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-   Starting a lawn care business. (http://www.gopherforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=32)
-   -   Now What? (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=14573)

T & K Property Management 07-21-2011 05:53 PM

Now What?
 
Ok, I'm just starting my lawn service and have made it to the point where I am sort of taking a deep breath and asking 'now what?'.

I wanted to make sure I had all my t's crossed and i's dotted before I went to talk to people about becoming potential clients. I have my occupational license, insurance in place, all the appropriate forms and documents filed with the IRS, and an LLC established. My only snag now is ... I don't have much grass to mow!

I have a couple so called "accounts" with friends and family that cover expenses, but I don't want to just cover expenses. Can anyone help me with the next step?

I have run into a few deadends, and while I'm not discouraged, I need a little advice. I have business cards on the way and plan to really start networking and putting my business out there once my advertising supplies come in. I may have jumped into this at the wrong time of year, but it is what it is, and now that I have the formalities and legal issues (that I am aware of) covered, I'm ready to get to work. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

Justin

Ducke 07-21-2011 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by T & K Property Management (Post 93085)
Ok, I'm just starting my lawn service and have made it to the point where I am sort of taking a deep breath and asking 'now what?'.

I wanted to make sure I had all my t's crossed and i's dotted before I went to talk to people about becoming potential clients. I have my occupational license, insurance in place, all the appropriate forms and documents filed with the IRS, and an LLC established. My only snag now is ... I don't have much grass to mow!

I have a couple so called "accounts" with friends and family that cover expenses, but I don't want to just cover expenses. Can anyone help me with the next step?

I have run into a few deadends, and while I'm not discouraged, I need a little advice. I have business cards on the way and plan to really start networking and putting my business out there once my advertising supplies come in. I may have jumped into this at the wrong time of year, but it is what it is, and now that I have the formalities and legal issues (that I am aware of) covered, I'm ready to get to work. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

Justin

Flyers , Posters and business cards I went door to door with flyers 1000 at a shot made them on my computer I put posters up in local stores restaurants etc. I also went to Staples and bought a few cheap plastic business card holders and I have them at stores restaurants and barber shops.
I went from 4 to 8 to 11 full time 5 part time customers in three months.
I also hooked up with a couple of Real Estate Agents and they are sending me plenty on one off jobs (which pay the big $$$$).
All I can say is dig dig dig it will come if you really want to work at it.

T & K Property Management 07-21-2011 07:40 PM

Thanks for the reply Ducke. I think placing a business card holder at some local establishments will draw a lot of interest, but as you were saying, a variety of marketing strategies is a great idea.

I don't have a huge budget right now and I'm attempting to focus my resources on what people feel works best until I can generate some revenue. What technique do you think attracts the most customer attention?

Thanks

Justin
T & K Property Management, LLC

Ducke 07-21-2011 07:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by T & K Property Management (Post 93092)
Thanks for the reply Ducke. I think placing a business card holder at some local establishments will draw a lot of interest, but as you were saying, a variety of marketing strategies is a great idea.

I don't have a huge budget right now and I'm attempting to focus my resources on what people feel works best until I can generate some revenue. What technique do you think attracts the most customer attention?

Thanks

Justin
T & K Property Management, LLC

One other thing I did was put a free ad on Kijiji ( its like Craig list)
I also paid $12.99 to have my ad at the top of the list for 7 days I have generated 5 of my accounts from this ad.

so I would have to say the door too door flyers and the kijiji ad were the best marketing that I have done.

Hedgemaster 07-21-2011 10:57 PM

I started this season and I have had a lot of success using Craigslist.
One thing that sets me apart for 99% of the other ads is that I use an image rather than just a line ad with text only. I'm also fortunate in that I'm a graphic designer and was able to create my own ad to place on Craigslist - an ad that I've gotten many positive comments on from people who are now my regular clients.

I also picked up a few clients by hanging an ad at a local grocery store, and I've had some inquiries through my website. (which isn't complete, but I have my contact info and basic info available)

Strive to present yourself as a professional. In your advertising, your appearance, your attitude, in everything you do... people notice - and they talk.
I just picked up two more clients because the outfit that was servicing them was overcharging them as well as conducting themselves in an unprofessional manner while on the job. (foul language and overall bad attitude) "I watch how hard you work over there - you do good work" was what I was told by one of my new clients. People notice.

ALWAYS have business cards on you. Give them to anyone and everyone you speak to. TALK to people. At a minimum, say "hello" to every person you see while you are out working. There are people who WANT to ask you questions, but may not want to disturb you while you are working - give them the opportunity by chatting with them. You WILL pick up work this way.

Going door to door may or may not be effective. It worked OK for me, but I was just starting out and had nothing better to do. I don't have time for that kind of thing these days. Also, you may need a permit to solicit door to door - every municipality has their own rules.

Best of luck to you!

T & K Property Management 07-22-2011 12:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hedgemaster (Post 93101)
I started this season and I have had a lot of success using Craigslist.
One thing that sets me apart for 99% of the other ads is that I use an image rather than just a line ad with text only. I'm also fortunate in that I'm a graphic designer and was able to create my own ad to place on Craigslist - an ad that I've gotten many positive comments on from people who are now my regular clients.

