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pwheeler
02-19-2013, 02:43 PM
My name is Nicole and my husband I opened a lawn care business in Decatur AL last Spring. It is a work in progress and we are still learning. He has had prior business owning experience where I have not. I am looking to get advice or suggestions from anyone willing to give it :) I do the "book keeping" part of the business which we use Quick Books for. Sometimes it seems overwhelming. Does anyone suggest a different software? Another question I have is when is the best time to send out letters to new and/or existing customers for the new season, and what should be included in that letter?

LawnBoy0311
02-19-2013, 05:39 PM
I use quick books too. It can be a pain at first, but I found it to be easier once I got the hang of it.

When does your mowing season start? Maybe send out letters a month or 2 before the mowing season starts. I start in April and sent out letters a few weeks ago to see who will be coming back and who won't.

As for advertising, never stop. Its an ongoing process until you and your husband feel the need to stay where you're at.

lawn Stylist
02-20-2013, 10:09 AM
I use quick books too. It can be a pain at first, but I found it to be easier once I got the hang of it.

When does your mowing season start? Maybe send out letters a month or 2 before the mowing season starts. I start in April and sent out letters a few weeks ago to see who will be coming back and who won't.

As for advertising, never stop. Its an ongoing process until you and your husband feel the need to stay where you're at.

Agree 100% :)

Steve
02-20-2013, 12:19 PM
Welcome to our forum!

Have you looked in the free lawn care letter (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=7209) template section?

That should give you some ideas.

When will you start doing your spring cleanups? Can you start calling last years customers to schedule their cleanup?

pwheeler
02-20-2013, 12:41 PM
That is where my questions come in Steve... I think now would be a good time to start the work and last month would have been the time to send letters as reminders but my husband didnt want to send anything "too early". Would phone calls be better than letters? We have 42 customers that are in our Quick books maybe 30-35 are active customers but we want to reach out to ALL of them of course to regain and grow our business... As well as send out letters/flyers to potential customers. ADVICE?

Cashin H&P
02-20-2013, 01:17 PM
First, Welcome. Second, its never too late to send the letters.

Steve
02-21-2013, 12:14 PM
In person is best.
Phone calls second.
Mailing anything third.


The more personal the contact is the better for existing customers. You want to touch base with them, and see what the status of their yard is, then schedule them for their first cleanup or mowing.

The more personal the contact (see list above), the better your chances are to make the sale.

Keep us posted on how this goes.

stevef1201
02-21-2013, 12:25 PM
I sent out renewal letters Feb 1 with information for this year. Start of season date, price increases, late fees requirment, and billing schedule changes.

I got 1 customer who cancelled because he moved out of town, one new customer who cancelled because she got married and her new husbamnd has a brand new mower (oh well)

I sent out billing for March on feb 15 with payment for due on March 15.

Advetising-I have the same exact ad every week of the year, as we have a fluid population in the winter, and I pick up several new customers that way.

Oh BTW got 4 refferals from the same guy, all neighbors, and got all 4 jobs. What a way tomake money, dont have to move the truck

pwheeler
02-21-2013, 10:28 PM
Thank you all for the great advice! Keep it coming... please. Is there a book for "dummies" on how to bill (when things are due, how much a late fee should be, when to inforce that late fee, at what point do you drop a non paying customer or send them to collections?

Steve we already have tons of letters, that include a business card and flyer of "extra" services we offer, printed labeled addressed and sealed ready to mail tom... Are letters bad; or could we maybe do a phone call in addition to the letter?

Steve
02-22-2013, 11:42 AM
Is there a book for "dummies" on how to bill

There are a lot of lawn care business books (http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Low/e/B00495MN4S/) you can check out.

Are letters bad; or could we maybe do a phone call in addition to the letter?

I am not saying letters are bad, they are just not as fast and convenient as a phone call. Think about how fast you can resign a new customer for this year if you call.

You: Hello Mr Smith I am just calling you to let you know we have a spot available for you on Tues to clean up your yard and get you ready for your mowing season this year. If that is alright with you, I will schedule you in and see you on Tues.

Customer: Ok, sounds good.

That would take you a minute or two?

Now with letters, you have to type them out. Send them. Wait for them to get delivered. Wait for a customer to call you back saying they got your letter. Then schedule the job.

Which would be more efficient? Which would give you a better chance of making a sale?

aduttonater
03-04-2013, 10:34 PM
My name is Nicole and my husband I opened a lawn care business in Decatur AL last Spring. It is a work in progress and we are still learning. He has had prior business owning experience where I have not. I am looking to get advice or suggestions from anyone willing to give it :) I do the "book keeping" part of the business which we use Quick Books for. Sometimes it seems overwhelming. Does anyone suggest a different software? Another question I have is when is the best time to send out letters to new and/or existing customers for the new season, and what should be included in that letter?

I also use quickbooks but I think I'd rather hire someone else to manage it. With over 400 one time customers and 80 repeat customers, I am going to try to increase business through sms text message marketing as well as outbound phone calls. The phone is a great tool when it comes to doing business.