Should you give free snow removal to get lawn care customers to sign up?

New business owners tend to come up with the wildest offers for their lawn care marketing. They tend to think the crazier the offer, the more customers they will attract. Here is a great example of that from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. What not to do and why.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I’m new to the business. Years back, when I was in high school, I had a few clients that taught me a little about dealing with customers but nothing major. Now I really want to make a go it so I have a couple of questions.

  1. Should I contact the other lawn care companies in town to let them know that I am new and inquire as to there prices as to not lowball them?
  2. As I am just starting this spring has anyone ever tried a lawn care marketing approach where if a customer signs up for an annual lawn care contract they receive their snow removal free for the remainder of the year and if so how did it work for you?

At first what I was thinking with my free snow removal offer that it would be better to offer the service in order to build a rapport with the client and then they would see how much hard work and quality I offer which I would apply to their lawn care as well. Plus it is really hard right now to give an estimate on lawn care as there is still probably close to 4 feet of snow on top of it. Plus it will get me out and working early and get my name out there as well and that is the most important part right now.

On another note I just got my first client today. They were wondering about pool cleaning as an added service. Has anyone done this and if so what do you charge for it? I told them that I wasn’t planning on pool cleaning but let me do a little research and since they were my first client I may consider it.”

A second lawn care business owner said “if you are struggling and hurting for money, sure, try any service you can possibly think of that will make you a buck, but if you can focus your time on a handful of services, you will get good at performing it and be able to make a better profit on those. With that said, I’d think it would be better to focus on your lawn care services.

Now about calling competitors and telling them you are in business and asking for their prices, I’d say don’t do that. No one is going to want to give you their prices when they are a competitor. They are not going to care if you lowball because they know if you do, you will be out of business so fast, it will make your head spin.

Look around online and see what price ranges you can find your local competitors are charging. Then figure out what you need to make per hour based on your expenses. Try charging a competitive rate and you will do fine.

Should you be offering free snow removal for the remainder of the winter season? I wouldn’t do it. You have no idea how much more snow fall will come. You have no idea how much effort you are going to have to put into this. Chances are, if this marketing method does attract customers, they are going to be the kind of customers you don’t want. You want customers who are willing to and able to pay for services rendered. Not the type who are looking to get as many freebies as they can get.

Furthermore there is really nothing stopping any of these customers from signing up with you to get free snow removal and then cancelling lawn service. Sure you have a contract you want them to sign, but if they cancel, it will be up to you to take them to court to enforce it. That will be a pain and take away time you could be spending positively in other ways.

Ultimately I think you would be better off talking with your family, friends, and neighbors to see who could hire you or refer you to others they know. Get a small base of customers going and word of mouth will help you grow.”

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