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Dave, I think this came up in the past, but what would you suggest other lawn care business owners use in their ad words?
Use a wide range of keywords when setting it up...I don't actually manage our adwords account, so I don't really know how it works. But this year, we added a much wider range of keywords and have been generating more hits from that. For example, instead of just "lawn mowing" or "lawn care", add "grass cutting" "grass mowing" and other combinations, to try and anticipate what people would be searching for. 40% of the population in Vancouver are immigrants, many of whom speak poor English, so we had a brainstorming session to try and come up with things that Asians/Indians would search for when looking for someone to cut their lawn...that was our creative idea, but it doesn't seem to have generated much business, since we still only have one Asian customer.
I have had experience with AD words... within another business I worked with... my experience with adword is... Its useful to an extent to get traffic to your web site however it can get very exspensive... their are better alternatives to adwords... Its known as SEO
From the research I'v done in the past I'v seen search engine optimization give better results and for the most part it is free (free for money anyways It does get time consumeing)
In the past with another business I ran , I was spending month after month with adwords with negative results( negative meaning the money goes but no business comes)
Once I started shutting down the adwords and concentrating on Search engine Optimization I noticed more traffic going to my website and it just took time not money...
Yes I did a lot of door knocking and it did work well for me. Here is a couple tips that worked.
1. Go to neighborhoods that are mostly owner occupied. The majority of renters will mow their own lawns, and the people they are renting from wont pay for lawn service.
2. If no one answers, leave a business card at the door. If someone does answer, hand them a card before (or while) you are introducing yourself so they dont have a chance to say "no thanks" and shut the door.
3. I never used flyers, only business cards. Just never had the extra money to print them.
4. Never drop flyers in driveways. This just upsets people because then they feel like they are having to clean up garbage in their driveway. As a note, there is a landscape supply company in my area that puts a small flyer and some gravel in a sandwich bag and tosses them on everyones driveways and the people I talk to get upset over this because they always have to pick it up and dispose of it. Very tacky.
5. Keep it simple. I used to say (and it varied just a bit depending on my mood), "Hi, my name is Brandon (while handing them a card), and I own a landscaping business locally. Do you have any questions or concerns with your yard you would like me to answer for you today? Please call me if you do. Thank you for your time."
6. And last. When you give someone an estimate. Wait 2 days, then call back and let them know you havent forgot about them, then ask if they have any more questions about your service, etc. it gives them the impression that you wont skip their service or flake every now and then like some people do.
One more thing. If you have insurance and a business lic. you can go to the property management companies, and get tons of work. It may be hard getting your foot in the door, but once they see you are doing a good job, the work will be endless. 75% OF MY WORK COMES BY WAY OF FAX MACHINE. several jobs every day!
Hope this helps. Business has been a little slow for me also, so when your out there beating the streets, just remember that I probably am too!
I plan on stoppeing by the VFW (where my grandfather is very well known and liked)'
Could you potentially look over the place and see if there is anything you could do to spruce it up? Maybe plant flowers or something and then just see if they could let the members know you did it?
It could be a great way to gain new customers and also come out looking like a shining star! I bet your grandfather would be proud.
You could also send out a press release to the local paper and tell them how you are honoring local veterans by cleaning up the vfw landscape. Let them know your grandfather is a member and you wanted to help them.
Being an ex-salesman (and being completly horrible at it)
I think I found more help here then I got from my sales manager haha.... (other than) Sell Sell Sell....
I printed up serveral of the fliers simular to the ones that you posted and I plan on leaveing them at the doors where no ones awnsers ....
Also I am working on getting some information (backflash here....
when I was working at this before we had a contract with a church (graveyard whole nine) the local media cought wind of another cemitary that had 3 owners some 25 years ago but they had all passed and they have beens struggleing to find the relatives (to care for the property) The property is still deserted to this day... and lawn care has always been a problem but the media did a nice job and talked about the church that we maintained being very neatly manicured while the cemitery across the street was overgrown and (while we were not mentioned it did give us a congrats and nice work from the church members) so hopefully in the future I can maybe get ahold of someone within the boro and maybe sponsor a volentery cleanup of the area and provide food for volenteers and (i chock when I say this but maybe fuel to help.... unfortuanly the property is just way too big for me to cut... with just the advertiseing...
