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View Full Version : What do you do to get fall calls?


Clapper&company
09-11-2009, 07:33 AM
Well with mowing season coming to the end, I want to drum up alot more fall work, clean ups gutters Ect.

What have you guys found works the best?

Thanks

Steve
09-11-2009, 10:51 AM
Are you marketing your fall services to your current client base?

Have you put ads in craigslist?

What about in the business section of your local paper?

MikeO
09-15-2009, 06:09 PM
I dont know what it is with this tape measurer and feet. but, i know for a fact nobody wants to climb a ladder 2 stories up. so u can screw around all day long with a tape measurer I tell them what i want and 98% of the time i get it. i wont tell you my secret on here so if u want to know what i do to make alot of money then hit me up..Its all good Hoss

Steve
09-16-2009, 12:06 PM
Here is a list of some Fall marketing ideas on my blog

http://lawnchat.com/?cat=35

picframer
09-18-2009, 06:17 AM
A few things:

Drop off cards to homes that we see could use our service

Dropping off cards to homes that have a lot of hardwoods for our vacuum mulching service

Small newspaper ad in a community newspaper

Cards on those outdoor mail boxes

I start a month before hand changing the key word on my website, for example for fall I changed them in mid August, at the moment I am receiving two inquiries a day on average and they are right where I want them, the heart of the rich end of the city and the hits are leaf collection. I study key words, use a software to see how I rank against the competition then tweak it to get a higher ranking, works perfect and doesn't cost me anything other than my time.

At the moment we have 73 leaf jobs, I want 100+ but it's still early.

When I visit I am picking up a lot of other services, pressure washing, gutter cleaning if it's not too high, pruning, removing stumps, top dressing, a lot of spraying we are going straight out again.

Work will generally not come to you, you have to go find it, I think this and a few other things we did this summer made the company an amazing success in it's first year.

We are so busy I just ordered a four wheel drive all sheel steer John Deere tractor mower X729, 3 cyl diesel for leaf collection and spraying difficult lawns and a 3028SE full size tractor for cleaning farm work which is a new service that took off.

Steve
09-18-2009, 02:15 PM
I start a month before hand changing the key word on my website, for example for fall I changed them in mid August, at the moment I am receiving two inquiries a day on average and they are right where I want them, the heart of the rich end of the city and the hits are leaf collection. I study key words, use a software to see how I rank against the competition then tweak it to get a higher ranking, works perfect and doesn't cost me anything other than my time.

How big of a deal is changing key words on a website? I think this is something that is often over looked.

Would this be considered changing the theme of the website to potentially a Fall theme now?

Should this be changed every season?

picframer
09-18-2009, 03:28 PM
How big of a deal is changing key words on a website? I think this is something that is often over looked.

Would this be considered changing the theme of the website to potentially a Fall theme now?

Should this be changed every season?

Very, Very simple, you just change the Meta tags and sometimes I will change the page description just a little, because my site now has over 7,800 hits since April, it get's crawled every three or four days, I know this as I run software that emails me when a crawler has checked in on changes to my site.

I personally didn't change the theme per say as I don't have time but I have done that with my woodworking site in the fall changing it to a Christmas theme, not sure if that made a difference on hits.

What I do know is the changes I stay ahead of on my website make a major difference, within 48 hours of receiving an email from the software that I have been crawled I start getting inquiries, when I check to see what the person may have been searching I see the new keywords have been updated in the search engine. Then i run another software that tells me where I rank in our area for that keyword, if I am fourth or 5th, I run the other sites to see what keywords they are using and how much that word is in their home page contant, I adjust accordingly and within a week I am number 1 or 2, all of this takes less than 30 min of actual time, it's free.

I change a month ahead of a season, almost as bad as Costco, they have had Christmas stuff out for three weeks, should be summer by December:)

Steve
09-19-2009, 12:47 PM
You are so on the ball with everything! This is fantastic!

How important do you feel it is to show the services you offer with some sort of discount being promoted vs no discount? How much of an effect do you think discounts have in getting customers to sign up with seasonal services?

picframer
09-19-2009, 02:27 PM
You are so on the ball with everything! This is fantastic!

How important do you feel it is to show the services you offer with some sort of discount being promoted vs no discount? How much of an effect do you think discounts have in getting customers to sign up with seasonal services?

Discounts make the hair stand on the back of my neck most of the times, why did the company rip me off the first time???? No kidding....A few years ago I bought a set of tires for my car, forget what I paid but they were top of the line, around three weeks later I herd on the radio the company was having a sale, this is a national company, I went in and priced the same tires, almost two hundred less than I paid, handed them a receipt and asked about a partial refund, they said no.

This has happened to me at big box stores like Home Depot etc and it makes my blood boil, if someone is going out of business that is one thing and I have no issue with the big sales then, same as these friggin boxing day sales.

