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View Full Version : My New Lawn Signs - Bartering 101


Hedgemaster
06-20-2011, 11:02 PM
Several weeks ago I went to give an estimate to mow a lawn. Long story short, the homeowner owns a local promotional company that does silk screen shirts and other such items, and when I mentioned that I was looking to have some shirts and signs made, he asked if I'd be interested in bartering - some cuts for some merchandise?

:) Hecks yeah!

I quoted him $40-$45 to cut his lawn and he offered me two (2), two-sided, 18x24, full color, coroplast lawn signs with upgraded heavy-duty stakes.

:) :)


Here they are.

He suggested doing a vertical design, as it will stand out from the millions of "standard" 24"x18" horizontal signs that litter the landscape. This made sense to me and I used the same layout for both, but used different text for the "headers".
As a designer, I was torn between going with a stark, "generic" design using "text only" that could be easily viewed from a distance, or a more "colorful" design that has more visual appeal.
Since most of the places I'll be placing these are either at intersections (where cars stop for a moment - long enough to view the sign), or along sidewalks where there is pedestrian traffic, I went the more "colorful" route.

I designed them, emailed PDF files to him, and in a few days, he had them ready for me.

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/104_6433.jpg


for these pics I threw them back by my flowerbed to show scale...

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/104_6431.jpg


Viewed from the back...

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/104_6434.jpg


http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/104_6436.jpg


http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/104_6438.jpg




I cut his lawn again today. We spoke of having some t-shirts printed in trade.
It's a win/win for both of us.

bruces
06-21-2011, 12:36 AM
your signs really look great [like everything else you have done ] .

ToastedToad
06-21-2011, 12:51 AM
Really nice Hedge!

cleancutlawncare5382
06-21-2011, 04:45 AM
Very nice signs.

I ran into bartering my serices for goods also. Last year a guy asked if I would continue mowing for a set of saddlebags. Heck yeah!

Hedgemaster
06-21-2011, 04:26 PM
Thanks guys!

Time will tell if they generate any business.
If nothing else, I'm hoping to get some "name recognition" from my promotional pieces.

Ducke
06-21-2011, 04:41 PM
Very Nice Hedge
Very professional they are bound to get you at least a couple of new customers and that will make it all worth while.
Very Nice man very nice.

Steve
06-21-2011, 05:44 PM
Those have got to be the nicest lawn signs I have ever seen.

How many do you plan on putting out?

When will you start with this? It will be really interesting to see what kind of responses you get.

With your design, you could experiment with different offers printed at the top in that bright yellow text. Then see if certain headlines pull better than others.

Hedgemaster
06-21-2011, 08:16 PM
Very Nice Hedge
Very professional they are bound to get you at least a couple of new customers and that will make it all worth while.
Very Nice man very nice.

I'm not sure, but I think there's a compliment hidden in there somewhere...


;)

Thanks man.

Hedgemaster
06-21-2011, 08:36 PM
Those have got to be the nicest lawn signs I have ever seen.

How many do you plan on putting out?

When will you start with this? It will be really interesting to see what kind of responses you get.

With your design, you could experiment with different offers printed at the top in that bright yellow text. Then see if certain headlines pull better than others.

LOL! Thank you, sir. :)

I just have the two signs for now. I intend to place them in the lawns as I work - not leave them in any one spot.

I considered headlines that were either "offers", or just something brutally simple like "Lawn Mowing", but decided against it for this round - maybe I'll do another set of signs that way. As mentioned before, I wanted more of a "wow factor" in these signs.

I placed them out while cutting two lawns yesterday. I noted that people were looking at them as they drove by. Well, that or they were checking out my a$$ - it's hard to say. :D

When I did the layout, I tried to balance readability with "eye catchy" design.
I could have made them more easily readable from a distance by using text on a plain background, but I kept thinking of all the places I work where people (mainly women) WALK by. The "pretty colors" should "draw them in" and they will be able to read what the sign is "about". (If they aren't too busy checking out my butt :p )

I'll let you know how it pans out.

cruzgardening
06-22-2011, 02:12 AM
Very nice i made some with vista print but they were way smaller, they were free, lol it has attracted lots of looking a few calls i hope this and the shirts will land you lots of new clients :) but dont forget to keep posting on craigslist :)

Steve
06-22-2011, 04:01 PM
How about putting those business card holders on the signs too? Would that help you more?

