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View Full Version : Panic or not to Panic, that is the question....


CanadayLandscaping
02-17-2011, 10:45 PM
This may be a long post, so bear with me.

I live in North Carolina, a recent transplant from Maryland. I am a truck driver by trade, and have gotten to the point where I can't stand my job, and it's taking a toll in all facets of my life.

Since truck driving is the only "trade" I know, my wife and I sat down to discuss options. For years I have always entertained the idea of a Lawn Care company, but never followed through. I have many friends back in Maryland that did this for a living, and they always seemed happy. I love working in my yard (12 acres), and take pride it how it looks.

September of 2010, I decided, THAT'S IT!!! I have had enough of busting my rear for someone else, hating it, and getting nowhere fast. The only way to be happy is to make yourself happy....... right? That was when Canaday Lawn Care was born.

I wanted to do things legit, professional...... the right way. My neighbor across the street does it, and he is doing very, very well.

Now I am starting to panic though. Last year, granted I started very late in the season, total jobs done, 1 (pressure washing), total bids given for the 2011 season, 1 (still don't know if I got it), other then that I received no calls.

Now I am trying to stay positive for this season, handed out flyers, craigslist, Facebook, business cards, truck is lettered, t-shirts are made, insurance is paid, equipment is prepped. So far, nothing, nada, no calls.

I know Steve advocates friends and family, but since I am new to the area, I don't really have that option. My neighbor does really no advertising, and is all word of mouth. I think he is a little ill about me starting up, and doesn't really talk business to me. I thought I had one job for this year at a local convenience store, but some damn teenagers told the guy they'd cut it for $15 bucks, that won't even cover the gas.

I get so mad I could scream. I need some words of advice, encouragement and I need some just plain old HELP!!!:eek:

Growing Green
02-17-2011, 11:08 PM
How big is the city you live in? I can't believe you haven't received any calls yet. I have received most of mine from craigslist. Do you have a website? That is key if you don't. I'm noticing that my customers see my ad on CL then they click on the website link and they learn more about me. What are you doing to seperate yourself from other lawn care business'?

For example, I don't care if people charge cheap prices. If those customers only want cheap then they can have the illegal companies and the kids mowing for $10 an acre. I do quality work and I charge for it. I only want customers who care about their lawns. I also offer only organic products. That could make yours standout as well.

Hang in there and keep passing out business cards. Have you thought about volunteering so that you can build more connections? To be honest I moved to Austin 8 months ago without knowing anyone, but thank God I'm still getting calls. Not a whole bunch, but business is really picking up.

Matt

CanadayLandscaping
02-17-2011, 11:43 PM
I do have a website (canadaylawncare.com), I have it listed in my craigslist add (as a click-able link). I am hoping that it's still early in the season, and hoping I will start getting some calls soon. But the silence of my phone, and the emptiness of my inbox are killing me.

On Craigslist, what do you list your add under? Mine is under service provided. I am thinking of taking an add out in the local free paper. They charge $45 for 5 weeks.

I am surrounded by many populated cities, but I just can't seem to catch a break.

jymie
02-17-2011, 11:49 PM
I do have a website (canadaylawncare.com), I have it listed in my craigslist add (as a click-able link). I am hoping that it's still early in the season, and hoping I will start getting some calls soon. But the silence of my phone, and the emptiness of my inbox are killing me.

On Craigslist, what do you list your add under? Mine is under service provided. I am thinking of taking an add out in the local free paper. They charge $45 for 5 weeks.

I am surrounded by many populated cities, but I just can't seem to catch a break.


Farm and garden

Household


Under the services area.

wandfsmall
02-17-2011, 11:57 PM
a few pieces of advice... first off get the picture of you on a tractor off, use a logo or something else if you do not have a ztr. But a tractor will make a customer think you will take a lot longer and charge too much. Second remove the page counter on your site, the count is low enough it looks like nobody ever goes to your site. Nobody wants to be your first customer. third remove the part about being new in the area. Makes it look like you are either running from something, or just starting in the biz. NEVER lie, your customers will find out but do not stress your bad points before they see your good ones.

