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DEPRESSED beyond reason

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  • DEPRESSED beyond reason

    OK, so we had a great deal going , due to budget cuts, lost the main client we had, advertised mainly in CL, I am CDL trucker of fourty years, laid off for twenty six weeks at the wrong time, don't qualify for any extended UE, wife just got laid off , no ben's for her either, paid in instead of getting back from Uncle sam, had bypass surgery so can't lift, was hopeing to survive this year if i picked up new clients, but imports are under cutting, doing lawns for fifteen dollars, twenty dollars, and we are over run with them.. I hung flyers, told everyone I know, passed out cards, can't afford the local paper, its over three hundred to put ten lines for three weeks.. Im sitting on a zturn, dump trailer, tons of equipment.. Where do i go from here? aside from standing on the sidewalk stopping people? any other ideas of where to advertise at a low price ? I am in NJ.. just about ready to give it up and go on my SS. All i needed were five or six decent lawns to help out a little .. any ideas?

  • #2
    Sounds like a very uncomfortable situation.

    Lawn maintenance is bread & butter towards most yard services, though maybe this isn't the case for you.

    Maybe you can focus mainly on other services, while keeping lawn maintenance an option.

    Instead of advertising mowing, advertise everything else, & in a small font, include mowing.

    I will try to figure out other solutions, in the meantime, stick around & your answers will come!

    The last thing you want to do is book yourself full of $15.00 cuts, though if you can survive off of it, it might work out to your advantage. Show your customers what you are capable of that these scumbags aren't, raise your price the following season.


    • #3
      Man sorry to hear about all of your miss fortunes! All things will be better in time. I do agree there are a lot of cheap lawn guys out there. When it comes to marketing your business reamber to sell your self, and service. There is a reason that they are seeling their services cheap. Build value in your self, business and how you take care of your customers and you will get new clients. I live in nor cal and there are so many shady imports here it's very sicking. Keep your chin up my friend!!


      • #4
        I am reminded of this:

        We have no quarrel with our competitors prices. They know what their services are worth!


        • #5
          I hung flyers, told everyone I know, passed out cards,
          What kind of responses are you getting from those you know or your neighbors?

          Also, how handy are you? Can you offer services around the house that others may not be comfortable doing?
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          • #6
            Well , I think most of the problem is people already have a service, but since they are not working now , they are doing it themselves, I was talking to the local mower repair , he said hes selling small zero turns as fast as he gets them in, mostly to homeowners, When i was there, he had to have at least fifty of them out and being prepped .. I was totally shocked..

            I think i might not be getting out there enough, but can't afford too much in the way of the local paper, its really expensive,
            There were a few asking about clean up/debri hauling, but its not worth it for that, they want you to do it for a hundred bucks a day, and its a big tangled mess.. you would need three people for a day to get it cleaned up, its not worth doing for that kind of money..

            the ones we had, even the neighbors came over last year while we were mowing and said how great it looked, that they were glad we were doing them because it looked so poor when the other guys were doing them, but again , alot of them are doing their own lawns now.. and im not too great around the house as far as plumbing, can't get around like i used to LOL.
            The big mistake was counting on the one place, we did every year for the last six or eight years, it was six houses and weekly, plus the snowplowing, they took up most the weekend time I had so i didnt try to get more.. they dropped last minute when they lost funding- they SHOULD have told me in advance but waited until now.. so i am behind on when i should have begun advertiseing .. I dont think the prices i had were bad, sixty per acre, ? smaller lawns were fourty to sixy depending on how much trimming there was.. thats not priced high right?

            by the way , thanks for all the responses!!


            • #7
              I think i might not be getting out there enough
              Beyond advertising in the local paper, what are you thinking you could be doing more of to get your message out there? Are there things that are on your list that you just haven't gotten to yet?
              - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
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              • #8
                well it may sound stupid, but i live on a very busy highway - We have rescue horses; part of the money pit but... i thought about taking the horse with the most striking looks, and putting a lettered blanket on him , phone etc, and using him for a bill board LOL, then again , would they think im a nut case?!!

                since the road frontage is a huge grass field, we make hay , and its very scenic, I thought it would at least draw attention !


                • #9
                  I'd say do it. Do what ever you can to stand out.

