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T & K Property Management
07-21-2011, 06:53 PM
Ok, I'm just starting my lawn service and have made it to the point where I am sort of taking a deep breath and asking 'now what?'.

I wanted to make sure I had all my t's crossed and i's dotted before I went to talk to people about becoming potential clients. I have my occupational license, insurance in place, all the appropriate forms and documents filed with the IRS, and an LLC established. My only snag now is ... I don't have much grass to mow!

I have a couple so called "accounts" with friends and family that cover expenses, but I don't want to just cover expenses. Can anyone help me with the next step?

I have run into a few deadends, and while I'm not discouraged, I need a little advice. I have business cards on the way and plan to really start networking and putting my business out there once my advertising supplies come in. I may have jumped into this at the wrong time of year, but it is what it is, and now that I have the formalities and legal issues (that I am aware of) covered, I'm ready to get to work. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

Justin

Ducke
07-21-2011, 07:37 PM
Ok, I'm just starting my lawn service and have made it to the point where I am sort of taking a deep breath and asking 'now what?'.

I wanted to make sure I had all my t's crossed and i's dotted before I went to talk to people about becoming potential clients. I have my occupational license, insurance in place, all the appropriate forms and documents filed with the IRS, and an LLC established. My only snag now is ... I don't have much grass to mow!

I have a couple so called "accounts" with friends and family that cover expenses, but I don't want to just cover expenses. Can anyone help me with the next step?

I have run into a few deadends, and while I'm not discouraged, I need a little advice. I have business cards on the way and plan to really start networking and putting my business out there once my advertising supplies come in. I may have jumped into this at the wrong time of year, but it is what it is, and now that I have the formalities and legal issues (that I am aware of) covered, I'm ready to get to work. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

Justin

Flyers , Posters and business cards I went door to door with flyers 1000 at a shot made them on my computer I put posters up in local stores restaurants etc. I also went to Staples and bought a few cheap plastic business card holders and I have them at stores restaurants and barber shops.
I went from 4 to 8 to 11 full time 5 part time customers in three months.
I also hooked up with a couple of Real Estate Agents and they are sending me plenty on one off jobs (which pay the big $$$$).
All I can say is dig dig dig it will come if you really want to work at it.

T & K Property Management
07-21-2011, 08:40 PM
Thanks for the reply Ducke. I think placing a business card holder at some local establishments will draw a lot of interest, but as you were saying, a variety of marketing strategies is a great idea.

I don't have a huge budget right now and I'm attempting to focus my resources on what people feel works best until I can generate some revenue. What technique do you think attracts the most customer attention?

Thanks

Justin
T & K Property Management, LLC

Ducke
07-21-2011, 08:59 PM
Thanks for the reply Ducke. I think placing a business card holder at some local establishments will draw a lot of interest, but as you were saying, a variety of marketing strategies is a great idea.

I don't have a huge budget right now and I'm attempting to focus my resources on what people feel works best until I can generate some revenue. What technique do you think attracts the most customer attention?

Thanks

Justin
T & K Property Management, LLC

One other thing I did was put a free ad on Kijiji ( its like Craig list)
I also paid $12.99 to have my ad at the top of the list for 7 days I have generated 5 of my accounts from this ad.

so I would have to say the door too door flyers and the kijiji ad were the best marketing that I have done.

Hedgemaster
07-21-2011, 11:57 PM
I started this season and I have had a lot of success using Craigslist.
One thing that sets me apart for 99% of the other ads is that I use an image rather than just a line ad with text only. I'm also fortunate in that I'm a graphic designer and was able to create my own ad to place on Craigslist - an ad that I've gotten many positive comments on from people who are now my regular clients.

I also picked up a few clients by hanging an ad at a local grocery store, and I've had some inquiries through my website. (which isn't complete, but I have my contact info and basic info available)

Strive to present yourself as a professional. In your advertising, your appearance, your attitude, in everything you do... people notice - and they talk.
I just picked up two more clients because the outfit that was servicing them was overcharging them as well as conducting themselves in an unprofessional manner while on the job. (foul language and overall bad attitude) "I watch how hard you work over there - you do good work" was what I was told by one of my new clients. People notice.

