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  • New Business starting problems?

    Hello everyone,

    I am looking for some advice regarding marketing and general business...

    I started about a month ago trying to get a business together (actually long story short it was a couple years ago) (few years ago had the business running with two large commercial contracts, church and a childrens camp... witch kept us busy all summer long... however I never (at the time) relized to potential and eventually after these orginizations lost funding and started useing volunteers we never seeked any more business... but I am back at it again , and , I'v had flyers up... been passing out cards.. no call , not a single one... did some research on businesses in the area... the largest charges fuel surchages so the latest flyer I put up a few days ago was the fuel surcharge flyer with the free mow promotion.... still now calls. curious what I am doing wrong or if the market in this area is flooded or if its just not appealing to my area?


    I drove around town a few days ago and wrote down the addresses of homes that seemed to be occupied and had uncared for lawns. these addresses consist of about 66 and I was planing on sending a postcard to the addresses hopeing to generate atleast some estimates. Some thing to atleast get me going. looking for some ideas on that...

    I gues my question is, what am I doing wrong and how do I change it (atleast before the summer is over???)

    Thanks everyone in advance

  • #2
    Hi rwslippey,

    My first question I would ask is, out of all the people you know in your area, how many know you are in business? How many of your friends? Or friends friends? How many of your family members? Your neighbors?

    The basics of it all is that you need to let these people know. Are you handing out business cards? Are you using craigslist.com?

    Are you involved in any local community groups?
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    • #3
      kinda new myself, but

      kinda new myself, but what i have learned ( mostly on this forum) is that you need to target the types of cust. you want. pick them out then send them the flyers, i found a great deal of good ones that are free to download on this site. Always start the mesage off with a grabber of what will benifit the cust, why they need you. i have sent out exactly 235 flyers ea. week for the last 5 weeks, and all of them to the same potential custs. the 1st week i only had 1 request for an est, and i did not get that one. The next week i got 3 new accts. i thought about time, 3rd & 4th week i got requests for a total of 7 est. and i got 4 of those 7. but last week was the best, from mon to sat had aprox 30 calls, did 19 est. got 12 jobs, 9 for the rest of summer, 3 1 time deals. so far i think this is what has worked for me, also i use craigs list, have got a couple that way, now up to 23 accts in just 2 1/2 months. well anyway, good luck, at times it seems like it wont happen and then boom it does, all at once.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the reply steve,

        Well, unfortunaly, I am not a good salesman, witch must change... I used to work with ADT as a Sales rep and decided it was time for a change due to , no income as I wasnt good at sales so I moved on and now I am here...

        I am currently working with a few friends renivating an apartment above the store, I deal with the store owner on a daily basis as I am doing the electrical work for outdoor lights ( bad area more light the better) so far she has been happy with my work as far as electrical goes and their are some plans for additional work (cameras , more lights, lighted sign, ect ,ect , ) I probobly hand her a business card everyday for the business. electrical work has too many bumps in the road so.. I can do it and I am doing it now to mkae money ( do what you got to do)


        Back to the business!, I have flyers in multiple stores in the area... a gas station and most people I talk to I hand a few business cards to and try to get them interested in handing them out. I have a few friends in different industries (tree work is a big one) and they usually hand alot out for me on the job... most of the people I am wokring with know I am in business but yet I'v given one estimate witch I underestimated the price and still didnt get the work.. (asked a store own if I could put a flyer up in the store and got asked for an estimate of her rental property)

        I am working on signs for my truck and maybe for a few freinds to ride with them on their vehicles for a while to see how much of a posative influence it has.... Still no calls... I personally and as a horrible ex sales rep can honestly say my netowkring skills are not work but I have been talking and handing business cards to everyone I possibly can.... I have a nice designed business card ( in my opionion I know a graphic designer would laugh at me) and just updated my flyers with a free mow....

        I have been woundering if it is too late in the season to get people interested.

        A few weeks ago would have been great as it was very hot and very hummid ( I'v neve said this before but I cant wait to see some humidity)

        Comment


        • #5
          at times it seems like it wont happen and then boom it does, all at once.
          That'd be nice... my luck something would break the day I got the thrity calls...


          The one estimate was for a fairly normal sized lawn and I offered 45

          turns out the cust got a quot for 15 to cut and trim... somethings wrong with this



          my target I think would be elderly as their are alot of elderly postential most in the area are retired and can generally afford it from retirement (lot of work in this area with apparently decent benifits)

          and (here i go sounding weird)

          for the most part I can get along great with the elderly, I always make a good impresion on most of the older generations and they are usually very please with me... guess my grandmother did somethin right haha...in additinal to that this area is full of extra work to be done...some abandoned properties, home, ect but elderly I think would be the target as it does get hard exspecially in the humid weather for them to take care of it themselves and it becomes alot to keep up with for them (sometimes it need to be cut 2 and 3 times a week in this area)

          Goodluck and thats for the info

          curous though what did you send your potential customers that worked so well?

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          • #6
            Well my DaD always had a saying and i Quote " KISS< Keep it simple stupid", and that is the therory i used when making my flyer. I would post it here but not sure how to, but it was kinda like this........

            IT's A Hot And Humid Day!, Don't Feel Like working In the heat today? Have a cold drink, and i will take care of your lawn

            Basic Pkg.101 Mow, Trim, And blow........Free Est.

            Pkg 201 Mow, trim, Blow, edge, maintain beds........Free Est.

            We also Do Hedge trimming................Free Est.

