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Steve
08-08-2007, 10:14 AM
Welcome to our forum Evergreen.

You posted (http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=8;t=5007;st=0;&#entry22373).

Quote[/b] ]We have 45 accounts and have tried referal $ and it has not worked. We put out 1000 flyers a week and get mostly tire kickers.But when we get one we show up every time and do what we say but maybe 1 or 2 refer us. Any thing else we can do?

Can you tell us a little about your business so we can help further?

How long have you been in business. What kinds of marketing have you been doing ?

What are your goals?

Evergreen
08-09-2007, 04:16 PM
We have been in business sence 1999 and our main work has been for builders. All phases of landscaping. We started to do lawn Main. 5 years ago. Up until last year we would only cut 2 days a week because we had a fireman doing it. Now we have a fulltime guy. We usually put out about 1000 flyers per week for maybe 5-6 week and we get so busy and I have to help get the work done. Then before you know it the work will stop. By this time we start running around putting more flyers out but the last 2000 we put out we did maybe 10-15 est. and landed 0 . So now we have bought some post cards and a mailing list to see if that will do any better. My goals for this year were to get to 50 accounts which we have almost done, but I feel we should be around 65-75. We do have a referal plan in place that rewards our customer will $25 off the lawn Main. for every referal/jod we get. But we have only got 1-2 referals this year. We do have yellow page ads and an enclosed trailer with our number on it and we may go 2-3 weeks where we do not take any phone calls. We are 50-60 miles outside Alt.GA and it is very populated. I just don't understand how the bigger companys continually keep there 3-4-5 crews busy every day. We have 1 commercil account and the rest are residential. We got 2 complants last year from about 35 accounts and this year maybe 8-10 on 40-45 so that will tell you we are doing good work. We are working on a website now and trying some new things. My goal is not to be the biggest in town just to work every day and feel like I'm doing a good job. I want to have 2 crews cutting grass every day while I am running the installations. I just can't seem to figure out how to keep my guys busy. I have a friend I used to work for and they went from 75 accounts to over 300 in just about 3 yaers. It can be done and I just would like to know how that is done. our installs have faded due to the builders not selling many homes. Our sales at one time reached over$500k and to date this year we are around $160k any help would certanly be entertained. Also found this site not to long ago and I tell you I'm impressed with the welth of information. Keep up the good work and let me know what you think.

Thanks
Brian

www.mygreenturf.com

landscape warrior
08-10-2007, 07:09 AM
How did you get in with the builders?

Evergreen
08-19-2007, 09:09 AM
I put together packages for the whole yard. And just rode around and talked to them. Now the building has sort of slowed way down and now everyone is pretty much sticking with who they have. But to tell you the truth I affraid of working for new builders because alot of them are broke so be carful.

Steve
08-20-2007, 10:00 AM
That is very interesting! I think one of the points you make is always very important. The more people you meet, the more you can sell too!

By going out and meeting new people the way you did, you opened yourself up to many new selling options!

Evergreen
08-21-2007, 03:50 PM
I went through a 100 nos to get one yes very fustrating process. It took me about 3-4 years of this to make it work. Plus we had to do some awsome work to get to where we were. Late nights lots of weekends. I've worked on easter and mothers day to meet some deadlines but in the end when the builders are not working you aren't, now my attention must be dirrected towards homeowners and that may take 3-4 years of hard work. It would be nice if Chestion would take us under the wing and help us through these rough times. Some suggestions would be nice. I've read all that's here but there is no info. dirrect and to the point. I would love for someone to pick my flyer apart to see if the result could change then I would not mind paying the fees.

Thanks
Brian
http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/thankyou.gif

Steve
08-22-2007, 04:52 PM
Hi Brian,

One suggestion I had was to have a limited time offer for your coupons and an expiration date.

Quote[/b] ]I've read all that's here but there is no info. dirrect and to the point. I would love for someone to pick my flyer apart to see if the result could change then I would not mind paying the fees.


Here is my view, there is no magic formula.

What is very important is getting your name out and being there when the consumer is ready to buy.

