Thinking of offering a free landscape project to promote my business.

When it comes to promoting your lawn care business, you can either spend your time or your money. When you are limited on time, you can spend money to get your marketing message out. When you are limited on money, you can spend your time. If you choose to do this as we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, you need to make sure you are getting enough out of it to justify the time spent.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I have been thinking of new ways to promote my landscaping services this yea. What if I picked a local home once a year to do a landscaping improvement job on it for free? I am thinking it would be kind of a showcase house for me. I’d put my lawn sign on their property for the year so people can see all I can do. Plus couldn’t I use it as a tax write off? Do you think this would be a good thing to do? I live and work in a big retirement town with many seniors.”

A second lawn care business owner said “if you do that I would recommend a church or someplace where a lot of people would see it.

From my experience though you will always regret doing free work. It might be better offering a lower price, but even then you never know what kind of problems you may run into, especially with landscaping.

If a customer hears that you are doing something for free, they will take advantage of you, without fail. They don’t care about your gratitude, they care about how much they can squeeze you until they get everything for free.

The other day I had a client ask if I could maybe rip a bush out from their backyard and put it in the front. Then they followed with ‘just tell me what I owe you later.’

I took this opportunity to do the job for free, it took 5 minutes. I was hoping this little extra would boost my relationship with the client. Later that week, I was asked to clean his gutter without compensation. I declined and no longer am I seen as a friendly company like I wanted to be by doing the first job for free.

That’s how you get taken advantage of. If you do something kind, it will always be expected until you can’t give any more, then they will think less of you!

Another lesson I have learned is whenever a client asks you to do something, never do it on the same day and ALWAYS say, ‘I have a lot more lawns to get done, I don’t have the time right now.’ Even if it’s your last lawn of the day!

This will eliminate the guilt the customer would have been able to put on you, in order to get what he/she wanted done. You can then think the project over, and get back to the client with your thoughts.

You might want to schedule the project date the same day or after they are supposed to make their payment for other work (lawn maintenance), then you can tell them, ‘add $x to your next lawn maintenance bill.’ This way you get paid ahead, or on the same day of actually doing the work - and you wont have to actually say, ‘Pay me first’ and risk being viewed in a negative light.

I know it is hard to ask for money sometimes, depending on your clients. I’m always thinking of little strategies to avoid breaking my bond with a client. I also don’t like to be put in situations where they tell me to bill them later and when later comes, they suddenly don’t have the money to pay me.”

A third landscaper added “I think it depends on how you define landscaping. My average landscaping jobs run between $8,000 to $50,000, with most over the $25,000 range so in my case it would be a definite pass. There is no way I would give away that much time, money, and effort as I would never seen a return anywhere near what I put into it.

A flower garden in a community spot, park, church, mall, might be something though worth experimenting with. Maybe also a radio station or newspaper office or some other type of place that could promote your business in return for the work.

What ever you do though, you have to make sure you are getting more out of it than you are putting into it or your business won’t be around for long. Any project that you do for free needs to be promoted. If you could get an article written about your donation at a local park, that might make it worthwhile. But just picking a random house to give a free landscape too? I wouldn’t do it.”

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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