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-   -   Two for Two - Woo-Hoo! First Scheduled Mowing Clients (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=14103)

Hedgemaster 04-18-2011 10:37 PM

Two for Two - Woo-Hoo! First Scheduled Mowing Clients
 
Awesome day today.
Two for two on estimates-turned customers!

#1.
I went to talk to a lady yesterday about a mowing estimate. She gout my number from the bulletin board at a local grocery store.
Since her lawn was larger than I'm used to mowing in my own neighborhood and I was unsure how to accurately estimate the time it would take, I offered her a fist cut at $20 (this was obviously not a $20 lawn), and told her I would give her an figure after having completed the first cut.

Today I cut her lawn. In total, it took an hour, but I know I can shave at least 15 minutes off of that. I took my time with the trimmer, neatening up along the raised, brick sidewalk. I picked up a lot of twigs before mowing, and spent an extra minute or two uprighting planters that had fallen over during the winter, and cleaning/blowing debris off of the porch.

The owner wasn't home when I did the work, so I left an invoice for the $20 "Discounted First Mowing" and a note to call me to discuss my estimate.
She called, said it looked good, and asked what I came up with for a price to mow her lawn. I told her the price would be $45, and if she chose to pay cash, I would take off $5.

She agreed, and we further discussed a "schedule" of weekly mowings early spring while it is growing fast, then going to bi-weekly, as the growth slows.

Yay! My FIRST "regularly scheduled" client!




#2
I answered my phone at 5pm today and was asked about an estimate for maintaining a lawn. He got my info from my Craigslist ad. (FINALLY! After two weeks, I got a call!) I was there to give the estimate at 5:45pm. (if you snooze, you lose)

It's a very small lawn on the edge of the city. He wants someone primarily to mow the lawn so he can spend time with his family. He also is interested in repairing some dead patches in the grass.

The place is 3 miles from me, and located in a semi-affluent community. If I can pick up some nearby clients, it could turn out very well for me.

I quoted him $25 to mow. Much the same as the first client. Weekly and/or as needed. I will need to prepare a quote for the lawn reseeding/patching, but for right now, he's happy to be getting it cut later this week.

Yay! My SECOND "regularly scheduled" client!

After "the handshake" and before I left, I did ask him what it was about my ad that made him call me. He chuckled, and said, "Well, first of all, my wife said I BETTER call SOMEONE!" lol Then he started thinking and said "Well, you know, most of the larger companies don't want a lawn this small, it seems. I thought I'd look on Craigslist, and I saw your ad." He went on to say that he picked up on the fact that it said "professional" and "dependable".
"I also liked that you took the time to make the nice ad that you posted".

:) Awesome. :D I'll be there on Thursday!

Oh, and although they have two dogs, they are cleaned up after, so no land mines to worry about!
This day is just FILLED with "awesome"!

bruces 04-19-2011 12:48 AM

congrats on the new work .

Southern Oasis 04-19-2011 01:29 AM

Congratulations! What a great day. What time of day do you usually post your craigslist ads (or is it whenever you have a free moment)? Also, can you post a link to the ad? It might be helpful for others on this forum to see a successful craigslist ad. There are so many ads on craigslist for lawn care, you have to find a way to distinguish yourself. It sounds like you did just that. Nice work!

Hedgemaster 04-19-2011 01:45 AM

Thanks guys.

I'm sure there's a science to when to post on Craigslist, but right now, I just do it when I have time.

If you post after midnight, you may be near the top in the morning when people browse while drinking their coffee and if you post right around 5pm, your ad will be near the top at the end of the day. Which is better? I haven't a clue. By adding the keywords at the bottom, my ad(s) come up using a variety of searches.

Here's my ad.
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/fgs/2333012138.html

I have a whole thread on it that I posted last week...
http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=13951
I wouldn't go so far as to call it "successful". One (possibly two) call in two weeks is pretty sad if you ask me.

I've tried posting with the ad(image) first, and now I have the text on top. I also ran it (once) without the image, wondering if the "polished look" may be scaring away customers who felt I would be "too expensive". (since I use a "nice ad" as opposed to a text only ad reading "I cuts grasss cheep")
I've changed the title once. It's hard to say what goes on in the reader's mind.
At least I found one person who was drawn in by my work.

Hedgemaster 04-19-2011 10:18 AM

Got another call this morning. (I believe generated from my CL ad)
The location is only about 1 mile from the one I "signed up" yesterday. (smile)

"I'm on a fixed income and can only afford about $25 every 10 days to two weeks", she said.
Supposed to be "small, flat, and no fences". Works for me - I look at it tomorrow.

Going for three for three. :cool:

Tom53 04-19-2011 07:11 PM

Congrats on the first two, and good luck on the third!

Steve 04-19-2011 08:41 PM

Do you know the size of that #1 yard now? Will you be able to use what you learned from that yard to apply to other bids now?

Also, all to often, when someone is unsure of a bid, they tend to guess, and way under-estimate it. What got you to consider doing a trial run at first? I think that is fantastic and I wonder why others don't utilize that strategy more often.

Hedgemaster 04-19-2011 09:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve (Post 89320)
Do you know the size of that #1 yard now? Will you be able to use what you learned from that yard to apply to other bids now?

Also, all to often, when someone is unsure of a bid, they tend to guess, and way under-estimate it. What got you to consider doing a trial run at first? I think that is fantastic and I wonder why others don't utilize that strategy more often.

Actually, she told me the measurements of the front when I stopped for the estimate - 100'w x75' from street to the front of the house.
It will definitely be helpful going forward knowing how long it takes to mow a lawn that size.

The idea for the "Discounted First Cut" came out of frustration of simply having no idea how long it will take me to mow a property that isn't similar in size to my own. I didn't want to screw myself as I've done with some other "project" work, and I thought this may be the ideal solution.

It gives me all of the info I need to accurately bid a property and it gives the customer savings right off the bat. Will I run into someone who decides to take advantage and not call me back? Probably, but I think the benefits outweigh the risk at this point. I just need to finalize some exclusions to list in a disclaimer before I post the offer publicly.



Also, for those reading who are looking for ways to get your name out there, the guy (#2) with the small yard mentioned above suggested I place an ad in their local newsletter. It's a great idea, and if he hadn't mentioned it, I would have never known that this particular community has it's own newsletter.

cruzgardening 04-20-2011 02:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hedgemaster (Post 89249)
Got another call this morning. (I believe generated from my CL ad)
The location is only about 1 mile from the one I "signed up" yesterday. (smile)

"I'm on a fixed income and can only afford about $25 every 10 days to two weeks", she said.
Supposed to be "small, flat, and no fences". Works for me - I look at it tomorrow.

Going for three for three. :cool:

hey man im so glad do you think the keywords helped a bit?

Hedgemaster 04-20-2011 10:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cruzgardening (Post 89359)
hey man im so glad do you think the keywords helped a bit?

I doubt it, as I already had keywords listed - I just added more. The zip codes were part of what I added and I think they will help, but this last caller was from a zip I didn't have listed yet, so it's hard to say.

I did get one email inquiry via CL yesterday. (my first)


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