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nozzlehead
06-17-2009, 10:53 AM
> Dear GopherGuys,> > I saw your video on Youtube and checked out your web site. Ther's a > lot of great stuff on there. I am new to the lawn care business & am > having trouble getting started. I have been plowing snow for a few > years now & can get customers without too much trouble but I can't > seem to get lawn care customers. I am a fulltime firefighter & want to > do this as a side business. With my son leaving for collage in the > fall the extra money will really help. I have been using the business > name Johnson Contracting since I started plowing & added the phrase > "your contractor for all seasons" when I started to expand. I have > been using a logo I got from Vista Print for my cards and door magnets > but would really like to come up with my own. I have thought of using > the name Johnson Contracting & Property Maintenance since I do more > than lawn care & snowplowing. I also will do exterior repairs or decks > or whatever else the customer needs. The big problem is advertising. > Everythig is expenseive. I spoke with the local paper about stuffing > flyers but that was a couple hundred dollars. I checked on getting my > truck lettered & a logo made but that was going to be almost $500. I > just don't have that kind of money to spend right now without having > the business to re-coop it. If you might be able to point me in the > right direction it would be great. Let me mention, I'm not out to be > some lowballing fly-by grass mower. I am fully insured, pay taxes, & > have a good reputation with the customers I do have.

jasonw
06-17-2009, 12:42 PM
Put at add in the paper, Mine costs me $19.95 per month. Put fliers on public boards and also when you give your customers there receipts staple on a lawn care flier, That way every time they look at the recipe they see you do lawn care. Go to Walmart and get a set of mail box stickers in the proper color to put on your truck. The stickers only cost about $2 for the pack. When you get paid by a customer offer them there first lawn service for %50 off or what ever you feel comfortable doing. Always carry your law equipment in your truck, someone will see you plowing across the road and come ask "Do you do lawn to". Get a website, $11 per month with yahoo. Get Google adsence and pay as little as $.05 per click to advertise on google search. That should be enough to get the creative side of your brain alive and kickin. Good luck.

Steve
06-17-2009, 01:13 PM
Welcome to our forum!

I am fully insured, pay taxes, & > have a good reputation with the customers I do have.

Have you talked to your snow plow customers yet? If you havent, I bet you could get a lot of them to sign up with your lawn care service. Maybe even write each snow plow customer a letter letting them know you have expanded to lawn care.

Are you handing out business cards to everyone you know?

nozzlehead
06-17-2009, 01:37 PM
Steve, All my customer received letters at the end of the plow season explaining I was expanding. Most of them said they already had someone for lawn care but wanted me back next winter. My plan with them, offer them a yearly contract which will give them a lower rate for the plowing if they give me their lawn care the following summer. For now I'll keep pluggin away.

Steve
06-17-2009, 01:54 PM
Would a mid-season follow up call now with them help? Maybe their current lawn care business is already flailing and not servicing their property in the manner they want it done. You could then scoop in and pick up the property.

jasonw
06-17-2009, 01:59 PM
My plan with them, offer them a yearly contract which will give them a lower rate for the plowing if they give me their lawn care the following summer.

Thats actually not a bad idea.

StartALawnCareBusiness
06-17-2009, 08:07 PM
> Everythig is expenseive. I spoke with the local paper about stuffing > flyers but that was a couple hundred dollars. I checked on getting my > truck lettered & a logo made but that was going to be almost $500.

Nozzlehead:

Welcome to the forum.

Forget all that expensive marketing (for now). No offense to you but, at this stage, you don't even know who your customer base is or what type of services they want (yet).

Take $50 of your marketing budget and buy a new pair of shoes Then, start walking and knocking on doors. Forget the sales pitch. Forget the flyers. Forget the door hangers. You're on a learning mission. You want to know what services your customers need and how much they're willing to pay.

When a door opens, introduce yourself, tell them you are "thinking" about starting a LCB and you are just trying to get a feel for the types of services people need in your area. Don't be pushy. Don't even try to make any sales at this point. Let them talk while you listen.

Some people won't talk to you but many WILL. They will tell you about brown spots in their lawn and mulch that washes away under the downspout. One lady will have a wasp nest in her petunias. An older gentleman won't be able to mow that hillside like he once did.

When people see you are trying to learn and not pressure them into a mowing contract, they will be more willing to talk with you.

Be tenacious. Don't stop until you have knocked on 100 doors (not 70 or 80.....100). If you get doors closed in your face just smile and walk to the next one. If you knock on 20 doors and nobody will talk with you just smile and start knocking on #21.

