A lot of start up businesses really have a hard time generating word of mouth advertising. To help us understand how to do this better, I asked a member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum how he did it.
I asked him, did you find it tough to generate word of mouth initially when you got started? What do you think is the best way to generate word of mouth advertising?
He responded by saying “I am originally from Southern Europe. I moved to the U.S. when I was 17 yrs old, now I am 28. I hold two college degrees and I love working with people. After I graduated from college, I told myself, I want to make money on my own. America is the place to do it. That is why I started a landscaping business. I also have two rental properties, and working on buying a third one. I payed cash for my education. Despite the fact that I had to pay out of state tuition fees.
I had to earn my reputation in the town where I live. For a while, I had worked at a very famous restaurant, where I met and created a lot of contacts. When I would run into my old restaurant costumers, I would tell them what I am doing, and gave them my landscaping business cards. I always keep business cards in my wallet and my SUV.
Then the current costumers that I have I make sure they are extremely pleased. I have one lady, she has two sons in Iraq, and lives on Social Security income. Very limited. She called me after posting an ad in our local newspaper, and told me how much the other guy was charging her. I asked her how much she could afford to pay. She told me $40 per cut. It takes me 1 hour and a half to do that job. I told her I would do it. The last time I didn’t hear from her for about almost a month. I called her up, and asked her, if she wasn’t pleased with my work, or went with someone else. She told me she couldn’t afford to pay me. So I told her I can mow your lawn for free one time a month. She was so happy, that she referred me to some of her friends, and I got 3 big jobs from her. For her birthday, I bought her one of her favorite liquor drinks she really likes.
Sometimes it isn’t always about money, its about being kind, generous, and knowing who can pay and who can not pay, for what reasons? You know, in the end we are humans, and need to respect that. Yes we are in business to make money, but need to know where to get it from.
I love dealing with people, and it makes my day to see them smile and satisfied. I tell my guys, that I hire part time, if my costumers aren’t happy and they complain about you, then you might as well hit the road.”
Do you have any further tips you could share that would help out new start up lawn care business?
“In order to generate word to mouth business here are a few more tips:
- Be yourself.
- Be professional.
The few costumers you have keep them satisfied. Despite, the fact that on some jobs you might have underbid, or are not making as much as you would like to. Do a great job. Don’t just think about the money. If you do a great job, as they say: “Hard work or quality work will speak for itself.”
- Be friendly. When you pull in to give an estimate, don’t pull up in a beat up truck, or trashy car. Look as professional as you much as you can.
- Be understanding. Look at your customers. See what they wear, what they drive, where they live? Sometimes you can tell if they can pay or not based on what they drive, where they live, etc. I do this when I rent my apartments. I can tell who is going to be able to pay me the rent or not? Based on what they drive, how they dress, and what they do for a living.
When you run in to people at a store, or somewhere in town, be nice, be kind, help them if they need help, open the door for them, etc. Once you do that, then you can see if they want to talk to you or not. If so give them your business cards, make some shirts and always wear them with your business logo on it, and the phone number on it.”