As we have seen from many discussions on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, you can’t sit back and wait for lawn care customers to find you. You need to actively go out and seek them. A newer lawn care business owner was warming to this concept when he wrote and asked “ok we have talked about approaching potential clients from the street for yard service as well as if they already have it and I think I may be ready to do this better. How would you recommend I work my proposal in both cases? Clearly I would avoid houses with ‘No Soliciting’ signs and for sure I would not want to say ‘hey I can do better than the company you have now,’ but how would you approach them?”
One business owner shared “just recently I wanted to prove a point to an employee about finding new clients and since it’s leaf season and I have two commercial leaf vac units, we went to a street close to where we are working on to experiment with my marketing idea. We had three different postcards. One was for our commercial leaf clean up, one for tree chipping and one for driveway grading.
We walked a street and I did the first 9 or 10 houses. It was an amazing day. Everyone was home. Personally I picked up 9 leaf jobs and two chipping, not bad, almost two grand in work. Now I said to my employee, you take the lead and he did with zeal. We did 6 more houses and he got 4 leaf jobs and one chipping. I said ok that is enough because we will be here over a week and we are already full.
I love cold calling too. It’s all about your approach. Maybe it just comes natural but I find it desperate easy to find work. I look for it as it will not come to us very often. I think this is why many lawn care companies struggle. That’s just my observation.
The area we walked was just your average middle class burbs subdivision, no reason at all I picked this street. We were close to our work site so we agreed. Why not it could be fun! I bet the total time was three hours….then it was back to work.”
Another added “I find it very interesting how everyone can have different results from approaches. In my community, I have had more success from placing an ad in the local morning coffee paper rather than cold calling.
Now to address how to approach potential clients that already have someone doing their property. I don’t concern myself with what the other guys are doing or how they do it. I have always quoted what my service charge would be with a breakdown of what they get for that price. I believe that what I offer may be more expensive than most of my competition, but I go the extra mile when it comes to service. For example, after cutting the grass, I always blow off the sidewalks just to cleanup the property, (oddly most of my competition does not do that) my customers love it.
I also spend time with overseeding bare patches at no extra charge, it is all part of my pricing. Customers see the value in the extras and are willing to pay the extra. When it comes to clients that had someone maintaining their property, that have switched over to my company, I’d say I have had about a 90% success rate. I won’t approach someone that already has someone without them contacting me first as in this small community, I don’t want to get a reputation as someone that steals clients. A great reputation takes time to build but can be destroyed very easily in a small city.
This approach has worked well for me, but as I commented at the beginning, different communities react differently to different approaches.”
I then asked do you ever find yourself driving down a street and seeing someone out and then stop to talk to them? Or do you rather focus on some streets and just walk them, go door to door and see if you can talk to the homeowner and hand them a card?
A business owner responded “both and both work, I even stopped today and handed two ladies a leaf post card while they were walking their dog, they gave me their address on the spot and said call with a quote. I did and got both of them. To me it’s just fun but now I am getting over my head as we will have issues getting this all done plus excavation jobs are coming in every day…..and it’s only the end of October!”