Ladder of Success - 0-500 Lawn Care Customer Base


Maybe you are just starting out in the turf business, or have been in the lawn business only a few years. You have one truck and maybe one assistant. You are ready to start growing but you need more new customers than you can get from just word of mouth.



What to do?


At this point in time you probably don’t have the money to invest thousands of dollars into a direct mail program.  Direct mail  campaigns require, at the very minimum, 10,000 pieces mailed to a highly targeted prospect list at a cost of around $5,000 and that can be risky.


To create a large scale marketing program you need to have at least 20% of last year’s revenue to invest in marketing.  If not, don't try to scrimp and get by with mailing a few thousand pieces.  Chances are it won’t pay off.  Hold off until the numbers are right.


Instead, build your lawn-application customer base up steadily.  Reach the point where you can hire another employee or two that knows the turf business.  The two or three of you can then handle the rush of leads that will come.  Concentrate your marketing and advertising efforts in particular neighborhoods so you aren't running all over trying to service new sales.  Build lawn care routes that are dense and profitable to operate.


Make sure you have a good web site.  This will not only generate some leads but improve response and closing rates of all other lead sources.  A web site gives you instant credibility.  List your web address on your business card and that little 2” x 3.5" piece of paper becomes as big as a 25 page full color expensive brochure.  It is your company’s window to the marketing universe.


Door-hanging neighbors of current customers, or blocks around customers is a good idea.  Use any down time you have due to weather or other reasons to distribute the brochures.  (Read more about DOOR HANGING.)   Knock on a few doors in neighborhoods where you are already treating lawns to let those neighbors know you are servicing lawns in their neighborhood.  Avoid any mass market or shotgun advertising, such as print, radio, or TV.


Consider making an offer to your existing customers that will generate referrals.  Maybe give them a free service if someone they refer becomes a customer.  The down side of this is you may end up paying for referrals you would have gotten for free.



Build a quality and consistent image


Build a consistent marketing image across all of your marketing materials (business cards, door hangers, post cards, sales and leads brochures, web site).  The same images, photos, slogans, and colors used correctly and consistently will create a professional image that translates into trust and recognition in your prospects.


WEB SITE -The foundation of your marketing strategy


• Business Cards - An inexpensive way to make a big impact (less than $0.07)


DOOR HANGING - Neighborhoods and Neighbors of Current Customers ($0.16 each + labor & fuel costs) (Highly targeted)


• Pre-Pay Letters to Customers, Cancels, and Prior Year Rejects - Send a Pre-Pay Letter to customers and customers that canceled during the previous 2 years.  Offer them a substantial discount of 10-20% if they prepay for the entire full season.  Filter your cancel file to remove bad debt/problem customers.  You can also find success mailing the same or a similar offer to leads that did not close from previous years.


• Direct Sales - Knock on a few doors while you’re out treating lawns, especially if you work on Saturdays or evenings when people are home.  You may come home with three new customers to add to the route you just treated.


• Invest in continued training by joining your state lawn care association.  Learn how others have become successful and put yourself in a good position for solid future growth.