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  • Website Rebuilt

    Although I should be building woodworking products to get us through the summer, I had a list of to do things for the Lawn Care/Landscaping Website and Business.

    My first task was to get my year end financials finished which is done and went great.

    With over 12,000 visitors between April 2009 and December 2009, I have code on every page that tells me which pages are viewed and for how long, where the visitor is from as my focus is visitors from my service area. I also wanted to shorten things up a bit, the old KISS (keep it short and simple) was required.

    I deleted pages that were not viewed that often, added a business card page as I am curious about a marketing idea, changed the navigation and put the top pages read in order.

    I think it's completed but feedback is always appreciated.

    www.oakridgeyardcare.ca
    Andy
    Halifax, Nova Scotia

  • #2
    Cool website. I like how you roll out the business cards with your services.
    I also like your equipment showcase.

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    • #3
      The site looks very nice Andy.

      Have you thought about using the wordpress.org blog software to run your site on? I have seen some that do that and it seems to help with seo and organization of the website.
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      • #4
        The site looks very nice Andy.

        Have you thought about using the wordpress.org blog software to run your site on? I have seen some that do that and it seems to help with seo and organization of the website.
        Yes actually I ran Wordpress for a year, watched traffic using code on the Blog icon that was on my website, I just deleted it today, main reason, 17 hits from April to December and only 3 from my area so it is not worth the effort.

        You see I send a monthly newsletter to a mailing list of clients which has brought in quite a bit of traffic.

        Blogs generate traffic and I have the traffic without them and we are so busy and stressed from April to November it's next to impossible to keep it up, I along with some employees work 7 days a week, I rotate to avoid overtime, some days it's nothing for me to get home at 11 at night because I had to move gear to a site where we start at 7 in the morning which means I am up at 5:30, walk the dog, answer emails, get the staff work orders out, make a list of who I have to call, stuff needs to stay serviced to maintain warranty and the list is endless. Then my office lady had a baby and I just could not find someone to fill her shoes, she is ready to go in April again so I am fine on that side.

        Had quite a conversation with my Insurance company today, I guess they visit client websites to see what's up and compare it to their coverage. I had to remove all references to deck construction or even yard furniture unless I added a Ryder and for the cost and based on the fact we never did have time to do it, I removed every reference.
        Andy
        Halifax, Nova Scotia

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        • #5
          Cool website. I like how you roll out the business cards with your services.
          I also like your equipment showcase.
          Thanks, here is some food for thought.

          The front side deals with the issue we noticed at your home that we can help you with, the back side lists pretty much everything we can do.

          #2 - People loose business cards, these are 4 X 6 post cards I have printed at Vistaprint as it's cheap, people don't loose post cards, what I found from being in several homes for whatever reason, they have my postcard on their fridge or some people have those cork boards for post it notes etc.

          While I have business cards, of what we hand out they represent less than 5% of the cards we go through.

          My thoughts on flyers based on a lot of research, they end up in the garbage unless they are printed on very professional paper, clients tell me they might look but not usually, our cards they do because they are very specific to something we noticed or if someone comes up to one of our trucks we have a plastic holder with every service we offer so if you ask me about wood chipping, I give you a wood chipping card etc. It really works and works well.
          Last edited by picframer; 01-13-2010, 02:57 PM.
          Andy
          Halifax, Nova Scotia

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          • #6
            Had quite a conversation with my Insurance company today, I guess they visit client websites to see what's up and compare it to their coverage. I had to remove all references to deck construction or even yard furniture unless I added a Ryder and for the cost and based on the fact we never did have time to do it, I removed every reference.
            I have never heard of that before! Were you shocked that they called you on that?

            What would happen if you left it up there? Could they do anything about it or were they merely telling you that you were not covered to offer such services?

            I didn't know additional insurance would be needed to offer such services! I guess when this happens you gotta figure do you get enough work to justify the costs of purchasing the additional insurance.
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            • #7
              Yes I was very shocked and thank god we didn't do any decks or outdoor furniture. I own a woodworking business and I know I am not allowed to make any toy that could be used by a child under the age of 12.

              If I left it on the website, the Ryder is $1,567.00 a year even if we do not have a sale for the service, they wanted it off the site and off any vehicle or trailer which is a major PITA as I now have to take 9 pieces of gear in to have the lettering removed, I will replace it with Tree removal and Wood Chipping as it is a major market on some equipment and Pressure washing on other items, basically not everything will be lettered the same.

              This happened to me at the Security company I own part of years ago, I forget what it was we said we could do on the website but the Insurance company saw it and called us on it, it was something really stupid as I recall and something we never did anyhow so we just deleted it.

              In short they told me if I add any service at all, I have to let them know or I will not be covered so I had to list everything we do for them to review, we meet at 9:30 tomorrow morning as I have to sign something stating that is all we will do, what a friggin pain. Basically you are now working in a box, granted I have a fairly big box but it bugs me, who cares if I make you a cedar swing? Well i guess they do.