ALWAYS have business cards on you. Give them to anyone and everyone you speak to. TALK to people. At a minimum, say "hello" to every person you see while you are out working. There are people who WANT to ask you questions, but may not want to disturb you while you are working - give them the opportunity by chatting with them. You WILL pick up work this way.

Going door to door may or may not be effective. It worked OK for me, but I was just starting out and had nothing better to do. I don't have time for that kind of thing these days. Also, you may need a permit to solicit door to door - every municipality has their own rules.

Best of luck to you!

T & K Property Management
07-22-2011, 01:36 AM
I started this season and I have had a lot of success using Craigslist.
One thing that sets me apart for 99% of the other ads is that I use an image rather than just a line ad with text only. I'm also fortunate in that I'm a graphic designer and was able to create my own ad to place on Craigslist - an ad that I've gotten many positive comments on from people who are now my regular clients.

I also picked up a few clients by hanging an ad at a local grocery store, and I've had some inquiries through my website. (which isn't complete, but I have my contact info and basic info available)

Strive to present yourself as a professional. In your advertising, your appearance, your attitude, in everything you do... people notice - and they talk.
I just picked up two more clients because the outfit that was servicing them was overcharging them as well as conducting themselves in an unprofessional manner while on the job. (foul language and overall bad attitude) "I watch how hard you work over there - you do good work" was what I was told by one of my new clients. People notice.

ALWAYS have business cards on you. Give them to anyone and everyone you speak to. TALK to people. At a minimum, say "hello" to every person you see while you are out working. There are people who WANT to ask you questions, but may not want to disturb you while you are working - give them the opportunity by chatting with them. You WILL pick up work this way.

Going door to door may or may not be effective. It worked OK for me, but I was just starting out and had nothing better to do. I don't have time for that kind of thing these days. Also, you may need a permit to solicit door to door - every municipality has their own rules.

Best of luck to you!

Thank you for the advice and the well wishes Hedgemaster. One of the things I've been reading on different posts is the importance of finding something to set yourself apart from the masses so to speak. I like the idea of utilizing social media and craigslist, and adding an image certainly catches the eye.

I wrote in my introduction post that it is my goal to develop a service that is knowledgeable, customer service driven, and professional so I couldn't agree with you more about being professional and courteous.

I live in a small town outside of Gainesville, FL where talking to and just simply speaking to folks in passing is a way of life. That is great advice about engaging people to allow them to open up and bring the conversation around to the business at hand.

As for hard work and a good attitude, that cannot be advertised on printed paper. I feel like customers are looking for people they can trust to give their business to. Kudos for your professionalism and ability to win customers with your work ethic (as well as your graphic design skills!).

Word of mouth is an extremely beneficial, or negative in some cases, tool for any business and I strive to have only good things said for my name and my company's name through utilization of hard work, positive attitude, and my faith in Jesus Christ.

Thanks again for the advice and best of luck to you as well!

Justin
T & K Property Management, LLC

jymie
07-22-2011, 06:57 AM
I have posted this before, here it is again...

There are a few ways to go about advertising your business. I have done:


Door Hangers
Post Cards
Display Advertising in my local pennysaver. They have a nice page inside they call Local Business Directory, it looks like a bulletin board.
Business Cards to every one I meet in Restaurants, Gas Stations, Bars and anywhere where there are people.


The best time to start is always. The peak time would be a month and a half before the grass begins to grow, then continue till the end of the season.

I drop off business cards to any place that has a bulletin board, like grocery stores, department stores Laundromats etc. You can get business card holders from Artie on this site. http://www.marketingholders.com/CARDCUES-CARD-HOLDERS-FREE-SHIPPING-CRDQS.htm

They hold probably 25 business Cards. Check out his other products on the site, he has a lot of stuff that could be useful.