                  I have also seen people advertise things by stacking up hay bails and then putting a tarp over it with information painted on the tarp.

                  Could you do something like that too? What about a sign?

                  Affordable lawn care
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                  • #10
                    Get a bunch of business cards with some kind of coupon on the back. Every free minute you have start knocking on doors. It is a time consuming pain in the ***, but it is cheap and has the best return.

                    Also try and tighten up your routes. In other words, don't spend 300 on an add that covers the whole city. Put that 300 towards canvasing a small area several times through out the season. If you can make it so all your accounts a close together you can cut down one of your biggest expenses (Drive time). You don't want to be paying employees to just drive around, you want to pay them to cut lawns.

                    Get creative put out some fliers saying "WE FIX 15$ LAWN CUTS. CHEAP LAWN CARE CAN COST YOU THOUSANDS IN THE LONG RUN". Then list the negatives of cheap lawn care: no insurance (they can get sued if something happens), they don't pay taxes, they hire illegals, there are many more reasons. Then list all the positives of hiring a quality company that does a quality job.

                    I just sold a residential account yesterday. The customer was paying 16 dollars with a discount company. The discount company was using big zero turn mowers on this little lawn and was doing a terrible job (tore up turf and cracked glass block windows along the bottom of the house). So I told them "I know your paying 16 right now, but I can charge you 20 dollars and actually do a quality job". They signed on the spot. There are two types of customers: one just wants the lawn cut so the city won't give them a ticket(discount customers). The other hires a professional because they want a beautiful lawn


                    • #11
                      I could do the hay bales, since i do sell hay .. but knowing some of the morons around me they might light it up when im not looking !!

                      I guess that would draw attention though wouldnt it.. ?

                      i have signs out- I do have a question, how could you mow a lawn for twenty dollars ? unless you have about ten in a row.. most of the ones i priced were no less then forty five , is that part of the problem? i mean, i can't even get the truck out of the driveway for less then twenty, .. the ones i lost i was getting sixty for the lawn, thirty five an hour to weedeat and blow off the porches. its the going rate**** or at least it WAS.. whats the price per ac where you are? say just a square flat ac??


                      • #12

                        Maybe it goes back to what business is. If everybody charges 15-20 a lawn and you want 45, how much work can you get?. If you did 25 dollar cuts or maybe even 30 dollar cuts and did awesome work would you get more business that way? I don't know. Apparantley it sounds like everybody has set prices in the area you live. However, if you offered more then just mow and blow would that set you apart? What if you took it to a different location, since that location is already somewhat saturated? If you had 10 lawns at 30 thats 300 a week, 20 thats 600. Take the 10 lawns at what you can get, get some cash rolling in, and move to a different location if possible. If you can't do that, then I would seriousley think about other ways to make money other then mowing. What else can you do besides mowing? That's what sets you apart. Can you be a handyman? Gutter Cleaning? Tree trimming? Shrubs? Window cleaning?...Alot of money in window cleaning, every business has windows. Just throwing some thoughts out there.


                        • #13
                          Well , i think its more flooded with people doing lawns with the mowers they got for themselves. I did travel an hour for the one place, but its not worth it- but the people will call and say they have a lawn service, tell me what they pay them and ask if i can do better, and I told them no.. pretty soon they will be getting them done free!
                          I can do Hauling, mulching, as i said, can't do heavy stuff anymore as the bypass isn't healed yet, I have help though .. but you have to make something to pay them. I guess i will just keep trying , theres SO many vacant houses sitting- everything is for sale , every one is running out of NJ .. Smart move in my opinion.. but i grew up here and even if we are getting shafted- im not ready to move out yet.

                          I appreciate all the input though. If i do use the horse /or the hay bales, and it works, i will put a picture on !

                          I did have one thought.. there is a zillion flea markets etc, I thought about going and asking a few of the vendors if i gave them a few bucks to help pay for their space, if i could leave cards on the tables, it would stay local that way at least..


                          • #14
                            You are very creative! Don't be afraid to do these things to draw attention. That's what it is all about. The crazier the better. You may find something you do gets in a picture in your local paper and then your phone will not stop ringing!
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                            • #15

                              too bad you couldnt fix those houses up and flip them for some $


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