Thursday

Charm Your Way To More Lawn Care Business Profits

"Charm is the quality inothers that makes us more satisfied with ourselves." - Henri Frederic Amiel



Everybody and their dog can think of someone they know that is charming. This is the kind of person who always seems to be on the up and up. They are happy and have a skip in their step. They're someone we like to run into. We look forward to seeing them.

Not only is a person who is charming interesting, they also seem to be successful in their lawn care landscaping business.

Being around someone who is charming makes other people feel better. 

But the question that seems to arise in our minds is aren't these "charming" people being fake? Or even better, what the "heck" does this really have to do with a lawn care or landscaping business??

The truth is most charming business owners are genuinely authentic and are in fact very powerful lawn mowing business owners.

So the question is, just how charming are you?

A lot of people land in around 4-6 out of 10. Don't despair, you can raise your level on the scale of charm in a number of ways.

Smile. Give out compliments and be friendlier on the job site. Give your employees or customers sincere compliments. 

Charm just plain makes people feel better about themselves. So make it your mission to brighten the atmosphere of your company, your office. This will pay rich dividends in the long run.


Successful Lawn Business Strategies


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Sunday

Lawn Care Maintenance and Mowing Business: The Generosity Factor

Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy."

- Robert Half

 

There are always the nay sayers who mock the suggestion that giving away a free lunch with no strings attached is futile.

I think it depends.

Take a fancy steak restaurant for example. Yup, it would cost a lot to give away 500 free steak dinners in just one week. It wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest it could cost as much as $10,000.

But if those steaks are cooked just like the person wants and taste exceptionally good, hundreds of those people could turn into regular customers.

That means that the cost to get those customers is much lower with that "free lunch" method than through most other advertising approaches.

Any lawn care maintenance business owner could use this idea. Most won't.

Here's a story of a supermarket that did steal this idea.

With their new location up and running and in need of new customers in their new location, they gave away 5,000 quarts of milk, 5,000 pounds of butter, 5,000 cans of peaches and 5,000 packages of napkins.

Was this crazy?

You might be thinking how could they afford to give away all of those products. The money lost from doing so would be massive.

Hold on. Let me finish the story.

This supermarket created and printed up 5,000 coupon books. In each book were four coupons.

Each coupon was good for one week of the month. The first week was for a free quart of milk. The second week was for free butter. The third week was free peaches and week four was for the napkins.

No purchase was necessary to redeem these free items using the coupons. There were truly no strings attached. This was a genuine free lunch.

They mailed these coupon books to 5,000 selected families in the surrounding neighborhoods.

More than 3,000 coupons were redeemed the first week and nearly 4,000 by the fourth week.

Here's the kicker. Almost every person also bought groceries while they were there redeeming their free lunch.

The following fifth week with no free lunch coupons and also no other form of advertising, over 4,000 people shopped in that supermarket spending a total of over a half million dollars that week.

Ka-ching!

This is something to think about and I call it the "Generosity Factor".

Until next time...


Copyright Successful Lawn Business Strategies. All Rights Reserved.

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Wednesday

Lawn Business Advertising Secrets

Hi Everyone,

We received an email this week about a new lawn business startup and an inquiry to what advertising will work the best for them.

Here's our answer:

Advertising your lawn business comes downs to tracking. 2 companies in the same county could have completely opposite results using the same method of advertising.

So there is no secret pill that will automatically make your lawn business marketing efforts explode. Not without tracking your results anyway.

You need to test different forms of advertising and measure your results. Find out what method of advertising gets the results you want and run with it.

For example, if you spend $300 on a classified ad and get 10 customers, each customer cost you $30 ($300 divided by 10 customers).

But if you create a flyer and get it handed out for you and it costs you $500 but you get 20 customers, each customer cost you $25.

Which of the 2 advertising methods is better? They're both good but one generates customers at a cheaper price.

There is no one source for marketing (advertising is part of the marketing process) tips and tricks. You should be getting your hands on books, audio, video and anything else you can. Never stop learning.

And once you get an idea of how to write the advertising copy, another key is consistency. If you only plan to hand out flyers one time, forget about it. Your advertising will fail or not do nearly as good then if you hand out flyers several weekends in a row.

Most customers need to see your ad about 20+ times before they realize they may or do need your lawn care service. That means you better plan on handing out your flyers for several weeks in a row.

Hope this points you in the right direction. Check out other articles within our blog for even more marketing advice.



Sincerely,

James R.

