Here is a great story, from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, on how a simple ad for lawn care, placed in a classified section of a local newspaper, led to thousands of dollars in work. The job initially involved a one acre yard cleanup but kept leading to more and more work. It goes to show you the power of marketing and the power of networking. Using ads you can reach some people and then through those people, you can network to meet even more.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I got a call today and am meeting with the client to look over their lawn. This customer called because they saw my ad in the newspaper classifieds section. She said the lawn is a bit out of control and is fairly overgrown. We’ll see what happens but so far so good!
So I went to look at the property & meet the prospective lawn care client. The lawn was just over an acre in size and had not been mowed in a very long time. Excuses ranged from having two non-working mowers to the husband putting in massive amounts of over time at his job. Because of this, some of the grass in the back was taller than I, & I’m 6 foot tall.
I explained that I was going to have to put a brush blade on my trimmer and knock all the tall stuff down before I could mow the lawn the first time. This place was way way over grown! I told them that it would take most of an entire day. After I knocked the grass down, I would suggest I come back to mow it once per week for them.
For pricing I told them $300 for the initial clean up and mowing, $55 per week after that. They asked when I could get to it and I told them on Thursday. They said they would have to look at their finances and get back to me. I harbor little hope, but at least the ad got me in front of a potential lawn care customer.
The thing about these jobs is you just never know! I go to each and every lead I get. I have never turned anyone away. Sometimes I don’t get the job, but I do get a referral. Sometimes I have quoted a clean up very high and never expected a call back and they do.
I try to think of each bid as a marketing visit. I would like to get the job, but making a good impression, being professional and very personable is more important. I’ve gotten referrals from something that I never worked for and just gave them a bid 6 months ago!
A day later I get a call from the client accepting my offer. $300 for the initial clean up and $55 a week for normal mowing service. Considering the remaining mowing season in my area this single ad and resulting client will make me about $1000 richer when it’s all said and done.
One thing is for certain, the folks that live around this property are sure going to be happy to see me out there cleaning it up. I have an order of door hangers that are going to arrive the day I’m doing this job. I’ll have to make sure that I have the time and energy to get those door hangers hung around that area that day following the job. That should help me gain even more customers in the area.
After I was all done with the clean up, and completed the back as well, I figure my total time was about 6 hours. In the back I used my line trimmer with a brush blade to mow down all the tall grass, then mowed down everything with my mower deck all the way up. Before I left the property today I was handed a check for $465. That’s $300 for the clean up and $55 x 3 for the next 3 weekly mowings. The customer is very happy!
One lesson I learned today was, don’t take the customer’s word for what is in the back yard that I could possibly hit with a mower. They told me there were only 2 tree stumps back there. Being suspect, I had to investigate this further and what I found was 2 stumps, a rock fire pit, 4 railroad ties, a small pile of bricks, and 2 basketballs! Luckily I found all of this while chopping down the big stuff. So always look before you mow!
While working there in the back a neighbor walked up and asked me to stop by when I was done. Turns out he’s 74 and can still ride his riding lawn mower but has trouble edging, trimming, and keeping his hedge in shape. In the end I’ll be spending about 4 hours a month at his place at $40 an hour.
I keep asking myself if I charged enough ($300) for the clean up. I think so I guess, I mean I got a new paying customer at $55 a week for the rest of the season and another new customer at $160 a month or so and it won’t be long before he won’t want to mow anymore and if I do a good job for him now I’ll probably get that lawn account as well.
My customer is really happy! She was amazed at the clean, wide, & nicely edged walkway in front of the house. I think the thing that has her really happy is having a mowed lawn rather than a hay field, I know her neighbors are happy about that for sure!”