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Steve
04-24-2009, 02:02 AM
We talk a lot on this forum about how when you do something good for the community, you can get a lot of attention. Especially when you let the media know what you are doing.

Check out this story on a lawn care business owner who offered free mowing for single moms. His business got national media attention on CNN and local media attention as well.

Free lawn care for single moms (http://www.nbc-2.com/articles/readarticle.asp?articleid=19550&z=3) - A Cape Coral lawn care company is taking on yards they say are seeing effects of financial hardship. They have started mowing the lawns of single mothers for free.

Landscaping was about to get clipped from Joanne Manel's financial priorities until Brad Zachritz made the single mom an unusual offer.

Zachritz told Manel his company, Pillar Lawn Care, would now be mowing, manicuring, and maintaining her lawn all free of charge.

And check out how they promote this on their website. http://www.pillarlawncare.com/services.php

Can you imagine if you get that much media attention!

swstout
04-24-2009, 04:00 AM
Can you imagine if you get that much media attention!

I donm't mean to be a wet blanket, but this is a one time promotion gimmick. I remember back in the late 60's (showing my age) when a man sold everything he had and invested it in the NYS lottery. He spent almost $60,000.00. He won about $12,000.00.

Entrepreneur Magazine Gave him the "Biggest Looser of the Year Award". They also gave Hime the "Biggest Winner of the YearAword"!
Although he lost $48,000.00, he received over $100,000.00 in "guest appearances" on shows like Johnny Carson. He did it, and it was big news and was in demand and profited from it. He had just received his Masters in Business Marketing and "leaked" it to the National Media.
His "calculated" plan made him a lot of money, but it was a one time shot. Anyone following his lead, did so without getting the needed publicity!
What 'Pillar Lawn Care' did was an act of Genius, just not repeatable. It's already been done and therefore not news. By the waqy, do you know where the word NEWS came from? North, East, West, and South!
Although 'Single Moms' are sometimes very needy, there are other groups that don't get nearly as much governmental support. Seniors why have lost their spouse and disabled veterens come to mind. My wife is a pediatric critical care nurse and also a certified forensic nurse. She is always volunterring my services to sexual assault and domestic violence victims. I give discounts to veterans and special discounts to spouses left behind and especially to disabled vets. I don't seek publicity but I do make some very good friends along the way.
Community service builds a quiet reputation. Respected and remembered.
Steve

Steve
04-24-2009, 05:33 PM
That is a good point. It might be possible that a local media outlet would pick this same story up but it just goes to show you how being creative and letting the media know what you are doing can help you get media attention.

StartALawnCareBusiness
04-25-2009, 01:12 PM
I've always believed being entrepreneurs gives us special privileges (and special responsibilities). We meet many members of the community and our eyes are opened to people who genuinely need a helping hand.

I was involved today with a group who helps disadvantaged widows in the local community. The lady we helped today is elderly and on social security. Her roof has been leaking for a few years and she does not have the wherewithal to have it fixed. A group of 12 of us did a complete tear off and re-roof today...completely free and no gimmicks.

Though my intent was not to benefit from the work I did today, I ended up making some amazing contacts in the local community. It always amazes me how kind deeds always seem to benefit both receiver and giver.

Keith

Steve
04-25-2009, 05:57 PM
Keith,

Does the group do anything to promote that they did this? That was very nice of you.

kc2006
05-15-2009, 09:22 AM
it's great for picking up chicks too.

lol sorry I had to.

andyjoneslawncare
05-30-2009, 09:18 PM
Keith,

Does the group do anything to promote that they did this? That was very nice of you.

This is kind of my dilema. I do free cuts for elderly and disabled people that can't afford it. I get accounts from word of mouth as they are always telling friends and neighbors how I help them. Something bothers me about telling a news person about it, even though I could really use more accounts and things are hard now. My intentions started by just trying to help someone, but when it started getting me business, well, I guess my motives aren't so "pure" sometimes. Its kind of like putting a hundred dollar bill in the offering basket at church and then telling everyone how generous you were. I may not be explaining it well, but its kind of a moral dilema I suppose. If I'm helping people out so I can make more money, it takes something away from it don't you think? Then again, people in need are still getting their yards mowed for free, and the more accounts I have, the more I can afford to help even more people. Help.