Get to know as many people as you can. Let them know how to reach you. Build up goodwill in your community. Do community service projects to build awareness and goodwill. Get press coverage. Over time these elements help you reach a critical mass where enough people know about you to allow you to run a profitable business.

Look at what happened with Lee of Tiger Time Lawn Care when he recieved international attention for his lawn care business. His phone doesn't stop ringing.

What are your thoughts on this?

Evergreen
09-08-2007, 11:51 AM
We have tried the offer expiring on the coupons, moved the name, changed the headline and all we get is tire kickers. There has to be a way some one could help other than what we are disscusing. Don't get me wrong i appreciate your help but I'm stll in the same place I was a month ago.
Thanks for your website

Brian

Steve
09-08-2007, 01:54 PM
Have you considered putting an ad in craigslist or sending out letters in your area to other lcos offering to buy their business? Maybe there are some lcos going out of business and you can scoop up their customer base for a descent price.

Another thing I would ask is what type of interaction have you had within your community? What makes you stand out amongst other lcos? Could you do more goodwill projects to build brand recognition and goodwill in your community?

There will always be tire kickers, but the more you can build your brand the more people will want to contact you first. They will want to hire you because of the goodwill you created.

Now this isn't an easy thing to do and it takes time but I believe it is worth it.

Another thing I was thinking is the section we did on GopherHaul 10 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u4dmFPKnio) which discussed how to pre-qualify new potential customers when they call in order to weed out those who are simply tire kicking. The goal of this is to improve the amount of estimates which translate into sales.

What's your take on this?

StartALawnCareBusiness
09-08-2007, 04:41 PM
Hey Evergreen:

Forgive me for saying but something is wrong here.

First off, I think 8 to 10 complaints is way too many even on 40 to 45 customers. This means you have as high as a 25% complaint rate. If you are doing quality work and taking care of your customers, your complaint rate should be 5% or less.

Also, for every complaint you receive four people will not complain. Instead, they will just drop your service and you will never know why.

Quote[/b] ]We usually put out about 1000 flyers per week for maybe 5-6 week and we get so busy and I have to help get the work done. Then before you know it the work will stop.

Part of the problem might be learned from this quote. Are you getting so busy trying to hustle up new customers that you are neglecting your current clients? I think most LCOs will agree with me that their businesses rely on repeat customers. You CANNOT run this business doing one time jobs. Also, I think most LCOs will agree that word of mouth is the best advertising. Instead of spending all that time putting out flyers, spend a few extra minutes with each of your customers. Ask your current clients to refer you to their friends and family. Don't bother offering money for referrals. If they are happy with you, they will gladly give references.

So, let's look as possible reasons why you are not retaining customers.

In my experience, customers look for:

1) Relationship: I've said it a bunch of times on these boards and I'll say it again here. Customers look for a professional relationship with their LCO. They want someone to talk with about lawn problems. They want someone to care for their yard...CARE for it, not just mow it as absolutley fast as possible and move onto the next job. They also want someone they can call up and say "Hey, Evergreen. I know you normally do my lawn on Thursdays but my little girl's birthday party is on Wednesday. Is there anyway you can come a day early?" It's okay to bend to a realistic demand from a customer. They will remember you for it.

Believe me, if you cultivate a respectful relationship with a customer, you will have a client for life.

2) Dependability: This works into the relationship heading too. I put this even above quality of work and price. Customers want to be treated respectfully and they want to know you will show up when you say you are going to. Customers will overlook the occasional flaw in their grass. They will even overlook your price being a few dollars higher than the other guy but if they can't count on you they will find someone else.

3 & 4) Quality of work & Price. Lots has already been written about these two. I won't delve into them here.

Anyway, that's what I see might be the problem from what you have written. Pay attention to your current customers and try to grow at a steady rate instead of all at once.

I hope this is helpful.

Best Luck:

Keith

Steve
09-08-2007, 04:58 PM
Keith those are some outstanding points.

I think it is fascinating that price was #4 on your list. So often we see a constant price battle but it's not so much about price as it is about everything else. We tend to lose focus. We try to be the cheapest and then quality goes down the drain.

When you are reviewing the Evergreen's business, how important is it to know what those complaints were specifically about?