How can I create immediate income in my lawn care business?

Question: “I’m just getting started. How can I create immediate income in my lawn care business?

One of the great things about the landscape industry is that you really can create immediate income.

You can go out and get work versus waiting for it to come to you.  As a result it is possible to find work quickly.

All you have to do is walk down the street, knock on doors, introduce yourself and tell the story of your company.  It takes a small bit of courage, but it works!

If you are selling commercial, you walk in the door and ask for the business.  You ask to bid the property.

If they don’t need you now (most won’t), find out when their existing agreement expires or when the contract will go out for bid.  Put that date on your calendar and follow up months in advance to ensure you have an opportunity to participate in the bidding process.

Don’t forget to ask for the name of the person who will make the decision.

These are the three fastest ways to get immediate income:

1) Knock on doors.

2) Put out door hangers. If you don’t have money, pass them out yourself.

3) Build a high quality website and run PPC ads. Google the term Adwords to learn more.

Let’s assume during the start up phase you are in the field 40% of the week. You don’t have enough work to fill up an entire week.  So, the other 60% of the week you need to spend your time prospecting for new business.

Regarding price…

I’ve heard many say when you are starting out, price low. Then, once you earn some business and your customers trust you, raise your prices.

I disagree.

Start out pricing yourself near the middle of the market or higher.

If you price too low, as you start growing, you will not have any money to hire help.  You won’t have money to buy good eqiupment.  You won’t have money to advertise your business.

You will get trapped in the field if you don’t have money.

Long term, the only way to make a lot of money is to get yourself out of the field and pay others to do all of the field work.

As you grow you will have less and less time to focus on sales and marketing.  You MUST constantly replace yourself in the field by hiring help.

Doing so frees up more of your time to seek out new business.

If you stop marketing and selling, your revenue stream will dry up.

Each time you replace yourself in the field, resume exactly what made you successful in the first place…knocking on doors, distributing door hangers, online marketing, asking for referrals, etc.

As you hire ‘guys’ to help, demand hard work and quality. Don’t accept poor or slow work. If you look at an employee and realize that you could do that job in 30% the time it takes them, you’ve hired the wrong person.

There are plenty of great guys. A lot of those guys will surprise you by out-working you.

Don’t settle for mediocre people.  It will kill your business and burn you out.

Once you hire your first foreman and have successfully replaced yourself with a self-operating crew, you have accomplished a major milestone.

Repeat this several times, price correctly, and you will find you have the money to hire an operations person to help you run the business.

Once you reach this point you are well on your way.

You will be ahead of most of your peers in the industry.

Go make your first sell.  Not next month.  Now.



Door to Door Sales: Should I Pay Commissions

 Learn The Basics of Door To Door Sales…

The question is, should I pay door knockers by the hour, or by commission? There’s only one answer for this, by commission. There’s no scenario, where I would ever pay by the hour for door knocking. Now, if I had some available employees that were already on my payroll, where I’m already paying them and I’m not going to take them off payroll because I’ve committed to keep them on payroll even while we’re slow, then I would continue to pay them. But, I would offer an incentive of a commission.

I would still not send them out and say, “Hey, just spend the day door knocking and see how it goes.” No way. I would give them a very lucrative commission for every single sale. There is no scenario where I would not do this.

If you’re hiring individuals to door knock for you, then you’ve got to do a little work to find the kind of guy that will do this type of work. A great way is to talk to the guys that are already door knocking at your house, selling you other things, and see if you can swipe them.

There’s a couple of models for door knocking. The two models to consider are, one where you have an individual who canvases the neighborhood, knocking on doors, and attempting to make a sale. If they make a sale, you give them a commission. If they don’t make a sale, they don’t get a commission.

They tend not to work full time. They tend to work in the evenings and on weekends, and they’re getting a commission for every sale that they make. You’ve got to figure out what that number is. Be generous with it and don’t be cheap about it. Think about what it would cost you to acquire a new client.

For example, if it costs me a hundred dollars to acquire a client through door hangers, or a hundred dollars to acquire a client through direct mail, then I’m going to pay a guy a hundred dollars every time he makes me a sale, because I want as many sales as he can possibly bring me.