Hedgemaster
06-22-2011, 09:05 PM
Very nice i made some with vista print but they were way smaller, they were free, lol it has attracted lots of looking a few calls i hope this and the shirts will land you lots of new clients :) but dont forget to keep posting on craigslist :)


Oh, heck yeah. Craigslist has been incredible for me - completely the opposite of what I expected. I haven't even run my ad in over 3 weeks because I couldn't keep up with all the inquiries. I still get a call or two a day - proof that people DO use the search on Craigslist, and proof that keywords are important to include in your ad.

Hedgemaster
06-22-2011, 09:09 PM
How about putting those business card holders on the signs too? Would that help you more?

You know, we're either both geniuses, or you're just as dumb as I am because I considered doing just that! LOL!

The signs take up enough room as it is though, so I don't know about adding a card holder that I need to worry about too... then again, I could do the "velcro" thing and just add one when it would be most suitable. Hmmm...

Sprinkler Buddy
06-23-2011, 02:23 PM
Looks very professional, Nice Job!

Steve
06-24-2011, 05:12 PM
Something to consider is, if you redesign your lawn sign in the future, you could have an arrow on it that says take a card and points to your card dispenser. And maybe you could have a special offer on your card only, so you could change the cards in it at different times.

Hedgemaster
06-24-2011, 08:55 PM
^^^ I'm leaning towards "genius".


;)


Great idea. Those wheels are always turning aren't they?

Hedgemaster
06-25-2011, 10:18 PM
Lawn sign "action shots". LOL!

I planted the signs while I worked on these customer's lawns...

Note: I didn't eff those hedges up like that! They were already screwed up, and crooked - I just buzzed off the little, scraggly new growth for them as requested!
http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/IMAG2305.jpg


Sign in the front...

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/IMAG2308.jpg


and in the rear...

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/IMAG2307.jpg



Exciting stuff, huh? ;)

Steve
06-26-2011, 06:27 PM
Yes it is!

You do such great work with your graphics, I was looking at your truck thinking about the potential you could do with a vehicle wrap graphic! Can you imagine that!

Hedgemaster
06-26-2011, 09:54 PM
Yes it is!

You do such great work with your graphics, I was looking at your truck thinking about the potential you could do with a vehicle wrap graphic! Can you imagine that!

Thanks, man.

You know, I was going to do one of those "see thru" graphics on the back window (with the little pinholes that allow you to see out from inside), but I'm already having such a hard time seeing when backing up with my trailer (three layers of tinted glass) that I'm now leaning toward something very basic.
I wanted to do my logo very large and in color on the back. Even if I skip the see thru graphic and go with straight vinyl, it would be even worse because my logo would block a large portion of my rear window.

As for a vehicle wrap... I don't think so. Maybe when this truck becomes a 100% work vehicle, but for now, it's still my daily driver as well.

Steve
06-27-2011, 11:26 AM
I am sure whatever you ultimately decide to go with, it's going to look fantastic.

Hedgemaster
06-30-2011, 11:16 PM
It's amazing I get any grass cut at all... more photos!

:cool:


http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/IMAG2322.jpg


viewed from the other direction...

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/IMAG2323.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/IMAG2324.jpg


And hey, look! I finally got around to putting the chrome back on the truck!

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/IMAG2325.jpg



This location is great because it's a busy "shortcut" to a decent area to work in and there are also a lot of "dog walkers" as well as moms who come to pick up the kids at the bus stop on the corner. With the truck taking up half the street, cars have to slow down or stop to allow the opposing traffic by - this gives them a chance to see my sign. :D

Smile and wave to everyone - say "What a beautiful day for a walk" to those passing by. If they are going to see your sign, you want them to associate "nice guy" with your business. They may tell a friend.




