Lawn care marketing method, referral = free mowing?

There are all sorts of lawn care marketing methods you can use to attract new lawn care customers, but what about having a lawn care customer referral program? Where you offer something to motivate your current customer into getting you more customers? That’s what this business owner was wondering when he asked for ideas on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

He wrote “I think if you are a very personable lawn care business owner and you do an all around good job, take time with you lawn care customers, and get to know them….I think that is where the foundation for building lawn care referrals starts. And I believe if you screw up, you need to admit it, and make it right.

With that being said, does anyone use the referral system when you are just starting out, of offering a free lawn mowing? Would this help you pick up more lawn care accounts? I’d figure sooner or later you would have to stop the free mowing because everybody would want one, but could it be a cheaper alternative than spending thousands of dollars on your lawn care marketing that may include yellow pages and/or flyers, door hangers, etc…?

Or would something like a $25 gas card or credit on the next bill be a better lawn care marketing idea instead? I would like to promote something like this twice for two weeks during the summer. I would like to run it in the beginning of summer and have one set of lawn care customers refer as many as they can on one side of town, then run the other campaign in mid summer on the other side of town.

My other choice would be to do either 50% off the regular lawn mowing price in the same time frame or like $20 off a scheduled visit…Which one of these do you see being the most beneficial?

I am not really sure if I want to do either the free mowing or more something like a gas card being this is my first big year and possibly because of the cost effectiveness. I have been doing some thinking on this issue. Maybe this year, I could go with the $10 gas card for each referral made. Then next year, when I can afford to, I will probably start doing the free mowings. I mean you have to start somewhere right? Last year I didn’t offer anything for referrals and got 3 jobs out of one customer because she was so pleased with my work.”

A second lawn care business owner said “here’s my deal on free mowings:

A lot of lawn care business owners seem to shy away at giving free mowings because they say they are losing money that way but think about this. How much is a new lawn care customer worth to you?

There are many lawn care business owners that spend a lot of money on advertising like putting ads in phone books, in the paper, and printing a lot of flyers. How much do you spend on things like that? You see, you spend all this money in hopes to generate some calls and then once you get calls, you still have to make the sale!

lawn care referral

lawn care referral

Well, if you give a free mowing for referrals, it costs you your overhead and your time. Monetary wise, it only costs you your overhead. In my opinion giving a free mowing is even better than advertising because a lawn care customer referral has a higher chance of becoming a weekly customer and you pay (or use up overhead money) only after they have signed with you.

Word of mouth is the best advertising. The more you can generate the less you have to pay for advertising to get customers in the future.

So let’s say your overhead is $20 per hour and you get a new referral and need to mow a lawn for free. This is costing you $20 and a 1/2 hour of your time to get a lawn care customer who most likely will be paying you around $1,000+ per season if not more.

So figure your return on investment: $20 for $1,000+ each season the persons stays with you. I think it’s well worth the time and overhead spent for the free mowing.

The thing is that you are providing free mowings because you want to expand or gain more customers so tell everyone about it. Once you reach the amount of lawn care customers you need to fill your schedule, then it means your demand has increased and therefore you can increase your prices to the new customers. Your time is now worth a premium.

Those that want your lawn care services will pay the extra money. Those that don’t want to pay can go with someone else. By this time you will have enough work to be able to turn down work. Once you reach this point, stop the free mowing program.

The way to do it is to give the free mowing at the end of the season if the referred customer stays with you the whole season. If he doesn’t then the referring customer doesn’t get the free mowing.

You may have to mow for free the last month on some customers depending on how many referrals they give you. But you will have made up that money from the referrals anyway. Like I said, think about how much a new customer is worth to you. Once you know that, you will know how much to spend on your lawn care marketing to attract them.”

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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