CHEESE2009
05-30-2009, 10:44 PM
It sounds like a great marketing strategy, to at least give discounted services to those with disabilities. The problem with giving free lawn service for single moms (for me) I would be out of business! My area has nothing but single moms! It's great because you can let your imagination go, but man they are demanding! All it takes is for them to walk out in a bath robe, tell you, "I need a man to take care of a few things" then your screwed. My customers are either elderly or single moms, if I offered discounts at this point I wouldn't profit.

I am very interested & excited to promote myself offering discounts to several types of folks, I just wish I could figure out how to do so now.

My price seems discounted, though it's above average in my area, but that's my fair living profit. If I made discounts I'd be making just enough to maintain my equipment & keep my pantry full of Kraft Dinner.

andyjoneslawncare
05-31-2009, 07:36 AM
Yeah, the single mom thing is out of the question for me too. 90% of my business is single moms and 2 lesbian couples. There's a sort of "man pride" in taking care of your own yard, like changing your own oil, so homes with a man are a lot harder to come by. I choose elderly and disabled without the extra income because they really don't have a choice other than have a family member come help. With my first free yard, it was that family member that paid me to do her own yard right after I took it over. The key is having someone refer you to someone in need. At first, instead of advertising in the "household services" section of craigslist, I put an ad in the "free" section looking for people. I did get 7 referrals, and 3 people that referred wanted me to mow their own yard for money, but I also got 2 people asking to mow their own yard for free, and in nice neighborhoods, and I was too skeptical to reply. Everyone's going through tough times and I'm not going to mow an able body person's yard for free because of a layoff or something. Start pushin' I say! I decided to stick to referrals. I got stories of recent widows in their 80's who spent their life helping other people, etc. I'm in this business so I can provide for my kids and I, and to give me the free time to be with them as much as possible, but when a little old lady is shaking my hand crying, and saying that I'm the angel she's been praying for (those were her exact words) there's no question I'm doing the right thing. There are just lots of issues to balance when offering free service.

XtreemGreen
06-09-2009, 05:11 PM
That is an awesome idea.. But Im not going the single mom way..
1 question.. What about the elderly that live in $200-$300k homes drive brand new cars and say there on a fixed income, but want the free lawn service.. How would you approach that? Reason I ask, is I had a customer like that..Brand new 300sq foot house, brand new Lincoln in the garage.."We are on a tight fixed income and cant afford much"..Whats your response?

andyjoneslawncare
06-09-2009, 06:02 PM
The best way to avoid being taken advantage of is having people refer people to you, and not "volunteering" themselves. I was doing it by computer, so I simply didn't reply to the email about the $300 home on a fixed income. I actually had that exact same thing happen. They were in a great neighborhood with nice cars, and I'm not driving my 9 year old truck to do work for free when I could only dream of having the things they had. I say, get out and start pushin'! Its unbelievable that people would take advantage of someone trying to help people, but it happens, and they probably actually saw themselves as in hard times, but its all relative you know? Maybe explain that you only have time to do "x" amount of free yards and there are others that need help more. I've had people ask for discounted rates instead of free. This is tough, but I replied that I need to charge full price for my accounts so I can afford to do the free ones. That ones kind of iffy because they see it as they don't want it free and want to pay "something" and you're saying no. Just take 'em as they come on a case by case basis I guess.

jds2381
06-30-2009, 12:00 AM
Brand new 300sq foot house

With all the money they saved on their mini house, you would think they could pay for lawn care.

lol, sorry, just had to make light of it.:D

gajcc
06-17-2010, 09:22 AM
Though I will be just starting out, to generate business I too have advertised a senior discount. It will be a 10% discount. Doesn't seem like much, but will add up over the whole season. My sister also gave me the idea of what you guy's also said, a discount for disabled veterans. I think it a wonderful idea. It makes me feel good to help people in any way I can. Also I'm not 100% on this, I don't think in the town I'm at, have ever heard of a lawn company having, or at least advertising a senior or disabled veterans discount. One more special I wanted to run is a 3 for 4. If they pay in advance for the whole month I will give them one week free. This of course would be for new customer's only. I have posted advertisment in proper places such as vfw's and senior citizen center's. As I believe that would be most effective. I will let everyone know how it worked out at the end of the season.

Steve
06-17-2010, 02:20 PM
Oh that is very creative! Yes I look forwards to hearing what kind of reaction you get from that marketing campaign! Keep up the great work.