Oh, and since I don't have anywhere else to put these, here are a few random shots of the truck doing what it does best - waiting patiently for it's master's return. :D


http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Truck/IMAG2328.jpg

Probably should approach those people about their overgrown hedges...



Talk about a HILL!

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Truck/IMAG2327.jpg

The photo doesn't do it justice. Once I park I have to struggle to get out of the seat - feels like I'm leaning back in a rocket waiting for the countdown!


Anyway, that's it for now.


Oh yeah... if you look, you'll note that since putting the chrome on, I almost always turn the wheel to make the front tire more noticeable when viewed from a passing car. "Advertising" takes many shapes and forms - people notice "shiny". Anything that gets a potential client's attention is a good thing.

Steve
07-01-2011, 05:06 PM
Probably should approach those people about their overgrown hedges...
I bet if you do, you will get the job.

Keeping your eye open like that for potential work is a great way to go.

Hedgemaster
07-29-2011, 08:01 PM
Lawn signs at work today...

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/IMAG2416.jpg


I was mowing a lawn and I saw a lady waving to get my attention. She wanted to know if I trimmed hedges and asked if I could stop to look at a few things she needs done. She saw the sign, but wanted to get a card because "I'll forget your number by the time I get home".

No, I didn't have my "Take a Card" holder on the truck. I lost my magnetic one, and haven't gotten around to replacing it. :(


Oh, I stopped to look... she has some hedges that can be trimmed, but the rest, I had to pass on. Big tree trim, and gutter cleaning. Ladders and I don't get along so well.

Steve
08-01-2011, 12:15 PM
Well it seems all the marketing is working!

Hedgemaster
08-01-2011, 03:38 PM
Well it seems all the marketing is working!

Proof that you can make it without spending a lot.

I picked up a new client AND one-time cut today because I had the signs out.

:)

Hedgemaster
09-09-2011, 10:48 PM
The signs are working.

I was at a job today - truck parked along curb as seen in the previous photos with a sign ahead of the truck and one behind it, orange cones out for safety AND attention...

I had just finished mowing and was getting the trimmer from the truck when an SUV came to a stop and the passenger side window lowered... "Do you work for this company?" a female voice asked. "Is this your company?" she again asked while pointing to the lawn sign. I chuckled as I replied "I AM the company - it's just me!" "How can I help you?"

"We are very dissatisfied with out current lawn service and I see your tuck and signs here every week, so I wanted to ask if you could help us out".

Long story short, I stopped by after I was finished and we talked for a good twenty minutes about the property, the lack of care that they were receiving from their regular service (the place was a disgrace), and the types of services I could provide, as well as the things I can NOT do.

I find that people appreciate honesty much, MUCH more than hearing someone blow smoke up their a$$ telling them about all the stuff they can do (but can't). I explained that some of their "plans" were slightly beyond my scope at this point in my business' growth and she was fine with that - most people I've talked to like this are fine with having me maintain the lawn/hedges while they hire someone larger to do some of the things I do not offer yet.

Again, I asked if she wouldn't mind telling me how much they had been paying their service for the lawn care. She didn't have the exact figure, but mentioned a HUGE (I nearly choked) check that she had just written and that the work had yet to be completed. When I told her I was thinking somewhere in the "forty dollar range" for weekly service, her eyes nearly popped out of her head.

She had initially stated that she was going to keep them until the end of the season, but cut ties after that - that I would most likely "have it if I want it" in the spring. After I told her my price she said she may just "settle up" with them, and have me take over! LOL!

Wish me luck. It sounds like they are really screwing her over on price in a BIG way and the interaction between us went quite well, so I think it's pretty likely that they will be calling.

Oh, I almost forgot the most funny part. She told me that she kept seeing me around the neighborhood and after discussing letting the other guys go with her husband, said "I'm going to talk to that guy I see down the street all the time", but by the time she would come by, I was gone.
"When I saw your sign today, I said OOOOHHH!!!!, I'm gonna go get his info!"
She drove out of her way down the street to me and held up traffic while I took down her info. "I finally got you today - that blue car could just WAIT while I got your info!", she said. LOL!

