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Old 05-31-2009, 10:45 AM
 
4,794 posts, read 9,626,311 times
Reputation: 2651
You might want to try out advertising in a few of the smaller newspapers in the area. (most have online sites too) I know there's a link to them somewhere. North East Times has been around a long time and has avid readers. It would confine your clients to that general area so you're not driving all over town to schedule your appts.

Also....check out the Lowes and HomeDepot in your target area. They usually have a "contractor" bulletin board for customers. Same with feed stores etc. If you're a regular buyer at an business that supports your business, they often let you leave flyers or at least post something.

Honestly...your target group would be a higher end neighborhoods. Elm Creek, Shavano, Fair Oaks Ranch.....there are LOTS of them. Primo areas would be Alamo Heights, Terrell Hills, Olmos Park, Monte Vista.....etc...but it would be harder to break through the network there. But if you're worth your salt, go for it. They all are independent municipalities and have city newsletters. It's worth a try.

It sounds like your greatest problem would be scheduling appts that are not close in proximity. It really would be best to focus on one area at a time instead of the shotgun approach.

Just my personal opinion of random flyers.....I take note of who they are and make sure I DON'T do business with them. My biggest pet peeve is going out of town and finding them on my door ADVERTISING that our house has been unoccupied for a few days. Also some people enter their house from the garage or side and don't use the front door....so again....a target for potential break ins. It's infuriating!
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:56 AM
 
13,553 posts, read 20,757,594 times
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I agree, Cat....I hate the door hangers. Right now in my 'hood there is some tree service--I wanna say "Angel Tree Service" but honestly don't remember the name just now. But they wrapped their little flyers in a cardboard tube (very small, but they're EVERYWHERE!) and dropped them in everyone's yards. I don't care if they were the last tree-trimming company on the planet, I am not calling them. They should come back and pick up their mess, and then MAYBE we'll talk.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:42 PM
 
Location: NW San Antonio
214 posts, read 307,884 times
Reputation: 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by wCat View Post
Honestly...your target group would be a higher end neighborhoods. Elm Creek, Shavano, Fair Oaks Ranch.....there are LOTS of them. Primo areas would be Alamo Heights, Terrell Hills, Olmos Park, Monte Vista.....etc...but it would be harder to break through the network there.

I take note of who they are and make sure I DON'T do business with them.
1. Actually, my target market are the smallest lawns I can find. The faster I can do them, the more money I make. Customers with these types of lawns are also a lot more care free when it comes to when and how you do the work. They prefer getting their $28 invoice over the email and taking care of it with their credit or check card. Fancy neighborhoods tend to also want to pay as little as possible, but are a lot more work.

2. The door hangers are my number two best advertising method to date. I used full color real door hangers, and put them on front doors only. I also only hit each house no more than twice a month, and on no consecutive months. I am sensitive to the fact that people do not want a lot of garbage delivered to their home, and respect 'no soliciting' signs. When it comes down to it, I have to eat - so while people continue to respond so well to my very classy door hangers, I will continue to put them out.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:53 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
322 posts, read 475,849 times
Reputation: 106
does anyone use that website.. mm.. angie's list? we used it for awhile until they started charging us to look at the reviews - bogus! you could try getting in good with that site, if anyone still uses it.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:57 PM
 
13,553 posts, read 20,757,594 times
Reputation: 5272
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Originally Posted by deek102 View Post
does anyone use that website.. mm.. angie's list? we used it for awhile until they started charging us to look at the reviews - bogus! you could try getting in good with that site, if anyone still uses it.
Angieslist isn't free like craigslist....but you can save a ton of money, time, and headache if you read the reviews and DON'T use a bad contractor. Bogus is HARSH.
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:01 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
322 posts, read 475,849 times
Reputation: 106
I hate paying for websites that want to charge me for reviews from my peers. Haven't they learned classmates.com's lesson? nobody uses that junk anymore -- EVERYONE is at Facebook BECAUSE it's free!

I will, and have, paid for Consumer Reports because it's an established, less biased (I can't say "un"), and it has reviews from people who know what they're talking about. Forgive me if Angie's List has added "professional" reviews and I just don't know it... but when we used it it was just like this forum but then they wanted money from us!

I can save a ton of money, time, and headaches if I just ask you guys for recommendations.. and it's all free baby!
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:09 PM
 
Location: NW San Antonio
214 posts, read 307,884 times
Reputation: 121
I have not been listed in Angie's list, but a contractor friend of mine was. What he found was that once he got a couple of his customers to join up and rate him well (which Angie's gave him some money for or something) then he was on the list, and all the negative reviews came. He saw no change in his business - it was just that the people who used Angie's still didn't use him, and the people who didn't continued to. According to him, the Angie's people were ridiculously picky and would find anything to give him a bad review - he got one based on having to check someone information and call the customer back before giving them the answer to one of their questions... Little harsh.

