There is no doubt the toughest time in your business life will be the start up phase. That is when you have to learn how to go from a dead stop to a run before you run out of start up cash. But what can a business owner do to attract new customers? It can be so frustrating. Especially when you see competitor’s ads that promote a lawn mowing price cheaper than you can offer it. As crazy as things may seem when you are frantically looking for customers, there are ways to find them. This is a topic brought up to us on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum by a new member.
She wrote “my husband and I have started a lawn care business. We have invested a little money, about $1,000.00 so far. We have the business license, getting a DBA with next customer check, working on getting insurance, literally waiting on a quote right now. We have signs on the truck, business cards, website and professional looking quotes and invoices. I go out and look for work, while my husband and son work the yards. We just recently landed some work with a reality company. I did a quote on a commercial property today and am keeping my fingers crossed that we get it. We also had just landed a seasonal contact with a residential customer too.
The problem we are having is actually getting the jobs. I am pushing the professional part of it, we do great work. Our web site has before and after pics of some of the properties we have worked on. I know it’s just going to take time, but we have an over abundance of competition in our area, since the economy is so bad right now. It seems like everyone has a mower and a truck. I am trying to make my company stand out from the rest.
I guess what I am asking is, does any one have any ideas on how we can get the business so we can show a profit. We have thought about the off season and have ideas on what to offer our yearly customers like leaf removal, storm clean up and various other non lawn related items. How we can make it better though? We really need to make some money to pay the bills. It’s just so hard to start up when you have people out there doing lawns for $15-20 dollars. It seems everyone wants that type of price.”
Lawn care companies depend on relationships with their customers. How should you go about building relationships? One simple step you can take is to make your “about us” website page a bit more personal. Take a few pictures of your equipment. This lets customers know the type of equipment you use. Include some photos of your husband & yourself too. This helps the customer to see a familiar face when you come to do an estimate. Being comfortable helps set the stage for a sale.
Keep knocking on doors and telling everyone you meet about your business. Sales all starts with human interactions. The average person won’t care if a company has a website. They won’t care if a company has a door hanger. They won’t care if they have uniforms. All of these things can help but they are not the most important part.
The most important part is the customer knows the business owner and feels comfortable with them. Especially when it’s a small business.
Think about it. You would hire a friend of yours first and everytime over an unknown business when given the chance. Knowing this, it is important to go out and meet new people. Also focus on letting the people you already know, that you are now in business.
Once you get customers, ask them what other services they need done. Point out issues you see with their property and tell them how you can resolve the issues. The more problems you can solve for them the more they will call upon you for services and the more they will refer you out to their friends and family.
It’s very important to work your social networks. Are you involved in any social organizations, sports or clubs in your community? Are you letting them know you are now in business? Focus on getting the word out to the people you know and then spread the message outwards. As you do this you will attract more and more quality customers.