The signs identify me. With regular use, people start to notice you. Then they hunt you down and hire you! :p

Steve
09-10-2011, 11:38 AM
That is a great story.

She told me that she kept seeing me around the neighborhood and after discussing letting the other guys go with her husband, said "I'm going to talk to that guy I see down the street all the time", but by the time she would come by, I was gone.
"When I saw your sign today, I said OOOOHHH!!!!, I'm gonna go get his info!"
She drove out of her way down the street to me and held up traffic while I took down her info. "I finally got you today - that blue car could just WAIT while I got your info!", she said. LOL!

It makes you wonder how many other potential customers you are missing because they don't have your information. Is there anything else you could be doing to make sure they do in the future?

Hedgemaster
09-10-2011, 11:56 PM
That is a great story.



It makes you wonder how many other potential customers you are missing because they don't have your information. Is there anything else you could be doing to make sure they do in the future?


Yes. I could get my act together and get my vinyl lettering figured out and installed!

:o

Steve
09-12-2011, 01:36 PM
I have a feeling that when you get that done, you will be saying 'oh that was so easy, why didn't I do it sooner.'

It's going to really look great on your truck too.

Hedgemaster
09-17-2011, 10:08 PM
Heh. Yesterday I was doing some final trimming near the street and saw an SUV approaching out of the corner of my eye. It passed me, then stopped abruptly and began backing up. The passenger window went down and I heard the driver exclaim, "Hey, how's it going?!!!" (Huh?) "You don't recognize me, do you?", he said. I actually couldn't even SEE him due to the lighting, but when I walked up to him, I realized it was a guy I know from another forum who I've also met at a club I belong to.

"I saw your sign and said to myself, HEY, I know him!" LOL!
I have a thread that's sort of a "blog" about my business venture on the other forum, so he knows my business name and has seen my logo. He said he started looking around for me and that's when he stopped.

Turns out he lives right down the street from one of my regulars, so he asked me to stop and give him a quote - "I'm getting tired of cutting it" he said. He said he will probably have me do his lawn next season.

The signs work in mysterious ways. :cool:

Hedgemaster
10-21-2011, 08:39 PM
Today, while mowing one of my regular client's lawns, I noted a truck drive slowly past mine, then a minute later it came back up the street and stopped near my truck. I paused, as I wasn't sure why he stopped where he did, and then I saw him looking at the yard sign behind my truck as he was writing on a piece of paper.

:)

Then he noticed me and rolled the window down. He asked about getting a quote for leaf removal at his home around the corner. I gave him a card and he said he'd call when the leaves were done falling.

:) :)



The signs do get noticed.

Speaking of getting "noticed" - I think that there are little things that can help draw attention to your truck, or sign that make people notice you, and get them thinking about things they may need done.
For example, I nearly always put cones out when I'm parked. I think that leaving my truck cap window open is more notable than when it's closed, and it doesn't hurt to leave a rake, or blower in sight during leaf cleanup season - even if you're just mowing a lawn.

When I'm finished trimming hedges, I place my FS90R with the hedge trimmer attachment where people driving by can see it. It's not your typical "hedge trimmer", and I think it tells people you've got some serious equipment - that you're not just some homeowner out trimming his hedges.

None of these cost a penny to do, yet are "advertising" just the same.

Steve
10-24-2011, 04:01 PM
In the past we had talked a little about this. What if you had some type of sign that said warning landscaper ahead and then had your phone number on it? Something like this sign you put behind your trailer?

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_25BTJCf7QgI/SrxTuhrrFZI/AAAAAAAAANw/OTQPZL_MvVo/s400/0072+-+%2313+-+9-24-09+-+road+construction+ahead.jpg

Hedgemaster
05-11-2012, 09:33 PM
I had a woman stop her car on a busy road to come talk to me about a quote.

I was mowing when I looked up the slope towards the road, and there was a woman waving to get my attention. I noticed that she had parked her car up on the curb behind my truck and put her hazard lights on. LOL! I can't believe someone stopped on this busy road!

