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Can't seem to get regular customers

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  • #16
    Steve:

    If you look at my ad, you will see I make use of both text and image. *I failed to use an alt text tag though which is important and I simply forgot as I was coding the html.

    An alt tag attaches text attributes to an image.

    For proper SEO, you need to make use of all three.

    I think you have to define the purpose of your ad. The sole purpose of the horse farm ad is to get people to visit the website so they can learn more and then contact the seller if they are interested. My friend is not interested in fielding dozens of calls asking questions that are already outlined on the website. This is why no phone numbers are listed and navigation to the website is easy.

    I have posted text only, image only, and combination ads. I really feel the combination works best as a whole solution if you are concerned with SEO. However, if your only concern is for the customer to call right away, I've found big image based flyer ads work best.

    I think a lawn care flyer should promote the LCO's phone number prominantly. The LCO wants that phone to ring. He wants to do as many estimates to qualified leads as possible...that is his main concern. The sale is made at the doorstep.

    Keith



    Start a profitable lawn care business.

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    • #17
      Craigslist helped me out when I started, now I mainly get my work from contractors and home builders. These guys pay and they have tons of work from full landscape installs to insatlling new lawns on new homes. If anyone get a chance try hooking up with builders or big time contractors. I just landed a nice deal with my contractor. He is doing construction work to a 30 story building and the owner of the place has other buildings around the city and was looking for a new landscaper. After a few hours walking around with him checking the properties I found areas that the other landscaper did not do well on. Like edging, not trimming around the pines, all the beds around the building still need a spring clean up.

      I gave him a price on all the properties and I was under the other guy about 6% cheaper. Plus I got all the spring clean up for all the buildings, Re mulching about 130 yards for all the buildings and maintenance for the yr.

      I was pretty stoked when I landed this account. It just bumped my income to the 3 digits and this is just my 2nd season in bizz. Now I just need to make them happy to keep them around for a long time.



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      • #18
        Great job Pete!


        Quote[/b] ]I think you have to define the purpose of your ad. The sole purpose of the horse farm ad is to get people to visit the website so they can learn more and then contact the seller if they are interested. My friend is not interested in fielding dozens of calls asking questions that are already outlined on the website. This is why no phone numbers are listed and navigation to the website is easy.

        I think a lawn care flyer should promote the LCO's phone number prominantly. The LCO wants that phone to ring. He wants to do as many estimates to qualified leads as possible...that is his main concern. The sale is made at the doorstep.
        Keith, this brings up a thought I had as I read this. When a lawn care business is advertising on craigslist, is the goal to answer as many questions as possible before the potential customer calls or should you lead them to calling you and asking you questions?

        I can see one side where you don't want to be swamped with calls that are not pre-screened, but is it worth your time to talk with people and will this help the selling process?
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        • #19
          I've notice from past experience with craigslist customer is that they are cheap and they want the best deals. They will tell you things like yea but the other guys is 200 bucks cheaper. I just walk away and tell them have a great day.. They sometimes call me back to talk some more and work a deal but I never budge my prices. Im in here to make money not to make a few bucks. Im in to make 400-500 bucks in a day.

          Try to keep your prices set and never go lower. Cause you just wont last long in business that way.. Gas is very expensive and everything else is going up.

          If they try to argue about a price you give them, just tell them. " have you seen the gas prices" I raise my price %10 due to the gas price and I will again if it hit 4.00 for reg gas. I spend about $1,500 a month in gas to drive my truck. I'm sure some of you spend more or less..

          But craigslist is a way to get your business name around and this will help you grow it helped me a ton. And like I say dont lower your prices if they try to give you excuses like but the other landscaper is this much cheaper. Tell them then give him a call..

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          • #20
            Quote[/b] (SerranoLandscaping @ May 10 2008,9:55)]I've notice from past experience with craigslist customer is that they are cheap and they want the best deals. They will tell you things like yea but the other guys is 200 bucks cheaper. I just walk away and tell them have a great day.. They sometimes call me back to talk some more and work a deal but I never budge my prices. Im in here to make money not to make a few bucks. Im in to make 400-500 bucks in a day.

            Try to keep your prices set and never go lower. Cause you just wont last long in business that way.. Gas is very expensive and everything else is going up.

            If they try to argue about a price you give them, just tell them. " have you seen the gas prices" I raise my price %10 due to the gas price and I will again if it hit 4.00 for reg gas. I spend about $1,500 a month in gas to drive my truck. I'm sure some of you spend more or less..

