is a win situation at the same time i understand it has everything to do with your comfort level and experience.

That is my two cents worth, any of you are welcome at any time to come here to see what we do, how we do it and if you wish training, I made my money years ago, I am on the giving end now as I love seeing people make their dreams come true.

Steve
10-05-2010, 02:17 AM
but try and offer a free job and see what happens, once you tap this you will do well.

Andy,

Can you tell us what you mean by this? How should a newer lawn care business owner use a free job to help themselves get into higher end markets?

Also, I know you mentioned vehicles and trailers looking good, but what about the employees? What is your view on that?

picframer
10-05-2010, 06:19 AM
Andy,

Can you tell us what you mean by this? How should a newer lawn care business owner use a free job to help themselves get into higher end markets?

Also, I know you mentioned vehicles and trailers looking good, but what about the employees? What is your view on that?

Steve, what I know is once you are in with this group, you are in. So how does a company get in? I am lucky because of previous industries I worked in and have the connections, especially on the woodworking side as I take on projects that few around here can tackle because of the woods.

So I was thinking how can some on here who do not have the connections get a start, fall is here so maybe just go to a home in the upper middle class or high class and say look, my name is ......, we are a company very interested in working in your area and would really appreciate business from homeowners like yourself, may I offer a free leaf clean up, if you like our work we would appreciate any referrals or perhaps you know someone that could use our services"

Tough to do YES, but there has to be a way to get into this group, it would solve so many problems for so many people on here trying to increase their profits.

I ran an excavator all day yesterday for a very wealthy couple who because of our work, increased the project by quite a few thousand, I was thinking there has to be an easy way for others to tap into this group because they pay well and very often the cost to do something is of little concern, they want to keep up with the neighbours, want something that they think no one else has, it's all ego......the main thing is they pay on time, I have no receivables and never have.

As for employees, as you know we have uniforms and the regular staff have landscaping pants however at the moment we are out of shirts for weekend staff, it doesn't send a good image IMHO.

I have a major problem this morning, as I posted earlier I bought this small company so we could do deck construction, it was a MAJOR mistake, I was on the phone with a client for an hour last night on a project they were doing that has been shut down, this is a big client, major contacts, I could do it myself with a helper and probably will have to to keep our reputation but man be careful is all I can say, I can afford the loss but this is a head ache I don't need, I might have slept three hours last night worrying, that is not good.

jklawncare
10-05-2010, 08:32 PM
what does your staff uniforms look like?

im looking into making uniforms for my staff because all weve had in the past is just billboard shirts

logo on front chest
big logo on back with contact info


i was thinking of putting a CREW image on the chest above the logo

and then the back would be like a jersey and say CREW and then have the logo and ontact info under it.

do you think its a good idea?

and maybe me wear a golf shirt or something. i will be working hard so i dont want to be uncomfortable

maybe make mine say crew leader or owner or somehting...

Hedgemaster
10-05-2010, 08:54 PM
I think it's less important what is on the "uniform" than how one presents himself as an overall package.

Look as neat as possible, be courteous to the client and his neighbors, treat his property with respect, and do good work.

If I called someone and a ratty-assed truck pulled up with a shirtless "crew" who got out cussing, spitting, and flicking cigarette butts onto the street, I'd never call them back - if I even let them start the job at all.



I like the idea of a "free" service. If done properly, it could work very well, indeed.

picframer
10-06-2010, 04:59 AM
I will take a picture today.

We have four colors of T Shirts, three are shades of Green and one a beige, Beige is a bad idea as it shows dirt so fast.

Supervisors on a grew wear a Green Golf shirt

I allow jeans but on the landscaping crews they wear a dark brown Landscapers pants

I allow shorts but for the girls not short shorts

All of our stuff comes from a place called Marks Work Warehouse, the prices are a bit high however the quality lasts.

The shirts are super simple, company logo and Oakridge Yard Care

Steve
10-06-2010, 02:13 PM
So I was thinking how can some on here who do not have the connections get a start, fall is here so maybe just go to a home in the upper middle class or high class and say look, my name is ......, we are a company very interested in working in your area and would really appreciate business from homeowners like yourself, may I offer a free leaf clean up, if you like our work we would appreciate any referrals or perhaps you know someone that could use our services"

This would no doubt get you into the good graces of those homeowners, but if this were to be done, are there other marketing methods that should be leveraged when you do this? For instance, if you were to do this, I would figure you would absolutely need to have signs on your truck or trailer to be marketing to the neighbors. But should you leave a yard sign for a week as well? Or maybe give the customer a handful of business cards? What other things in this situation should be done to help word of mouth?

I have a major problem this morning, as I posted earlier I bought this small company so we could do deck construction, it was a MAJOR mistake, I was on the phone with a client for an hour last night on a project they were doing that has been shut down

This would be a great separate post as well. Going through such an experience, what advice would you have for others looking to buy an existing business? Where do these things have a tendency to go wrong?

picframer
10-06-2010, 06:40 PM
This would no doubt get you into the good graces of those homeowners, but if this were to be done, are there other marketing methods that should be leveraged when you do this? For instance, if you were to do this, I would figure you would absolutely need to have signs on your truck or trailer to be marketing to the neighbors. But should you leave a yard sign for a week as well? Or maybe give the customer a handful of business cards? What other things in this situation should be done to help word of mouth?



This would be a great separate post as well. Going through such an experience, what advice would you have for others looking to buy an existing business? Where do these things have a tendency to go wrong?

Well I do a lot of things that I have learned from running other companies and having some pretty amazing people in marketing, sales etc. I made my money years ago as I could never afford to have the setup that I do and if one had to finance everything I have, bottom line you would not make a go of it.

Yard signs are excellent, lettered trucks and trailers are critical, uniforms send a message that you are professional, leave cards for the client to give to friends, just try a few and see what happens, we you need to tap into their network.

Issue is all this costs money so it is not going to be easy to do for many.

I can tell you when we pull in, everything looks and is professional and top of the line, they think these guys must be good if they can afford that gear, trust me I hear this feedback on a regular basis.

If you pull in with a so so truck and a rusted trailer and banged up gear, it will be the last job you do in that area, these people do care, at least where I live and work.

The other comment and separate post will come, I made a big mistake, I can fix it and it is being resolved and the developer is very pleased with my actions but it cost me some serious bucks, that is not what bothers me the most.

Steve
10-08-2010, 02:58 AM
The other comment and separate post will come, I made a big mistake, I can fix it and it is being resolved and the developer is very pleased with my actions but it cost me some serious bucks, that is not what bothers me the most.
I look forwards to it. I think there is a lot of business buying that goes on by forum members here and when things go bad, we tend to not dissect them and discuss it, so we never learn from it.