Still trying to get more lawn care customers.

Oh it can be so frustrating when you are ready to work and have all your mowing equipment prepared but the phone isn’t ringing and you have no lawn care customers to service. This frustration can cause you to throw your hands up in the air and quit. But before you do that, realize beginnings are difficult but you can get through this stage. To help you, here is a discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum that should help get you on the right path.

One lawn care business owner wrote “this is my third season in the mowing business and I am enjoying it a lot, even if it is my side job right now. My full time job is being a fire fighter.

I am having problems not making any money at this though. I think I can handle 20 to 25 yards a week but I currently only have 11. Last year I passed out close to 600 door hangers with only 1 response and I had to threaten to take that customer to small claims court in order to get paid, what a disaster. I don’t know if I am pricing my work too low or if I just need to relax and let it happen.

I installed a little over 100 cubic yards of mulch last year and am still wondering where all the money went! Or if I made any at all!”

A second lawn care business owner suggested “first of all, don’t give up. Remember this is your new business and a lot of new businesses fail within the first 5 years. Many times it’s not because the business itself was unsuccessful but rather because the business owner gave up way too fast. With that said here is my opinion.

Learn to sell yourself. I learned this by running a small business for my father many years ago. If you do not know how to sell yourself you will never be able to sell your service. You need to learn how to be a good sales person so you can land good lawn accounts.

Advertise correctly. I learned this one by working for a landscaping company for a couple of years. You need to pass out more than 600 door hangers. The company I used to work for would pass out 10,000 flyers a week. They had 2 full time employees solely for this purpose. The company did not use lawn care door hangers because they were too expensive and they had the same response as a regular flyer. Their marketing system was simple, pass out more flyers than your competitors in the targeted areas. Once your flyer has been in circulation in the same location for at least 5-6 times, the potential client will learn to recognize you as local gardener/lawn care provider and call upon you more often, so consistency is key.

Give the client what they want. This is a biggie, this is the one that most people forget. We are paid and supported by our clients and because of this we need to give them what they want. Once you have a new account, make sure you use a written agreement so they know what they need to do (pay you) and you need to do what you promised you would, so if you said you will not see any weeds growing anywhere near your sidewalk keep your word!

The last thing I have to say is DO NOT GIVE UP. Times will get hard but an optimistic person tends to get more work than a pessimistic one so always look at the good things and avoid getting stuck on the one client that you had problems with. Instead think about the new clients that you will get soon.

Here is a little story. I bought an existing lawn mowing route from a friend. He had really bad accounts. I got rid of many of the accounts he had. He was charging $15-$25 per mowing service, which was way to low. It’s no wonder he wanted out, he wasn’t making any money. I then began advertising on my own and I created 3 websites where I can send people to see what I offer and track which ads work best. I posted lots of ads on the internet for free and I learned how to get focused with my targeting.

So when I started the route I had 25 customers in my route. Then that increased to 35 accounts. I then lost about 5 of the old clients but it did not hurt me because they were underpaying.

With all my marketing efforts, I get at least 3 clients calling me a day. Out of these callers I only take the best ones. I am charging most of my clients a minimum of $35+ per service. I only get about 1 client for every 20 I talk to but that is because I am picky and want to make sure I add the customers that are right for me.”

A third added “it’s so easy to get discouraged in any business in the beginning. Most of the reason I see businesses fail is because either nobody knows of you or if they do…they didn’t know you were also in that line of business. Then most of your first bunch of customers turn out to be pain in the ass because you were so eager to get work…you overlooked the obvious that there had to be a reason why the other landscapers in the area weren’t already doing their work.

Chalk it up to a learning lesson and don’t look back except to keep you from repeating them over again. People don’t always go with the lowest price. Price your jobs right so that the homeowner or business gets great value for their investment. If your just starting out…say so and that you are willing to give a little price break even if it’s only to use them as a reference. This tends to help out a lot.

There are a couple of marketing methods you can do yourself that won’t cost you much and will require a little of your time.

  • Create an ad and place it on craigslist… It costs you nothing but your time and will appear locally where you want to get the work.
  • Buy a domain and build a website to direct people to. With a minimal cost to you, you can put all the information on the site that you feel you need for your customer to make an informed decision. Be careful not to go overboard with too much information and too many choices for your customer to choose from. Use the KISS principal…Keep It Simple Stupid.
  • Print some business cards with your email and web address on it so that people at their convenience can contact you to ask more questions.
  • Pin up business cards at places people go…Grocery stores, department stores and local convenience stores. Most have a posting board for the public to use pin tacks on.
  • Give back to the community and become involved in functions….Some of the best networking goes on there. I am not so sure of how populated an area you are from…but when doing free work, look for the ones that need it the most and can’t afford it like some of our elderly population or maybe a local church. Use your best judgment.”

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success