I'll be amused to see when I make it onto Angie's list. For now I send my customers after-the-fact surveys to see how they feel. I find that most people will not tell you face to face any details on their opinion, but that if you email them something they will sing like a canary. I always take complaints as constructive criticism, so I go looking for them.
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Old 05-31-2009, 06:43 PM
 
4,794 posts, read 9,626,311 times
Reputation: 2651
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reallybigshoe View Post
1. Actually, my target market are the smallest lawns I can find. The faster I can do them, the more money I make. Customers with these types of lawns are also a lot more care free when it comes to when and how you do the work. They prefer getting their $28 invoice over the email and taking care of it with their credit or check card. Fancy neighborhoods tend to also want to pay as little as possible, but are a lot more work.

2. The door hangers are my number two best advertising method to date. I used full color real door hangers, and put them on front doors only. I also only hit each house no more than twice a month, and on no consecutive months. I am sensitive to the fact that people do not want a lot of garbage delivered to their home, and respect 'no soliciting' signs. When it comes down to it, I have to eat - so while people continue to respond so well to my very classy door hangers, I will continue to put them out.
RBS.....just an observation. You might not like it, so just ignore it if you don't. You're asking for opinions so I'll be honest. You basically just summed up your work ethics in a nutshell. You're offering a fast and cheap cut like Super Cuts for hair. You don't want to spend the time to add any custom work, and you're ignoring the fact that people DON't like flyers. You don't want high maintenance customers....even though some may be the most loyal customers you'll ever have. It may work for your fast and cheap customers (15%) but think of the 85% that you are annoying.

That and your tirade in the tagging thread really raised a red flag. I wouldn't want to do business with someone that has that kind of temperament. What if my check was delayed in the mail? I'm just saying....if you're going to come here for advice and also give out your public information for advertising ...even by DM, you better keep on your business suit and present your most professional self.

Check out "In Search of Excellence" and make it your business standard "bible". There are eight themes for managing and running a successful business. One of them is to know your job through the customers you serve.

K....I'm jumping off my lectern ....I got a bit too lofty there!
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Old 05-31-2009, 07:30 PM
 
Location: NW San Antonio
214 posts, read 307,884 times
Reputation: 121
Cat,

LOL.

First things first. There is a HUGE difference in landscaping between construction and maintenance customers. Construction customers - priority is quality of work and excellence, then fair price. My 'tirade' as you call it on the other thread was concerning the problem with a push from customers to push prices lower and lower, which is evidently turning into a loss of quality on the end of the consumer. Since I do not sacrifice quality in my construction, my thread was to explain this whole problem and being a little light to cost/value margin.

I will note here that although I am very familiar with good customer service skills, treating the customer as my boss, proper etiquette, etc - I am not the kind of customer service person who will lie to you in order to make my sales prettier. Tones are not always conducted properly over an internet chat forum, so I will continue reinforce on here that I am not whining about cheap customers, trying to push costs higher, or anything like that. I am perfectly happy with my customers and they are happy with me. We enjoy the open lines of honest communication that we have, and they trust me to tell them what I really think and charge them a fair price. If they cannot afford something, I do not make it crappier and sell it to them from less - I give them alternatives, accept credit, or set back construction dates so they can have the best when they can afford it.

Mowing customers - Quality is never an issue - all they care about is completeness, and price. If you are mowing the lawn, you aren't skipping anything, and your blades are sharp - you are at 100% quality. I spend 45 minutes total time with driving to mow a $28 lawn. I spend 2 hours total time on a $38 lawn. Why would I PREFER bigger lawns? I say prefer because I have and appreciate both, but I need to target small lawns to stay in business.

By the way, a lot of my business stance comes from the fact that I am using a push mower, solo. I should have explained that so that people would know that I am definitely most interested in the smallest yards. Regardless of my equipment however, every lawn care guy in the city is looking for the small, quick bucks. Why wouldn't we?

Sorry about the tagging thread. I should delete that. I was on edge from having seen my late-grandparents property being destroyed by a bunch of spray paint vandals. This is the problem with a chat forum. If you were to meet me you would know that I am very much cool headed, and am very much harmless. I just get steamed when criminals are out there causing the innocent suffering of others.
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Old 05-31-2009, 07:38 PM
 
Location: NW San Antonio
214 posts, read 307,884 times
Reputation: 121
PS Cat-

I would not be here, out in the open so that people can look me up, if I were not the kind of guy who was honest and willing to stand for what he says. Almost everyone on here can say their latest whim and not have to worry about what people think. When people say things like "Oh I wouldn't do business with you based on what you said in this or that thread" I take it as one of those whims. The truth is that when people realize that I say what I say and stick to it, mean what I say, and say it honestly as best as I can understand it - even though they might disagree with what I say, they can understand that I am honest and forthcoming, and that I will not steer them off course - they tend to come around when they are looking for a fair price and a quality deal.
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