I’m not looking at this as a scenario where I am trying to save money. No way. I want the guy to make a lot of money, because I want the guy to bring me a lot of sales. That’s model number one, you pay a guy for making the sale.

Model number 2 is a two person team. You have a setter and a closer. The concept is, you have setters canvas the neighborhood, they knock on the door, they drum up interest. Their entire purpose is just to garner interest and ask if they can have a follow up with them. Can somebody come by and chat with them, can we give them something? And, at the minimum, they’re collecting names and phone numbers.

That’s what you’d call a setter. They’re setting the appointment. That’s their entire purpose. You’ll see this model a lot with roofers. Roofers will go around with a setter, and then they’ll come back around with a closer. The setter, will make a commission as well.

Then there’s a closer that follows up with that person. The setter gets the name and the phone number. The closer then goes back to the home, or calls them on the phone.  Their job is to close the business, to get the deal, to basically win a new client. That individual then makes a commission . Setters can make less than closers, or it could be a 50/50 split. You’ve got to figure that out. There are different models.

Great industries to look at are pest control and roofers. They both do a ton of door knocking, especially the roofers. Watch how they work. Read about how they work on the internet. I’ve actually never done that, which would actually be a pretty good idea. Read about it and see how their model works, how they pay, and what their commission is. I always talk to these guys when they come to my house so I can learn additional ways to do this, and I would recommend the same of you.

Next time somebody tries to sell you something, engage them and find out how they get paid. Find out how long they’ve been doing this. Find out the hours that they work. That’s how I know that most of these guys work late afternoons, into the evening, and then they work weekends. Most of them are students, or they also have another job. Do a little studying and you’ll get all the answers you need on this one, but look at those two models. Good luck.

#1 Lawn Care Marketing Door Hanger Mistake

Lawn Care Marketing - Door Hangers

Are Your Lawn Care Door Hangers Delivering Big Results? If not, watch this video and learn how to fix your lawn care marketing.

This video is about why most marketing does not work.  I’m giving just one tip, focusing on one thing, in this example.  Before I talk about door hangers, let me tell you a quick story.  This morning my oldest son, he plays select soccer which is higher level soccer, and we were at a big soccer tournament. As we walked out of the tournament there was a business card on my car.  The business card actually turned out to be from his coach.  Apparently he had somebody pass out these business cards and put them all over the cars.  Basically, the business card just said something like, “Soccer Academy,” and had his phone number.  That’s it.  There was an address or something else on there.

I have absolutely no idea what the point of that card was.  I know that we were all there playing in a soccer tournament, and I know that it said “Soccer Academy,” and it has a phone number.  What does that mean?  Does it mean he’s trying to recruit other kids on to my son’s soccer team?  Does it means he holds a soccer academy?  Does it mean there’s a soccer tournament, or academy, or 3-by-3, or some event coming up soon that he wants to get some kids to participate in?  Does it mean he wants to do some one-on-one teaching?  What in the world does it mean?  It didn’t say anything.  It didn’t tell me anything.  It didn’t give me any benefit.  What am I supposed to do with it?  Am I really going to put it in my wallet and someday call this guy and say, “Hey.  I got this card on my car.  It says Soccer Academy.  Tell me about that.”

It was pointless.  Whoever he paid to put those out, and the printing costs, he might as well have just donated the money to charity.  It was a complete and total waste.  That’s what I think most marketing is.  It’s a complete and total waste.  Yeah, you might get a few clients off of it, but for the most part, you blew your money because it didn’t say anything.

Look at the door hanger on my screen.  As best as you can, imagine that you’re a homeowner.  Get out of the mindset of knowing so much about the lawn care business, and knowing what you do, and knowing why your customers need it. Think about how you, living in a house or an apartment or whatever, would receive a door hanger that says, “Painting.  It’s all about pretty walls” and it’s got a picture of a guy with a paint brush.