            Tree Trimming..............................Free Est.

            Hard Scapes......................Free est.

            And Much, Much, More........................Relax, Give me a call for your Free Est.

            VPS LawnCare
            Dependable,Professional - Always

            Hope this helps

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            • #7
              You all are really doing a great job with what I read so far.

              I would post it here but not sure how to
              If you can, send me an email of the flyer and I will get it up on here.

              I think the sales skills you will learn as you go. The big thing now is getting some customers so you can see you really can do this. Once you start getting them, you will have more confidence that it will work.

              If you find you are bidding a lawn at $45 and someone else is doing it for $15, you don't want that customer.

              One of the ways we see on here time and time again that works is going door to door and handing out flyers on weekends or after the work day. Say hello and give them an estimate on the spot too.

              Think of getting your business going as if you were running for mayor. You want everyone to think you are such a nice guy and that you will take care of their lawn care needs.

              Craigslist is great cause it's free but because of that, there is also a downside that everyone uses it.

              I would think that if you walked your neighborhood and said hi to your neighbors and handed them a flyer, you would see more customers coming to you. You don't need to be a salesman to do this. All you need to do is just say hi and let them know you are their neighbor.

              Also as far as is it too late to get started. It's never too late. Right now is a great time to use the 'make the switch' flyer we have in the free flyer section.

              Also here is a great post to check out

              http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=6543

              I did a search on 'getting started late.' There are a ton of ideas in some of those other posts too.


              Does this help? Are you planning on trying more things like this or others to market your business?
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              • #8
                I just emailed my flyer and business cards...

                VPS Lawn Care if its okay with you I'd like to see that flyer you have for refrence what works for you might work for me...

                Rwslippey@Verizon.net

                Thanks...

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                • #9
                  Hmm,,

                  this JUST came to me...

                  I was thinking of the future of my business here and figured I'd share the idea with eveyone here... in most places in the country lawn care slows down in the winter months, but on the other hand I'v noticed that alot of local equipment rental companies acctually seem to amp up in some stages of the winter...

                  I figure youd get two things out of this.... advertiseing and a little extra cash in the slow months...

                  I figure its winter as a business your slow and don't need all of your equipment you have heck you can probobly do the customers you are dealing with at the time with just your truck... (ok sure little back breaking but your not hauling a chopper off the back either)

                  local trailer rentals would make a great use of your equipment instead of sitting and rusting in the winter...

                  I'll admit in my area their are alot of "do it yourselfers" and sometimes they have the need for a trailer , so they come and rent your trailer with your sign on the side of it... theirs your advertiseing rideing around on someone elses gas dollar in the winter.... what do you guys think of it... might be some insurance issues but fine print alwasy screws everything up... (think I'm jumping the gun ALOT!)


                  Another one I just came up wiht... I am pretty good friends with an equipment rental company up the street and I know another one about 20 min away (big company too) wounder if I would interest them in some advertiseing with my signs on their trailers and other equipment that would go hand and hand with my company?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I like the creative ideas. You should explore them more and see if they are feasible!

                    You could also do some home repair work in the winter. Handy man things that your local community members may need to get done.

                    What about snow plowing? Holiday decorations and lighting?
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                    • #11
                      I usually come up with some good ideas for business but never have the money to invest in them... wait I think everyone has that problem....

                      I am actually doing some handyman work right now...
                      I have some work I am doing for a local store... installing some light outside to light up the front of the store... and a side alley... (bad area)

                      I acctually have had several people ask me to look at their electrical in the home but I am really not licened to do the electrical witch could probobly turn out bad for business.. but everyone that has asked me in front of the store(busy store) I have given a business card to and explained the situation... and offered other services...


                      Heres a question I'v never asked... how do you get certified to minor electrical work (lights, additional outlets or repairing outlets that are faulty)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I usually come up with some good ideas for business but never have the money to invest in them... wait I think everyone has that problem....
                        If money wasn't an option, what would you do?

                        Have you ever thought about installing landscape lighting? Maybe that could be done without a license or maybe you could install it and have an electrician look it over.

                        Heres a question I'v never asked... how do you get certified to minor electrical work (lights, additional outlets or repairing outlets that are faulty)
                        I don't know. Do you have any friends in the area that are electricians? Maybe they could shed some light on that?
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                        • #13
                          Unfortuanly electrical is a hard thing to get into in my opion and I'd rather not have to deal with licenseing and other issues ....

                          Usually to my knowledge you have to work for another electrician then you take test and get licensed and I kind of think I'd like lawn care better... less "opps" factor... tomorrow I am working back at the store... I'd like to try and make up a sign that I can leave at the job site where I am doing Handy man work and see if I get a response out of it... something to give people a number to call and see if it helps any....

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                          • #14
                            I feel sorry for you, it's come pretty easy for me just by advertising on the internet...I made flyers but have never actually handed any out.

                            I guess it depends on the type of people around you. I live in a province that has the highest rate of internet use in Canada, which has one of the highest rates of internet use in the world (and the highest rate of high speed internet connections in the entire world)...so internet marketing seems to be the way to go. I have a slow week this week, because I didn't get many calls, but they always seem to come in waves. My luck has come from craigslist and Google Adwords, which is what I would suggest...but that's about all I can think of.

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                            • #15
                              My luck has come from craigslist and Google Adwords, which is what I would suggest.
                              Dave, I think this came up in the past, but what would you suggest other lawn care business owners use in their ad words?
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