It’s an fact that most new lawn care businesses owners are going to have a hard to attracting new customers for the simple reason that no one knows they are in business. This changes though, the longer you are in business. But are there shortcuts you can take to induce customers to talk about your company to others in the area? Sure there are, but it’s up to you to figure out if they are worth it. Some referral plans are just way too generous as we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
One lawn care business owner wrote “How’s this for a referral program?
Refer one new customer to and receive a 20% discount on your lawn mowing services for the remainder of the calendar year.*
Refer a second new customer and receive an additional 20% (40% Total) discount on your lawn care for the remainder of the calendar year.*
Refer a third new customer to and receive an additional 20% (60% Total) discount for the remainder of the calendar year.*
And so on up to Free Lawn Care
* New referrals must sign up for yearly service. If they cancel the discount is voided.
Let me qualify all this by saying that I am a NEW start up, one man show. Small to medium residential lawns. I do not have a truck or an expensive mower to start with.”
A second lawn care business owner said “personally, I think that is by far too much of a discount. Have you figured out at all how much profit you are making per customer? If you are making a 20% profit, I’d think you would be doing pretty good. So with your current referral system, if you get one customer who refers you another, are you willing to mow their lawn for free in order to get that extra customer? That doesn’t make much sense.
Then say that referred customer finds you another customer. You could be mowing two customers for free in order to find that third one who is willing to pay full price.
There is a huge tendency in the lawn care industry to underbid jobs to begin with. In fact as you are a new lawn care business owner, I can almost guarantee that any job you bid on, you will underbid it. Keeping that in mind, would you really want to work for 20% less on an underbid job? I’d venture to say if you did, you would burn yourself out very quickly. No one likes working all year only to come to the end of the year and find there is nothing in the bank.
Instead of all these crazy 20% off increments to attract new lawn care customers, why not just focus on doing a good job? That alone could bring you in plenty of customers. In fact, it’s probably the biggest reason people mention a service provider to their friends or family, because they are happy with the service.
If you are unsure and still want to mess around with giving some kind of gift to get referrals, maybe give the home owner one free cut at the end of the season. Or maybe give them a $25 gift card at a local big box store during the holidays. Just be sure the customer that was referred did indeed stick with you for a year to cover the costs associated with your referral plan.
Keeping track of all that can be tough and what should you do if the new customer signs up mid-season? Do you give the original referrer the gift at the end of the first year, or the second? Messy plans cause problems with customers and this is why most just don’t offer them.
Good quality service that is priced right, will help you grow a business slow and steady over time. Quick fast inducements tend to attract the wrong type of customer. So think it all through before you promote a referral plan. Know your costs before you start offering discounts. You may bet wagering with money you don’t have.”
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