              The rules here are really changing and driving me nuts, I now have to go through scales when pulling any tractor over 2,500 pounds, well most of mine are as are the excavators, I think that is stupid, my trailers are rated to 10,000 pounds, I never ever pull more than 7,400 so why do I have to stop every friggin day to and from, weigh me once and be done with it.

              Also your tie down straps have to be certified and you can no longer use chains, no even truckers, everything has to be straps and you can only load 75% of their rated weight, there is a bunch of stuff going on that really makes me shake my head.
              Andy
              Halifax, Nova Scotia

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              • #8
                Just what we don't need. More objects in our way that stifle innovation and experimentation.

                The thing I don't get is, who the **** are they to say what you can and can't offer?

                So what if you want to offer deck construction. If a deck you built collapses and they don't want to cover it, oh well.

                But who are they to say we need to review everything you do or we will drop all of your insurance coverage?

                That makes no sense to me. I wonder if they can even do that.

                It seems to me like a sales tactic to generate more money.

                You should create two websites and give them the address to the most basic one.
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                • #9
                  Just what we don't need. More objects in our way that stifle innovation and experimentation.

                  The thing I don't get is, who the **** are they to say what you can and can't offer?

                  So what if you want to offer deck construction. If a deck you built collapses and they don't want to cover it, oh well.

                  But who are they to say we need to review everything you do or we will drop all of your insurance coverage?

                  That makes no sense to me. I wonder if they can even do that.

                  It seems to me like a sales tactic to generate more money.

                  You should create two websites and give them the address to the most basic one.
                  Seems to be the way the world is going, you would not believe what I pay in the run of a year for two business's, 6 vehicles and the house, it's crazy but what can you do.

                  If I did biuld a deck and something happened, say they had twice as many people on it as they should, I would be suid, they would not cover me and i would probably be out of business.

                  They have been doing this for years, they even check your financials now at year end to see where your revenue is coming from and your annual rate is tied to your gross income.

                  I also had to add to my site that clients are not allowed to operate our equipment but what the heck do you do, I can't operate without insurance, the risk is just too high because of what we do, if it were only mowing or spraying...dunno....probably still carry full insurance.
                  Andy
                  Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                  • #10
                    It amazes me how you can sign up with an insurance company to get insurance and then they can put in all this extract crap to be able to alter the way you do business.

                    Why not if you were to build a deck, simply have a contract with the customer that says 'I am not insured to construct this. You agree not to hold me liable for any damages.'

                    Insurance company contracts can hold you to whatever they want, but why do I get the feeling that if a lawn care business owner tried this. The first thing that would happen would be that they got sued.
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                    • #11
                      It amazes me how you can sign up with an insurance company to get insurance and then they can put in all this extract crap to be able to alter the way you do business.

                      Why not if you were to build a deck, simply have a contract with the customer that says 'I am not insured to construct this. You agree not to hold me liable for any damages.'

                      Insurance company contracts can hold you to whatever they want, but why do I get the feeling that if a lawn care business owner tried this. The first thing that would happen would be that they got sued.
                      I would have to ask my lawyer and make sure he had the wording.

                      The house I am in I built in 1987. Three or four years ago the insurance company tells me they are coming for a visit, they made a list of things I had to change, this is how stupid things are, my oil barrel was in mint condition but because it was over 15 years old I had to have it replace, even the company that did it said it was still mint, I had to put dead bolts on every door yet I have probably the best security system money can buy complete with motion activated cameras, I have GPS on every piece of machinery I own yet I don;t get a brake and it's all motion activated and cell and monitored by another company I own part of, they had a list of stupid things I had to do but I swear they all sleep together because it's the same no matter where you go.

                      I doubt that in the court of law a release from the homeowner would stand up in court, they could say well I didn't really understand or whatever I just know it's a road I don't want to go down and at least here we are all in the same boat.

                      I pay Unemployment Insurance yet I am not allowed to ever collect, my employees are all University students save two, they pay Unemployment Insurance and I have to match it by 2.2 yet they can not collect because they are students, I could really get into a rant on this crap, the one that really gets me is Workers Comp that I have to pay as an employer, I know from direct word of mouth, even if your employer is paying, god help you when you file a claim to get money, I guess it takes forever.

                      Things in many areas on both sides of the border being Canada and the USA are just not geared to support small business, it's why we see so many trunk slammers doing work for cash, honestly I don't know how on earth a lawn care only company could make a go of it if they did everything by the book, excavation, spraying, chipping saved my company, I would not be here today had I not switched the company direction in late April and I was lucky that I had the cash to do it or I would be off doing something else.

                      It's these other services in my case that makes the money.
                      Andy
                      Halifax, Nova Scotia

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Things in many areas on both sides of the border being Canada and the USA are just not geared to support small business, it's why we see so many trunk slammers doing work for cash, honestly I don't know how on earth a lawn care only company could make a go of it if they did everything by the book
                        I am with you on this. What it does is create an underground economy.