            But craigslist is a way to get your business name around and this will help you grow it helped me a ton. And like I say dont lower your prices if they try to give you excuses like but the other landscaper is this much cheaper. Tell them then give him a call..
            Wow...$1500 a month is crazy. I drop about $75 per week, so $300 a month I guess, one tank gets me about 320km or so. Just got a new truck, my old one was even better, only dropped about $45 per tank.

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            • #21
              on the gas topic... we spend about $3000-$3500 a month on fuel...

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              • #22
                Quote[/b] (All Aspects Landscaping @ May 11 2008,8:06)]on the gas topic... we spend about $3000-$3500 a month on fuel... *
                My buddy spends $180.00 every 2 days to fill each truck and he owns 3. If im doing the math right he spends $8,100 every month. In one year is $97,200 now thats crazy..

                Hes making well over $700,000 yr so im guessing is not hurting so much..



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                • #23
                  Ouch...my new Ford Ranger is took $86 this week, as opposed to my old Mazda which usually took about $45/week. So that would be $350 or so I guess per month. We have two other trucks, but I don't have to deal with those.

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                  • #24
                    Dave,

                    I'm probably a bit late on this post, but I wanted to chime in on your questions.

                    In terms of converting these one time jobs to long-time customers, are you presenting them with offers to help move them in that direction? What I mean by that is instead of simply agreeing to perform the one time job do you have several different service package you can present to them when discussing the one time job with them?

                    As Keith mentioned, you should raise your price for the one time job. One of the benefits of these other service packages you present them could be the fact they save money by agreeing to a longer service commitment.

                    In terms of Craig's List, several people have already mentioned this, but the majority of people on the site are looking for a great deal. Yes, you'll probably get some calls, but keep in mind their reason for calling.

                    With respect to fielding lots of calls, yes, it's important to be accessible to your prospects but at the same time your time is extremely valuable. Or at least it should. You need to have a process in place that weeds out the tire kickers so you only have to deal with serious, interested prospects.

                    Finally, generating new business requires consistent, proactive effort. Unfortunately the whole 'if you build it they will come' only works in movies. If you want customers to come, you've got to figure out a way to consistently get in front of them with a powerful sales message that tells them why you have the answer to their problems.
                    Chestin

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                    • #25
                      Thanks for the tips Chestin,

                      I've actually managed to get regular customers out of a couple of the craigslist people. I'm up to 28 clients right now, and I'm still getting a few calls a day. I printed up some flyers, but haven't had the time to hand them out yet. I've never actually flyered before, so I'm interested to see if it works at all. I figured I'd target areas within a couple of blocks of my current jobs to try and cluster them together a bit.

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                      • #26
                        Quote[/b] ]I've actually managed to get regular customers out of a couple of the craigslist people.
                        Dave, can you give us a little insight as to how you managed to turn these one time customers into regular customers?

                        What kind of services did these one time customers call for and how did you get them to be regular customers?
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                        • #27
                          Usually they're just surprised how reasonable my rates are for mowing. Other than that, when I'm discussing their property with them, I often bring up lawn issues or mention things about lawn care and that gets them interested. They really seem to like the organic lawn care angle.

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                          • #28
                            Quote[/b] ]I often bring up lawn issues or mention things about lawn care and that gets them interested. They really seem to like the organic lawn care angle.
                            So you will point out problems with their yard and this will help sell them on you being able to resolve these issues?

                            Do you find that you are able to upsell them to other services besides simply mowing?

                            Quote[/b] ]They really seem to like the organic lawn care angle.
                            Are you able to sell them a yearly lawn fertilization package?
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                            Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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                            • #29
                              Quote[/b] ]when I'm discussing their property with them, I often bring up lawn issues or mention things about lawn care and that gets them interested.
                              Dave, you hit on a great way to not only convert your prospects to long-term customers, but it's also a great way to convey added value, thus allowing you to charge a higher price.

                              You see, people don't mind paying a little more if they know they're going to get more than what they could get from someone else. By talking to them about their lawn and by educating them on the issues, they'll see you know your stuff and they'll begin viewing you as the expert.

                              If you don't offer anything to differentiate you from your competition, the only thing you have to compete on is price. And don't discount the fact that you're just talking lawns. You have knowledge and experience your prospects don't and even though your competition could do the exact same thing, they're obviously not. Capitalize on this.
                              Chestin

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                              • #30
                                when i get a call the first thing i wait for is if someone wants a quote over the phone. Then i know if their a price shopper or not. If the person asked me to come and see the yard, then i know their serious about getting some work done. The little things that you notice when you are there helps up sell yourself. Like if there are brown spots in the lawn or if the lawn needs fertilizing. Dont hesitate to ask if it has been done because then they know that you have the knowledge and you care.

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