Successful Lawn Business Strategies
www.howtostartyourlawncarebusiness.com

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Saturday

How To Get New Lawn Care Business Customers From Scratch

We received the following lawn care business question this week and it's one we've been getting a lot of lately so we want to post our thoughts and share them with others.

1. Would you share with me a few of the most effective ways to get some lawn care customers and contracts? I'm just starting out, got my truck and equipment ready to work, just picked up my business license last week and it seems like getting that first customer is the hardest thing to do. I made some flyers and distributed it out at some public places, school teachers lounge, employee lounge and a few other places. No bites and I'm going on two weeks. Is this normal? What's the average wait time before a lawn business lands its first customer? I'm trying different marketing approaches one at a time, and allowing time in between each one to measure and see which ones actually work. So far nothing is working.

ANSWER:

First of all congratulations on taking the step towards starting and running a lawn care business. Believe it or not, most people won't even take this first step because they are too afraid.

Right off the bat make a quality decision that you are going to do this no matter what. The reason is because starting out and getting momentum in your business can be challenging and you need to have persistence. The main reason is because you have to get those first few customers and you don't have any experience under your belt in doing that so unless you make a quality decision, it's too easy to get discouraged. Sometimes customers can come quick, sometimes it can take some time but only the persistent lawn care business owner wins.

Put the law of averages to work for you. This means that it could take 1 out of 100 or 1 out of 250 flyers or more before you get a quote. Just keep taking action. Just keep handing out your flyers and any other advertisements you have on a consistent basis. Doing it once or twice won't cut it.

You see imagine a pizza coupon. Most people get them once a week and how many times do you throw them out or just skim over them? But when they come on a regular basis, week after week, eventually there does come a day when the flyer comes and you want pizza so you call.

Your customers are the same way. It may take several exposures to your ad before they realize they need to call you . That's what a lot of lawn care business owners don't know. Your advertising needs to be consistently going out.

The 3 areas important for your marketing are: MESSAGE, MARKET, MEDIA. This means your ad has to be arranged and setup properly. You have to be advertising to the right market. And the last one means you have to be using the right form of media.

The good news is that it sounds like you have several marketing weapons working. What you need to do is have them all working at once. That is where you want to be. You want to be taking action on several fronts at the same time because sooner or later (as long as your ads are compelling, you shooting at the right market and using the right media to market), you will get phone calls.

We constantly recommend that you educate yourself about marketing. It doesn't mean you have to spend money. You can pick these books up from your local library for free, but just start to read about how marketing works. It's quite fascinating and in this game, the more you know, the better you become at making winning ads and beating your competitors.

We haven't seen your flyers or other advertisements but it's important that your ads have the following arrangement (our book recommendations at the end of this post will give you similar advice).

  • ATTENTION ---> HEADLINE
  • INTEREST
  • DESIRE
  • ACTION

There are a few schools of thought on this but the above layout in the ad is important. So a quick example of this would be...

--------------------------------
Do You Want The Best
Lawn On The Block?
Finally, come home to a fresh,
green lawn, cut and trimmed for you
ALL SUMMER LONG!
__________________________
$20 LAWN BUCKS
Valid on your next order over $100.
__________________________
Call or email us today for a
FREE ESTIMATE
555-1234
NoNameMowing.com
Hurry Offer Ends March 20xx!
--------------------------------


Your ads need to give people a reason for calling. They have to persuade and stir a reader to take action. Always have a great offer with a deadline and impel them to contact you. Yes, keep track of your responses. Ask people who called, why they called. Even ask those who didn't call why they ignored the call to action. Get your trusted family and friends to look over your ads and see if they find them compelling.


2. What are your thoughts on buying an existing lawn care business? My problem with this is not having the upfront cash to purchase the business. Is this an idea worth looking at?

Buying a lawn care business is another way to get customers. Most businesses don't sell so anyone selling a lawn care business may be persuaded to be flexible.

This means that what we have seen is that a seller may be willing to allow you the purchaser to make monthly payments over a period of time for the business. Not having to have the cash upfront may be the winning ticket. They might also be willing to help you with the transistion of ownership, working alongside you for a period of time.

The HUGE red flag with buying a lawn care business is that you need to be very cautious. Why are they selling? Are the customers on contract? Does the sale include equipment? What shape is the equipment in?

Doing your due diligence is VITAL. It's an absolute. Visit NOLO.com for information on buying a business.


MARKETING BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

9 Lies That Are Holding Your Business Back

How To Make Your Advertising Make Money

Advertising Secrets Of The Written Word

No BS Sales Success



Well we hope this helps!

