My little brother moved to Boise around 6 months ago. He was tired of working for someone else and decided to try it alone with a local lawn care business. He came to me and asked if I would help him with the business marketing and financials. So we made the agreement that he would mow all the lawns & I would get to do the fun part — Marketing!
To sum of the rest of the post here are our results: We started late in the season, only 2 months ago. The 1st month I was doing a lot of traveling, but managed to get up our website www.WrightLawnCare.com/. During the 2nd month I really started working on the site, and generating leads. In the time period of maybe 1 1/2 months I had generated 20 leads, and we have sold 18 of them. 1 never returned a call, and the other had a previous lawn care company that didn’t show up for a few weeks, that later returned. Of these 18 most re-occur on a weekly basis, and our average gross profit per account is $90. That equals $1,620 gross profit per month, and were not done yet, this is only his 2nd month in business and doesn’t include the accounts that we started out with. These are only the new accounts added within the last 1 1/2 months. Do you think he is excited for the start of next season?
I do have to say that it is really stinks that we can only mow for 6 months of the year, but we will continue to work with our clientele throughout the year. We will be working with them doing the following: raking leaves, shoveling snow, decorating their home during Christmas, any other odd jobs they need completed during this time.
Here is our marketing plan, that I have been using to drive leads to our new business:
1. Client referral program: We offer our current clients a $20 finders fee for anybody they refer that becomes a customer. For the new clients we are offering a free lawn mowing just to show the great job that we can do on their lawn.
- Monthly Invoices: Every month we deliver the customers invoice, we simply have created a flyer that explains our member referral program and has room for referral info.
- Website: The program is also explained on our website under the referral program tab.
2. Upsale: This is a simply idea, but can go a long way. Most businesses only focus on selling the customer once, but what we have found is that most of our clients need have multiple jobs to be done with their lawn & yard, such as: tree trimming, landscaping, fertilizing, aerating, garbage removal, ect. The list goes on, if you have the desire to continue to work on these project you can turn that current client from a $90/month client to a $200/month client simply by asking and do a little extra work.
3. Risk Reversal: There are plenty of risks in the world today, so why would clients want to take a risk with getting a bad lawn care company? Our 1st lawn mowing we offer is ‘Free’, and if the customer isn’t 100% satisfied with the work that we have completed, then we simply tell them they don’t need to invite us back. Also if they aren’t happy with a job that we worked on, after setting up an agreement, they don’t have to pay.
4. Joint Ventures: It is also nice to have a buddy of ours call up and give us a referral, simply because it is in the wrong area for him, or the job is too big and he can’t handle it. You can set up agreements with your competitors, to send each other business when you can’t fulfill the job. This works a lot better than having to turn down the business, and you can also earn a referral commission, and a returned favor from your competitors. You can also set up a Joint Venture with people that you don’t directly compete with, but rather complement their business or service such as: Realtors, developers, local businesses (offer to mow their lawn for free in exchange for advertising rights in their store), ect.
5. Effective Advertising: Here is a list of the effective type of advertising that we have been using:
A. Craigslist: Post 2-3 times a week, brings in 2-3 new accounts
B. Website : Generates leads, offers information about our company & lawn care tips, daily blog posts
C. Client Referrals
D. Grocery Stores: Bulletin boards are always good to attract a few people that see the sign while shopping
E. Street Signs: Place these within 100 yards of busy intersections, while people are stopped at red lights they are looking for something to read.
F. Business Magnets: With our new accounts we give them our business card magnet to stick on their fridge. It not only has our contact details, but also explains our referral program. They will always be able to find your phone #. (I used this back while I was in Nebraska and selling Dish Network Satellites, I still receive calls today)
G. Local Businesses: Either place your business card by the checkout register, or place a flyer on the window/door of the business
H. Truck advertising: Brand your name on all your equipment (Trucks, Trailers, Company Apparel), after people see your truck in the neighborhood a few times, it will start conversations
6. Marketing Structure & Offer: This is the key to our business, we offer a better deal than everyone else. Our free lawn mowing is what is giving us the leads. As I mentioned earlier we have generated 20 leads and closed 18, after showing up and looking presentable and doing a good job. Why wouldn’t they invite us back? If you look at all the competitors they are all offering a ‘Free Estimate’, but why would you want the free estimate when you could have the whole lawn mowed, with a 100% satisfaction guarantee?
As you can probably tell I have had a lot of fun with the business over the last 2 months. We are just beginning and it will only get bigger & better from here. We will also be able to improve on our current strategies as we learn to deal with the clients. I hope this has been inspiring case study and that you might be able to apply some of these strategies into your local business marketing plan.
* Note: I have been helping a few local businesses market their business with these strategies, if you are interested in some help contact me at bj at seointern.com