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Sea Lancer
01-03-2012, 08:49 PM
Hi every one,i just joined today and im looking forward to obtaining any and all info i can get and possibly give,I had one account that consisted of 14 large propertys for 3 years when suddenly the owner took it away from me to give the accounts to a relative and down the road i went.I just bought a brand new Ferris 52" inch mower and trimmers and trailer with no where to go.So now i have to start over.I am not a good salesman but im going to have to change that.I will be looking for some does and donts from this forum.I live in upstate ny near Saratoga race track and there is a lot of nice propertys and wealthy people but there is a lot of competition as well. I am a perfectionist when doing lawns.I trim them out nicely and make the place look as best as it can,i just got to get up the nerve to go out and talk to people..So im hoping i can get some coaching tips.The jobs are here but so is the competition and every guy who lost his job seems to suddenly be a lawn care professional.So i thank you for any help and it will be most appreciated....Brian

jymie
01-04-2012, 12:38 AM
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!

Sea Lancer
01-04-2012, 07:17 AM
Yes it does and thank you.I have business cards and didnt get any accounts from them last fall.Of coarse the fall in upstate NY is not the best time to get new customers as the season is winding down for mowings.I thought i could grab a few cleanups but got none.I will admit im not the most aggressive when it comes to talking to potential new customers.Thats gotta change.I read an article about offering the first mowing for free wich seems like a good idea as the customer can see your work,get some thing for free and get to know you a bit.Im also going to get a few signs made up some thing similar to the ones you see that say ANOTHER JOB DONE BY...Well thank you again for your replies and i can see that im really going to appreciate this web site.... Brian:)

ringahding1
01-04-2012, 08:23 AM
First of all WELCOME!
Second of all you're pretty cool, just not as cool as me...My name is BrYan too..lol

Jymie has pointed you in the right direction, get started now and maybe the phone will start ringing this Spring with new customers....GOOD LUCK!

Sea Lancer
01-04-2012, 08:35 AM
Would it be a good or bad idea to put the amount you would charge the customer on the door hanger?I was thinking as i walk up to the door to quickly scope the lawn and within a few minutes price it out and write it on the door hanger.I can estimate time of mowing and trim pretty good from what i see such as if its hilly,or full of obstacles such as trees,swing sets and so forth.The one thing im not good at is negotiating prices.I tend to back down and charge as little as possible just to get the account with the mind set of i'll get better accounts later and get better prices so just get this one for now at whatever it takes.Again my mind set is every one and his brother is mowing lawns for cheap.I know my quality of work will land some jobs but im trying to come up with my sales attack to get accounts and show people that they can have there lawns done at reasonable rates that look great.I see a lot of lawns that get the quick,dull blade,cut wet look and all because the customer wanted to save a dollar. sorry to ramble on im just letting you know my thinking in order to help me out with sales pitches.....Thank you....Brian

jymie
01-04-2012, 10:32 AM
Stand your ground on your pricing. I have found that the tire kickers that want to pay as little as possible to get the grass cut are not going to be the customer that you will make your money from. I have also found that they are the most picky. There is plenty of work out there to get, don't screw yourself out of what you should be paid just to get the job. Also unless you can actually see the back yard before you write the price down, I would avoid that. Rather have a door hanger that says "Prices starting at $20" for example. There could be many obstacles in the back yard that you need to trim around that would cost you time and money.

Steve
01-04-2012, 02:08 PM
I had one account that consisted of 14 large propertys for 3 years when suddenly the owner took it away from me to give the accounts to a relative and down the road i went.

I bet there is a great back story on how you initially got that job. How did it happen?

Also, has this experience effected your view on clients?

Sea Lancer
01-04-2012, 04:54 PM
well how i got the job is a long story so i will cut it to the basics.I was hired as a caretakers helper for 2 weeks and during that 2 weeks i took an old john deer trimmer and really made the properties look great.I basically made the mowing co. she had before me look bad.They had 10 year old kids doing the trim and they didnt do so good. That and they were hacking into the trees pretty bad and the owner is president of the tree huggers assoc.(LOL)She has over 200 trees on here properties and i think she even named them all (LOL) One of her properties is a Historic place with 2 renovated barns a German and Scottish barn and a corn crib.That property is used for weddings.It has a pond a cluster of Aspen trees a brook,stone walls, and surrounded by fields.I spent 2 days getting it mowed and trimmed out for a wedding and the Bride and Groom made the compliment to the owner that the place(lawn) looks like a laser was taken to it.The owner said she wanted me to do all 14 farm houses for her.(she buys up old farms and restores them) Her and i spent the next 2 weeks redesigning the lawn patterns and expanded all the lawns as they were all surrounded by fields.Now she has some relatives doing it that are just duplicating what i did.I didnt have to sales pitch her to get the job my work spoke for itself.(I was paid by the hour so i got paid for perfectionism)I dont have any reason to fear or think ill towards new customers other than the fact i just never had to go out and get them until now.Sorry for the novel and thank you for asking....Brian

Steve
01-05-2012, 02:58 PM
Brian that is a fascinating story.

The great part about it is that you got a chance to practice and perfect your skills. Now as you go out and look for new clients, I am sure you will be able to recreate that high quality service.

As we have seen on the forum time and time again, if you can do a great job, other work is sure to follow.

Is there a chance, this past customer can give you a testimonial that you could maybe use in your future marketing? Potential with some pictures of the property? That might help gain you more customers. You could market to the neighbors of that property and maybe even ask your previous customer for some referral contacts?

Sea Lancer
01-05-2012, 07:15 PM
Thank you for the compliments and yes i happen to have postcards of that particular property and was thinking of copying them and use them for marketing purposes.I also know that i can use the owner and her caretaker as a reference wich should help me greatly(i hope)...Brian

Steve
01-06-2012, 01:54 PM
Would it be a good or bad idea to put the amount you would charge the customer on the door hanger?I was thinking as i walk up to the door to quickly scope the lawn and within a few minutes price it out and write it on the door hanger.

Most business owners that have been around for a bit avoid this because by doing so, you aren't using your sales skills. If you aren't presenting your bid to the customer in person and have the opportunity to explain why this or why that, you are most likely not getting the best price you can for yourself.

If price is all the customer is looking for, there is a good chance they will simply choose the lowest.