PDA

View Full Version : New to the business


LawnSculptors
02-03-2011, 04:12 PM
Hello everyone! I have been working the past couple of months to make this Spring my first season in business. I have most of my equipment, a truck, and have been making headway with marketing infrastructure. I designed my own logo, and have a website up (http://www.LawnSculptorsDSM.com - Please tell me what you think of it), and most of my paperwork in order, with the rest soon to follow.

I have been a quiet observer thus far, and wanted to thank all of you for the information provided on this site, it has been a tremendous help. I'm sure I will have some questions in the coming months, and I also look forward to sharing my experiences to help others...unless they operate in Des Moines as well :D

Steve
02-04-2011, 06:46 AM
Welcome to our forum!

I like your website a lot! Good job on it!

What got you interested in starting your own business and what issues have you had to deal with so far getting it all up and running?

LawnSculptors
02-04-2011, 11:31 PM
Hey thanks Steve! I still have a lot of content to add to the site, but I'm still proud of it thus far. By the end of next week all of the items listed on the services page will be linked to pages describing the features and benefits in depth, and explaining why we are right for the job. Between that, the Customer Comments page, and the Lawn Tips blog page, I hope to get customers and prospective customers interacting with the site on a regular basis. Your YouTube video on SEO (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UzUBQVX-RQ) was very informative as always for further helping me climb the search results ladder. Using your tips and a few others, I went from like pg. 3 for "lawn sculptors" to the #4 result, and from pg. 2 for "lawn sculptors des moines" to the #1 result. Not too bad for a brand new site with hardly any backlinks. Once I hit my goal of #1 for "lawn sculptors" and at least page 2 of "lawn care des moines", I'll help out some of the other SEO noobs here in your forums.

I have been in the lawn industry, in one form or another, for over 5 years now. My business partner did sales and some spraying in the lawn industry for almost as long. We're tired of seeing our talents squandered and our ambition overlooked, so starting our own company seemed like the logical thing to do.

So far everything has been fairly smooth, considering our commitment to not take out any loans. Sure, it will be a humble start, but we won't have to worry about getting into binds when the unpredictable Iowa weather keeps us from making revenue goals, as it often will. Right now we're deciding on a walk-behind mower, the belt-drive eXmark 36, and Cub Cadet 33 are the two we're looking at heavily. I've never really been a Cub guy, but for only $1,150 I'll give it a fair test drive!

Steve
02-05-2011, 06:18 AM
You got a lot going on!

What is your marketing plan now as we roll into spring? A lot of new lawn care business owners seem to be lost when it comes to this. With the experience you all have had, I would guess you got plans to hit the ground running.

LawnSculptors
02-06-2011, 01:08 PM
You got a lot going on!

What is your marketing plan now as we roll into spring? A lot of new lawn care business owners seem to be lost when it comes to this. With the experience you all have had, I would guess you got plans to hit the ground running.

You guessed right, marketing is a huge focus for us. First off, every time it snows we are pounding the pavement for residential snow contracts, handing out business cards and collecting contact information as we go so we'll have hot leads to call in the pre-season. We got a late start and have been riddled with equipment problems, but I feel good about converting the snow customers we do have to mowing and/or lawn app customers.

We're obviously going to run ads on Craigslist, have a Facebook page set up, and a Twitter feed, and we're looking into a few other local free or cheap advertising options. My business partner, Jon, did about half door-to-door lawn app sales, half cold calling residences, so we are also looking into purchasing calling lists, and have already registered to obtain the national do-not-call list. The lists are pretty pricey, so we may be holding off on that for a while.

Other than that, we're going to knock on doors all season while using Google Earth to diligently keep track of houses that say no, houses we haven't successfully contacted yet, and where we have dropped off flyers. Areas around current customers will be the highest area of focus, but we're fortunate enough to live in an area of 550,000 people, so we will have plenty of prospects to keep us busy and expanding.

For upsales, one idea we had is to give mowing-only customers two coupons for $5 off any non-mowing service, and two coupons for $5 off any non-app service for app-only customers.

jymie
02-06-2011, 02:34 PM
FWIW, nice looking site. I viewed your souce for html and I could not find any meta keywords in it. Not sure how search engines would be able to rank you without them. Maybe I missed something?

Steve
02-07-2011, 07:43 AM
we're going to knock on doors all season while using Google Earth to diligently keep track of houses that say no, houses we haven't successfully contacted yet, and where we have dropped off flyers.

When you keep track of such information, why is it important to know who said no? Is that so you can visit them again? Or do you then try to avoid them in the future?

I'll help out some of the other SEO noobs here in your forums.

Also, I'd love to hear some of your seo advise as well.

LawnSculptors
02-07-2011, 11:08 AM
FWIW, nice looking site. I viewed your souce for html and I could not find any meta keywords in it. Not sure how search engines would be able to rank you without them. Maybe I missed something?

Meta tags are pretty much obsolete, so there isn't much point in adding them. All you have to do is get an XML sitemap to the big three and you're good to go.

LawnSculptors
02-07-2011, 01:11 PM
When you keep track of such information, why is it important to know who said no? Is that so you can visit them again? Or do you then try to avoid them in the future?

If someone gives us a very firm "no", we won't bother them again that season. We're looking to gradually build our brand and reputation positively, without the pushy, annoying stigma attached to a certain major lawn care company we both used to work for.

Also, I'd love to hear some of your seo advise as well.

I don't really have to much to share, as I'm still learning myself. I know crosslinking and backlinks are very important. I plan to crosslink all over the place once I have all of the site content finished. I've been told linking in a loop raises your Pagerank significantly (example: page 1 **> page 2 **> page 3 **> page 1) so I will certainly be using that method with all of my top-level pages. Backlinks are something I'm a little stuck on. I've manually listed my site with Google Maps, Local.com, ExpressUpdateUSA (InfoUSA; MapQuest), Yahoo Local Search, YellowPages.com, CitySearch, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Bing Local, DMOZ (AOL, various), and Merchant Circle mostly for backlinks, but I still feel like I'm lacking. Does your forum allow signatures with links? :D

Steve
02-09-2011, 08:25 AM
Sure you can have a signature in your post.