Lawn care advertising woes.

It can be so frustrating early on with your business when you are ready to work and work hard, but your phones aren’t ringing. What can you do to make the phones ring? How can you attract new business? That is what one entrepreneur wanted to know on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum when he asked to hear from some pros as to what works and what they thought he was doing wrong.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I’m in the Ohio area and am having issues getting business. I have professionally design and printed yard signs / door hangers, insurance certifications, the whole 9 yards.

I have handed out about 1,000 door hangers, placed 4 yard signs out, and  only have gotten 5 customers. There are 2 more who want estimates but never returned follow up calls.

When I hand out door hangers I have included a price list for doing mulch and lawn treatments for their yard as well as a coupon.

I’m trying to go full time as I’m out of work and am trying to cater more towards the landscaping and hardscaping side of the business as lawn mowing is incredibly competitive in my area.

It’s getting very depressing and I’m low on funds, so new forms of advertisement are out of the question right now.

I have thought about offering Lawn Education Classes one on one or at a group rate. I would provide soil sample, plants, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, etc as well as education to do it yourself. Figured the class prices and product markup would be nice profit plus it’s something completely different from the norm.

Are there any pro’s who can share some advice? Should I try and partner up with strictly mowing guys? Throwing them a percentage for each paying customer, I get from them?”

Lawn care advertising woes.A second lawn care business owner responded “you’re doing everything right. That’s the way business is. There can only be so much work in each area. You have to keep doing what your doing. You might end the season with less than 5 customers. Eventually the other dozen guys that have a few customers will give up and get a real job. Then you will get the call.

90% of my mowing customers are from word of mouth and didn’t cost me anything to obtain. I still spend money on advertising, even though its only about 1% effective. A lot of people make the mistake and think advertising is for getting jobs, it’s not. It’s for brand awareness. You stay at it and they’ll know who you are. When they’re looking for service, they’ll call.

Think of Mcdonalds. They don’t expect you to stop watching your favorite show to get a burger because their ad is on. They are putting the idea in your head so when you are out, you think, ‘I’ll get one from there.’ In our case a flyer is tossed into their yard and that is why it’s important to hit the same houses multiple times.”

A third shared “I use Craigslist and post/repost ads everyday. That has been the best for me but at the same time, you get responses for estimates from the yards you don’t want. I have about 20 ads that I have made on CL and I check it everyday before I head out to mow and then once I get back. Any ads that are ready to repost, I do. I may have 5 ads, one after another with a different title. It works good for me, but also when I’m out mowing, I put flyers and door magnets on any door close to my yards that either need mowing or are some I’d like to do. I also started on a website that helps give potential customers a sense of professionalism, and makes them think you’re serious about what you do. People get burned by the fly by night outfits too often and it can make them gun shy. Stick with it and if you want it bad enough, you’ll do what ever it takes.”

A fourth said “I worked in advertising for 10 years prior to doing this. I was a graphic designer. One common complaint from advertisers (to the sales staff) was that they didn’t get the results they had envisioned. Most times these comments were from one-time advertisers. We were a weekly publication. You can’t really expect miracles from running ONE ad, no matter how good the design is.

REPETITION is key. People remember you when they see your ad on a regular basis. They may not need you today, but when they do, they know who to look for.

The same is true while out working. When people see you on the same day every week, they remember you. I place lawn signs out at every job so people see my name as they drive by. I don’t expect clients to come pouring in overnight as a result of my signs, but I’m seeing an increase in clients as a result of my exposure.

I just had someone approach me today for a quote as a result of my sign. Last year, a woman went out of her way to stop and talk to me because she recognized me from seeing my signs as she would drive by while I worked around the corner from her place. I took her on as a new client a few weeks ago.

Also, here is a thought when it comes to working with limited funds for advertising. While results likely vary per location, if your area is a relatively populated area, I would expect Craigslist should bring a few calls and it’s free.”

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