Each geographic area has a uniqueness to it. Whether it be a certain type of property, customer, or marketing method that works best in that area. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, one entrepreneur wonders the best way to get mowing customers in a southern state. Which kinds of customers he should go after first and how he should reach out to them. These tips should help you get a foothold if you are new to the mowing business.
One new lawn care business owner wrote “I’m trying to get a lawn service started here in Florida but I have no idea how to get the jobs I want. I would like to get some commercial job, foreclosures, and vacant lot cleanups, anyone have advice for me?”
A second lawn care business owner wrote “I’d suggest you start with residential customers and work your way up. Nine times out of ten you will not land a commercial job right off the bat. Even if you did, would you be prepared for it? Labor wise? Equipment wise? Probably not.
Starting a business is like building a house, the stronger foundation you lay, the more stable you are when starting to lay the trusses.
As far as marketing goes, I’d use door hangers. But it doesn’t hurt to spend money in different tests and see what works best in your area.
Here’s a tip for print ads (such as door hangers) use a 2-step ad. Give them an incentive to call a number, send an email, give an incentive with a strong call to action and you will see a 200% increase in response. Once they call, you have got them to make a commitment. Next, give them something free (the incentive you offered in the print ad). Now they are in a buying position, you have qualified them in, given them some bait, now you have to add value to you, your business, your services, and HOW IT WILL BENEFIT THEM if they choose to hire you.
It’s like fishing, you find a prospect, throw em’ some chum bait, then send the treble hook and weight in for the snag.
If you think I’m crazy about the 2-step ad concept, then run a split test between every other ad format and the one I just told you about. You may have an accident when you get the results.
When I began my business, I had a hard time bringing in clients. It was not until the day I decided to let my work speak for me. I sucked at selling, I was new to business in general. But I had one thing going for me…I was good at what I did.
Long story short. It took about 6 months to go from making $250/mo with one client and just me. To just over $8,000/mo with a staff of 4 people.
How did it happen? I simply asked for referrals. I not only asked, I offered an incentive for referrals. I’m talking 50%….Soon I began to see that I didn’t have to do anything but sit back and collect money. I was setting up accounts from all over the world because other people were networking FOR ME.
This was about 2 years ago. And to this day my team still uses the same technique. In fact, just yesterday I had a guy call me and said “one of your current clients just gave an outstanding review on your company, I would love to see what you could do with our property.”
I didn’t have to say anything more than ’sure thing, when can we meet?’ That phone call was worth just shy of $5k/mo to my company. And guess what…I didn’t spend a dime trying to get that account.
Referrals are POWERFUL, and the quicker you figure that out, the more money you will make.”
A third shared “I started out two years ago with small homes and now I have more commercial and I do home owner associations too. I have an office depot account, a number of dollar generals, a city contract, and six apartments. Also picked up gas stations, and have a number of condos that I do. Church’s as well.
You need to start out right. Get a tax ID and insure yourself. Do the job right! Be on time and do what you say you’re gonna do. Read the Gopher Forum as much as you can and learn. Most are great guys and want you to grow.”
A fourth added “I know what it’s like here in FL. We are a different beast here in the sunshine state aren’t we? I will tell you a sure fire tactic to land jobs here in our area.
NOTE: This is a quick way to make money in our area, though it may not be what you want, it’s a foot hold.
Target retirement trailer parks. You can go to the office and sigh up for an ad to run in their weekly newsletter $25.00 - $30.00 per month for the ad. Do not advertise use of big ZTR mowers you wont get any calls. The going rate for homes in these areas are around $55.00 per month for a basic package…mow edge line trim blow off. Some customers will require you to trim one or two hedges. You will spend about 15 minutes at each home per week or 1 hour per month total.
Do a good job and you could end up with half the park and common areas.
Don’t try to B.S. the old men….They will eat you alive I know! I used to tell them…. I’m just a good ole boy tryin’ to make a livin… That put me on their level. The old timers hate the professional lawn monkey and there is a lot of us around here.”
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