Should I buy some new lawn care equipment or work on my marketing?

As a new business owner, you may be limited on the resources you have, so you need to spend your time and money wisely if you want to grow. But what should you be spending your time and money on? That is what one entrepreneur was interested in knowing on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. Quite a few ideas surfaced from the discussion that should keep you busy for a while.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I just started mowing lawns and doing weeds removal, brush removal, mulch jobs, etc. all out of the back of my pick-up truck. I’ve been using a push mower to do lawns that are 1/5 to 1/4 acre. I don’t really have much money to spend but I want to buy an additional piece of equipment.

I can’t decide what I should buy first.

  1. Should I save to upgrade the mower?
  2. Should I get a leaf blower so clean ups will be faster and I can make some more $ from leaf clean-ups?
  3. Maybe a chainsaw since I do quite a bit of clearing brush and overgrowth?

What is going to give me the most bang for my buck? I’ve got about $300-$400 to spend right now. I have been itching to buy an additional piece of lawn care equipment and I guess I really don’t know how best to spend the extra cash I have.

I’d like to continue slowly expanding my business. I refuse to use credit, so I’m determined to run my business debt free. At this point what should my next step be? Should I be focusing on marketing my services and if so what are some inexpensive ways to advertise?

The only advertising I’ve done has been reposting on Craigslist. I’ve been busy, working pretty much everyday. However, I am a one man show.”

A second business owner said “as far as lawn care equipment goes, you have to ask yourself which of those choices will yield the greatest return to your company? Time savings and fall revenue generator with a blower or offering tree services with a chain saw?

Anytime I buy a new piece of equipment, I think ‘how quickly will this pay its self off?’ A chainsaw will pay for its self on one job. A blower will take up to a month to pay itself off but, will speed productivity so you can get out of jobs quicker and onto the next one.

In my opinion the blower would come first as you need one for clean up. A blower in my case doesn’t represent a big revenue generator, it is a time saver and also perhaps more important we leave a property looking top drawer. Both are a good way to go but I think a blower would be most functional for a new start up company.”

A third lawn care business owner added “if craigslist is keeping you going, I would stick with that and get ready for your spring advertising now. Some things to do to get ready for new season is.

Send all your current customers cards for each holiday, so they remember you. If you can afford it, give them all gifts for Christmas. This does not have to be expensive.

Around March, comb through the neighborhoods and go door to door with door hanger and business cards. Hand out business cards whenever you are in the neighborhood doing a yard. Be on the lookout to make eye contact, wave, and talk to the neighbors. Even as if just to say hello my name is — and I cut so and so’s lawn down the street. If the neighborhood is upscale enough, you can make a newsletter with a little something about everything. The trick is not to talk about lawn care too much, just talk about what would be a topic that the area would want tips on about and have your name and number will be on each one.

Next year, at least three months before the season starts, you may want to think about getting an S.E.O. company to make you website hit the top of the search engines. It should cost about $150 a month, but it’s worthwhile if you live in a heavily populated area. If you can afford it, do some community events in your local area to get to know people. This can make your business explode. Even if it is no more than planting some stuff for free at the local church, school or where ever to get people to see you are about the community.

Signs for your truck is a must. If people see it, they call if. It they don’t then they won’t call so why wait? It’s free advertising space. I would not waste my money on the yellow pages or the newspaper as readership in them is going way down and the costs are too much for not much return on your money.

Ask customers if they would accept a price break on letting you put a sign in their yard. This works best on friends and family members houses. Be out front with everyone you know that you are running a business. If you talk to anyone, they should be getting a business card from you. Even if they cut their own lawn, they may give it to someone else that needs it.

There are lots of other ways to get your name out there but that is a list of the easiest marketing steps to do and the lowest cost ways of getting it done. I would not use a service to get leads as I have found it to be a waste of money. Make sure you get insurance, that way you can say you have it on your marketing material. It makes you look more professional in the eyes of the customer. Good luck, you can do it!”

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