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Looking to Expand

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by D&E, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. D&E

    D&E Senior Member
    Messages: 104

    This is my first year plowing commercially. I've got a handful of my own accounts, and I do a little bit of sub work also. I'm sure this is nothing new, but how do you guys expand your business? How do you gain more customers? I know it's probably too late in the season to pick up any decent number of accounts, but I'm just looking toward the future.

    I've tried fliers, Craigslist, and I've gotten my name out there with quite a few other guys in the industry, but things are just a little slow. I'm not willing to lowball and run prices that won't sustain operations.

    Do you advertise online? Newspapers?

    What do you guys suggest?
     
  2. Jewell1386

    Jewell1386 Senior Member
    Messages: 139

    find places close to what you already have, and start by just stopping in and offer to give them a free bid for the job. I have also given names of other places I plow as a reference
     
  3. cf1128

    cf1128 Member
    from NH
    Messages: 77

    QUALITY.
    IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME.
    Seriously, do a killer job, take pride in what you do and forget this year, you are 7 months behind.
    Decide what you want to grow, commercial or residential.
    Press the flesh this summer.
    Make sure your insurance and equipment can handle your sales skills.
    I suggest you do what you say you will and over deliver. Easier said than done.
    Be careful what you wish for, if you do grow and cannot do what you promised, someone just like you will be there to take up the slack.
    Be honest, take pride in what you do.
    Tell your wife and kids you will see them in May.
     
  4. dubya

    dubya Junior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 23

    Put your snow removal service on Google so they can find you with an internet search. Also in the Yellow Pages listing too. I switched over my home phone to a business phone and got a free listing. check with your phone company. You will have all the work you can handle.
     
  5. grnstripes

    grnstripes Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    QUALITY just like everyone else says
    word of mouth goes a long way
     
  6. D&E

    D&E Senior Member
    Messages: 104

    Quality is my number one goal. Believe me, I take more pride in my work than almost anybody you'll meet.

    I like the Google idea. Yellowpages just doesn't seem to make sense to me. Listing there throws you in right next to ALL of the competition. Seems like having a company name that starts with "A" would be best so you're first in line.
     
  7. dubya

    dubya Junior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 23

    The Yellow Pages was an excellent way for people to find me and inundated me with calls. It made sense because it was free too. The Google listing brings in a lot of clients too now. These days i don't have to advertise but add a few when I lose one each year. Over the years I only took clients in my same town and have about 50 residential accounts so they are all concentrated in about a 2 mile radius. If you are close to them, your service will be much better than the guy coming from any distance. You will be more dependable.
     
  8. asps4u

    asps4u Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    1-Quality, your customers will tell a couple people about your good service, but they will tell everyone about poor service
    2-Get a website-best advertising investment I ever made
    3-Knock on A LOT of doors next summer to see if you can submit a bid
    4-Letter up your truck to keep your name/logo out there in front of people's faces
     
  9. buddy4781

    buddy4781 Senior Member
    Messages: 114

    I have found that doing quality work, comunicating with your customer, being persistant about knocking doors selling myself and services has paid off. Look for your competition that does bad work and those are your prospects for next season. I doubled our accounts this year and have had some issues getting jobs done in a timely manor. If I can get out by 2-3 AM I'm ok but if I can't get out until later I need to call on a sub. Great service and comunicaation are key to retaining current business and growing your business. I don't advertise or have signage on my eguipment. I just knock the same doors every year and let them name thier own price for my services. This gets me in the door and many times thier price is more than what I would have charged. Don't be the cheapest just the best.
     
  10. dubya

    dubya Junior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 23

    Thats a good point: "don't be the cheapest, be the best". The priority for most of my customers is getting it done in a reasonable time and being dependable. They need to get out and go to work and are not going to quibble over a few bucks. Problem is with residential plowing is that everyone wants to be first. A big source of stress for me, but they know I will be there eventually. I rotate the areas I do for each snow storm to just so its fair to everyone too.