What would that mean to you?  Let’s say this is the only thing you get on your door.  Would you think, “Oh.  Thank goodness I got this!  I have to go get my house painted today and this is the company.”  What’s it tell you?  Does it tell you they’re good? And, if it did say, “House painting.  We’re good.” What’s that mean?  Who cares?  You said you’re good.  I don’t believe you.  Everybody says they’re good.  What if it says, “House painting.  Satisfaction guaranteed.”?  Are you like, “Oh.  Wow.  Great.  Satisfaction guaranteed.  I need to call these guys.  I mean these guys, they’re something unusual here.”?  It means nothing.  Everybody says it.  Nobody cares.  It’s pointless.

Really, really think about it from the perspective of this painting concept because you’re not in the painting business I’m assuming. What is it that I would have to say if I put a door hanger on your door, house or apartment, that was trying to sell painting.  What is it that I would have to say to get you to buy?  First thing that comes to mind, if you live in an apartment and I put a house painting door hanger on your door, number 1, it doesn’t matter what I say you are not buying house painting.  You don’t care.  Number 2, if you just had your house painted 2 months ago, and I put a house painting door hanger on your door, you’re not a buyer.  You don’t care.  If number 3, you live in a neighborhood where you can tell nobody hires house painters, and if they do paint their house it’s because they got a citation from the city and they’re going to do it themselves, the door hanger is wasted. Do you really think it’s going to work?

Let’s say you are putting your house painting door hanger on a door of somebody who could legitimately buy house painting.  They’re in a really affluent area.  What is it that you’ve got to say to get them to take action.  I am 100% certain it’s not saying, “House painting.  Satisfaction guaranteed.”

Now, put 2 door hangers on the door. One says, “House painting.  Satisfaction guaranteed” and the other one says, “We can paint your house in one day for 65%  of the price of everybody else in the marketplace. And, when we paint your house, it will not smell.  You won’t even know that we were in your house.  All you’ll experience is an incredibly, beautifully painted house.”

Now, if you could make that statement which is impossible, but how different would that be? Who would they call?  It’s all about what’s in it for me.  Nobody cares about you.  Nobody cares about me.  You don’t care about me recording videos and I don’t expect you to.  You don’t really give a flip about what I’m going to do tonight, or what I did 5 years ago.  You don’t really care.  It’s not going to change your life.  You do care about the stuff I’m saying if it resonates with you…if it’s of value to you, if it can make some difference in your business, if it can change your business and therefore allow you to make changes in your life, then you care about that.

If I was selling this information to you and not just giving it to you, I’d probably have to sell it to you under the idea that if you do what I’m saying, then you’ll get to go to Hawaii next year. And, if you don’t do what I’m saying, I’m pretty positive that you’ll rack up another $25,000 on your credit cards and your line of credit. I’d have to give you something that you feel pain to not buy my product.

I’m being overly dramatic and I’m exaggerating my point, but I’d have to sell you on this thing you want.  I need to get in your head and know what means something to you.  For one person, it could be going to Hawaii.  For another person, it might be taking care of their disabled parent who’s in a retirement home.  If I knew that intimate thing that you wanted and needed so badly, and I could put that on a door hanger and guarantee you were going to get that with no risk, I’d have the ultimate chance of selling you something.  You can’t get in my head at that level.  You can’t get in your customers head at that level, but you can do way better then just, “House painting.  Satisfaction guaranteed,” or “Green Lawns.  It’s all about curb appeal.”

That doesn’t say anything to your customer about what they’re going to get and why you’re different.  How is this going to be good for them?  How is this going to help them brag to their friends about this great deal that they got?  That’s the concept.  We’ve got to get inside our clients head.  We’ve got to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”

If you’re stuff isn’t answering that, you might be getting some results, but it’s for the most part luck.  You happen to show up at the right time and you were probably the only person on their door and they happen to need you at exactly this moment.  If there’s no other options and they’re too lazy to go get on the Internet and do a Google search, this door hanger might work.  Short of that, this is not going to work.

I’ll add one thing to it.  If you answer the question of what’s in it for them, and you put it on their door at the wrong time, how do you get them to keep it?  What do you have to say, what offer do you have to make that would actually get them to hang it on their fridge, or put it on their kitchen counter, or put it somewhere so that when they need you, they remember you?  That is a little bit more challenging, but it’s doable.  Think about that.  What’s in it for me?  Answer that.  You’ll greatly increase your response rate and your close rate, and as a result, you’ll greatly increase your profit.