It is tough to get lawn care customers when you are in your first year of operation. There are some steps you can take to speed up the process. A big step is finding a core group of customers that can create a buzz about your services and spread word of mouth advertising for you. But how do you do this? Let’s check out a discussion on this from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum to see an example of the steps you can take.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I started a lawn maintenance and landscaping company earlier this year and am having trouble staying busy. I can not get much work at all. I am doing this full time so I really need some help.
Up to this point, I have made a website that will be up in running in a week, also I keep an ad on going in craigslist. I bought 5 ads in the yellowpages that come out at the end of the month, and I go door to door, 2 days a week. The problem is I’m still not getting many calls. Do you have any ideas that may help? I am willing to try almost anything at this point.
I have been working for someone the past 4 years as I was his landscape foreman. This is my first season out on my own and I started in January. When I go door to door I try to speak with the homeowner if they are not at home I write a little something on the flyer and leave it for them. I find things that need attention now or will need attention and point it out to them.
Sometimes if they just want a yard cut I will price it on the spot but if it’s more work or if they want a contract I go to the office and make a bid proposal and go back the next day to deliver. My sign for my trailer came in today so maybe that will help too, and yes I do have business cards and try to hand them out everywhere. NO shirts yet as it is hard for me to justify spending more money until I make a little more.
Most of my work so far came from my door to door efforts but most of that work was just a one time deal. My goals are to have 10-15 yearly contracts. Right now I’m at only 2 with just some simple jobs every week like pull weeds or one time mow or a small flowerbed install/replace.
As for the other company I had worked for, he got the calls and I would go make the sale. We were always on the same page for pricing so he would let me price them but it just seemed as if those customers were going to buy no matter what.
It seems to me that he had built a name for himself and that created a lot of word of mouth advertising. I just wish I could tell the customers I did the work, not him, and now I own my own company call me. But I know I can not say that. This year will be his 7th year in business so I guess it just takes time to grow but he never did any advertising except for name on truck and word of mouth I guess. What am I missing?”
A second lawn care business owner said “isn’t that fascinating how it all works?
The early stages of business development are very difficult because you don’t have much of a customer base to build that word of mouth.
The best thing to do is to meet people. As you drive around, stop at houses that could use your different services. Make a bunch of different postcards for different services you offers. When you see someone that needs lawn cutting, drop off a lawn cutting postcard. Or if they need fertilization services, have a fertilization postcard etc. When you go door to door, you may want to bring your equipment with you. I’ve always found that if you can do work on a spur-of-the-moment basis the customer is more likely to let you do the work right away and then may hire you on for the rest of the summer.
Also, be sure your estimate prices are inline with what the market will bear in your area.
The key is to find a need and fill it. Find the customer that needs a service and give them that service at a reasonable price.
Talk to your neighbors and try to get them to sign up. Also try to get the neighbors of your customers to sign up.
What ever you do, don’t give up. Realize this is the toughest part when getting started and know you can push through.”
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