Sometimes all it takes is fine tuning one or two elements in your lawn care marketing campaign to really hit on something big. In this success story from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one entrepreneur who played around with his newspaper ad position and found that it pays to be in the first place position.
One lawn care business owner wrote “this year I placed an ad in the newspaper. I signed a 4 month commitment to be given a first place spot in the lawn care service ad section. It’s a 5 ad line. Why first place? Last year when I was experimenting with newspaper ads, there were 34 ads for lawn care and I was in the second from the bottom, not thinking my position would matter, I paid for an ad that didn’t work and my phone barely rang. This year I wanted to see how being first differed and I am finding that out now. It’s a pretty big difference.
Out of the second week the ad has been in print, I already got 15 de-thatching and aeration jobs from it. I recently upgraded to a used lawn tractor a few weeks back with a 38″ mowing deck and double bagger attachment. Bought a used front de-thatcher for $125. Rewelded the attachments because the brackets weren’t the same so it fits good now and works like a charm. It de-thatches very nicely. In just 3 days of performing 9 of the 14 aeration jobs, I paid for that ad for all 4 months.
Lawn mowing hasn’t even started yet! Plus my website has brought me new customers as well. These next 6 aeration jobs are all profit. That’s a couple grand sitting there! I kept all my current lawn care customers from last year and added 4 more so far thanks to that ad. So part time I have 11 weekly lawn mowing customers now. I’d be happy with having about 20 weekly mowing jobs. I charge about $45 a lawn with trimming average sized yard. So give or take (11 customers x $45) = $500 a week for 23 weeks, that’s over $11 grand for my part time business.
I can change the ad anytime. I can re-word how I want it to read. I have to pay up front for the spot I want to be in. It’s a 4 month commitment. Right now I am just focusing on de-thatching and aeration in the ad along with my website. In a few weeks I’ll change it to seasonal and weekly mowing.
I figure 17 de-thatching and aeration jobs are enough for one person to do before mowing gets started as I figure that is still a month away. Once I reach that goal, I will change the ad around to slow it down from aeration and pick up other odd and end jobs which is nice, until mowing season starts.
I had one customer who saw the ad call and ask me today if I do snowblowing. I said yes. My goal by fall is to have 24 snow removal jobs. We get a good amount of snowfalls per season around here. Last year I was out snowblowing for 14 storms. I had 7 clients who wanted this service. I charged them a little bit higher then most. Those who charge $25 dollars for snow removal per driveway can go broke and I see it happen all the time. My opinion is that it’s the same with the lawn mowing. You need to charge enough to make a profit. If some potential customers say no, others will say yes.
I talked to gentleman the other day who saw my ad and told me how he had 7 window wells all together he needed to replace because his previous lawn care service company broke them while trimming. The were $15 a piece! When he asked the person who was trimming about it, he got mad and threw a temper tantrum at him because he wanted the owner to pay to replace them. That’s not all. His neighbor had 5 and the same thing happened to her.
Needless to say I charged them $40 a cut plus I picked up his other house as well. He was previously paying $25 a cut each time. I didn’t bad mouth the other company or say I wouldn’t have done that or said something stupid to make me look better. When he told me that story I just shook my head and said wow. Then we both laughed about it.
Newspaper ads are the best because you never know what your going to get. Last year was awesome. This year I am hoping to have my 2 weeks notice in by the end of fall or sooner at my full time job. So far so good! The key to success with the ads is being on top and offering a service customers need at that time. Give the people what they want!”
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