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picframer
04-29-2009, 08:06 PM
I had a marketing company design a professional post card that I would mail drop into very specific areas of the city, what we call the South End, a very rich area where, for the most part, it's hiring someone to do it for you and keeping up with the neighbours. On the woodworking side 80% of our sales to locals go in this area.

So the drive of this post card was our Organic Products, Professional Lawn Care and Clean Up's, the card is very sharp.

I dropped 3,500 last Thursday, not one call or email has been generated.

Two weeks ago I ran a very simple short ad in a local newspaper, cost was $18.50, it's drive was mini excavation, I received over twenty grand in contracts and am still receiving calls.

So I guess a lesson learned, I am a bit shocked at a no response at all, I know this area well and the card really should have sparked some attention.

Andy

StartALawnCareBusiness
04-29-2009, 08:23 PM
On the woodworking side 80% of our sales to locals go in this area.




Andy, what type of woodworking do you do? I aquired a very nice trunk from a cherry tree today. 2.5'+ diameter, 5' long. The people who cut it down put it by the side of the road for the brush truck. I thought it was too good to waste.

I'm looking for ideas to put it to use. I don't have many woodworking tools other than a chainsaw :-)

Keith

swstout
04-29-2009, 08:37 PM
I had a marketing company design a professional post card that I would mail drop into very specific areas of the city, what we call the South End, a very rich area where, for the most part, it's hiring someone to do it for you and keeping up with the neighbours. On the woodworking side 80% of our sales to locals go in this area.

So the drive of this post card was our Organic Products, Professional Lawn Care and Clean Up's, the card is very sharp.

I dropped 3,500 last Thursday, not one call or email has been generated.

Two weeks ago I ran a very simple short ad in a local newspaper, cost was $18.50, it's drive was mini excavation, I received over twenty grand in contracts and am still receiving calls.

So I guess a lesson learned, I am a bit shocked at a no response at all, I know this area well and the card really should have sparked some attention.

Andy

I said in a post before that Post Cards and Ad packs probably were intercepted by the wife who considers the lawn the 'duty' of the man of the house and promptly discards it. I didn't think it would be worthwile and passed.

Like you, I ran a block ad in our local paper in the Services section. $120.00 a quarter (13 weeks). I started the ad last week (it comes out every Monday and is home delivered) and so far I have received 61 calls and my website is getting 35-40 hits a day. I wanted to get 50 accounts this year (my first) and as of today I have 41. I gave 11 estimates today and have 10 set for tomorrow.

I think newspaper ads make you look more 'real' to the customers.

Steve

Steve
04-29-2009, 08:41 PM
Does anyone have a theory on why the newspaper ads seem to be doing better than the direct mail?

Is the medium you are advertising in?

Is it the message?

Or something else?

picframer
04-29-2009, 08:44 PM
Andy, what type of woodworking do you do? I aquired a very nice trunk from a cherry tree today. 2.5'+ diameter, 5' long. The people who cut it down put it by the side of the road for the brush truck. I thought it was too good to waste.

I'm looking for ideas to put it to use. I don't have many woodworking tools other than a chainsaw :-)

Keith

Figured and exotic woods, mainly high end crafts, custom picture framing, here is my website www.oakridgeyardcare.ca I could make a very good living from this and have in the past however I wanted to start a company that would allow me to work outside, then it dawned on my Organic Lawn Care and Mini excavation, sunny days are outside, rainy days are in the shop.

The Mini excavation and Organic spraying took off but I can't even get a nibble on lawn care.

That trunk would be excellent for turning, expecially bowls and Cherry is a Very easy wood to turn.

Andy

picframer
04-29-2009, 08:56 PM
Does anyone have a theory on why the newspaper ads seem to be doing better than the direct mail?

Is the medium you are advertising in?

Is it the message?

Or something else?

As Steve pointed out perhaps the other half is catching it or people simply do not like junk mail. I spent a lot of bucks on this, what I did first was ask my woodworking clients in this area if they read ad mail, their response was sometimes "if it catches my eye" and "it is printed on professional cards", I asked about flyers, the majority said they do not read flyers and if printed on a color photocopy paper, it's used to start a fire, so the message was clear.

Hired a local marketing company, told them what I wanted, they came back with 3 designs, went back to my woodworking clients and asked them to choose, also asked people at the market where we sell woodworking which one they liked, all but one selected the same card, had 10,000 printed.

The message is basically the same, driving them to the website, I ask every caller or email, how did you hear about us, 97% is newspaper, 3% search engine. I am not including word of mouth, also picked up three jobs from people who saw one of our trucks and wrote the number down.

So I will give it one more shot and send 5,000 into the upper middle class and see what happens, it is a very expensive way to get the name out, even if I had one call.....

What I did this evening is write a large number of clients asking if they received our Lawncare Card.

picframer
04-29-2009, 08:57 PM
Wrong website www.picframer.ca

swstout
04-29-2009, 09:00 PM
Does anyone have a theory on why the newspaper ads seem to be doing better than the direct mail?

Is the medium you are advertising in?

Is it the message?

Or something else?

I think the newspaper ads are more effective because the customer is looking for the service. With direct mail, the service is looking for the customer!

Steve

Steve
04-29-2009, 09:00 PM
What I did this evening is write a large number of clients asking if they received our Lawncare Card.

Did you email them? Were you just interested in knowing if they received it or if they had any thoughts on the ad?

picframer
04-29-2009, 09:26 PM
Did you email them? Were you just interested in knowing if they received it or if they had any thoughts on the ad?

