Targeting vacant lot clean ups.

Slow economies tend to drive people that once were employed into finding side work on their own. Sometimes this sidework is offering lawn care. When too many people are offering lawn care services, the price in the area tends to drop. So what do you do?

This is the situation a member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum found himself in as he shared with us his story and his new marketing angle.

Vacant lot cleanups

Vacant lot cleanups

He wrote “things are going a little better for me lately. I don’t have any recurring weekly contracts, but I have landed a few clean ups. Weekly lawn mowing is just too cheap around here. The customers want to pay $100 a month. Maybe I’m just getting the lowballers or maybe the lawn care market is just over saturated with lawn care businesses.

My experiment with handing out door hangers has flopped. Posting on craigslist has been good to me as far as getting calls, but all the callers have been lowballers so far. My best paying work has come via google adwords. Pay-per click seems to work the best so far. I’m debating next on direct mail vs. newspaper ads right now. I’m also thinking of doing my own direct mail piece to all the real estate and property management companies.”

That is very interesting! Who would you be targeting with your direct mail effort?

“The direct mail would be targeting new movers. Hoping to get the foreclosure buyers(with neglected landscaping), new to the area folks, new home buyers, etc. I can do a single mailing for about $0.42 per household.

The newspaper has a very wide reach, much less targeted. I worked for the paper before and the fact of the matter is, they produce calls. My concern is that 15 of my competitors are already in the service section. The ad runs about $165 to $220 a month. It’s hard for me to justify the cost to be just another line ad in the paper with competitors above and below me. I do still have some pull at the paper so I might be able to negotiate placement.

Something else that is popular in my area is mowing vacant residential lots. Due to weed abatement laws they have to be mowed. I have seen some in my area already being mowed and that gave me the idea. I see a guy with a tractor offering this service. I think I can tough these jobs out with a heavy line trimmer/brush cutter and my high wheeled push week wacker.”

That is a great idea. The average start up lawn care business may not be able to do such jobs because of underpowered equipment. Depending on the height of the lawn, a more powerful and specialized piece of equipment like your high wheeled weed wacker may be needed in order to make money on these jobs. This gives you a competitive advantage that I think you should jump on. Great thinking!

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
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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