This discussion is an off shoot from a post we had helping a new lawn care business owner get their business plan and marketing plan created in our Head Start Program. If you’d like to read more on it, visit the Gopher Lawn Care Forum here.
Joel LaRusic, author of the book Start and run a lawn care business wrote about creating a marketing plan when you are starting out. “It would be best to focus in a lot more. So you need specific neighborhoods, streets or smaller areas that can targeted with a flyer/doorhanger marketing campaign. These areas do not have to be the nicest areas of town and in fact you are probably better to start in a more middle or upper-middle class area. Keep in mind as well that it may be difficult to get a maintenance agreement from people right away. They want to get to know you first so you may end up doing, perhaps a clean-up or some other service. Once they see what a great job you do they are more inclined to give you more substantial jobs… like the weekly maintenance of the lawn and garden.
So, what I would like you to do is this:
Select at least three specific neighborhoods, streets or smaller areas that are nearby and answer the following questions for each:
1) Approx how many houses in this area?
2) Why do you like the area? Why does it appeal to you? (i.e. The competition is lousy or lots of seniors who need help… you get the idea)
3) What are the demographics of the zip code in which the neighborhood is located. You can do this by checking census records online.
There are approx how many houses?
I like this area because:
The demographics of this area are:
… same for other two.
Take a drive around select some neighborhoods to target.
Another thing is you mentioned getting 5000 flyers printed, so you have got plenty to get started.
In my opinion the best way to get new customers as you are just starting out is to personally deliver flyers and to talk to as many people as you can. Sure, just dropping the flyers may result in a call or two, but knocking on people’s doors, professionally introducing yourself and offering a free quote on the spot (perhaps even offer to do the job the same day if possible) will win people over time and again.
Remember to complement folks on their lawn and garden. Don’t slag the competition. Note how you would be able to help them. Do they need a clean-up, some summer color in their beds, some fresh top soil or mulch? Of course, ask for the lawn maintenance too but as I said before, some will want to try you out with something smaller first.
Don’t just hit the houses once. Hit them again and again, month after month. Some of your potential customers will see your flyer many times before calling you. It is important to remember that each time a prospect sees your company name they have a little more confidence in you until finally… they have enough to pick up the phone.”