So you have all your lawn care equipment and you are ready to get out there and mow some lawns. All you need now is for your phone to ring. But it doesn’t. This is not because there is no work out there. This is because nobody knows your business exists. You need to develop a presence in the market. You may think that this sounds like hard work, well I can tell you from personal experience that it is not hard at all.
Have you ever heard “how to eat an elephant, one bite at a time”? Marketing is the same. You are not going to do everything at once. The secret is to try one method at
a time. Guage the results. Keep doing the ones that bring you the best results. Drop the ones that don’t. Don’t use the scattershot approach and try everything at once without knowing what is actually working. There are plenty of companies out there who are happy to take your advertising dollar regardless of whether their ads work or not. You need to know what is working.
How do I market my lawn business?
Read through this list of ways to market your business. Decide what methods you will use. Every time a lead comes in you need to ask them where they found your company. Then write it down and keep track. Evaluate your results every month. Keeping track will allow you to gravitate towards the mediums that are bringing in the best results for your business.
Keep it local.
Always remember you are a local business, so you don’t even want people outside your territory even to see your ads unless they are actively searching for someone in your area. If you can keep your advertising tightly focused, then you will have more budget available to generate leads in your area.
When I take out a new worker, and we are mowing a lawn they nearly always point to some house on the street and say something like “why don’t you drop a flyer off at that house their lawn looks like a jungle.” A lot of lawn care guys think this way and at face value, it may seem like a good idea. But before you go over there, you need to ask yourself “what kind of work do I want?
I would not advise targeting work like that and here’s why. If someone has grass that’s up around their ears, they probably don’t care about their lawn. Sure you may get to mow it once, it will be hard work and may pay well. But the chances of getting a fortnightly mow from that customer are slim to none. You have gone for the low-hanging fruit, and that is not the work you want if you want to grow your business.
You want to quote the house with the lawn with a few weeks’ growths, not the overgrown jungle like this because you want a customer who wants a regular mow.
How to market to new customers
Firstly have a business name that is easy to remember and spell. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you even begin. In your advertising, you need to sell the benefits. The customer doesn’t care about what you want. They buy to make themselves happy, not you. Some of the benefits that the customer is looking for could be.
1. Saving time – You want to target people with a busy life then they may not have time to mow their lawns. Sell them on “coming home after a hard day’s work to a freshly cut lawn”.
2. Good-looking yard – Target people who want that professional look on their yard. Edges are trimmed, paths are blown, etc.
3. Keep your rental property looking nice – Target landlords and tell them that they can attract and keep better tenants. When the tenants don’t have to worry about the lawn, they will be happier.
Keep your old customers happy.
Don’t let your standards slip. You don’t want to be bringing customers on at one end and have them drop off at the other end.
I remember once when we sold our entire lawn care business and took a break for a year.
I had someone come around and quote me on my lawn. We accepted the quote and booked a fortnightly mow. Our contractor was relatively new to the industry and knew about the business I had just sold. He asked for some advice. When we talked about
pursuing new quotes I told him that the tow truck driver mentality was best for quoting. Get there asap and quote the job. If you get the quote, mow the lawn immediately if you can and then book the next mow. Job done!
He liked the idea and told me he was going to try that. Two weeks later he was late for my lawn booking. I rang him the following day, and he promised to be around by the end of the week. I had to chase the guy just about every time he was due. After the third visit, I felt I had to say something. I told him that it was frustrating having to chase him every time I wanted my lawn done.
He told me he was prioritizing new calls over existing customers to secure the new work. He said, “you had a lawn mowing business. I thought you’d understand”. I told him I didn’t understand at all. I never said that the new work should come at the expense of existing customers. That was bad customer service. He told me he had lost quite a few lawns. I informed him he had just lost one more.
Your customer is the lifeblood of your business. Turn up on time, and be reliable. When a customer requests something you are better to underpromise and over-deliver than the other way around. If someone leaves you a message, then respond as soon as you can. If you cannot do a job, tell the customer immediately or better still recommend someone that can.
Now I will climb down off my soapbox and let’s look at some ways you can grow your business.
Ways to market your lawn care business.
I am listing the methods here in the order I would go through them based on my location. It may not be the best order based on where you live so you will have to use your common sense when deciding the sequence you use to try these methods.
An 0800 Word Number
The first thing you need is a phone number that people can remember. The easiest way to do this is to have something like “0800 Your Name” (such as 0800 Gecko Lawns) as a contact number on all your advertising that people see out and about. You want this on vehicles, signs, and anywhere where people cannot write down your number. When someone sees your truck, they can remember your word number and call you later.
