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Marketing for Snow

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by jerrydean, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. jerrydean

    jerrydean Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    After years of doing this, when we get a lot of snow like we did this year, I found that EVERYBODY gets fired.

    Just wondering if you guys could give info on how you get commercial accounts. I use a yellow page advertisement. $500 per year, pays for itself in no time. I want to do more for the 2010/2011 year because there will be great opportunities to pick and choose customers.

  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I assume your talking about driveways?
  3. jerrydean

    jerrydean Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    no read again

    no, I'm talking about Commercial accounts. You know parking lots, asphalt, white lines........ I am just trying to get a feel how different people go after these accounts. I know how I do it, just wanted to know how others do it.
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    All it takes is a phone call. Call and ask for the person in charge of maintenance ,try and set up an appointment now while everything is fresh in their mine about the poor snowplowing

    Sorry didn't see the commercial part.
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,862

    You said in your own first post that next year you'll be able to pick and choose.

    Well?? What's stopping you?

    Head out right now, or at least make a list of customers that you're going to 'pick and choose', ones that you want to target.

    I do it year-round.

    Right now there's a bank that's bought out a restaurant, next to a restaurant that I currently service.

    Today I spent a small amount of time online and found where this bank's main branch is located. Tomorrow I'm driving down to find the president or someone that can direct me to the correct person who I can discuss future operations with.

    I always find it's better to go face to face. It's quite easy to tell someone no over the phone. If you drive there, you've already made more of an effort over phone calls or mass mailings. If you're there in person, you're a real person, just just a voice or piece of paper.

    It's much easier to answer questions when you're on the property, whether about your own operation, or how your operation would better serve the prospective's property.
  6. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,035

    WOW, i didnt know there was such a thing as a $500 per year yellow pages ad!!!
    Ours is over $12,000.00 a year and its not that big! Now it is in a couple of section but still:popcorn:

    Oh wait i know you must be in the "other book":laughing::laughing:
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Next time they want you to advertise tell them NO,and then see what they will offer you in price reduction.
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,862

    He probably meant an ad for "$500 / season to do your driveway" ad.
  9. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,035

    Oh we do, it seems like every other year our rep changes. We tell them we are cutting out all the bs and just running a in column box, so they keep coming back as it gets closer to print deadline. We have 1/4 pages in a couple of sections, dollar bill in one, in line boxes in some sections and we are in two books. We also went with the online stuff a little.

    Print yellow pages is on the down hill for sure
  10. veggin psd

    veggin psd Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    I have survived off referals thus far.

    The calls go like this......So, you do So-and-So's lot, right? I say proudly "Yes, I do"

    THen the door is open. You have the decision maker on the hook, and from there its a matter of understanding how long it will take. I dont measure how long it will take ME, more like how long it takes the goof-off that used to do the lot. If you are not sure who was doing it, politely ask.......You will soon figure out a pattern in you competitions bidding/estimating habits.

    Works for me......
  11. LawnGuy110

    LawnGuy110 Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    A lot of the time I only do smal businesses and I talk to them and get to be friends with them really and they let me know if they know someone that ever needs someone for snow removal.
  12. Westhardt Corp.

    Westhardt Corp. Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    Referrals are king, but a close second is to drive around and scope out lots that are interesting to you and poorly done. Chances are there will be a lot of them if you look around. Talk to a manager/senior/etc and ask if they are pleased with the service. Find out who manages them, and get in touch with them--ask them if they are pleased with the current vendor. If they both respond "yes" then there's not much you can sell them on immediately, but inquire into whether they are accepting bods for next season, and if so when/where/who, etc.

    If they are not happy with their current situation, then it's a wide open door for you to ask why, and demonstrate what you see done wrong, and how you can improve it.

  13. ff610

    ff610 Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    I have pretty much the same advise as the others. I've been in the snow business for 20 years now, and I can remember using a newspaper ad once. That's it, and that ad only drew out the people that I really didn't want to work for. You did hit it on the head! Having the ability to pick and choose your customers is key. I have grown my business strictly by referrals and word of mouth. Some lessons learned the hard way, some by watching others. Just as Westhardt Corp does, I drive around my routes at least every couple snowfalls and just observe who and what's being done, when, and how good. I'm also working on business next year right now! Like said by the others, do it why their bad memories are fresh.
  14. Westhardt Corp.

    Westhardt Corp. Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    WHAT?! You're not allowed to do that until at least September!


  15. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,106

    Put your name and # on your trucks too. People notice what sites you do, approach when you stop for coffee... at the gas station...in your driveway. I'm pretty rural and yellow pages tend to only bring me tire kickers who've asked every Tom, Dick and Harry, on the 4 pages before and after me for a price. After trying it for 7 years, I dropped it completely and found I have the same amount of calls.
  16. Westhardt Corp.

    Westhardt Corp. Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    True. For comparison, look into what a billboard costs, and then compare it to vehicle graphics. AND, a billboard doesn't put your name in front of your work. Just make sure you have calm guys driving your trucks...