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lov2mow
11-05-2011, 07:03 AM
3 months ago started buisness, bought new dump truck with 9' Boss plow, Bought 20' enclosed trailer had it lettered up, bought all top line mowers and equipment. I have spent the last 3 months mailing brochures ( which are very professinal ) too very nice homes. I have sent out over 600. No phone calls.

Recently I tried Service Magic, got 3 leads first day, called them as soon as lead came to my phone and NO return calls. I am frustrated. Can anybody point me in a better direction? :(

I also have a web site that I think is pretty good.
www.frankslawncare.biz

mark123
11-05-2011, 08:02 AM
I've seen a few guys throw money at this business expecting to get big, big results. They see me everywhere in town cutting lawns and applying fertilizer and they think they can do it, too, and they can but they just didn't realize that my first year I made a total of $6000 (that's not a typo, I made only six thousand dollars for the whole year). I barely kept my family fed and I couldn't buy anything beyond the absolute necessities. There is no fun. There is no big money.

If you can make it through the first five years with nothing then you may have a chance. If not, get out now.

I've got to say that each year gets better but it takes patience and you've got to be wise.

jymie
11-05-2011, 09:25 AM
Here is a post I have made a few times, it can help you. Since you started this business 3 months ago, remember that is the middle of the season, most people already have their lawn guy by then. True, you will grow each year, be patient and it will happen. You should be handing out your business card to everyone you meet, in the grocery store, at the gas station, in a restaurant, at a bar etc, any where where there are people. The key is to amp up your advertising a month to a month and a half before your mowing season begins in the spring. Once you have customers, ask them about referrals from friends neighbors etc. Utilize flyers on entire streets that you have customers on once a month just to keep your name out there.


Welcome to the forum, there is a ton of information here. First and foremost you must have a website.

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!

jymie
11-05-2011, 09:39 AM
In looking over your website, I have a couple of suggestions that will also help. On your Photo Gallery page, as you build your business, make sure that you include before and after pictures of jobs that you do. That is a big seller to people if they see what it looked like before you started it and after you finished it, even have a notebook with you when you do estimates to show a potential customer work that you have done. Secondly, In the keywords on your site, you should add into them the towns you service, along with the zipcodes. Most people will type in the service they need and the town they live in.

lov2mow
11-05-2011, 04:52 PM
JYMIE, thanks for all that info, I will start working on the things that you suggest. Most of your ideas I am allready doing, but you had a handfull that I am not so I will start tommorrow.

Thanks

Steve
11-07-2011, 03:19 AM
Frank,

I just checked out your site and it looks great. I also check out your pictures and WOW what a nice set up you have.

http://www.frankslawncare.biz/images/about_franks_landscape_lawn_care.jpg

What made you decide to start things out the way you did so far? I am sure you have a great story on your start up.


As far as your marketing goes, have you been focusing on your social network? Writing down a list of everyone you know and reaching out to them about their lawn care? Telling them you are now in business and asking them if they could turn work your way? Also asking them if there is a person at their work who you could contact to offer lawn care services for too?

Each one of us knows a lot of people and if they feel like they can help you out getting your footing with your new business and at the same time get a needed service provided for themselves, they will be more than happy to help.

A big key is that it is easier to sell to people you know than it is to sell to those you don't. People are more comfortable buying from others they know and trust. So focus on selling to those you know at first and then widen your social network to sell more to more people.

Knowing this shows you the importance of saying hello and meeting people every where you go and handing them business cards.

lov2mow
11-07-2011, 05:44 AM
Steve
I came from the Car Wash Service buisness. 37 years building and servicing car washes. I was number one in New England had a fleet of trucks and equipment that was always brand new. For that reason we where number one. I always told my customers you have to spend money to make money. So I went out and spent over 60,000 to get started hopefully it pays off.

Steve
11-08-2011, 12:25 PM
That is very interesting!

What did you enjoy or dislike about that business?

Do you feel there were other business lessons you learned from that experience that you could share with newer entrepreneurs that don't have your experience?

lov2mow
11-08-2011, 02:53 PM
Steve
It was a very rewarding buisness both mentally and finacially. You got a good feeling when a customers wash was broken down and we would show up and get them back in buisness. Also we would take raw land and turn them into multi million dollar property's. But after 37 years going a hundred miles per hour I sold the buisness. Landscaping and lawn Care is something I always like to do, so I thought what a way to keep me busy untill I am in the dirt.

lov2mow
11-08-2011, 02:55 PM
Steve

I forgot to answer your question about lessons I learned that I could pass on.
The problem is this is a different world now with new lessons to be learned.

Steve
11-09-2011, 01:25 PM
Frank,

To get to be #1 in anything I would think you had to really be good at your networking.

As you look back on your previous business, can you see the different ways you networked with your customer base to reach out and make new customers?

Did you send out brochures to them or were there other methods you used to meet new customer through current customers?

lov2mow
11-09-2011, 03:50 PM
Steve

I built my buisness on service. Their were only 5 or 6 companys in all of new england that did what we did. So the word traveled fast. I know once we start landing jobs the word will travel. Just had a customer hire me for fall clean up. Gave her a price, she excepted and we did the work Sunday while she was at church. when she came home she e-mailed and said Great Job!! that we went above and behond the scope of work.

Steve
11-10-2011, 02:30 PM
That is fantastic! Now with such customers will you ask them if they can refer you to their friends and neighbors? Maybe give them a few extra business cards to hand out too?

lov2mow
11-11-2011, 06:05 AM
Yes we will do all that, in fact we offer a $ 25 gift card to any retail store of their choice for leads that will hire us.:

mark123
11-11-2011, 09:23 AM
... Maybe give them a few extra business cards to hand out too?
When I send out my invoices at the end of the month I always include a business card. Even though most of them probably end up in the trash every once in a while the current customer will give it to a friend.

lov2mow
11-11-2011, 03:53 PM
Good idea Mark with buisness cards.