However, If you are on a pay-by-the-minute 0800 plan, then do not use the 0800 number on things like business cards or newspaper advertising. The customer already has your contact details in front of them; they do not need a word number. You can go ahead and use the number on all your advertising if you wish but this can
get expensive if you are paying by the minute and all your customers are using this number too.
If you decide to use the number everywhere, then you should use both word numbers and digit numbers in your marketing. Utilize word numbers where the number is not going to be in front of the potential customer when they call and digit numbers when the number is in front of them. It is annoying going to call someone off a website, and they have used a word number. It requires work figuring out the numbers before you can phone them. Some people won’t do this and will go elsewhere.
The other option is to use what I call a poor man’s 0800 number where you select a mobile number that works as a word number such as 021 Gecko Lawns this would be 021 432 565. You simply try the 021 and 027 versions of your name and if one is
available then contact the phone company and secure the number. Do NOT tell them what you intend to do. It makes no difference to them but it can confuse the issue.
Use magnetic business cards
When you get your cards printed don’t go with paper cards. Very few people keep business cards and the chances of them being able to find your card when they need it are slim to none. The best way to be there when they want your card is to be on the fridge.
Only use magnetic cards when handing them out to customers. These cards stick around. I have had people ring me and say my card has been on their fridge for years and they don’t even know where it came from. You never get that with a paper business card. You can get them printed at vista print and you can pay under $150 for 500 cards.
All in all, these days I find Adwords the most effective use of your marketing budget. One more method I should mention is increasing your Adwords spend. You need to be in a area with a larger population but is $150 was geting you 10-15 leads a month then $300 will bring you around 15-30 leads a month. The bigger the budget the more calls.
Build or pay for a site. You can use the free one that comes with Google maps if you want to save money, you want something more substantial you can use Wix or WordPress. With Wix, you will need to pay around 5-10 dollars monthly, and they will handle hosting and everything else. I have had a lawn care site with these guys before, and it worked well. If you want to build your own with WordPress, you will need a hosting plan. I use Bluehost, and their plans start at around $30 a month. If
you do not have a background in website design, this can be a steep learning curve. The other option is to get someone to build you a site on Fiverr. If you do this, you want a responsive website (mobile-friendly), and you will still need to pay for hosting somewhere. The company you bought your domain from should be able to help with this.
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Having a listing on Google Maps is essential. Your listing will bring you free calls every day so don’t delay in setting this up.
Get reviews on Google Maps – This will bring your listing to the top of a Google search better than any other method. It takes a while but the end result will give you a consistent stream of leads. First, get your review link off Google Maps. (If you do not know how to do this, let me know and I will text it to you). Then when you first do a job and after the customer has paid send a text like this
“Hi _________ here from _________. Your lawn was mowed yesterday and is booked for its next mow in (timeframe arranged). If you have time I would really appreciate it if you could give me a Google review. This would really help my business. Here is a link (google review link). Thanks for your custom and I look forward to helping you keep your lawn looking great. (your name)
Once you get three reviews (over 3.5 stars) your listing will start to climb in the rankings.
You can also ask existing customers for a review too. One more thing I should mention is NEVER ask for a review if you feel that you haven’t done your best. You do not want bad reviews.
Have a sign written Vehicle
Your work vehicle is a mobile billboard and can be a great source of new business if you use your 0800-word numbers. You do not need to have a full vehicle wrap if you did not want to go overboard on signwriting. I would
say at least get signage on the cab doors. Don’t skimp out here either, get quality signwriting not a sticker or car magnet. On the rest of the vehicle have a sign that says “ask me for a free quote.” You also want one more sign on the tailgate of the trailer or the back of the vehicle if you don’t use a trailer.
Have your name, website and 0800 number prominently displayed on all of your signs. Most people will need to remember your details when they see your vehicle as they will not have time to write them down. Be easy to remember and find online. If you want to come across as a professional, then you need to look like one. Pulling up in a vehicle without signwriting is not as effective. You will not be able to quote as high, and you will secure less work.
Wear a uniform
Being seen in uniform will increase your chances of being approached by neighbours when for quotes when you are out working. It will also help you secure more jobs when you are out quoting and growing your brand. In marketing, they say someone needs to see your logo seven times before they start to remember it. By wearing a uniform out and about every day, you are building the brand of your business and making it easier for people to remember your business.
Set up a Facebook page. Once you have got the page set up to post once a week using the suggestions found here. Boost your posts for a few dollars for exposure. You can also set up ads for your new business. However, I have found the quality of quotes gained through FaceBook ads is not that great. The organic leads that come through your page are better.
