View Full Version : This is My First Year And...

04-18-2011, 06:41 PM
I dont know where to start. I can't seem to start working. I need customers and have no idea how to solicit them. Any ideas? I need help asap.

04-18-2011, 08:17 PM
ask you family and friends thats a great start but they seem to want a discount of course also make flyers and hang them up and pass them out i hung up two flyers and got three calls not too bad also my girlfriends step dad owns a roofing company and he was out on a bid and a lady asked if they do power washing and he said no then got home and thought of me and called me and told me about it so i called her went by gave her a bid and got the job i bid it for 200 dollars and shes happy with the price so word of mouth is a big way to get jobs as well you can come up with a discount rate to where if one of your customers refers another customer and they sign a year contract you give them like 10% off also you will get ALOT of great advice from this website trust me theres alot of great knowledge and good people willing to share on here you should also look into doing the lawn business school as well i have already learned alot from it and its free a great program that Steve set up.

04-19-2011, 11:00 AM
Try using craigslist using some kind of flyer with pics in your ad. there a post about craigslist ads on here i just saw. It works great for me. I dont even need to pay for advertising anymore.
Between craigslist, word of mouth, and people stopping me while i'm working to ask for bids I do pretty good...

04-19-2011, 07:47 PM
Welcome to our forum!

What kinds of things have you been doing so far to attract customers?

04-20-2011, 01:08 AM
You cant go wrong CL. I got a job for almost $1000 off CL. Its also turned into putting in a french drain at a different property for the same customer.
The neighbor was so impressed with the work I was doing to day he came over after he got home from work and told us he wants us to put it a retaining wall and some other work that will easily bring in some good profit.
All thanks to Craigslist which is free - and good old fashioned, hard, work....

04-20-2011, 02:12 PM
I have been posting on craigslist, i even put out a few hundred door hangers. the problem is i get estimates and no jobs. Its not that I am over pricing the jobs because i am giving cheap estimates to get them. I cant figure it out but this is my first year.

04-20-2011, 02:33 PM
I have been posting on craigslist, i even put out a few hundred door hangers. the problem is i get estimates and no jobs. Its not that I am over pricing the jobs because i am giving cheap estimates to get them. I cant figure it out but this is my first year.

I know I am going to contradict myself here but estimating really is a science. #1 dont EVER sell yourself short just to get a job. You are better off staying home then working for free. 2nd your prices in fact may be just to high. I found this out the hard way, its different for every area. Follow up with the people who you gave bids to and find out if it was the price or something ells causing you not to get the job, if it is the price start asking them what their threshold of pain is as far as property maintenance goes. By doing this you can get a fairly good round about figure of what is and is not to much and start bidding right around that level. I still grit my teeth when I give numbers to someone but I am finding the more and more I massage my prices to my local area and economy the more jobs I pick up. I do however turn jobs down from cheap people who want it dont for free, Talk to your people, most people would love to help out a local start up, I bet just about anything they are actually waiting for you to follow up on it. Dont wait for them to tell you why they didn't call, get on the phone, send a letter, knock on the front door, do what you have to and find out why they didn't pick you then massage what you are doing to fit that.

04-21-2011, 12:15 AM
Make sure your prices arent to low or thats a turn off for customers to. I had a guy call me for a estimate and he was telling me how he received estimates from 90 to 350. He said to me 90 yeah right - way to cheap and who knows what kind of work he'd get for that and the 350 to high.
So its a good idea to talk to your customers and see why they didnt accept so you can find out whats going on.
Or they could be to high...
Make sure you are confident to when you talk to them.

04-25-2011, 01:35 PM
I feel your pain with the difficult times of trying to established a good customer base. Almost embaressing to give the number of accounts I have landed so far. It is very tuff. I am just staying positive. This is the first lawn care season for my small company. The winter was not to bad for snow removal, and I think my hopes were to high for keeping those same customers as 'seasonal' customer. I agree that CL is a fantastic idea. It landed me a huge contract for winter plowing. And I have gotten a few calls for some residential quotes for lawn care. Has not landed any work for spring and summer. I am just trying to stay positive, and keep passing my card to just about everyone I run into. I have had fears of pricing to high or low, but untill I get a few years under my belt to really evaluate my tru costs, it will be an up and down journey. I do not want to do any injustice to the indistry by low balling, and I will not take work for a low price. Be careful as I have had one customer already want me to do about 3 other things besides mowing but would not accept additional prices, so I politely declined the extra work. This forum is full of great advice from the tru experts. Not that there is much of a point to this post, but I do feel your pain wiht trying to get more customers.

04-25-2011, 01:41 PM
Sorry...one more thing. I tried going about things the right way with being sure I am fully insured and registered with my county and state to do business. Got a contract due to this fact with the owner of the property wanting to be sure he was dealing with 'a real company' instead of joe blow down the road with a push mower. Not sure if that is the advice your looking for at all, but it makes a big difference where I am at.

04-25-2011, 07:36 PM
Best advice is to look professional when you do estimates. There are too many yahoos out there who do not inspire confidence. I always give a big smile and sir or mam them until they tell me otherwise. A firm handshake and a confident voice will also help.

I haven't landed a ton of clients yet, maybe half a dozen for mowing, and about that many cleanups. I have gotten most, if not all of mine from the local newspaper, one call from the 500 door hangers I have put out so far and none from craigslist. Unless you count the nice couple from London that want me to do maintenance on their property here for $500 a month, all the needed was my account number, lol.

Keep plugging away, get your name out there and represent yourself!!

Good luck.

04-25-2011, 11:45 PM
I agree with most of whats been said, BUT you WILL have to get some crappy jobs at first, and you WILL have to work for cheap to get a job in the beginning. I mean seriously, would you rather be sitting at home not working, or at least working and making some money while getting your name out there. I have picked up numerous customers just by them passing by and asking me to visit them when I'm done to submit a price.

Just like any entrepreneur will tell you, starting a business is very hard and it takes many long hours and sleepless nights to get even the slightest bit going. Try marketing on Google and Yahoo. You can set up a FREE business listing in your area and you don't even have to have a website. Get other web-presence sites that offer free advertising and Lord have mercy don't use CL. There are too many people advertising their services and I can guarantee you they are cheaper than you...trust me I know. Make T-shirts, business cards, anything to advertise. In a world where trust is shot, your number one resource for business is referrals. I'd be dead if it weren't for referrals. Lastly, make sure you do a fantastic job with current customers. If they only ask you to mow, try to pull a weed or two out of the flowerbed or edge before you leave. Anything to go the extra mile. Cheers.

04-26-2011, 11:40 PM
Lord have mercy don't use CL. There are too many people advertising their services and I can guarantee you they are cheaper than you...trust me I know.

It might be different for everyone. I wouldnt discourage CL. I use it - reposting every day- and have gotten alot of profitable jobs in the past 5 years. and those jobs several times have lead to other jobs from references and just people driving by and stopping me while im working wanting landscape work.
Thats the only advertising I do anymore and its free. There is competition everywhere...

JC Lawn Mowing
04-27-2011, 12:15 AM
I agree I would defiantly be out working then sitting at home. And yes you will need some crappy jobs before you get the good ones. I sent a email to all the locale reality agent in my local area and have gotten excellent results, come to find out it is hard to find people to do one time mowing. But in one week after sending out the email I did 3 one time mowings and got 12 accounts from property management offices and other people from referrals.