Finding lawn care customers can take up a lot of your time and money. Some business owners seem to really have a knack for striking up conversations and meeting new people where ever they are. Let’s check out a discussion, on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, on how this one part time lawn care business owner keeps himself busy throughout the year by building a constant flow of referrals. You may want to implement some of his methods yourself to gain new customers as well.
He wrote “I am a full time graduate student and I cut grass because it is the only job I really enjoy. Plus it also offers me a chance to make money without having set hours. I cut and do other odd jobs within a 15 mile radius of my school (to keep down on travel because of time constraints). I work with my Dad, who is the best/only partner I could have. We currently have around 15-20 yards. Sure we do it for the money, but we both really love doing the work.
Our business is not large and we don’t have the top of the line equipment, yet I feel we do our best work every time we head out. With the amount of customers I currently have, my weekly schedule is pretty full. I don’t limit myself to just lawn care and I think this works to my advantage. Though I do make fliers, post ads on craigslist, and have a facebook fan page, my best lawn care marketing method by far has been word of mouth.
I offer other services beyond lawn care,¬† just about anything to do with house maintenance. This includes cleaning gutters, trimming bushes, general cleanups, small landscaping and leaves (though this is my least favorite, but is a chance to make a connection so I don’t pass it up). I also move items for people. I put together an outdoor patio cover for a hot tub, and right now we are trying to get the bi-weekly truck washing gig at my dad’s work, and a family wants me to clean out their basement. I found that being flexible and up to doing anything is a great way to learn new skills and also create new customers.
Some of my regular customers ask for these different jobs, some people only hire me once for these jobs. It is a pretty equal mix. But I think the more you put yourself out there and do good, honest work, the more work will come your way in the end.
To gain more customers through referrals, I first try to get to know my customers personally. Most of what is required to do that is listening to them and showing concern. I feel that once they become your friend, they will tell others. I also offer a referral incentive (a free cut if referred to a new yard). Mostly though, I try to let my work speak for itself. When you are working hard and have a good attitude, people seem to notice. A little luck never hurts either!
When I initially meet a new potentially customer, if they happen to say something about maybe knowing someone, I usually always give them extra flyers. The yards I have been cutting for a while, I don’t usually stress to them that I need more customers from them, because I am just thankful to be doing some work for them. Although I do usually hand them 2 flyers at the beginning of the season, one for them (so I can refresh them on what all I can do) and hopefully one for a friend after I remind them of my incentive.
I usually won’t drop off flyers on neighboring properties unless I have actually met the neighbor and they know who I am. Most of the times, they will notice my work or I will talk to them while I am on site. Being friendly when you are on a job site, smiling and waving to people, can really help break the ice and get those neighbors to want to ask you any questions they might have on their own property care. Try these tips out and see how they help you.”
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