I want to see if anyone has seen the card in case Canada Post screwed up and they didn't get out, then I can go back at the post office as I paid over $690.00 just for the mail drop.

picframer
04-29-2009, 09:33 PM
I think the newspaper ads are more effective because the customer is looking for the service. With direct mail, the service is looking for the customer!

Steve

That is a very good point, I know personally I do not read Ad mail, my first stop is the yellow pages or if the paper is around I will take a quick look.

When I built homes a few years back, flyers were on the door every day it seemed, now if a sales guy showed up in person I sometimes used their service but I never did call anyone who left a flyer.

Anyhow Steve that is awsome you are at 41.....keep it going bud. How many employees are you using? I have 5 at the moment but that is due to each machine needing an operator and a helper, then I keep two going doing yard clean ups.

I did one myself for a change today, a few days ago I approached a real estate guy on lawn sweeping, we got a contract to do a new listing, probably 2 1/2 acres, beautiful spot but a lot of branches, rocks and leaves. Took a helper and we went at it, 2 1/2 hours to do. Called the agent and he came by 15 min later and said he was shocked, took 25 cards and a handful of our postcards and said he wants every new listing done. I must say it did turn out very nice, would have taken pictures however dear son has the Camera in Cuba at the moment.

I had a chance to use one of our BR500 Stihl backpack blowers, never used one before, OMG will these blow, man they do an awsome job, hardly any noise and no vibration at all, I was very impressed.

Steve
04-29-2009, 09:33 PM
I guess it is a possibility. Keep us posted on how that goes.

Also, when you are doing the mailings the way you are in Canada, is there anyway to include your own address in it or is that not possible because it will only reach a certain neighborhood?

picframer
04-29-2009, 09:40 PM
I guess it is a possibility. Keep us posted on how that goes.

Also, when you are doing the mailings the way you are in Canada, is there anyway to include your own address in it or is that not possible because it will only reach a certain neighborhood?

The way it works here is you start with the first three digits of the postal code, that gives you a map of streets covered, then you select what they call a letter carrier walk, you select an LC number, this allows me to select very specific streets.

I can't include my address as I live 15 min outside the city, I am not a city type person, need space and lots of it. I haven't done any marketing where I live and I don't think I will as there are 5 mini excavation companies here, two are owned by friends and I don't want to rock the boat. It is interesting however their equipment hasn't been moving yet we are going out straight in an area about 35 min from where I live and it seems to be spreading out, I turned down two jobs today as they would have been an hours drive, 45 min is my limit.

swstout
04-29-2009, 09:51 PM
Anyhow Steve that is awsome you are at 41.....keep it going bud. How many employees are you using? I have 5 at the moment but that is due to each machine needing an operator and a helper, then I keep two going doing yard clean ups.



Right now I have one part timer. But, I am looking. I looked at another truck thisd afternoon. I can see I will need one soon!

I pay my part timer $18.00 per hour. I know that sounds like a lot, but he is worth it. Great at organizing his time, makes no wasted trips (if he's here and going there say to the trailer, he looks to see if anything needs to be put back on the trailer). Full of suggestions and always thinking. Has no wasted movements. I told him I would pay him more if he came on full time but he declined. He has a full time job as a Police Officer and part time work is all he is interested in.

Steve

picframer
04-30-2009, 05:51 PM
I guess it is a possibility. Keep us posted on how that goes.

Also, when you are doing the mailings the way you are in Canada, is there anyway to include your own address in it or is that not possible because it will only reach a certain neighborhood?

Just got home from work, have about a dozen emails from woodworking clients I contacted, they received the Lawn Care card.......now I am not sure if I should bother with another mail drop, we have lots of construction and excavation type work, quite a bit of spraying but that will soon pass, hardly a thing on the lawn care side other than a few clean ups, no mowing to speak of.

Steve
04-30-2009, 08:36 PM
What else might you do then?

picframer
04-30-2009, 09:19 PM
What else might you do then?

I think for now lawn mowing is going to the back burner, if someone asks then yes we will do it however I think I have spent enough time and $$$ trying.

It seems the demand is mini excavation followed by spraying then yard clean ups, we do have six wood chipping jobs to do next week, there is very little competition (only 2 companies in our city) and the competition charges crazy rates, $500.00 a day ++ for machine and operators (2), I advertised at $350.00 a day, that is 8 hours and said the homeowner can save money by being on site and bringing brush to the operator however we do not let them feed the machine, insurance etc.

It does however bug me that I have all this equipment sitting here and people lined up and ready to come to work.

I don't dare do it this year as I am not big enough yet, however the time will come in the future that if you want access to our sprays and services, then we have to do your mowing, this may be year two or three and yes there will be exceptions.

What I see even the wealthy area doing is taking the $15.00 to $20.00 mow offers then I know when there is an issue, they will call to have their lawn fixed up, I have no choice but to do it, at least for now.

swstout
04-30-2009, 09:41 PM
Yesterday and today I gave 21 estimates but only sold 1 (so far). Looking over the sales I have made (residential) they have almost all been to professional people. 4 College Professors, 1 Dentist, 3 Doctors, i Banker, 3 Veterinarians. Quite a few have been to retired people (former professional people. From the jobs I mowed last week, I received 3 referrals - again to professionals.

Almost all of these lots have sprinklers and I was affraid of damaging them. I thought about it for a while until I was at Lowes getting Weed-B-Gon and saw some lawn flags. 18" steeel rods with Orange triangle flags - 100 for $7.95. Before mowing I walked the yards and put a flag at each sprinkler head. The home owner was impressed at my extra care (he didn't know it was to protect me) but was impressed anyway. It got me the 3 referals.

For the non-professionals I have given estimates to, I have received no sales. So, I am no longer spending time and money to seek them out.

Steve