CanadayLandscaping
02-18-2011, 12:05 AM
it irritates me when my wife is right, she made many of those points. I had the picture of the tractor on there from last year cause I was pushing the bush hogging aspect at that time. Will change to either a logo or maybe my pickup.

wandfsmall
02-18-2011, 12:13 AM
it irritates me when my wife is right, she made many of those points. I had the picture of the tractor on there from last year cause I was pushing the bush hogging aspect at that time. Will change to either a logo or maybe my pickup.

I hope I did not offend you, I just started a new location in a new town myself and spent a lot of time explaining to customers why I was here and how I was qualified.

And trust me always listen to the wife, I am not married but the girl I am going to marry is helping me with my business advertising. Most of the time she is right, but I will never admit it to her.

CanadayLandscaping
02-18-2011, 12:23 AM
I hope I did not offend you

No problem, trust me, it's hard to offend me right now. I am sincerely looking for help to get this started, and hopefully one day call this my career and not a hobby. I am willing to take any and all criticism, especially if it's helpful. Sometimes it takes someone looking from the outside in, to see the bigger picture and flaws. I really appreciate the insight. I hope tomorrow, this thread is loaded with suggestions and help from all of you more experienced guys (and gals).

LawnMoore
02-18-2011, 01:05 AM
Im in the same exact boat as you! Started Lawn Care late last year! However i have been established in tree removal for 6 years and thats how i can keep alive.. about the only way tbh.

However i have been stirring up the forum in hopes of everyones ideas coming out more refined than they were over the winter responses, and hopefully you will see some of those.

My best advice i can give, is stay positive, and go to church, when a pastor calls you out for being new to there church and telling your name, take it wisely and say hello everyone, give name, and that you and family moved from "old place" and are now here, and need to gain new clients for your business!

Be short tho dont make it out like your advertising, merely asking for help only, or telling a little about you.

and it might not happen on the first church go or that church at all.

Hopefully after the service, somone might ask you for more info or to come take a look at something they have!

Hedgemaster
02-18-2011, 01:06 AM
I'm sweating too. I started "legally" at the end of the season, and winter has been so mild that I can't even make a buck doing snow removal. Add that all up and I don't have any money left for "real" advertising. At least you have a web page. I just got hosting the other day, but no site yet.


I also went to look at your site. Here are a few comments. Take them as you see fit.

As mentioned previously - remove the "new to the area".
Replace "We are currently looking for new clients to serve" with "We are currently accepting new clients". ("looking for" sounds desperate)
I've reworded the following...

Our company was founded on the principals of offering quality lawn care at a quality price, while looking and acting professional.
We are a professional company founded on the principals of offering quality lawn care at a reasonable price. (If you don't like "reasonable, change it, but "quality" isn't a way to describe pricing - Also, "ACTING professional" sounds like you ARE just "acting" - don't "act" - BE professional) )

Our crews will show up wearing company uniforms, and driving a marked service vehicle.
Our crews will arrive at your home in a marked service vehicle and will be dressed in company uniforms.

On the "services" page: Remove "If Canaday Lawn Care can help you out,"
You don't want to help plant "negatives" in their mind before you even get them to contact you. The bottom part about offering assistance if you can't help is GREAT - it's a "positive".

On the contact page, is there a way to include your phone number?
I know you have it on the main page, but it's easily overlooked, and personally, I ALWAYS look for a "contact us" button to get phone and address info.


Hope that is of some help!

Growing Green
02-18-2011, 01:12 PM
it irritates me when my wife is right, she made many of those points. I had the picture of the tractor on there from last year cause I was pushing the bush hogging aspect at that time. Will change to either a logo or maybe my pickup.

I started cracking up when I read this. It is the same for me. My wife tells me to do something and I'm like nah that won't work. Sure enough a week later I'm doing it. Darn those women. Don't tell them they are right though. ;-)

Matt

950thomas
02-18-2011, 02:24 PM
If u haven't done it yet I would pass out a thousand fliers

Steve
02-18-2011, 05:06 PM
I wanted to do things legit, professional...... the right way. My neighbor across the street does it, and he is doing very, very well.

Have you been keeping an eye out for how your neighbor is marketing? Are there anythings he is doing that you could be doing now too?

