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lukus223
04-20-2009, 04:01 PM
Hello All. I live in oregon and we currently have the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the nation (just a tad behind Michigan). In my county our unemployment rate is almost 14%. This is my first year looking to start part time. I've landed a few jobs, but all by 1 have come from family or friends of family. All of my marketing has fallen flat. Over 1,000 door hangers and only 1 call. Advertising in the paper, not a call yet. Updating my craigslist add every 2 days, no calls. I'm starting to feel like my market is just too over saturated. I have a normal 8-5 job and see at least 1 or 2 LCOs on the road every day. Sometimes up to 5 or 6 (this is only a 7 mile drive). What's happening in your areas? I'm considering direct mail or google as my next advertising campaign, but am starting to feel like I am pissing my money away.

Steve
04-20-2009, 04:15 PM
Well, you can expanding your marketing message or you can also experiment with your services offered. When you talk to your different family and friends are they telling you what their view is on paying for lawn care at the moment? Are they cutting their own lawns more often?

Have you thought about offering other services that many homeowners can't or won't do? Are there things your friends and family are saying they need help with?

lukus223
04-20-2009, 05:07 PM
Well, you can expanding your marketing message or you can also experiment with your services offered. When you talk to your different family and friends are they telling you what their view is on paying for lawn care at the moment? Are they cutting their own lawns more often?

Have you thought about offering other services that many homeowners can't or won't do? Are there things your friends and family are saying they need help with?

Most of them are doing it themselves. Even some who have over 6 figure incomes. Others have always had the same guys doing it. I don't want to lean on them to fire there guy to hire me, just doesn't feel right. A lot of the work I've been doing is non-mowing jobs. Like clearing a weed thatch, Spraying herbicide, dropping some bark, replacing dead trees etc. I'm not sure what else I could offer, I'm sure you have some ideas? Growing season is in full swing now with temps in the 80's.

Steve
04-20-2009, 05:24 PM
Most of them are doing it themselves. Even some who have over 6 figure incomes. Others have always had the same guys doing it. I don't want to lean on them to fire there guy to hire me, just doesn't feel right.

I think just making it known you are available. For instance, what if their sewer line backs up? Could they call you to snake out a line? You can rent snakes for $50 for half a day and charge a couple hundred to do the service. Most home owners aren't going to do that themselves. There are plenty of other services they won't do either.

This isn't about leaning on them to fire their current person. Everything is in a constant state of flux. New people move in. Old people move old. Your long time handy-man moves on to somewhere else. These things go on day in and day out. All you want to do is be that friendly face they know they can call to solve their problem.

Maybe a fridge magnet would keep you around until they were ready to call you.

A lot of the work I've been doing is non-mowing jobs. Like clearing a weed thatch, Spraying herbicide, dropping some bark, replacing dead trees etc. I'm not sure what else I could offer, I'm sure you have some ideas? Growing season is in full swing now with temps in the 80's.

I would keep letting them know you can help with all sorts of things. Changing a hard to reach light bulb. Cleaning out gutters. Fixing a roof leaf. Trimming back a tree. Reseting a mailbox. Replacing a sidewalk?

I bet if you asked around, each person has a to do list for their home, they never get to.

Steve
04-20-2009, 05:53 PM
I put together a flyer concept for you that could help.

It gets people thinking about their long to do list. Everyone has one and no one ever gets it done.

To Do List Flyer (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?p=50182#post50182)

I hope this helps inspire you.

http://www.gopherforum.com/uploaded-files/images/to-do-list-preview.jpg

lukus223
04-20-2009, 06:19 PM
Thanks Steve!!

This has given me more to think about. While I have wanted to try and focus on my core business (mowing and maintenance) I might need to branch out a little to try and find clients. I am interested to hear from some of the other guys, both new and old (maybe experienced is a better word):)

My brother who is also a LCO in a different area (2 hours north) says he hasn't got a single new customer call, but stays busy with his returning. He runs in the paper, 2 x phone books and has a website.

Steve
04-20-2009, 06:42 PM
This has given me more to think about. While I have wanted to try and focus on my core business (mowing and maintenance) I might need to branch out a little to try and find clients.

Ultimately as an entrepreneur we all have to figure out what is easiest for us to do and what makes us the most for our efforts. Sometimes you roll with the market to see what pops up. And sometimes what pops up is even better than what you initially thought of going after.

Little's
04-21-2009, 01:32 AM
Hello All. I live in oregon and we currently have the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the nation (just a tad behind Michigan). In my county our unemployment rate is almost 14%.

Im in Shasta County CA. We are over 16% unemployed, but work is flowing in good right now. Keep your head up and keep looking, the work is out there.

lukus223
04-21-2009, 10:48 AM
Im in Shasta County CA. We are over 16% unemployed, but work is flowing in good right now. Keep your head up and keep looking, the work is out there.

