If you find yourself later in the fall/winter season, where you didn’t have as many mowing customers as you wanted this year and really want to get a jump on next year, what kinds of marketing should you be doing now? That is what one entrepreneur wanted to know when he asked the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum for advice on picking up customers in the winter. The tips that came from the discussion should really help you.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I am looking for a little advice on marketing over the winter season to have mowing contracts in place to start servicing next spring. I have been in the landscape design business for several years and now want/need to expand my services to make this a viable full-time occupation. I have set a goal of having twenty new lawn/garden maintenance contracts in place by mid to end of March and would like some suggestion on how to get there.
What is the best marketing approach for the next 3 1/2 months? Should I go door-to-door, send out post cards, distribute door hangers, put ads in newspapers, use flyers, all the above??? Is this even possible over the off-season for someone offering this as a new service? The end of April is my ‘line in the sand’ to determine if I can make a go of it full-time of just continue in the design area part-time. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.”
A second lawn care business owner shared “try and remember some important things about people. People will not respond to one, two, or even three advertisement impressions. I have found that putting out flyers door to door, takes at least 4 impressions to make it viable. Advertising in a newspaper takes at least 6 times. Even then they will only notice it, and not take action until they have a need.
You need to keep advertising through out the year. Plan on putting door hangers out in the same place several times. Put door hangers on the neighborhood doors each time you service an existing customer. Building this business is slow. Be fair in your service, charge a fair price, and you will grow.
My first year I had 7 customers, second I made it to 35, for the third I hit 50.
Work on your web site and ranking now as that takes time and by spring you should be at or near the top of the list.”
A third added “all of the above advice is very good and very important. You have to constantly be putting your name out. Experiment with different media. Do some research on your demographics first though. Find out who your clients are. Then do some research with test marketing pieces. Believe it or not different colors, shapes, wording, etc on the same marketing material can make a word of difference when it comes to responses. Make sure to track that information as well so you know what marketing method works and what doesn’t.
Now given your situation, I personally would do two things right now
1) Ask you current clients for referrals. This is a low cost way to gain more clients.
2) Market only in the neighborhoods that you are currently servicing.
By focusing on one particular area you are making your marketing more effective and not just throwing out darts hoping one will hit the dart board. In the long run, the more clients you gain in the same neighborhood, the less it will cost you in windshield time.”
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