Ladder of Success - 3000+ Lawn Care Customer Base

You've reached the point where company is fairly profitable and running well.  You have a good team in place and they can handle most situations.  You make the big decisions, but you have people in management and in the field to take care of the day-to-day issues.  Perhaps you've been looking at franchising the entire operation or even selling the business and have already begun to look at the legal aspects.  Or maybe you are committed to keeping the company in the “family” (no franchising, no sale to TruGreen Chemlawn).  You just want to at least keep revenue and profitability where it is and continue to grow steadily if possible.


You're already using about all of the lawn care marketing tools already mentioned and considering testing something new like billboards, radio or Google Ads.  (Read more about DIGITAL ADVERTISING.)



What to do?


If you haven’t already tried it, test a HOME & GARDEN SHOW.  These trade shows (also home improvement and remodeling shows) have a high potential for prospective lawn care customer traffic.  Before committing your company to the project, assess your lawn care sales team and who would best be able to staff the booth.  It requires at least two people (or more depending on show hours & size of the booth) to man the booth.  It requires people that like talking to strangers.  If you have the man-power and the resources, a Home & Garden Show may pay off.  It will generate leads, but the leads may be over a wide geographic area.  Other media that may warrant testing include radio, billboards, and co-op mailings.  Be careful though; it’s easy to waste money on advertising that just doesn’t work for the green industry.  Test small and roll out what you can prove works.


  • WEB SITE - The foundation of your marketing strategy


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


  • DOOR HANGING - Neighbors of Current Customers ($0.16 each + labor & fuel costs)


  • Pre-Pay Letters to Customers, Cancels, and Prior Year Rejects - Send a Pre-Pay Letter to customers and customers that cancelled during the previous two 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.


  • TELEMARKETING - In-house Cancel/Reject File – a good source of sales for any business


  • ADVERTISING SPECIALTIES - Build your brand with useful giveaways - free rain gauges/note pads/pens etc.  Support local athletic teams, church groups, schools, etc.


  • Fall Direct Mail - Targeted list; especially successful with poor weather conditions leading up to 1st week of September


  • Spring DIRECT MAIL - The best time to generate quality leads and long-term customers is in the spring in most markets.  Direct Mail, when accurately targeted with a highly selective list, can generate lots of new leads and sales profitably.


  • Second Spring Mailer - Mail the best prospects on your list more than once.  Response rates are slightly lower on 2nd and 3rd mailings to the same name, but remailings can work when targeted.  They also build density.


  • Premium TRUCK SIGNAGE - Truck sales account for between 2 - 4 % of new sales each year and make a lasting impression with quality truck signage.  Investment depends on size and quantity of graphics; include your web site address on your trucks.


  • TELEVISION ADVERTISING - Can be targeted by network, cable system and programming to reach your target prospects.



  • Other Media: Radio, Billboards, Co-op Mailings, DIGITAL ADVERTISING - Test small (but with a significant sample size) and roll out what works.


  • Invest in continued training for both you and your staff though local, state and national trade associations and local colleges.


  • Learn how others have become successful and put yourself in a good position for solid future growth.


  • Be active in your local business community.