950thomas
02-18-2011, 06:59 PM
when i first started out i did a lot of cold calling i would call small commercial clients an knock on every door that looked like it needed mowed half of this biz is relationships and beeing at the right place at the right time your not in the landscape busisness your in a the people busisness anyone can mow grass but that is a very small part of this busisness follow up is a huge part and staying in front of people i get more busisness from other companys because they dont talk to property managers and it is not they do a bad job but everyone wants to feel important i meet my customers my self not my managers good luck to u i remember what it was like to be wear u are it is hard but hang in there it gets eaiser with time

nnyparts
02-20-2011, 06:32 AM
Ok...so you relocated and want to start a business there. My best advice is to go door to door if its in a rural area. The majority still mow their own grass...but with people working longer hours and less time to do it...there is still an opening.

Offer to do a few for gas money or free if need be with a portable sign out front for people to see with the right contact information to get a hold of you. Most will not interrupt you while on the job. If they like what they see you doing...you will start to get some calls.

Were in sales and the majority of our new sales come from word of mouth referrals from happy customers. I would assume its the same way in your business. If you make sure before you leave that the customer is completely satisfied with your work...ask if there is anything else you can do before you move to the next...you will have a happy client.

Golftrick17
02-21-2011, 09:32 PM
I think you are still a bit early in NC. I am in Nashville and not many people are really getting out of there house much. I will do a test run of door hangers later this week to see if I get any response.

CanadayLandscaping
02-21-2011, 09:45 PM
I'm not getting anything off of Craigslist. I'm going to keep using it. I think next, I am going to run a 5 week ad in the local free paper. I figured 5 weeks will take me through the end of march.

Steve
02-23-2011, 03:03 PM
I'm not getting anything off of Craigslist. I'm going to keep using it. I think next, I am going to run a 5 week ad in the local free paper. I figured 5 weeks will take me through the end of march.

What are you running on craigslist now? Are these services needed right now or is it all advertising for spring lawn care services?

CanadayLandscaping
02-23-2011, 10:24 PM
I did one of those "fancier" image adds that I learned about in someone else post on here, I included all the major keywords. I kinda just listed everything I can do.

Steve
02-25-2011, 01:36 PM
Will you be utilizing any other marketing techniques with the season coming up now? Possibly going door to door?

CanadayLandscaping
03-04-2011, 12:03 AM
I placed an ad earlier in the week, in a very popular "free" community paper. Although, Craigslist seems to be a bust for me so far, I will continue to utilize it. The ad I placed hit the paper today, and will run for the next 5 weeks. Since this morning, my website has gotten 18 hits, and 2 request for lawn estimates. Maybe my luck is finally starting to turn? Will keep all you guys posted as to what is happening.

Wayne

Steve
03-04-2011, 02:53 AM
Good job Wayne on experimenting and tracking the ad.

Can you tell us how you worded it? Might you experiment further with the wording in the future? Was there some kind of offer?

CanadayLandscaping
03-04-2011, 09:01 AM
The ad really was nothing fancy. My wife and discussed the cost of it, weighing whether it was worth it or not. It's an ad in the business service directory which is fancier then say a classified ad. It has my logo, info, a few services that I offer, and contact info. I have listed in it "discounts available". I have writen down a list of discounts I offer and carry it with me as a cheat card, that way I won't forget any when someone calls. I am praying for good results from this.

Steve
03-05-2011, 06:30 PM
Are there many other competitors in that section of the paper? How do you feel your ad design did to stand out compared to others?

CanadayLandscaping
03-06-2011, 09:14 PM
Believe it or not, I was the only "lawn care" guy in that section. There were 2 other guys in the classified section, but they didn't stand out like my ad did. I did an estimate on Saturday. I was expecting to give the estimate and my card and sit by the phone. However, while I was explaining the estimate to the "potential" client, I asked if he had any questions. He nodded and said when can you start? Not only did I walk away with a signed contract, but 2 up sells! I know one contract doesn't mean much to the guys that have 15 or 30, but I am stoked and ready for more!

Steve
03-06-2011, 10:25 PM
Yes that is excellent. Next you can market to the neighbors of this new customer and branch out further!

Great job!

Keep us posted on how things go.

Southern Oasis
04-15-2011, 11:16 PM
I did one of those "fancier" image adds that I learned about in someone else post on here, I included all the major keywords. I kinda just listed everything I can do.
Can you elaborate on this for all of us who didn't see the other post you spoke of? I would love to learn of anything to help my ad stand out on craigslist.org.