It’s amazing how we all tend to look for the complex path to get us where we want to be when an easy path is standing there right in front of us. Sometimes is just so obvious that we don’t pay it any mind. That is what happened to this lawn care business owner when he was looking to expand his customer base. It wasn’t until the obvious was pointed out to him that he really began to grow. He shared with us his self enlighting story on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
He wrote “I own a full service landscape installation and irrigation company and have been in business for 13 years. Before that I had a commercial construction background. Due to the weakened state of the economy and lack of new construction, we have expanded to service our customers in the lawn maintenance business. In the past, we never had time for lawn maintenance other than a few long time contracts, but as I experiment more, I am finding a growing need to diversify.
Expanding into a new service is surely a lot easier than starting a business from scratch. I didn’t have any trouble getting new lawn care customers. Since I have so many new construction installations under my belt and had contact with many new homeowners builders in my area, word of mouth seems to have kept us extremely busy with lawn care work. I do however find myself wishing we had taken on more lawn maintenance jobs back when we really didn’t need them, but such is life.
I did find myself initially struggling somewhat with the marketing effort. The first thing I did was to market to commercial properties pretty hard already but I found that most of them had existing contracts or their own lawn maintenance crews. After that I turned to on apartment complexes.
With my residential lawm care marketing, I am going to distribute 2,000 door hangers this week and again in two to three weeks from now. I will set up a website that will include search engine advertising to drive traffic it’s way. Then run an ad in my local newspaper that targets 24,000 households with an average household income of $125,000 as well run some smaller ads in the bigger county papers. I hope all these things ad up to some good returns.
All of this was fine and pretty much standard marketing, but it wasn’t until a friend offered me some good lawn care marketing advice, did things really begin to take off. He said to me, it’s not what you know, but who you know and you know quite a few people. He suggested that if I still had all the addresses for the previous jobs I had done, to send them all letters with information on the services I am now offering. These people already know and trust you getting their business should be a snap.
For whatever reason, all of these great contacts were right in front of my face and I just wasn’t seeing it! I thanked him for the advice and immediately set upon this new path towards success. Next stop was to see a friend who became Mayor of the city I grew up in, which is about 20 minutes away. They recently had a grant to put in new sidewalks around the city which doubled their maintenance work load. They also have a park with ball fields and lots of other amenities as well as some common areas around the city and a cemetery. To make a long story short, I picked up half there lawn maintenance work and a doctor’s office all in one day!
The doctor’s office is where my parents go. My parent’s put in a word for me and I went by and talked to the office. I placed some business cards in the doctor’s waiting room and sold them a landscape install for some shrubs, trees as well as lawn maintenance. I am going to ride this wave of friends that can help until it runs out. It always helps to know someone. Through another social contact, I sold two more annual lawn care contracts on residential yards and a new sod job as well. Things are really starting to pick up.
People in the area are starting to notice my work just from seeing my crew around town. I have had a lot of inquiries this week just from word of mouth. The best marketing is by far, word of mouth. The most over looked marketing tools in business are the simple things, like keeping your truck clean, keeping the mower looking fresh, talking to people and being freindly. Advertising is only 1 small part of the big picture we call marketing.
It is 10 times easier to up sell to an existing client then to sell to a new one. So when you are looking to attract new customers to your lawn care business, why look to people you don’t know when you have a better chance at selling to people you do know. Make a list of who these people are and go pay them a visit to say hi. Tell them what you have been up to and give them a few business cards. You may be amazed at how many of the people you know sign up for your services.”