How to use lawn care customer referals to improve your bottom line.

Acquiring lawn care customers can be difficult when you first get started. They can cost money to reach out too. But, if you play your cards right and harness the power of referrals, you might be amazed at the growth you see happening. Here is a great step by step discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how one business owner ramped up his business in record time thanks to referrals.

He wrote “about 5 months ago I was laid off from my full time job. I am 27/married and I have 2 year old twins (girl and a boy). At first, I applied at around 20 to 30 jobs in my old field of commercial truck driving with no luck. I’m one of those guys that has always provided and was killing me not bringing any money in. We had some money put back and I threw around the idea of starting my own business. My wife wasn’t all in at first and still might not be lol. I’ve always taken pride in my lawn and landscape. It’s that feeling when your done with it, and you just walk around on the sidewalk thinking to yourself ‘that’s a damn nice looking lawn.’

Just through word of mouth, I got my first lawn care customer before I spent any money and never looked back. I started my lawn care business late, June 7th to be exact. Once I had a customer, I decided to scale up from my push mower and I bought a 42″ Toro Timecutter and a 34″ cub cadet, which was used (for fenced in backyards.) I then ordered shirts/business cards/quick books/2 signs/2 car magnets. Posted my lawn care marketing material on every possible free advertisement site I could find.

Now, currently I have 21 weekly lawn care customers, with 8 bi-weeklies, and a 2 small commercial lawn care accounts. Within the last couple of months though I have mowed 56 people! Many were due to the heat wave or their mower breaking, things of that nature. Most of which were just a one time mow. After wards I sent out the lawn care customer thank you letters to them and because of that I’ve had multiple responses from those one time customers asking for other services(gutter cleaning/mowing again/bush trimming/ etc.)

Finished my snow removal contracts last week and sent out a letter stating…’summer may be almost over but still a lot of work needs to be done. If interested in fall clean-up or gutter cleaning give me a call. Winter is right around the corner and I’d be more then willing to take care of your drive, so you don’t have to pick a shovel up at all this winter. Contracts for per clearing or seasonal (payments spread out monthly for 6 months) available.’ From that I signed 2 seasonal contracts yesterday for $850 each.

From my experience if lawn care is something that you love and really enjoy to do, your customers will notice that with every attention to detail that you put into their lawns and they will tell their friends about you.

Although things have been going so good, there is still a lot of work to be done. Next I am going to try and get as many certificates as possible before next lawn seasons.

Reflecting back, I don’t know if there is once specific thing that I can attribute my growth to. I think that you have to put yourself ALL IN. I don’t own any special certificates, or anything of that nature. One thing that I do own is the knowledge of lawns. When I decided that I was going to start my lawn care business and I was just waiting for the first person to call, I utilized my time by reading up on anything and everything to do with lawn care. I go the extra mile for every lawn care customer. I offer many incentives too.

All but 4 of my lawn care accounts came from referrals. Any lawn care customer that wanted more then a one time mow, has stuck by my side. I go the extra mile for every customer. I treat every lawn like my own and like I’m being watched and this helped me succeed.

Let me give you an example of what I saw today…. A local lawn care company guy is on his zero turn, stops and picks up a cup that was in his way. Rather then set it at his feet and ride with it until he could dispose of it, he tossed it back behind him where he had already driven a path. Whether you know someone is home or not because it doesn’t really matter. Some little things like piling limbs and taking them with you when you leave. Pulling a couple overgrown weeds. Edging the lawn when not asked to. ALL lawn care customers notice these things.

Any new customer that you leave a business card with, give them a couple extras too. If the NEW lawn care customer isn’t home when you serviced their account, call them later that night and ask them If the lawn looked good or if there is anything else that they needed done in the yard. Not many lawn care businesses call you that day to make sure you are satisfied with you purchase. Talk to them and make sure they know that their needs come first.

You might be considered the ’specialist’ in lawn care but the customers are always in the driver seat. You need to make sure you are their friend in the passenger seat and not one of those annoying back seat drivers.

If someone is referred to you from a current lawn care customer, give that customer $5 off their next mow. If you have someone willing to sign a seasonal mowing contract, offer them 10% off if they sign up before a certain date or 5% off if they refer someone. 10% really isn’t that much but in the customers eyes it means a lot…

ex: $35 per mow x 32 average mows in a season = $1,120 x .10 customers discount = $112., So your still making $1,000 and still have the chance of them referring you further.

I didn’t sign any seasonal contracts because I started so late, but I did just do it on 3 snow removal contracts. I’m advertising that if my lawn care customers sign a seasonal contract before Oct. 15th they’ll receive the 10% discount off.

I did have one customer refer 4 others by doing this! They were all neighbors. She was paying $40 for her lawn and I knocked it down to $25. I was making $160 just off her neighbors a week so I figured It was worth it. Now if I was going to have to travel to multiple houses that she referred, then I would of put a limit of 2 discounts for referrals.

If a new customer calls me, the first thing I ask is how they heard about my services. If they say that joe schmo referred them then I just automatically log into my Gopher Lawn Care Software and take the $5 off. Then I send the customer who referred them a letter thanking them and that I lowered their weekly rate. Then I send the new customer a letter saying welcome and offer them the $5 off for a referral.

Word of mouth advertising is powerful stuff! Try it out yourself and you too will see growth!”

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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