Place a classified ad in your local community newspaper. It should be in the services section. Don’t bother with a large ad you should be able to write an effective classified ad and run it for less than $20 a week. Before writing your ad look at what other lawn companies are writing and try to write something with a point of
difference. I did put my freephone number here as I would say “call me now freephone to mobile” as a point of difference.
What I would also do is change the title. All the classified listings are alphabetical so I would do things like writing “lawn and gardens” or “lawn cut” to get me first in the listings. Sometimes I have had a run of good leads through this medium but I had also had times when the kind of calls I was not of a high caliber and did not suit my business model. You will have to see how this goes and decide for yourself.
Free Listings on directories
There are a vast amount of places you can list your business for free. Here is a link to a list of 50 free directories. I wouldn’t spend a considerable amount of time listing all the directories some of them will never work for you. Just list on the ones you think might work for you.
Small fence signs
If you have a customer who lives on a busy road ask them if they mind you putting up a sign for a little while. Keep the sign small (maybe A4 or similar) A lot of times they won’t mind. Try to get a sign-up in every neighbourhood. There are sign restrictions in some neighbourhoods so do not go large and most of them will not be removed.
This is a really good method for condensing your lawn round if you are brave enough to do this. The ideal approach is to do this around lawns you already mow. When you get a new lawn door knock on five houses on each side and the ten houses across the street. If they answer the door tell them you have lawns on this street and are doing free quotes and give them a fridge magnet business card. If no one is home leave a custom flyer on the door saying the same thing. If you do this every time you mow a new lawn your business will grow in no time.
If you have enough courage then telemarketing is a great way to build your business. This will only work for commercial work these days as there are no real white pages anymore and landlines are not common in domestic houses. The best thing about telemarketing is that it is a proactive way of growing your company. You don’t have to sit and wait for the phone to ring. I started two different lawn care businesses in two different locations fifteen years apart using telemarketing to start the companies off.
Write a local blog. When customers ask you questions take note of them. Every two to four weeks write a blog post focusing on that question. Keep the title under 60 characters. Your post will start ranking organically in Google in six months or so. This will also increase the rankings of your business site and bring in leads.
Join a few local networking groups then go to meetings and talk to some of the members. Always have cards on you and hand them around. Don’t be pushy you just want them to remember your business name so if anyone is talking to them about lawns they feel happy recommending you.
These are a good idea but the success rate has been decreasing for years. When I started delivering flyers, I used to get 3 quotes in 100 flyers. The last time I did this I got 1 quote out of every 500 flyers. I have not done that since. However, your area may be different. I have seen some lawn mowing companies saying that they are still getting a 1-2% response. Get 1000 flyers and put them out there and see how you go. Gauge your responses and if it is good then go bigger. If not then focus on other methods.
Go to Google maps on your computer and pull up a map of the area you cover with your business. Type “property manager” in the search bar. Make a list of all the property management companies in your area. Contact the first company and book a time to meet the top property manager. Go in and offer to do free quotes for all their new rental agreements that they can give to the new tenants. Have a good-looking printed card that has an area for you to fill in the quote. Show the property manager and tell them they can attach this to all their “new tenant packs”. They will love this idea as they will know that a well-maintained lawn decreases the chances of tenant damage or neglect. Before you leave (if you want the work), you can offer to be there on call lawn mowing guy for emergencies. This can generate a bit of work but it can be a bit hard to fit this kind of work when your business starts growing.
Try hitting a street with pre-written quotes – In any growing city there are new developments where new subdivisions are being built with houses in smaller sections. If you have an entire road built with 25-minute lawns then why not direct everybody in the street with a $30 quote? If you got a few of these on the same day, you have just made your job easier and increased your income at the same time. Look out for new areas like this and direct mail them regularly.
Supermarket notice boards
Get a notice board card from your local supermarket and write your Ad. Use a word number or a tear-off tab. You will need to keep track of where you place these and replace them every month as they need to be dated and the supermarket will remove the old ones every month.
The more your branding stands out the more calls you will get.
As I said at the beginning the order in which you approach this list may vary depending on where you live. I would strongly suggest you do at least the first five methods in order as some techniques will simply not work as well if you have not done the previous step. Such as a fully sign-written vehicle would be a bit pointless if you did not have a website and the potential customer had to write down a phone number. Who is going to do that? Your odds of getting a call would be slim to none.
Do not underestimate the power of a simple, easy-to-remember name. It will maximize your chances of getting incoming calls.
Why do you think my business is called lawnmowing101? I practice what I preach.
I hope you have found this information helpful and you have had great success using some of these marketing methods.
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