Anyhow my price is my price, I don't move, never have and never will, if someone pushes too hard for a discount, I simply walk and I do not turn back, I have more than enough work I don't need it and yes I have had clients call me back changing their mind, in those cases I will go back excapt for one case, the guy called me a prick because I would not take cash and give him a 25% discount because he knew people....that simply pissed me off, I have never in my life had a customer have such an attitude and I suspect the job although small would have been trouble.

I visited a customer this morning who found my website based on a new search word I did three weeks ago, I know because I asked, it ended up in a two hour visit and ten grand in work, no idea how in the heck I will get all this work done before snow. I hired 6 school bus drivers, they work for me between picking up the kids then after the afternoon run they come back and work until dark, I hired two people through social services, a friend works there and I thought this would help some people in need and Mike (friend who works there) knows me and how hard we work so he does the screening, last week in addition to this I had four temp staff from an agency.

Transportation is an issue as many either do not have or no longer have a vehicle but we are getting by.

Steve
09-19-2009, 04:48 PM
Oh very interesting ok so then maybe it is better to simply have a list of seasonal services you offer. Some of these services, a home owner may not even be considering at the moment but when they see it listed, it might spark something and then they might say, 'hey that is something I should do.'

These are all great lessons!

picframer
09-19-2009, 08:23 PM
Oh very interesting ok so then maybe it is better to simply have a list of seasonal services you offer. Some of these services, a home owner may not even be considering at the moment but when they see it listed, it might spark something and then they might say, 'hey that is something I should do.'

These are all great lessons!

I think the short answer is simple, what can I offer?

As Home/yard/grass providers I think we sell ourselves short, there are so many chores we can do and do well that the client doesn't want to or can not do so why not offer it.

I have to ask are we/you stuck in a rut, thinking lawn service??? If so, my experience is you are overlooking a lot of income, look around the clients property, I know there are many things we can offer, so offer it. Then what happens is the referrals, forget door knocking as you won't be able to keep up.

Steve
09-20-2009, 12:53 AM
I was just thinking, what about sewer line clean outs? Are there other services that can be offered maybe for septic tanks? That could fall under another type of job a homeowner wouldnt want to do and one that is needed.

picframer
09-20-2009, 05:22 AM
I was just thinking, what about sewer line clean outs? Are there other services that can be offered maybe for septic tanks? That could fall under another type of job a homeowner wouldnt want to do and one that is needed.

I did two septic tanks yesterday, every home has one, sometimes two tanks that need to be pumped every few years, I go in and dig where the tanks are and lift the tops off for the pump truck then I go back and fill the area back in, takes about 45 min on average and I charge $100.00, I sent letters to companies that do this pumping, two call us on a regular basis as homeowners do not want to dig these up by hand.

Steve
09-20-2009, 01:04 PM
That is great! Are there times during the year when this should be done? Or is it whenever it's full? How does that work?

How cautious must you be when digging the dirt off the covers? Can these tops be easily broken?

picframer
09-20-2009, 07:14 PM
That is great! Are there times during the year when this should be done? Or is it whenever it's full? How does that work?

How cautious must you be when digging the dirt off the covers? Can these tops be easily broken?

Good questions:

The rule of thumb is six years but it depends a lot on how well the homeowner follows the rules of what to flush and what not to.

The best time to do this is in the fall, I have no idea why but I did 5 more today and the guys have six to do tomorrow as I am starting a large excavation job that will tie me up for two weeks.

Depending on how old the tank is yes one must be careful, but if you did brake a top it's no big deal, $50.00 for a replacement and my agreement states very clear that I am not responsible for any damage and it's signed by me, the homeowner and the pumping company before I start.

You get a feel after running a backhoe or excavator after a while, I can now tell you what kind of rock the teeth are hitting most of the time, I can tell when I hit concrete also, we go slow for two reasons, to be cautious and I don;t want the homeowner thinking my price is outrageous, I charge $100.00 and if I wanted to could unload, dig the tank and be loading in 20 min.

Perhaps not in a big city but I think every yard care company should have a backhoe and loader, the money they bring in is crazy, I understand the upfront cost is high but it takes gear to make serious cash, that has been clear to me this summer, I don't think there is anything we can't do, we have the equipment for every request, yes it came at a very steep price but everything except one tractor is paid for.

I ordered a John Deere X729, it's their most expensive garden tractor, 48" deck, PTO, 3 PH, Four wheel Steer and four wheel drive, guaranteed to not tear up a lawn as every wheel has a hydro motor of some sort, anyhow it was just under $17,000, my company bought it outright just from a profit account I set up where I put a percentage of profits into from each job.

It's now saving for a 6 ton excavator and a 2 1/2 ton diesel truck with a dump.

Steve
09-21-2009, 12:08 AM
It's now saving for a 6 ton excavator and a 2 1/2 ton diesel truck with a dump.