I went to look at her property when I was finished. I don't think I'll get it, nor do I think I want it.
The back is a large, steep hillside that must be accessed via an alley from the top. I HATE properties that require you to move your vehicle. It's like two jobs for the price of one.
Speaking of price... I asked what she had been paying. She said "$67 a month - cut twice". (for the whole property) Pfffffttt!!! I told her I couldn't come close to that. Said that the hill alone would be $45-$50. I gave a price of $80 biweekly (not for "the month") for the whole property.

She said she still has another estimate to get.I think I'm calling and telling her "No thanks". That hill is just an accident waiting to happen, and after talking, I foresee a "It doesn't need cut this week" situation.


Either way, the SIGNS WORK!!!

Steve
05-12-2012, 09:59 AM
WOW! That would have been a property and a road to take a picture of!

Hedgemaster
05-12-2012, 11:07 PM
WOW! That would have been a property and a road to take a picture of!

Yeah. I kicked myself for not taking a pic of that hill.

Stand by for more pics of the signs though...

Hedgemaster
05-13-2012, 11:07 PM
http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/First%20Cut%202012%20Forest%20Hills%20Rd/20120510_185208.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/First%20Cut%202012%20Forest%20Hills%20Rd/20120510_170703.jpg

Hedgemaster
05-22-2012, 11:30 PM
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign...



http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120507_143040.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120507_143017.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120507_142901.jpg





http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120507_134346.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120507_134411.jpg





http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120511_095731.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120511_095702.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120511_095644.jpg





http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120521_170821.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120521_170749.jpg





http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120521_121013.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120521_121003.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120521_121031.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120521_121112.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120521_121123.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Promotional%20Items/Yard%20Signs/20120521_121149.jpg

Hedgemaster
06-15-2013, 05:18 PM
I hadn't been putting my signs out lately, but did so today while trimming hedges along a highly traveled street in the city. I was parked along the curb in front of the home I was working at with no other parked cars around - front, or back.

At one point a car slowed and pulled over behind my truck/trailer. A lady got out and waved to get my attention.

She said she was on her way home across town and saw the sign, so she thought she'd stop to ask if I do lawn reseeding.
Unfortunately, I have no time for such work at the moment, but it was cool that the sign is what prompted her to pull over and ask.

CHEESE2009
06-15-2013, 05:50 PM
The good thing about you, is your signs and stuff relate to what you do, and they are very pretty.

When I make signs, they look good, but they look very Nazi-washed-out-post-apocalyptic-ish.

Bad habit... but cooool lol.

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m25/mad_insane/aerationCard_zpsa2567697.png (http://s100.photobucket.com/user/mad_insane/media/aerationCard_zpsa2567697.png.html)

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m25/mad_insane/header-pinwheel_zpseada3d94.jpg (http://s100.photobucket.com/user/mad_insane/media/header-pinwheel_zpseada3d94.jpg.html)

Steve
06-17-2013, 12:22 PM
Scott are those two signs or do you use both graphics in a sign?

CHEESE2009
06-17-2013, 06:45 PM
Scott are those two signs or do you use both graphics in a sign?

The first one is actually a card, the second is the heading for a special version of a contract, there's even custom paper made for it... lol

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m25/mad_insane/IMAG3651_zps1895c5f2.jpg (http://s100.photobucket.com/user/mad_insane/media/IMAG3651_zps1895c5f2.jpg.html)

Steve
06-18-2013, 10:46 AM
What do you do with that kind of card? How is it utilized?

CHEESE2009
06-18-2013, 03:43 PM
What do you do with that kind of card? How is it utilized?

I haven't used it yet, not very interested in getting into aeration. :p


I write in an expiry date, then stick them in door jams. This card doesn't have a back side created, and just a phone number is shown. The back side could eventually have the company name, but I like being mysterious lol.

Matther777
06-19-2013, 06:10 PM
Does he have a website? They look great!

Hedgemaster
06-19-2013, 06:23 PM
Does he have a website? They look great!

Are you talking to me?


Thank you. I designed them myself and he just printed what I gave him, so really, the guy who made them had nothing to do with how they look.

:)