                        I can remember in college, in a business class, we had a local business owner who was a guest speaker and he told us of all the problems with running a small business. He discussed these same issues.

                        Because he manufactured a product, he had to pay the insurance company per piece he manufactured. And because of this, he said in order to stay competitive, he kept two books. One for him to see how many products he had made and another for his insurance company so they wouldn't charge him as much.

                        When a system is created where the only way to stay competitive, is to cheat the system, the system has failed.

                        The system the government should set up is one to create a level playing ground for all to participate in.

                        When a person is broke or simply doesn't have any assets, they couldn't give two s**ts about insurance or taxes for that matter. They are trying to survive.

                        Lawsuits mean nothing to them because they have nothing to lose.

                        ok I will shut up about this for the moment.

                        Blogs generate traffic and I have the traffic without them and we are so busy and stressed from April to November it's next to impossible to keep it up, I along with some employees work 7 days a week, I rotate to avoid overtime, some days it's nothing for me to get home at 11 at night because I had to move gear to a site where we start at 7 in the morning which means I am up at 5:30, walk the dog, answer emails, get the staff work orders out, make a list of who I have to call, stuff needs to stay serviced to maintain warranty and the list is endless.
                        This kinda nails a point that I often think about. When you are dealing with this industry. Lawn care, landscaping, property maintenance.

                        As a small business owner, where is it better for one to spend their time. Focusing on internet marketing or going out into your local community and becoming a goodwill ambassador for your business?

                        Ultimately, you're not trying to sell your services to anyone further than a small geographic area. The internet is a global marketing tool.

                        Keeping this in mind, I would figure at first it would be better off to spend your marketing time within your local community. As you get bigger, you will want to expand your image and all this web stuff becomes important. But early on, I think it's not the optimal path to take.
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                        • #13
                          Because he manufactured a product, he had to pay the insurance company per piece he manufactured. And because of this, he said in order to stay competitive, he kept two books. One for him to see how many products he had made and another for his insurance company so they wouldn't charge him as much.

                          Keeping this in mind, I would figure at first it would be better off to spend your marketing time within your local community. As you get bigger, you will want to expand your image and all this web stuff becomes important. But early on, I think it's not the optimal path to take.
                          Many companies keep two or three sets of books, I would probably save thousands doing it but in my own case I have to much to loose so I do everything by the book.

                          On the second point you are correct however you have to have a website of some sort, it isn't that hard to put something together but people do care.

                          Your focus should be your community and your network, this is our down time so who is it you know that you should go have a coffee with and tell them what you are doing and ask them if they know of anyone needing this service, tell them you are looking at other services but what services do you think people might want. Then when you get the referral, say John though you might be interested in a service we offer which is xxxxxx, would you be interested, if they say yes, that is great but take it another step, tell them you really look forward to working with them and then ask, would you know of anyone who might also be interested. Corney??? Maybe...does it work, you bet your boots it does and it's what I am doing now for another company I am starting that has nothing to do with this one.

                          The other thing and I don't want to sound like a preacher as I am not is these friggin post cards I use, the results are amazing and I know why. You saw a need, you can help with that need, it's a personal direct touch, that is why is is so effective. The prospect thinks gosh, that guy or gal noticed that I could use or whatever and they took the time to stop and the card should be specific to a service, start with two or three different cards one for lawn mowing and maybe one for Organic spraying or whatever floats your boat, then take a drive around or even before you get the cards, drive around and pay attention, what do you see at various homes that is a similar service need? When you see it and trust me you will, you just found your next service, now print the cards and go back to these places, I think you will be shocked at the results.
                          Andy
                          Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                          • #14
                            Your focus should be your community and your network, this is our down time so who is it you know that you should go have a coffee with and tell them what you are doing and ask them if they know of anyone needing this service, tell them you are looking at other services but what services do you think people might want.
                            Andy,

                            Do you feel most people hate marketing? Why so?

                            What you wrote seems very straight forwards and simple, but why is it seem this just rarely ever happens?
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                            • #15
                              Andy,

                              Do you feel most people hate marketing? Why so?

                              What you wrote seems very straight forwards and simple, but why is it seem this just rarely ever happens?
                              If you mean sales the answer is yes, most avoid because they are afraid of rejections, blow a no off, laugh it off, hold your head high and smile at the next prospect, go in with the attitude you will get the job, people read body language well, be careful, don't look and speak to the ground, look them in the eye, give a firm hand shake, know your stuff and act but no over act, like you already won the job.

                              Some are simply just no good at it, for goodness sake if this is the case hire someone that is and pay them based on what they bring in and hire someone you would want to do business with.

                              People are not afraid to market, look at the posts here of dozens printing thousands of flyers to send out, that is not sales, it's easy, you can hide behind the door with flyers and wait for the phone to ring, it probably won't and you will probably starve, you need to get in the face of the prospect to get them.
                              Andy
                              Halifax, Nova Scotia

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