A new lawn care business owner on the Gopher Lawn Care Business forum is trying to get his business off the ground. He is stationed at a military base and ran into a few problems which he was looking for help on. He wrote “Well I had this feeling I would run into issues and I was right. I was hoping to only mow on Base but was told by my boss that it would be a conflict on the Air Force side of the base. So I decided to market on the Army side. Well after asking around I found out that door to door soliciting is not allowed. So the only thing I can do is post a flyer and/or business cards at the Commisary/BX and the gas stations. I won’t hold my breath on getting any calls. Can you offer any advice?”
Another lawn care business owner shared some of his insight that I think you may find helpful. He said “I just started out doing this professionally this year so my advice may not be as great as most, but here’s my 2 cents worth. The very first thing I would advise is to market, market, market your business! By this I mean advertise the heck out of yourself. Now don’t go blowing hundreds of dollars, but you’ll have to spend some to earn some. I got a great deal on my pickup lettering from someone I knew. I didn’t go all wild and crazy and cover my truck, I just had the basics put on. A nice and professional looking logo with my name inside and a list of some of the services I provide near the back. Professional is the only way to look in this business.
Just put yourself in the potential customer’s shoes and step back and look at what kind of a business you are portraying. Think: Does this guy look like he even knows what the heck he’s doing? Does he look like he can be trusted? Most consumers want a great service for a great price. We can’t always give them the best price, however we can give them the peace of mind in knowing that we are the most professional looking business around.
I see these “Mom and Pop” operations around here everyday in their rusty old beat up trucks and even cars hauling their broken down equipment. They show up in stained pants and what was left of lunch on thier shirts and do the worst jobs I’ve ever seen on peoples lawns. Sometimes I think that they should have paid the customer to do the lawn instead of the other way around. Now would you hire someone who looks like that to come and mow your lawn? Not me! I’d be worried about what they’re scoping out to steal while their mowing.
Image is everything! If you look professional, people will expect you to be professional and that’s what gets the most business. Take a look at some of the great business logos on this site and customize one that you like for your business. Then take it to a place that makes graphics (or order it online if you don’t have someone readily available) and sell yourself. I see you can’t go door to door, however you have access to the base from what I understand and driving through with your advertisement on your vehicle isn’t breaking any rules.
Since I have started this business, I have dropped off business cards at a few places here in town near the cash registers for their customers to take. I have also made flyers on my computer from templates found right here on this site and have handed them out door to door. Ya wanna know what has gotten me 90% of my new customer business? My truck lettering. I make it a point to ask all my new customers how they heard of me, and 90% of the time they say either “I saw you on the road” or “I saw you working somewhere and wrote down your number that was on the side of your truck.”
I started out 2 months ago with 5 customers. As of today I have 18 residential and 3 commercial customers. Another thing I have done is I customized a door hanger template that I found on here and stapled my business card at the bottom. I took it to all the real estate offices in my area. I would recommend you do that as well. You’d be suprised how many agents call for a home they’re trying to sell that needs a few services, and also how many new homeowners call that were recommended by their agent that happened to see your card in their office. Most of the time the agent doesn’t have any one particular lawn service in mind, they just grab the first card that they have the closest to the phone. Make that one card YOUR card! And not just one, give them 5 or 10.
So here’s some food for thought:
1) Spend a hundred bucks and get you either a magnetic sign or vinyl lettering for your truck. You will make that back with the first 4 new customers you service for the first time (if your average is $25 per cut)
2) Put together some marketing material from the templates offered here.(FREE)
3) Get out and drop some info at your local real estate offices. (FREE)
4) Keep your equipment and your vehicle clean and neat (Look Professional)($4-$6 per week)
You’d be suprised what just these few things will do for your business!”