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moseley creek
10-08-2007, 03:59 PM
Hay ya all. Just thought I'd introduce myself. I am a single mother of two children and I have been owner operator of my lawn care business for three years now. Business was great until this mowing season due to me divorcing my husband who has been in the area longer than I have. I do have 2 questions to any who want to answer. 1. How do you inexpensively introduce yourself to a new area? and 2. What does everyone else do during the winter months which are really only Dec., Jan., and feb. for me here in North Carolina?

Steve
10-08-2007, 04:11 PM
Hi moseley creek,

Welcome to our forum!

My first question is are you introducing yourself to a new area or re-introducing your self to an area you have serviced already but you are coming out as a new owner?

moseley creek
10-08-2007, 04:14 PM
My ex has a bad problem of running his mouth so I have lost customers due to it. There are several areas I have been wanting to get into but not sure how. No I am not new owner I have been sole owner operator since the business started. Have I answered your questions?

Steve
10-08-2007, 05:03 PM
Well hmmm

There are a couple things I can think of, depending on how into this you want to get.

First off, Halloween is coming and you have kids. Have you considered going out and trick or treating with them and handing out flyers as you do this? It would be a great way to reach out to new people and make a personal connection.

I also think you have a great story. It's great because others will be able to relate to you and they will want to see you succeed because you will then be a hero for single women trying to do this all on your own.

I would consider putting together an article for your local paper, where you talk about this. The headline could read "Being a single mom and running your own business isn't easy." It could be a very inspiring story. Put together a press release and include a picture of you and your children. And talk about all the issues you face doing this on your own but how you are determined to succeed.

In fact, we could help you put this together right here on the forum and others could offer their views as well.

Doing something like this, really puts your story out there but it also takes a bad situation and makes it a positive one by harnessing it. Others will read the article and relate to you and want to hire you. They will be able to connect with you and your struggle.

What's your take on this?

You could also go out and do flyers and door hangers but I think this would be so much more powerful!

LawncareMarketingMagic
10-09-2007, 12:38 PM
Moseley Creek,

Here's how I would tackle the issue of rebuilding your customer base.

First, has your ex completely burned any possible bridges with your customers? If there's even the smallest chance of salvaging a relationship, I'd send these customers a letter touching on the fact your business has been sabotaged but that it's going to benefit them. There's no need to go into the specifics, but let them know that you're willing to do whatever it takes to keep their business so you'll offer them a sizeable discount or premium to stay with you.

If there's no chance of salvaging anything and you do have to start over, these are the steps I'd go through to rebuild your business:
1. Create a 'farm' or list of target prospects. If you're on a tight budget, the best thing to do is drive around and identify neighborhoods you want to target.
2. Create a flyer introducing your business and make them an incredible offer. Remember to include these critical elements in your flyer:
- An attention grabbing headling
- Present them a valuable offer
- Create urgency with either a limited number available or deadline
- Tell them exactly how to respond
- Include 3rd party proof (Before/After photos, testimonials, etc.)
- Provide risk reversal or something to remove any risk

3. Walk these neighborhoods distributing the flyers and hand deliver as many as possible to a live person. Yes, it will take some time, but it's one of the most effective methods available on a limited budget

Lastly, if you have any customers left, I'd send them a letter telling them you're trying to grow your business and that you need their help. Offer them a premium if they'll refer you to some of their friends or neighbors.

Another thing you could do would be to approach realtors, accountants, financial planners, or any other service business that services the same profile customer as you. Try to create some type of joint venture with them where they'll refer you to their clients in exchange for either you doing the same or you providing them service for a period of time.

These are all things you could do to quickly get your business back up and running.

Also, with respect to the press release Steve mentioned, I'd love to help out with putting one together for you so just drop me a PM and let me know how I can get in touch with you to discuss it.

StartALawnCareBusiness
10-09-2007, 05:25 PM
Some good responses above.

First off, congratulations on having the guts to keep striving with your lawn care business. *I am sure you are going though a tough time. *Keep going...this, too, shall pass.

I think mothers and single women will admire what you are doing? *This might help you find a whole new customer base. *What if women became your target customer? *

Single women might really take to the idea of another woman handling their lawn care jobs. *You will be less threatening and you can lend a sympathetic ear.