Have magnets made with your company logo and phone number on them, one for both front doors and one for the back of your vehicle. People behind you can't see the sides of your truck when you drive around with no trailer. Good free advertising that way. This is a great site and the magnets are excellent quality: http://www.buildasign.com , I also order signs for the front lawn from them, also great quality for a fair price.

Utilize the free methods to advertise, google search free classified advertising


Craigslist
Backpage
topix.com
thumbtack.com
buysellcommunity.com
kijiji.com


Add your business to every business directory in your area


Yellowpages.com
Yellowbook.com
merchantcircle.com
manta.com
local.com
kudzu.com
thumbtack.com
yellowbot.com
citysearch.com
superpages.com
local.yahoo.com
superads.com
landscaping-companies.com
neighborhood.letsrenovate.com
start.cortera.com
allpages.com
local.garden.org
insiderpages.com
bizhwy.com
getfreelisting.com
mylocalservices.us
diyodp.com
evliving.com
freebusinessdirectory.com
volta.net
freeonlinebusinessdirectory.com


Submit your website and business to all the search engines, then submit to the maps of each of the major search engines

google maps
bing maps
yahoo maps

Maps info show up before search results so this is crucial.

See this thread for more:

http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=13299

Hope this helps you get started! Best of luck!

Steve
07-22-2011, 05:33 PM
I have run into a few deadends, and while I'm not discouraged, I need a little advice.

Justin can you give us a little insight as to what kind of deadends you ran into and how they effected you?

T & K Property Management
07-22-2011, 10:56 PM
Justin can you give us a little insight as to what kind of deadends you ran into and how they effected you?

I tried a few foreclosure asset management companies and, while I met all their qualifications for insurance, licensure, etc., I either had to have been established for atleast a year or they didn't have a need for anyone else to service my area.

I'm still waiting on my marketing supplies that I have on order to arrive, so I really haven't been able to go and sit down with any potential customers because I feel like I should atleast have my business cards in hand when I approach them. I have been spreading the word to people I know and having them tell others, but this should be more effective once my business cards and all come in.

Justin
T & K Property Management

arthur712
07-24-2011, 02:38 AM
I drop off business cards to any place that has a bulletin board, like grocery stores, department stores Laundromats etc. You can get business card holders from Artie on this site. http://www.marketingholders.com/CARDCUES-CARD-HOLDERS-FREE-SHIPPING-CRDQS.htm

They hold probably 25 business Cards. Check out his other products on the site, he has a lot of stuff that could be useful.



Yes I have some great stuff at www.marketingholders.com
10% Coupon Code is (sale2011)

Thanks!
Artie

DoodyCalls Franchises
08-03-2011, 02:54 PM
Customers are the lifeblood of every small business, especially service-based operations like lawn care services. That said, getting the wheels turning on marketing efforts is critical - it's something we preach to new franchise owners during their launch.

A few basics:

- Commit to marketing: The first step to successfully marketing your business is to commit yourself to it. Marketing is not a one-off exercise that leads to overnight success. It takes time, energy and money. If you’re serious about growing your business, you need to be serious about your marketing efforts.

- Market at the right time: In today’s consumer environment, it takes seven to eight exposures to your company name, logo or contact information for a potential client to react. That’s why we recommend our franchisees begin marketing several months in advance of the busy seasons.

- Have materials on hand: In addition to marketing in advance, it’s also a good idea to prepare marketing materials in advance as well. Get your signs, flyers, cards, etc designed and off to the printer months before you need them. The last thing you want is to be sitting in neutral, waiting for an order to ship, while your competition is out there actively promoting their service to your potential (and existing) customers.

- Multiple Techniques: Just as it takes several “touches” before a potential customer reacts to your marketing, it also takes more than one promotional tactic to catch their attention. We encourage our franchise owners to have 5-8 tactics working at any given time.

We have a longer, more in-depth rundown on our blog if you're interested in more details - http://franchising.doodycalls.com/?p=874

Steve
08-04-2011, 01:50 PM
Beyond the traditional marketing methods, how important is it to be reaching out to people that are apart of your social network or even people you may meet when you are out and about in town? Is this something that you at all focus on?