It is always fascinating to study how lawn care business owners find new clients. We can learn something new from it every time. A new member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum shared with us how he got his new lawn care business started and quickly ramped up to servicing 27 properties. He wrote “I opened my lawn care business this year. It is owned and operated by me, my wife, my daughter and her husband. Now, only 8 weeks in and starting with “zip, zero, nadda” accounts, we now have 27 properties to service. They range from weekly service to once every 3 weeks. I wasn’t too wild about the three week cycle, but this client has 6 properties so I wasn’t going to pass it up. I guess you could call me a “habitual business owner”. I have had 9 businesses including this one. The first was in 1981 while I was still in the Air Force. Since retiring in 94′ I have sold antiques, dabbled in EBay, bought and operated a second-hand store (still operating) and now I’m in the lawn care business. I must say, by far, this business shows the most promise.
Even with gas prices and a full time employee, our profit margin is in the 20-30% range. My success so far has been helped in no small part by the information I’ve found on the Gopher Forum. I’ve listened to all of the GopherHaul Videos (most more than once) and have dug through the forum threads as I have had time. For now, I work full time in my so called “real” job while my son-in-law handles the bidding and service work. We have set our sights very high for the future. We have one company that is the leader in our area.
When I tell friends about my goals for our lawn care company, they always say ‘Oh, so you want to be the next ????’. My response is ‘No. In a few years will want to be like us.’ Hopefully by next season, I will be running our second crew and looking for someone to start a third.”
That is great! I think many new business owners find themselves stuck in a rut, not able to get those new customers. Could you share with us some insight as to how you got so many new customers so quickly? What advice would you have for other new lawn care business start ups?
“I wish I could give myself full credit for all of my lawn care customers, but 9 of them came from a friend who is in the lawn care business. He is cutting back on his work and asked us to take them over (which we gladly did). As for the rest, including 3 new ones yesterday, we’ve used flyers in the paper (some with special offers and some without), door hangers, newspaper adds and business cards. Believe it or not, about 80% of our customers came from business cards. My daughter runs a paper route. While she is filling racks at service stations, she asks if she can leave cards. None have refused. She checks and restocks the about once a week. Also, we don’t just lay the cards on the counter. I am a CAD drafter, so I designed a holder with our company name to place the cards in. It seems more professional and they stand out. This one works well, but even with card stock, it could use just a little more rigidity. As for the flyers, we still do them but we have cut way. I just do them occasionally along with the business cards to maintain name recognition. It must be working because I’ve had more than one person say ‘Man, everywhere I look I see your logo.’ Also, we still run a permanent newspaper add in the areas we service.
We’re about to try running adds on a local information channel on cable. You’ve probably seen them. A text page just rolls over from one ad to the next 24 hours a day. We’re running two adds so we can double our exposure and appeal to two different groups. One ad will target customers who do not use a lawn service now and the other will target people who are unhappy with their current lawn service. It’s mostly the older folks who what this channel and so far this group has been my most profitable. At $40 per ad per month, I think it’s well worth a try.”
Isn’t that interesting! I think it reaffirms how important getting the word out about your business is! Here in this example, he had a friend that was getting out of the business and was able to give him a bunch of initial clients. Next, it seems distributing his business cards really worked wonders!
So when you are looking to find ways to add this many new clients in only 8 short weeks, try the marketing avenues he used and you may find yourself with a lot of new lawn care customers. Also if you want to download the business card holder template that was discussed in this article, visit this post at the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.