I am working on gettin ahold of an old friend of my grandfather's who tends to the VFW a couple days a week and talk to him about what we can do for the VFW.. (another thing I will have going with veterains is I am also of military backround ...) Speaking of I'm wearing my ARMY shirt right now (no no uniforms yet)
Brandon, thanks for all the advice... I'll let you know how it all works... unfortunaly I got a late night call and had to go take care of something for a family memeber last night so... late start today but, most people will be comeing home from work soon so It could pane out..
WOW! Brandon that is awesome! Is that lawn care or tree care? Are these one time jobs or seasonal?
How do you deal with the faxes? Do they fax you and ask for an estimate on a specific job or do they just say, 'can you do this for us and then bill us?'
I work with 2 PMC's and when I first started doing work for them, they used to have me give them a quote first. Now they just fax me the job and I will bill them monthly. Unless the jobs are more than $250, I give them an oral quote, and they usually just approve it and I get it done.
The work is both trees and landscaping work. A lot of tree trimming, irrigation repairs, and yard clean-ups. They also have me bid on weekly yard services for them, but I end up getting underbid on most of those for some reason.
I have found they really appreciate the jobs getting done quick. If they have to wait a week or more, then they will call some of their other vendors.
The faxes come in as a work order with the address, job description, and renters contact number. I check the fax machine when I get home, and fit the jobs in my schedule for the next day or 2.
The PMC's each manage about 1500 properties, so you can imagine they have plenty of work to go around. It was fairly easy getting my foot in the door. Here's what I did. I was driving by a home with an overgrown yard that had a for rent sign in the front lawn. I called the # and told them I could take care of it right now for them. They said I had to have my ins. and bus. lic. on file with them first (I already knew this). I struck up a little conversation with the lady so she would remember me. I took my paperwork in the next day and asked if they had any work right away. "Not at the moment, but we'll call you".
I waited 2 days, called back and asked the lady again. "Not at the moment", she said. I waited 2 more days and called again. "Well, I do have this one...", I was in. From then on it has been non stop. Persistence pays.
At least once per month I bring in either Starbuck's or fruit smoothies to all the ladies in the office. Around Christmas time I send them a basket, a Christmas card, etc. I doesnt cost me much compared to what they pay me, and it keeps me in their minds.
Thats sounds pretty good... I have a few properties around here such as the one next door witch is always overgrown and looks really trashy( built but built wrong and they have to fix it .... permit problems or something)
I called 2 townships and a boro near my home the first one I had to leave a message , the second the person dealing with that was on vaction intill july... and the third was very rude and told me that they don't have any properties that need that kind of work (lie.... ) go figure the one that was rude should be renamed to amandon city...
I will probly send a letter to all three and call the message one back tomorrow and when the girl gets off vacation I will call her back....
as far as today worked out.. I ran into a few issues but kept on going but I am very disappointed...
I started really late due to a late night call last night and over sleeping... (bad for business)
I stopped at six homes within a couple of neighborhoods (go figure last week nobodys lawn was cut and today everyone's was.... I talked to two people out of the 6..... the first said " I don't own the house" and slammed the door (with his grass knee high and 4 doors barking outragously)
the second I talked to for quite a while about business and how the heat was makeing it too hard for him to do some of his yard work (unfortunatly he is wants to tend to it now that it isnt so humid but.... he said later this summer when it gets warmer he will call if he needs anything... and he also told me to talk to a few of his neighbors who had a nice sized yard and usually pays good but can't get someone to consistenly come back and cut it (always looking) turns out he worked and retired from where my grandfather retired...
Tomorrow I'll be back at it... I have to finish some work up at the store and then moveing on.... Haven't got any calls back from the other 4yet... but we'll see what happens...
I noticed today that their are alot of other people doing the same exact thing I am... the only way i can figure to be different is price and I made an impresion with the gentleman I spoke with today He had someone else looking at his lawn and they wanted 65 dollars plus fuel surcharge.... I told him my price was 45 and he seemed to like that... I am confident that he will call if he needs anything...