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C&C Estate Maintenance
10-20-2011, 04:33 PM
Hi, I started my landscape and lawn care business in 2008 and started offering snow removal last year at the beginning of fall. I was very disappointed when I got zero snow removal accounts last year and advertised with flyers and door hangers and still got nothing. I would like to stay in residential snow removal for now. I have all the right equipment and know what im doing but cant get business. I would like to know how to best market my snow removal service and how to get accounts and keep them year after year. If anyone can help me solve this problem and give some ideas for marketing snow removal please please please let me know. I have snow removal under services on my website at www.candcmaint.webs.com. any suggestions will help greatly.

Thanks much.

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-20-2011, 04:52 PM
To me residential snow plowing is a waste of time. The only way it pays off is if you have a tight route. You need several accounts on the same road. The other part that pisses me off is they like to wait till theres snow on the ground to call for removal. When I get these calls I tell them I have x amount of people in front of you. Ill try to get there but no promises and by the way I will be charging double for visit. I talked to several other contractors who charge triple for these calls.

I think thats where you problem is people dont want to plan ahead and as a business thats crucial to us. You will have better luck advertising the day before and during a storm then in fall. Commercial accounts on the other hand usually take bids in September and October.

JeffK26
10-20-2011, 09:27 PM
I've only done residential snow removal as a side the past couple winters. If it snows the boss doesn't want us out on the roads in the company vans. The only exception is service guys on a no heating call.

Me and the wife loaded up the shovels and snow blower in my truck, we went out hit the closest neighborhood to our home and started knocking on doors. Once we get a yes, i start shoveling while the wife continues knocking, once she gets 5 yeses she comes back and helps me get caught up, when i'm shoveling the last of the 5, she starts knocking again, 5 yeses she comes back...rinse and repeat. The most we made was $800 in a day...the least was $400, not the 10 grand some guys make doing commercial and such, but it was money i didn't have at the beginning of the day.

C&C Estate Maintenance
10-20-2011, 11:05 PM
Thanks,

I am only 14 and own my own company with a great reputation and get told all the time that we are very professional, i also have one employee. I also work with my buddies friend who is a professional landscape contractor. $400 in a day is great for me even though i make about $2000 each summer. I do have the problem of that I live in a more wealthy neighborhood with about 100 houses about 10 minutes from town and there are older people and younger people as well. When i take out flyers most people just say that they do it themselves and that they will give us a call if it gets deeper than they want to shovel. I live right on the Rockies so we get plenty of snow but I just cant seem to lure the customers in. Any more thoughts?
Thanks.

Steve
10-21-2011, 03:31 PM
How do you get your lawn care accounts?

For those who you mow their yard, do you market your snow removal services too?

When it snows, do you go out door to door to offer snow removal?

C&C Estate Maintenance
10-21-2011, 08:58 PM
Hi Steve,
I hand out flyers to each house and talk to the owners vs just putting flyers in their mailbox. I put a little bit about my lawn care package on the flyer with my company name at top and my phone number and website at bottom. I get called when people are out of town for a little while, people with not enough time, and older people call me because they don't want to take care of their yard by themselves. I do market snow removal to them as well and to people that get their field mowed by us.( every lot in my neighborhood is 2-6 acres with natural grass and then their landscaping). I also take out flyer marketing snow removal in the same way to every house in the neighborhood. When there is anything more than 6-8 inches down I go around with my John Deere x540 with a blade and in my utility trailer a spreader, sand, and a shovel and knock on each door with a price in mode and say "would like your driveway plowed, porch and sidewalk shoveled, and sanded for x amount?". I just haven't been able to get a yes out of anyone. Im not sure why because everyone in my neighborhood likes to support local companies and yet I see companies from neighboring towns plowing and companies I've never even seen before. Any ideas on how to get a yes out of people?
Thanks, Cole

JeffK26
10-21-2011, 09:45 PM
You say "x" amount. I'm not asking what you charge, but that can be a factor.

I may get a lot of heat, or none at all for this post...but this is my opinion...and after thinking about it, it's one i will stick to.....

I've gotten jobs that i charge 20 bucks for and the home owner said the last guy said 60 bucks. Residential is tricky. I do understand from the lawn care side, you have a set price, it's not worth my time and all that...but on the homeowner side...if you have a singlewide driveway and a sidewalk that is maybe 10 feet long, why pay 80 bucks just to support some guy that has a seasonal job and is looking to cash in because he can?

I look at it as two diff businesses....one is lawn care...grass grows, it grows weekly, it needs to be cut weekly, weeds grow during the summer. leaves fall in the fall......snow iffy. It may snow, it may not...if it does, then i spend some gas money driving around knocking on doors and some gas money in a snowblower and charge 20 bucks for an average sized driveway...why? because if it didn't snow i would be home making 0 bucks per driveway... It's two different worlds. If snow "grew" each week during the winter, then it's understandable, but it doesn't, and since i chose a seasonal type job, i shouldn't charge someone more because i'm not making money....

I can see charging a high rate on commercial jobs...you're putting extra wear and tear on the truck pushing a heavy weight repeatedly, but driveways? some driveways aren't worth pulling the snowblower out...so i shovel, and i have never shoveled a driveway worth more than 40 bucks of my time and effort.

C&C Estate Maintenance
10-21-2011, 11:13 PM
I charge my customers based on how much snow there is, how heavy/ wet it is, how long there driveway is and how much sand i will use sanding their drive and porch. Where I live all the houses are custom homes so most people choose to put their house away from the street, which means a long driveway and many peoples driveways are steep either up or down. The people in my neighborhood are fairly wealthy but not willing to spend money on snow removal or lawn care. The "x" amount i was mentioning was a factor because i offer snow removal for textured concrete and gravel/rock driveways, paths, and porches, which their are many of in my neighborhood.

C&C Estate Maintenance
10-21-2011, 11:26 PM
To continue my last post,

I do not have a seasonal job, i am a full time lawn care, landscaping, and snow removal contractor for my neighborhood at the moment because i do not have my drivers license. Don't think im just a stupid little teenager either. I have a very high valued reputation from all my clients in providing quality services at a price second to none in the industry. I am told all the time by my customers and just people driving past on the street that we are very professional with our work, and we look professional while we do it. Everyone involved with the company has company uniforms including matching colored polo shirts(with logo and all), and work pants of Carhart or Dickies canvas material pants. We take pride in our work and put 100% of our knowledge, skill, and passion into every job, and it shows in our reputation. So don't get me wrong, this is no seasonal job for me or my employees.

Steve
10-24-2011, 04:15 PM
I would like to know how to best market my snow removal service and how to get accounts and keep them year after year.

I would think servicing your lawn care customers would be your best bet when the snow falls. Talking to them beforehand and getting them to sign up for snow removal would really be a plus.

Then when you are at their locations, knock on the neighbors doors and see if they need you to remove snow from them as well.

Work with the people you know first and spread out from there.

Maybe you could even use an annual lawn care contract and include snow removal in the contract?

C&C Estate Maintenance
10-24-2011, 06:53 PM
Thanks for the tip Steve,

We are supposed to get 6+ inches of heavy, wet snow tommoro and wednesday so I will try that and see how it works if we do get that amount of snow.

bruces
10-24-2011, 07:45 PM
at 14 ,are you not in school ? Also,what equipment are you using for snow removal since you dont have a drivers licence?

C&C Estate Maintenance
10-24-2011, 08:12 PM
Ha. I am in school but have lots of time. I use my 2006 John Deere x540 with 48" snow blade and angling kit, single stage Toro snow blower, shovels, and a spreader & sand.