Guerrilla lawn care marketing in home owner association neighborhoods.

There are times when you may get a new lawn care customer who lives in a neighborhood controlled by a home owner’s association. Such areas may be gated communities or they may be tightly regulated by the association as far as what you can do with marketing. If you’d like to get more customers in such neighborhoods, you may want to consider what this entrepreneur did to market his business. He shared his guerrilla marketing method, on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, that was effective for him and might work for you.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I’ve seen several questions asking about how to hang flyers in HOA run neighborhoods, so I thought I would share what I did.

To start with, I already had one mowing customer in the neighborhood. I decided I wanted more so I could fill in a day of work in that area. The neighborhood is far enough out of the way that mowing one customer doesn’t really justify the travel.

While in the neighborhood I noticed they had ‘no soliciting’ signs but at the time, I considered ’soliciting’ to mean knocking on doors and asking people to make a decision on the spot. By simply handing out flyers, I considered that to be advertising.

Psychologically unburdened, I proceeded to flyer every door in the neighborhood. I hit a total of 105 of them. I mowed my account in the neighborhood and then moved on to the rest of the customers on my route. Several hours later I noticed a voicemail on my phone. I listened and it was from the president of the HOA telling me soliciting is not allowed in their private neighborhood and that I needed to come and remove the fliers. I called him around 7:30 in the evening and apologized profusely and said that I’d send someone to remove the fliers in the morning, apologized again and hung up.

I took my time getting there, going to two mowing estimates first in which I was able to sign one up. This new customer lived in that target neighborhood so I felt this was a win. After the estimate I went around and rounded up what ever fliers were still hanging and got out of there.
After that I called the HOA president back and let him know that I had come by and picked them up and apologized again if I caused him any inconvenience. Made some excuse about overzealous employees and promised it would never happen again.

So, the results of my efforts were I got out 84 lawn care fliers to potential clients and one new client worth $800 a year for bi-weekly mowing service.  The cost, $6.48 for the fliers and the time to hang them. Made two phone calls for a total of about 5 minutes of making humble and apologetic noises.

Now, I am not sure I would do this again. It may be easier to just mail the cards, but I am not dissatisfied with the result. Who knows how many more calls I may get or referrals from being in this neighborhood for two customers instead of one.”

A second lawn care business owner said “it’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission. This is a prime case of it. Some places have handbill laws, where you may have to have a permit to do what you are doing. I bet the HOA president couldn’t do anything even if he wanted to. The most I have ever heard of around here is police asking people to leave a neighborhood but that is about it. Good for you for picking up another customer. I’d say that was worth it.”

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