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clandscaping44
08-01-2011, 02:53 PM
Hey everyone... last year at this time i worked for a landscaping company to get my feet wet in the industry. I am getting back at the owner for stealing my clients i had for the first few months this season. He totally screwed me and i told him to lay off my accounts. I have a few of his customers that live in my area, How can I get his customers to switch over to my company? I need to make my quota this season. Please help me!

Sprinkler Buddy
08-01-2011, 05:46 PM
Hey everyone... last year at this time i worked for a landscaping company to get my feet wet in the industry. I am getting back at the owner for stealing my clients i had for the first few months this season. He totally screwed me and i told him to lay off my accounts. I have a few of his customers that live in my area, How can I get his customers to switch over to my company? I need to make my quota this season. Please help me!

I certainly understand needing to fill your quota. Remember two wrongs don't make a right! I feel it will only hurt you long term if you decide to go that route of "War". Be patient, treat your current customers right and more accounts will find you. Some will also be those ex-customers of your former employer I would expect with time.

Just my Opinion!

mark123
08-01-2011, 06:09 PM
Don't be petty, leave that up to the competition. Offer superior service and be there when they can't.

Hedgemaster
08-01-2011, 06:32 PM
Explain to his customers in detail how horrible he is for stealing your customers, and how noble you are for trying to do the same.

I'm sure they will understand.





Move on. I haven't had to "get" any of my clients - they have all come to me.

clandscaping44
08-01-2011, 09:45 PM
hedgemaster... what type of marketing have you used to attract your current clients all i can really do for now is door hangers and flyers but due to my age... I am 15 i cant really go far. It seems as much marketing material i put out to my service area i have a feeling isnt getting through.

Just off the record... one time the guy tried stealing my equipment and all I have is an echo trimmer redmax ebz5100 blower and a craftsman 21 inch walkbehind... talk about theft lol

Hedgemaster
08-01-2011, 10:09 PM
Honestly, I have used Craigslist, and it has worked well for me.
I would imagine that different locations will yield varying degrees of success though. I'm just outside of Pittsburgh, so there are always people looking to hire - if you have an ad, someone will call you. I haven't run my ad in a few months and up until a few weeks ago I STILL had several calls per day from people who had done a search, and my "weeks old" ad was one of the results.

I tried flyers in the winter for snow removal. It was somewhat successful, but I never did get around to doing the same in the spring to see how it would work for lawn care.

I have yard signs that I place out while mowing lawns and have gained a few new clients as a result. I still haven't gotten my truck lettered, so the lawn signs help identify me as a lawn care business, as opposed to just another truck.

Newsletters - I haven't done it yet, but one of the more "profitable" sections of town has a newsletter that I'm going to run an ad in for the next season to target that specific area.



Good luck to you.

clandscaping44
08-02-2011, 07:08 AM
I particularly like the yard sign advertisement I think in my area it would attract attention b/c i live on a busy street :). Thanks
Just curious but how long have you been in business?

Hedgemaster
08-02-2011, 07:43 AM
Technically, this past winter. Not much snow though, so I went hungry.
This spring was my "real" start.

clandscaping44
08-02-2011, 08:02 AM
Did you use post cards for the spring?

Hedgemaster
08-02-2011, 09:35 PM
Did you use post cards for the spring?
I used Craigslist advertising almost exclusively. I had postcards printed, and I'm sure I posted them on here before, but I never mailed them out except as part of a "Thank You" to some prior customers.

The only other thing I did that I forgot to mention was hanging a flyer at a grocery store, which yielded a few clients.

clandscaping44
08-02-2011, 09:54 PM
Yea thats what i have been doing

Steve
08-03-2011, 01:47 PM
I am getting back at the owner for stealing my clients i had for the first few months this season

What was he doing? Following you around and finding where your clients were to target them on purpose?

clandscaping44
08-04-2011, 07:32 AM
yes, but thankfully a few loyal clients stayed true to me so from my first 10 accounts i got knocked down to 3. I am trying so hard to get some more clients but only dis-advantage is its mid-season is anyone willing to switch over?

jymie
08-04-2011, 07:57 AM
You should have them sign a contract with you.

Steve
08-04-2011, 02:00 PM
There will always be customers looking to switch over for various reasons, even mid-season. So keep at it. You would be amazed at home many start ups, either don't show up regularly or give up mid-season because they are not making any money and underbid their jobs.

From where you are at now, have you come up with some ways to better defend against such tactics that your old employer is trying now?

Rodriguez11
08-04-2011, 11:49 PM
I agree with not trying to take customers away from your old boss because that is starting a war. In fact I do not "try" to take customers from anyone. I believe hard work and doing a quality job will bring customers in by word of mouth which is the most powerful form of advertisement. I actually had someone say why don't you try to take the contract for a particular restaurant around here. I personally know who has the contract and know they do a really good job. I would rather have friends in the industry than have enemies, there are plenty of potential customers out there, you just have to word hard and prove yourself

clandscaping44
08-05-2011, 08:55 PM
only reason i dont have people sign contracts is because I am only 15... do you think i can try next season for people to sign contracts?