The Staff
www.howtostartyourlawncarebusiness.com

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Thursday

Lawn Business Marketing Example

Hi Everyone,

Lets look at and analyze a lawn business ad and see how we can improve it.

The following is a sample ad we received recently. The sender asked for some advice so we're going to give some.



_____________________________________________________
COMPANY NAME
Professional, Affordable
Early Bird Special
Spring is around the corner.
We will:
Mow
Trim
-------
-------
Other services available such as:
--------
--------
Sign up before April 1 and save
$5.00 per visit
-Free Estimates-
Call Today!
555-5555
Satisfaction Guaranteed
_____________________________________________________
First off, this ad has many elements a successful ad needs. What we would suggest (in the end you make the call) is a little rearranging and adding a little more here and there.
First off, our advice has been termed outrageous. That's okay because the results have also been known to be outrageous. I don't know about you, but we believe it's all about results. It's all about persuasion. Getting a prospective customer's attention and moving them to call you.
Right? Whats the point of having an ad that doesn't make your phone ring?
So what we need is a killer headline. The truth is we like this company name. It just needs to be located in a different spot.
We like the promotion because everyone wants to know what the "special" is all about. What "deal" or "bargain" will an interested party get?
After we ran the ad past a few of us in the office this is how we would rearrange it for possibly better results. We say 'possibly' because you'll never know unless you try it and TEST it. That means you have to keep track of your results. Always, always, always ask people where they heard about you when they contact you. This way you'll know what marketing is working and what marketing is not.
You with us? Okay let's keep going.
This is the new version of the ad. You'll notice in this new example we have followed the age-old formula of ATTENTION - INTEREST - DESIRE - ACTION.
We catch people's attention with the headline. On average there are atleast 1500-3000 marketing messages being shot at your prospective customers every single day. You have to stand out of the crowd.
Once we get them to pay attention we have to stir up some interest. We then create a desire and end the ad with a call to action - pick up the phone now and call us.
_____________________________________________________
FINALLY!
A Way To Have The Best Lawn & Garden On Your Block...
GUARANTEED!
Are you looking for mowing, trimming,
shrub maintenance and other services?
Then look no further.
-----------------------------------------------
"My lawn has never looked better.
I am so happy with these guys and
my neighbors are impressed too."
- Mr. X, Somewhere County
----------------------------------------------
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!!!
If you book your service before April 1st
you'll receive 5% OFF all season long!
HURRY! Offer Ends April 1st, 2008 12pm sharp!
Call Today For Your FREE Estimate
555-5555
[COMPANY NAME]
*Only 37 New Customer Spots Available
_____________________________________________________
There you have it. This is a very basic overhaul of a lawn business ad but it's enough to get your creative going. There's a ton of variations you could use in this ad but you get the point.
Advertising is salesmanship in print. This ad has the job of convincing someone to call you. And in the end, the number of people who call as a result of this ad is the clear reflection of how good or bad it is.
We hope this helps!
The Staff

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Friday

Lawn Care Business: DiCaprio Sues Landscapers

DiCaprio Sues Contractors Over Yard Work
Feb. 8, 2008, 12:14 AM EST
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- It's hardly a titanic struggle, but a dispute between Leonardo DiCaprio and his neighbors isn't departing anytime soon.

DiCaprio and the cousin from whom he rents a house are suing dozens of building contractors in an ongoing legal fight over a basketball court that neighbors claim destabilized their Hollywood Hills property.

The cross-complaint filed Jan. 30 lists contractors hired by the neighbors and by DiCaprio and cousin Robert Hrtica themselves.

Neighbors Joan and Robert Linclau sued DiCaprio and Hrtica in May for at least $250,000 in damages. They claimed their property was illegally excavated and some plants removed in 2004. They also said the work undermined a slope behind their home and left their deck and pool in danger of collapse.

The latest complaint from DiCaprio says the Linclaus' lawsuit has no merit, but if damages are found then the contractors are to blame.

Phone messages left after business hours to attorneys for the two sides and to the central contractor named in the suit were not immediately returned.

Previous court papers filed by DiCaprio contend the Linclaus may have caused the problems by installing an "illegal railroad tie retaining wall."

DiCaprio, 33, was a best-actor Oscar nominee last year for "Blood Diamond." His films also include "The Departed" and the megablockbuster "Titanic."

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Monday

Lawn Care Business Marketing Tip: How To Generate Business During a Slow Time Of Season

A question was recently posed to our group, "How do I generate business during a slower time of year?".