I also picked up a few clients by hanging an ad at a local grocery store, and I've had some inquiries through my website. (which isn't complete, but I have my contact info and basic info available)

Strive to present yourself as a professional. In your advertising, your appearance, your attitude, in everything you do... people notice - and they talk.
I just picked up two more clients because the outfit that was servicing them was overcharging them as well as conducting themselves in an unprofessional manner while on the job. (foul language and overall bad attitude) "I watch how hard you work over there - you do good work" was what I was told by one of my new clients. People notice.

ALWAYS have business cards on you. Give them to anyone and everyone you speak to. TALK to people. At a minimum, say "hello" to every person you see while you are out working. There are people who WANT to ask you questions, but may not want to disturb you while you are working - give them the opportunity by chatting with them. You WILL pick up work this way.

Going door to door may or may not be effective. It worked OK for me, but I was just starting out and had nothing better to do. I don't have time for that kind of thing these days. Also, you may need a permit to solicit door to door - every municipality has their own rules.

Best of luck to you!

Thank you for the advice and the well wishes Hedgemaster. One of the things I've been reading on different posts is the importance of finding something to set yourself apart from the masses so to speak. I like the idea of utilizing social media and craigslist, and adding an image certainly catches the eye.

I wrote in my introduction post that it is my goal to develop a service that is knowledgeable, customer service driven, and professional so I couldn't agree with you more about being professional and courteous.

I live in a small town outside of Gainesville, FL where talking to and just simply speaking to folks in passing is a way of life. That is great advice about engaging people to allow them to open up and bring the conversation around to the business at hand.

As for hard work and a good attitude, that cannot be advertised on printed paper. I feel like customers are looking for people they can trust to give their business to. Kudos for your professionalism and ability to win customers with your work ethic (as well as your graphic design skills!).

Word of mouth is an extremely beneficial, or negative in some cases, tool for any business and I strive to have only good things said for my name and my company's name through utilization of hard work, positive attitude, and my faith in Jesus Christ.

Thanks again for the advice and best of luck to you as well!

Justin
T & K Property Management, LLC

jymie 07-22-2011 05:57 AM

I have posted this before, here it is again...

There are a few ways to go about advertising your business. I have done:
  • Door Hangers
  • Post Cards
  • Display Advertising in my local pennysaver. They have a nice page inside they call Local Business Directory, it looks like a bulletin board.
  • Business Cards to every one I meet in Restaurants, Gas Stations, Bars and anywhere where there are people.

The best time to start is always. The peak time would be a month and a half before the grass begins to grow, then continue till the end of the season.

I drop off business cards to any place that has a bulletin board, like grocery stores, department stores Laundromats etc. You can get business card holders from Artie on this site. http://www.marketingholders.com/CARD...PING-CRDQS.htm

They hold probably 25 business Cards. Check out his other products on the site, he has a lot of stuff that could be useful.

Have magnets made with your company logo and phone number on them, one for both front doors and one for the back of your vehicle. People behind you can't see the sides of your truck when you drive around with no trailer. Good free advertising that way. This is a great site and the magnets are excellent quality: http://www.buildasign.com , I also order signs for the front lawn from them, also great quality for a fair price.

Utilize the free methods to advertise, google search free classified advertising
  • Craigslist
  • Backpage
  • topix.com
  • thumbtack.com
  • buysellcommunity.com
  • kijiji.com

Add your business to every business directory in your area
  • Yellowpages.com
  • Yellowbook.com
  • merchantcircle.com
  • manta.com
  • local.com
  • kudzu.com
  • thumbtack.com
  • yellowbot.com
  • citysearch.com
  • superpages.com
  • local.yahoo.com
  • superads.com
  • landscaping-companies.com
  • neighborhood.letsrenovate.com
  • start.cortera.com
  • allpages.com
  • local.garden.org
  • insiderpages.com
  • bizhwy.com
  • getfreelisting.com
  • mylocalservices.us
  • diyodp.com
  • evliving.com
  • freebusinessdirectory.com
  • volta.net
  • freeonlinebusinessdirectory.com

Submit your website and business to all the search engines, then submit to the maps of each of the major search engines

google maps
bing maps
yahoo maps

Maps info show up before search results so this is crucial.

See this thread for more:

http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=13299

Hope this helps you get started! Best of luck!

Steve 07-22-2011 04:33 PM

Quote:

I have run into a few deadends, and while I'm not discouraged, I need a little advice.
Justin can you give us a little insight as to what kind of deadends you ran into and how they effected you?

T & K Property Management 07-22-2011 09:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve (Post 93134)
Justin can you give us a little insight as to what kind of deadends you ran into and how they effected you?

I tried a few foreclosure asset management companies and, while I met all their qualifications for insurance, licensure, etc., I either had to have been established for atleast a year or they didn't have a need for anyone else to service my area.

I'm still waiting on my marketing supplies that I have on order to arrive, so I really haven't been able to go and sit down with any potential customers because I feel like I should atleast have my business cards in hand when I approach them. I have been spreading the word to people I know and having them tell others, but this should be more effective once my business cards and all come in.

Justin
T & K Property Management

arthur712 07-24-2011 01:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jymie (Post 93111)
I drop off business cards to any place that has a bulletin board, like grocery stores, department stores Laundromats etc. You can get business card holders from Artie on this site. http://www.marketingholders.com/CARD...PING-CRDQS.htm

They hold probably 25 business Cards. Check out his other products on the site, he has a lot of stuff that could be useful.



Yes I have some great stuff at www.marketingholders.com
10% Coupon Code is (sale2011)

Thanks!
Artie


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