Hedgemaster
08-05-2011, 10:41 PM
People get hurt mid season and need someone to mow their lawn.
People buy houses mid season and need someone to mow their lawn.
People get divorced mid season and need someone to mow their lawn.
People move to new homes mid season and need someone to mow while their old home is on the market.
People get old enough mid season to say "Screw it, I'm done mowing" and need someone to mow their lawn.


The above are all examples that I'm personally dealing with. There are many reasons people look for service mid season. They just need to be able to FIND you.

;)

Steve
08-06-2011, 03:03 AM
only reason i dont have people sign contracts is because I am only 15... do you think i can try next season for people to sign contracts?

I don't think you will need to bother with it next season because you will have a better grasp on all this.

Most customers won't switch if the price is reasonable, the service is good, and they like you.

Mattcrump
08-10-2011, 12:04 PM
Contracts are like gold.... I use them as incentives for my customers and the ones that sign them always take priority over my non contract customers. Contracts are easy once you get the hang of them. The trick is showing them how you can save them money by signing with you. You show them how it will benefit them. You also show them how you will be bound to the contract and the work will be guaranteed.

We have bills all year long, so ensuring that money is coming in all year long is VERY IMPORTANT! You will work your butt off in the summer months to ensure that the money will be coming in all year long. However, in the fall and winter is when you get a good break. You still make the same paycheck for less than half of the work.

As far as advertising goes... I tried passing ut 300 fliers when I first started. I got 1 job from it. The sooner I realized that I was selling myself instead of a service the faster I started growing. Start with friends and family and from there ask them to tell their friends about you. Get some cheap business cards and before you know it word of mouth will be all you need.

You can also try something like we have done to make people want to use you. We are firefighters so automatically people trust us and single women like the idea of having us in their yards. Thats just how it works. I've honestly thought about starting another lawn company called like... Ninja lawncare or something stupid. Get a ninja costume and paint your equip black and silver. Before you know it, people in town are driving by seeing a ninja cutting grass and thinking. Whoa, I just saw a ninja.... That's funny. People will go home and talk about it. Before you know, you have become a little local celeb and people know who you are and what you do. Great way to advertise your business and become well known.

Just a thought.... what i found is that most people in the lawn care business have no background in marketing or business. Most of them go along with what they see other companies doing. The way I have brought it all of my business is from networking and meeting new people every day. The more outside the box you get the more business you will get.

Don't worry about the guy giving you a hard time. Your goal is to build a good business and make a name for yourself. You don't want that name to be drug through the mud. Be the bigger man and if he won't leave you alone then contact the police and let them know what he is doing.

Just my advice...

jasonw
08-11-2011, 08:38 AM
Wasting your time with revenge will only disappoint you. Ignore him, grow your business and provide a better service to your clients. Good work needs no advertising.

Hedgemaster
08-11-2011, 10:50 PM
Wasting your time with revenge will only disappoint you. Ignore him, grow your business and provide a better service to your clients. Good work needs no advertising.

Yep. I picked up a new client today because she was growing increasingly unhappy with the service being provided by her current (now former) lawn guy.

He comes with a zero turn and mows her small lawn, tearing up the grass when he turns on the hill, and leaves clippings all over - doesn't even do minimal trimming.

She was paying $14. I told her I couldn't do it for less than $25, that I would mow it with a push mower, and it would look a LOT better when I was finished. She was agreeable.
You see, people are often willing to pay more for better service. Those who are not, are not worth having as clients to begin with.
This woman is going to be paying nearly double what she had been paying. I didn't "steal" her away - he "pushed" her away with shoddy work, and poor communications. (never returned her calls)




If this guy is stealing your clients by offering lower prices, they aren't worth having, so don't sweat it. If he's offering, and PROVIDING better service, well you may need to look at yourself and see if you need to improve upon anything.

Mattcrump
08-11-2011, 11:29 PM
These guys are all giving you good advice. I have learned a lot from being on here. Much like these guys have experienced.... I had a neighborhood called Ross Bridge with 9 properties in it. Very high class but smaller yards. We offered cuts for $35/yard which was our minimum. Some kid came through and offered to cut all of our yards for $20/cut. He wasn't paying taxes like we were and he did have a business license or insurance like we did. At first I was pissed off and was going to approach the kid and possibly turn him in for running an illegal business. I quickly realized I could make much more money buy taking on bigger accounts, instead of wasting my time with $35 yards. We had a few of the yards stay with us but we decided to drop the whole route. It wasn't worth it. Instead we went out and signed a commercial property that we cut twice a month. It pays over $1,000/month. It takes us two in a half hours to cut it.


The longer you run your company the more lessons like this you will learn. All of the guys I know started out rough and learned along the way. Always do right and you will be rewarded for it. Maybe those accounts he is trying to steal from you arent worth your time to begin with. How much is your time worth? Only you can answer that. I think mine is worth a lot and so I ask a lot for it and people pay it.