Here are our marketing thoughts in response specifically to John's question but anyone reading should be able to take something away from this.

As you know, anyone reading this, has to do your own due diligence when it comes to how you market and what your marketing budget is etc. You can take our ideas into consideration but in the end, you make the final call.

First of all, lets talk about the ad you sent in.

We really liked the fact it was in full color. It was clean and looked well presented. As you mentioned, it is coming out in a local book where you're the only lawn care business. That could be a big advantage.

No matter what, you'll have to keep track of it's results as we discuss below and always look at every marketing piece you have right now keeping in mind how you could improve it.

Let us give you some advice on how you can increase your marketing results.

There are volumes we could write about how to increase your business through effective marketing. Really.

It's a subject not easily explained within one post.

However, we will give you several tips that you can put to use right now.

The first is, what are the response percentages you have been getting from all your marketing?

This is a question most lawn care businesses can't answer. The bottomline is that the biggest step to better marketing for you is to test everything you do.

Test.Test.Test.

You must be able to know how each of your marketing weapons is doing. How many people called you from your flyer? Yellow Pages? Online?

How much business came from each? If you know these answers you will be able to tell where to put your marketing money and where to avoid putting it.

Keep track.

If you don't like certain response rates you're getting from a piece of marketing, change ONE thing in your ad and see how the results change.

The reason you only test ONE thing at a time in your marketing is so that you know what worked and what didn't. If you change more than one you won't know what it was that made the ad worse or better.

Secondly, its also very challenging(not impossible) to see your lawn care business as a customer does because you own it. You have to get into the minds of your lawn care customers and find out why they CHOSE your business over another. Find out what they like about your business and what they don't like. Then do everything in your power to become an even BETTER choice for them.

The reason surveying your customers is vital is it reveals information about your lawn care business so that you can work it into your marketing.

Think this is a dumb idea? One of the most successful marketers ever says he tries to find out 66 things about each customer. 66! Income, favorite food, hobby etc.

Now you may not have to go overboard like that but the point is the more you know, the more accurate your marketing. The more accurate, the more effective. The more effective, the more profitable.

Think about this as a consumer and not a business owner for a second.

Lets say you're looking for white shoes with velcro.

What ad below will move you to contact a shoe company.


AD#1

ANONYMOUS SHOE COMPANY LTD
Best Shoes In The County
Shoes, Boots, Gloves, Hats
Big Selection!
555-XXXX


AD#2
NEED WHITE SHOES?
We can help.Choose from
a wide selection of velcro
models. Come in and grab
your pair before they go.
LIMITED SUPPLY
ANONYMOUS SHOE COMPANY LTD
555-xxxx


This is a ridiculously blatant and a bit of a choppy example but it delivers the point. The more accurate the more attention you will give the ad. If you were looking for white shoes you may call both companies but you'll START with calling the second company first.

Everyone knows that most marketing gurus learn from other marketing gurus. Essentially, the marketing magic you need to know to sky-rocket your customer list is already sitting out there and you just need to find it. You just need to discover what will trigger people to call you even in a downtime. You need to understand what makes your customers tick and then deliver exactly what they want.

We learned from experience and from others. That's why we offer advice but we also aren't so arrogant as to not suggest other marketing sources.

3 we would recommend you look at now are - Motivational Marketing and anything from Ted Nicholas or Joe Sugarman (there are more but start with these).

Don't shun learning. You may be able to check these books out for free at your local library or may find it better to own them. Either way they may contain the extra explanation you need to boost your profits through killer marketing.

This may be a bit of a pain to most reading. Maybe you don't want the hassle of buying another book or visiting the library to pick one up.

Well, which pain would you rather have? The pain of "too little" business or the pain of picking up a marketing resource that could actually help grow your profits.

The final tip for you are 3 words -MARKET, MESSAGE, and MEDIA.

Effective marketing will come down to these 3 areas. If anyone of these is off, your results will not be AS GOOD as they can be.

MARKET - You want to make sure you're marketing to people who want or need your lawn care service.

MESSAGE - You want to make sure you're selling "white shoes" to people who want "white shoes" and not "blue shoes" or few to none will call you.

MEDIA - You want to make sure you're using the right form of marketing media to contact your customer. Classified ads may be the ticket. Or maybe door knob ads or both. You have to test and keep track of your results.

Since it's slow right now John where you live, chances are most of your competition is sitting back on their laurels waiting for things to pick up. This may be a great time to charge forward and pick up market share with very aggressive marketing.

Here's to your lawn service business success!

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