When a storm hits, depending on the strength of it, a lot of damage can occur both to property and to structures. How you prepare for such situations can mean the difference between attracting many storm cleanups or not. In this discussion on The Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we get some insight as to how one entrepreneur successfully utilizes his lawn care marketing methods to attract new customers and close sales.
He wrote “well the worst has passed. My area was hit by a hurricane around 9 this morning. It got pretty intense by noon, and I had five trees down on my property because of it. There has been no power since 10 a.m. Over 215,000 homes are without power in my area. I have been running everything off the generator on one of my mowing tractors. It’s nice to be able to have water, lights etc.
This afternoon, I went into the city to cut a few trees away from my son’s home so he could stay with me until power is restored which looks like Monday. The city is a mess, with trees down everywhere.
My email and phone have been going nonstop. Once the winds die down I will head out with chippers, saws, and excavators. I have 22 staff members on call as it’s going to be a long weekend here.
Since I did have a heads up about the storm coming in, I did some lawn care marketing to bring in more clean up damage jobs. Late Saturday after the storm passed and yesterday until noon, I had a few staff members drive around the area and hand out our post cards that are designed specifically for tree cutting and chipping. They gave out almost 600 postcards, to people who had tree damage. They didn’t really have to drive a lot because there were downed trees all over the place.
I only have two chippers, so the way we are handling all the jobs coming in is we are removing the critical trees first. They are cut and chipped. Some staff are out cutting and piling as we have 7 chain saws, then we will get to the rest when these are completed. I am doing all this while still keeping the excavation, lawn care, pressure washing customers going. This time of the year can be a real challenge.
When it comes to attracting lawn care customers for storm cleanups, whether it’s for hurricanes, tornadoes, or just thunderstorms, using lawn care postcards is helpful, but an overlooked lawn care marketing method is having signs on your landscape truck and trailers. This can get you so many more customers that are driving by, walking by, or even looking out the window of their home to see you working on a neighbors property. With signs on your vehicle, you look professional and look legit, which is so very important to grow. All of my vehicles are lettered with signs. I even have signs on the wood chippers too.
When I show up to a job estimate, I educate people there are trunk slammer showing up after every storm and some of them can do the work, but the homeowner has to make sure they are insured. If they aren’t and something happens, I tell the potential customer it’s their homeowner’s insurance that will take have to cover any liabilities resulting from accidents. And it’s their insurance rates that will go up afterwards. Most people do not realize this.
Even though two staff members and I are certified climbers, to be honest it’s not often we have to climb a tree to cut it. Climbing is time consuming and fraught with danger. I can fall a tree where I want it 90% of the time. For those 10% of the times where I have any doubt at all, I have one of my small to medium sized excavator stop by and direct the tree.
There is big bucks when you climb. The competition starts at $225.00 a tree, we are around $150.00. Then there is a fee to chip and clean up.
When a tree is on a house or building, I won’t touch it until the insurance company, the owner is with, has looked at it, then we use an excavator or tractor to lift it off, cut it, chip 4″ and smaller, clean up and move on.
Many of our clients burn wood for heat in the winter so we offer a wood splitting service as well. I have three wood splitters for this and hire local high school students to go in and split, stack etc. We are hired to split 20% of the wood we cut. Some clients just want to rent our wood splitter and get the exercise themselves which is great with us.
I am getting $35 an hour to put a person on site splitting their wood for firewood. This is such an easy sell! No one else does it and people rave about it. We will even stack it for $25. an hour.
To prepare for this job, I trained certain members of my staff on chainsaw operation and they have to work with me for at least a week before I let them loose splitting wood. To prepare for the storms we get this time of the year, I have 9 crews out there cutting, two crews chipping, six staff splitting and piling. We are booked solid for 5 weeks at the moment. Two jobs will take over 20 days. People have the money and want those injured trees down.
So take advantage of storms and get some lawn care marketing material made up to promote your cleanups. Be prepared when storms hit and you can make a lot of money in clean ups. You can also take these opportunities to attract new lawn care customers as well! It pays to be prepared.”
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