Thanks for the response! I didn't know things were so rough in NorCal as well. I'm a little down, but not out. More newspaper advertising started today so I'll keep my fingers crossed. What kind of advertising has worked best for you?

turfmaster
04-21-2009, 12:43 PM
I actually got some work from advertising in a small community newspaper and there were 50 other ads in there for lawn care. I got 2 rototilling, 1 fertilization,
1 top soil/mulching and 1 complete lawn care job. Ran the ad for 1 month. I got nothing from 1000 flyers and craigs list. There are tons of people advertising on craigs list in my area. Last week passing out flyers there were at least 5 other LC flyers in the area I targeted. They were blowing all over the place. It looks like less mowing and more of other services for me this year especially with all the $20.00 guys out there. Heck there is even a guy offering to mow FREE for a month!!
:eek:

lukus223
04-21-2009, 01:23 PM
I actually got some work from advertising in a small community newspaper and there were 50 other ads in there for lawn care. I got 2 rototilling, 1 fertilization,
1 top soil/mulching and 1 complete lawn care job. Ran the ad for 1 month. I got nothing from 1000 flyers and craigs list. There are tons of people advertising on craigs list in my area. Last week passing out flyers there were at least 5 other LC flyers in the area I targeted. They were blowing all over the place. It looks like less mowing and more of other services for me this year especially with all the $20.00 guys out there. Heck there is even a guy offering to mow FREE for a month!!
:eek:

I know what you mean! I put out almost 1000 doorhangers. Paid good money for the design and printing. Full color and glossy with a 15% off offer with a 1 yr agreement. Got 1 call for a 1 time service. Glad to hear about your newspaper response. I was hesitating as I see like 20 other guys in there, but they must be there for a reason. I'm debating a "new movers" direct mail purchase. Seems like a good area for me to market. Anyone else ever try it?

Steve
04-21-2009, 04:34 PM
I'm debating a "new movers" direct mail purchase. Seems like a good area for me to market. Anyone else ever try it?

It seems like we have had a bunch of members do something similar with real estate agents and they have liked the results. How does the new mover direct mail service work?

lukus223
04-21-2009, 05:26 PM
It seems like we have had a bunch of members do something similar with real estate agents and they have liked the results. How does the new mover direct mail service work?

It is through a direct mail marketing company. They get a list weekly from the USPS of people who have changed to a new address. They design and mail an offer to them. I can choose the zip codes I want to target and time timeframe in which they have moved. Seems if I can get folks who moved into a place less than a 2 or 3 weeks ago they should be a great lead.

Steve
04-21-2009, 06:18 PM
How much do they charge for such a service? How do the prices break down?

lukus223
04-21-2009, 06:53 PM
How much do they charge for such a service? How do the prices break down?

$0.48 each with a minimum of 250 per mailing. That's all inclusive. Design, lists, printing, mailing. Also, the first buy you get an equal number free. So if you buy 250, you get 500. Seems like a good deal and something to try.

Steve
04-21-2009, 06:57 PM
So for about $120 you reach out to 500 new residents in your area. Very fascinating!

Have you thought of what you would like to say in your mailing? Would there be any kind of new owner offer?

lukus223
04-21-2009, 09:32 PM
So for about $120 you reach out to 500 new residents in your area. Very fascinating!

Have you thought of what you would like to say in your mailing? Would there be any kind of new owner offer?

Hey Steve,

Despite what a lot of the "never discount" people say, you really need one if you are going to advertise. I spent a year as an advertising manager for a local media group (included the largest newspaper). I'm debating on a "as low as $xx statment, a discount, or something free. Free always gets the best response, but the most costly. Also free with a large stipulation (annual agreement) is not as good. I know this is redudent, but I learned a little about direct mail and its always been about three things.

1. The right prospects. You can't sell lawn service to apt residents or poor neighborhoods (maybe).

2. The right Time. You have to hit them when it's relevant. I would imagine the start of the season is a big time, but through the season as unrealiable folks start screwing up.

3. The right offer. You have to give a call to action. Must folks will have already picked up a paper, phone book, or some other means if it was urgent.

If you don't do all three, it's just branding. Which is great for large companys that are looking for name brand recognition, but not folks searching of a measurable ROI.

Steve
04-21-2009, 09:44 PM
Despite what a lot of the "never discount" people say, you really need one if you are going to advertise. I spent a year as an advertising manager for a local media group (included the largest newspaper). I'm debating on a "as low as $xx statment, a discount, or something free. Free always gets the best response, but the most costly.

Oh fascinating!

When you reflect on that time, which ads that you worked with really stood out? Do you remember any companies that you worked with that really got great results from their marketing? What did they do?

lukus223
04-22-2009, 10:24 AM
Oh fascinating!

When you reflect on that time, which ads that you worked with really stood out? Do you remember any companies that you worked with that really got great results from their marketing? What did they do?

The funny thing is that most clients would never tell you "How Great" the advertising worked. We were always negotiating future purchases and campaigns so they never wanted to really let you know how good it went. If we knew they needed us, the dynamic totally changed. The ones who were targeted and consistent with there advertising always bought more (so it must have worked). I would get complaints from companys that would just send out mailers or place an ad that said "come visit XXX company, we are the best". No call to action, no offer. Then they wonder why no one came. Look into any media and you will find 1 of 2 things. Either branding or offers. When you look at the paper does Macys just say "shop at macys". No, they say "shop at macys on XX during XXam and XXpm and receive XX". Same should hold true for any business looking to bring customers in the door. If you are successful enough to not need to advertise the I agree with the "never discount". If you are going to get out there and try to grow, you gotta entice prospects into action

Steve
04-22-2009, 06:03 PM
That is interesting! Can you remember then which kinds of companies advertised the longest? What fields were they in and what did they promote?

That would be fascinating to know.