It doesn't matter if you gain a single customer. By the end of the day you will know infinitely more than when you started. You will have a "feel" for your potential clients and you won't have to guess what services to offer.

This type of marketing is free and potential clients respond to it much more readily than flyers or door hangers especially from a new company like yours. Face-to-face is the way to go.

Steve
06-17-2009, 08:28 PM
Keith that was a brilliant response. I agree with you on that.

Also I was thinking, when you do this, maybe you could have some sort of F.D. shirt on or something. People love firemen.

Also in your marketing material, it might really help you out if you had a picture of you in your fire gear and promoted you were a local fireman.

Little's
06-17-2009, 09:06 PM
Nozzlehead:

Welcome to the forum.

Forget all that expensive marketing (for now). No offense to you but, at this stage, you don't even know who your customer base is or what type of services they want (yet).

Take $50 of your marketing budget and buy a new pair of shoes Then, start walking and knocking on doors. Forget the sales pitch. Forget the flyers. Forget the door hangers. You're on a learning mission. You want to know what services your customers need and how much they're willing to pay.

When a door opens, introduce yourself, tell them you are "thinking" about starting a LCB and you are just trying to get a feel for the types of services people need in your area. Don't be pushy. Don't even try to make any sales at this point. Let them talk while you listen.

Some people won't talk to you but many WILL. They will tell you about brown spots in their lawn and mulch that washes away under the downspout. One lady will have a wasp nest in her petunias. An older gentleman won't be able to mow that hillside like he once did.

When people see you are trying to learn and not pressure them into a mowing contract, they will be more willing to talk with you.

Be tenacious. Don't stop until you have knocked on 100 doors (not 70 or 80.....100). If you get doors closed in your face just smile and walk to the next one. If you knock on 20 doors and nobody will talk with you just smile and start knocking on #21.

It doesn't matter if you gain a single customer. By the end of the day you will know infinitely more than when you started. You will have a "feel" for your potential clients and you won't have to guess what services to offer.

This type of marketing is free and potential clients respond to it much more readily than flyers or door hangers especially from a new company like yours. Face-to-face is the way to go.

Want to know more about starting your lawn care business?
Check us out: Start A Lawn Care Business (http://www.StartALawnCareBusiness.com)

Good luck. Let us know the results of your "100 Door Knocks" campaign.

Keith
ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.
This is how I started. I have said this before that in the last 4 years I have been in business, I have never spent a dime on advertising. Except for my business cards. I started knocking on doors and got my first few customers and from there my business snowballed.

I now am working full time and work is flowing in steadily, and has been since about the 3rd or 4th month I decided to start. Self advertising is the best you can do, oh and it's FREE!

Steve
06-17-2009, 10:42 PM
Brandon,

With all the ways to market, how did you decide to start with this door to door concept?

Knowing your mental process on the topic might help others see the light more.

Little's
06-17-2009, 11:28 PM
It was something that we use to do when I worked for a retail corporation. It really worked well and I was comfortable talking to people. I am easy going and dont get upset or uncomfortable after hearing 20 doors close and people saying no. I know that the 21st person is always willing to listen.

Steve
06-17-2009, 11:32 PM
It was something that we use to do when I worked for a retail corporation.

Did they train you at all with any of this or did they simply tell you to go out there and drum up business?

Little's
06-18-2009, 02:06 AM
Did they train you at all with any of this or did they simply tell you to go out there and drum up business?
Well they sort of told us how to do it, but some people are naturally better at it than others, but we would each get a stack of our flyers labeled with a different color sticker for each employee, that way they could tell which employee was doing a better job based on how many flyers were brought back into the store by customers. (This only works if there is a coupon of some sort on the flyer.)

nozzlehead
06-18-2009, 10:11 AM
These are some great ideas. However, I won't wear a fire department shirt or have my pic on a flyer with me in my gear. Could it help business? Maybe. But I won't use myself being a firefighter to gain customers. A lot of guys do this & I don't agree with it. I want my business to grow because I'm a good LC. I like the door to door thing though.

shaunster
06-18-2009, 11:09 AM
Hello all,

I live in Nova Scotia , Canada...

Always had an interest in starting my own Lawn Care Business.

What should I offer as a (service) just starting out of the gate.?

I have the basics..Truck, 21" mower , Whipper Snippier.......

Cheers,
Shaun:)

Steve
06-18-2009, 03:17 PM
What should I offer as a (service) just starting out of the gate.?

Why not just simply yard care at first and get your business machine up and running. Then add more services.