Promoting your lawn care services through an auction.

In most communities there are various social groups that raise money throughout the year for local projects. Some of these groups charge a monthly fee to be involved with. Those fees may be within the budget of some entrepreneurs, but what if they are out of your reach and you still would like to get involved some way? Well here is a great example from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how you can get involved by donating some services that could gain you more contacts and customers.

One lawn care business owner wrote “it’s time for our annual local charity radio auction. I almost forgot about it. A customer reminded me that it is over the next 2 days and not next week (which is when I thought it was). It’s run through the rotary club.

This year I placed 2 donations for bid. One is a $25 lawn cutting certificate and the other is a $20 snow removal certificate. I hope these donations bring the charity the full $45 value and me a new customer or two.

The auction will also have some items I am interested in. There is a case of oil for the mowers and a sharpening certificate for my (mowers & chainsaw) as well as some printing.

The rotary club, which is in most cities, collects donations from local businesses (ie gift certificates, products) then they have an auction. At the auction, anybody can bid on the items, with all the money going to the rotary club for local community projects (such as parks, hospital equipment, etc). In return the businesses that take part get a tax write off, news paper promotion, and a radio ad. Yes I’ve done this before. I started as just a bidder/buyer but the last 3 years I’ve donated things like shirts, gift certificates, a very nice handmade checkers board, and some lawn care services.

It’s day 1 of 2 and I got a bunch of things for my business, like $100 worth of printing for $50, a $400 6′x3′ opening window for only $45, $50 office supply gift certificate for $20 plus a few more things.

There are no bowls and it’s not a silent auction. It’s run like a regular auction. One item at a time and bidding starts at whatever amount bidders want with prices going up in even dollars only. For example, my 2 gift certificates with a $45 value I donated will start at $0 and go to the highest floor or phone bidder. So if no one wants it, it might not sell or sell for $5 if only 1 bidder wants it.

My first year’s donation brought me an additional year’s worth of mowings from a local printing store. Last years donation was one time mowing gift certificate, but it never came back, so nothing was gained or lost last year. Getting involved does at the very least bring awareness to your business name, shows you are involved with the community, and a gives you a chance to meet lot of rich rotarians to hand business cards out to.

I’m not a member of the rotary club at the moment although I’d like to be since it’s a world wide club, but the only thing stopping me is the fact it costs about $40/month. They tried to get me ‘the young blood’ in there by bringing me to a lunch meeting but I don’t want to commit to that kind of money right now. As far as everyone else, it can be very rewarding. There are lots of contacts with lots of money, but it’s more a social/community club that you got to pay for even if you don’t attend/use. I should add though last year I got to talking to a fellow bidder and they hired me for a gutter repair job.

The more social groups you are involved with, the more you can promote yourself and sell. Keep on the look out for such organizations or auctions in your area you might find a whole new way to gain new lawn care customers.”

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