You could get started by going to your local women's crisis center. *Speak with the directors to see if they know of women going through divorces, etc. who need help with upkeep of their yards. *Maybe offer 5% off to customers who are referred by the crisis center.

Advertise at local women's functions. *Our town hosts an annual 10K run for breast cancer awareness. *Literally thousands upon thousands of runners take part in that race. *You could become a sponsor to an organization such as this.

There are probably lots of women's support organizations that you could become affiliated with.

This next suggestion can really be big for you. *Lots of government related contracts have stipulations that they actively encourage women owned and minority businesses to bid on their projects. *Take advantage of any special considerations afforded you.

Though I'm not a woman or a minority, I have experience bidding these type contracts so if you want more info, email me at:

*lawncarebusiness@gmail.com

and I can give you a few tips.

If you do decide to go after the women only marketplace, your logo can be more dainty than what a big sweaty guy would use. *A pink back ground with a lawn mower and a pair of gardening gloves over the handle. *You might be able to hire a partner and your tagline can be something like:

Lawn Care For Women By Women!

You can have customized pink paint jobs done on your commercial lawn equipment. *Your truck or lawn care trailer can be painted pink too.

Forget about the trash talking that may or may not be going on behind your back. *Set your sights forward. *You have a great opportunity to have a really strong lawn care business.

Good luck:

Keith

moseley creek
10-09-2007, 06:00 PM
What do you think guys paint it pink?

Steve
10-09-2007, 06:36 PM
Hi Teresa,

You have a really nice family there and a nice set up. Thanks for sharing your picture!

I am totally with Keith on this. Accentuate your uniqueness.

Potential customers will trust you more than a man owned business. They will feel more comfortable with you, no doubt.

I LOVE the pink idea. You should see what Patrick from blairprod.com (http://www.blairprod.com) can come up with for you.

Slogan ideas: Lawn care with a woman's touch, Your lawn care deserves a woman's touch.

Keep it short and simple and play up that your business is a woman owned business. Absolutely.


Another great thing you could do would be to offer yourself as a guest lecturer to women's groups to discuss running your own business and doing it as a single mom. This could be really big for you. First off, it's something you can do for free and you will be reaching out to other local women and potential customers.

Do one guest speaking position somewhere and more requests will follow.

Steve
10-09-2007, 06:49 PM
Now when you start thinking brand building. You could go with maybe a pink truck and then more of a darker colored shirt, more purplish? It would be a nice color to play off the pink, that's my view at least.

Here is a graphic idea.

moseley creek
10-09-2007, 07:58 PM
How did you do that? Hay wait you forgot to paint the snapper pink. I love my snaper but it sure would be pretty in pink.

Steve
10-09-2007, 08:05 PM
I was just messing around in photoshop. Maybe it will give you some creative ideas to run with further.

Clean Lawn
10-09-2007, 11:51 PM
Well as a woman lawn care owner I am sorry I missed the beginning of this post but I have been down and out with a horrible cold.
I agree with everything the guys have said and I am just a baby when it comes to the lawn care business (started June 2007) but they are 100% on the money.
I am sorry about the divorce and the trash talking. I have been there and wow does it suck when kids are involved but you have to think of yourself and them. If he wants to trash talk then let him, you have great people on this forum that can and will help. If ever need someone to talk to I have been there and it was horrible but I am here and I am married again to a great guy. Keep your head up and follow the great advice here. I was really overwhelmed with how great everyone was in the suggestion and help offered. Ya'll are awesome!
I was curious by one of the posts regarding the government contracts and women owned businesses? Are these considered commercial contracts and how would someone else go about finding information on it?
Again, keep your head up and everything will work out great!

Steve
10-10-2007, 12:30 PM
Here is a door hanger concept that plays up the family owned and operated angle as well as includes pink elements and a woman's touch element.

Maybe something like will get you thinking of more creative marketing ideas.

Steve
10-10-2007, 12:53 PM
Then maybe you could go with an article concept, something along these lines to send out to the local press in hopes they pick up on it and publish it.

Clean Lawn
10-10-2007, 10:32 PM
Very very nice. Ya'll are awesome!http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/yourock.gif