I don't know anything about these. What does that mean. a 6 ton excavator? What kinds of services can be offered with that type of equipment?

picframer
09-21-2009, 04:52 AM
I don't know anything about these. What does that mean. a 6 ton excavator? What kinds of services can be offered with that type of equipment?

Our biggest truck is an F150, it is limited what it can pull. The big issue is we have paid out cose to six grand so far this year in having roots/stumps hauled away and small loads of clear stone, mulch, topsoil etc. We will quite often use one of our trailers as I keep a supply of all the lawn care products we use at home however the trailers are generally in use hauling equipment.

a 2 1/2 ton with a dump will haul around 16,000 pounds so we can now buy larger equipment like a 6 ton excavator, this will allow us to build septic fields as there is major $$$$ in them, I start a course in January to get certified, it's a three month course at a community college. We will then be able to offer digging foundations for homes, we currently do garages but we really need bigger equipment. I turned down about fifty grand in jobs this year as I didn't have gear big enough to do it nor did I have anything that could pull the gear even if I did. I will also get it in diesel and a king cab to transport staff. New construction of homes hasn't slowed or if it has very little, I see ad's by developers looking ofr companies that can provide this service but everyone that can is busy and the entry level for this setup is high, all in around $160,000 with the proper trailer.

Here is a few images of what I am adding, basically I am taking the company to the next level, I can compete with the bigger companies and jobs and I have found the demand for this work is high and the profit matches.

Steve
09-21-2009, 12:41 PM
I start a course in January to get certified, it's a three month course at a community college. We will then be able to offer digging foundations for homes, we currently do garages but we really need bigger equipment.

I had no idea there was so much involved in digging foundations. It sounds very interesting!

How does the certification work? Does the township require to see it before you dig or is this more of the contractors want to see it for insurance reasons?

picframer
09-21-2009, 03:55 PM
I had no idea there was so much involved in digging foundations. It sounds very interesting!

How does the certification work? Does the township require to see it before you dig or is this more of the contractors want to see it for insurance reasons?

If you build a septic field with out certification, the fine starts at $5,000 and goes way up from there, if you built one and something happened and the dept of health were called, your insurance will not cover you, this is taken very serious by the Canadian Dept of Health.....probably like the IRS when it comes to taxes, don't fool around:)

Steve
09-21-2009, 05:10 PM
What is the difference between a septic field and a septic tank?

picframer
09-22-2009, 05:45 AM
What is the difference between a septic field and a septic tank?

From the house you have a 4" pipe that empties into, generally a 2,000 gallon cement septic tank that is in the ground, sometimes buried 4' deep, on the opposite side of this tank you have a 4" pipe that runs to an area that has 4" pipe full of 3/4" holes, 2 feet of sand below it and about 12" above it, after this it gets complicated, the width, length etc. This is determined on a perk test hole, it's basically a small hole 2 feet deep, the health instector will dump water into it, and measure how fast it drains, this determines the size and class of your field.

I have pictures of my own from 20 years ago, I went gross overkill in the construction but I have never had an issue and it works perfect, I will post them as I have step by step, just have to find them and scan them.

Steve
09-22-2009, 02:04 PM
This sounds like a science in and of itself!

Fresh Cut
07-13-2010, 02:55 PM
Very, Very simple, you just change the Meta tags and sometimes I will change the page description just a little, because my site now has over 7,800 hits since April, it get's crawled every three or four days, I know this as I run software that emails me when a crawler has checked in on changes to my site.

I personally didn't change the theme per say as I don't have time but I have done that with my woodworking site in the fall changing it to a Christmas theme, not sure if that made a difference on hits.

What I do know is the changes I stay ahead of on my website make a major difference, within 48 hours of receiving an email from the software that I have been crawled I start getting inquiries, when I check to see what the person may have been searching I see the new keywords have been updated in the search engine. Then i run another software that tells me where I rank in our area for that keyword, if I am fourth or 5th, I run the other sites to see what keywords they are using and how much that word is in their home page contant, I adjust accordingly and within a week I am number 1 or 2, all of this takes less than 30 min of actual time, it's free.

I change a month ahead of a season, almost as bad as Costco, they have had Christmas stuff out for three weeks, should be summer by December:)

What software are you using that does this. I received 3 or 4 calls yesterday from people that said they found me through google and I'm trying to up those numbers.

I find that people that contact you are more willing to be straight forward about business.

I'm interested in these two different software apps that give you keyword and ranking info.

I can't wait for you to get back with me.

picframer
07-15-2010, 08:08 PM
What software are you using that does this. I received 3 or 4 calls yesterday from people that said they found me through google and I'm trying to up those numbers.

I find that people that contact you are more willing to be straight forward about business.

I'm interested in these two different software apps that give you keyword and ranking info.

I can't wait for you to get back with me.

Web CEO, I can't believe the number of calls we get from people using google, I should say mainly emails from the Contact Me on my website. I reset my visitors in May, in one year my website had just over 15,000 hits