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need more clients

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by mean green 24, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. mean green 24

    mean green 24 Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    I have ads in pennysaver or shopper like every week. I haven't gotten that many customers from it and now running out of money. How do you guys get all your customers? Also have lost potential customers do too people undercutting me. I'm trying not to do that but its getting hard when I'm not sealing@the deal or getting the calls in the first place. Any input will help
     
  2. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I have established a customer base over many years of plowing. I have lost some, and gained some but they key is to start small and build from there. It took me 5 years to get enough work to keep one truck busy for 8 hours per storm. It took another 5 years to build it to 3 trucks per storm. So you just have to work, and build relationships with business owners, and managers to get the commercial stuff, and don't be afraid to throw a yard sign up when you have a sub division that has a lot of un plowed drives 4 to 6 hours after the storm is over. Word of mouth has been the best advertising I have done.
     
  3. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    takes time to get GOOD accounts
    DO NOT be a freakin lowballer....too damn many of them already
     
  4. pongow26

    pongow26 Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    You could also give your customers incentive to promote you too. Tell your customers you will give them a % off if you gain a customer on there recomendation
     
  5. AiRhed

    AiRhed Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    Find a company that needs subs.
     
  6. spokanesnow

    spokanesnow Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    i started with zero snow accounts this year and i now have 30 accounts (3 commercial) I have a lawn business already so some clients were easier to get then others. I made up a flyer that is a 1/2 sheet of paper w/ a pic of a guy blowing snow and the title "Dont rely on your nieghbors this season for snow removal"
    then i have my prices on there ( 25- 2 car garage, 30- 3 car garage, commercial= $70 an hour) this is for 2"-6" and i add five bucks more to the residential for 6" + of snow. I go to the nice neighborhoods after a storm and whoever isnt cleared out say five hours after the storm i go door to door and talk to people. I now am billing out $760 everytime it snows 2"+. It takes me and a buddy ten hrs. to get them all done they are all with in 2 miles of each other. i have a one stage toro that is so sweet for the small stuff and a 36" ariens 2 stage for the big stuff. Hope this helps good luck! I also put out five big signs but have only got 3 new people from those.
     
  7. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,216

    I am starting out this year. I hit the streets with flyers. I look for real estate signs and call the company to see if they need help with all of their properties. Try fast food franchisees that have many locations. If potential clients have snow plows lined up for the winter, ask them to keep your contact information as a back up. I also use my truck for junk removal and light moving and hauling. Good Luck.
     
  8. ShorePower

    ShorePower Senior Member
    Messages: 116

    Print advertising ie. Pennysaver ads are becoming a thing of the past. Try making up Flyers with prices stated on them. Post some in local stores where possible. Target properties you want just before a storm. This helped generate approx 5-10 new customer's each storm for me last year.
     
  9. LaPlante's

    LaPlante's Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    We do little over 20 commercial and 25 residentials we mow in the summer. Took three years before I landed commercials. My best advice is do a great job with your accounts because word of mouth is everything. Maybe a sign and local paper advertising. Keep working hard and it will come
     
  10. OC&D

    OC&D PlowSite Veteran
    from Earth
    Messages: 3,064

    Personally, I'd shy away from posting prices right off the bat for a few reasons:
    1: It tells your competition where their numbers need to be to undercut you.
    2: Customers will often hold you to them......if you run into a drive or whatever that is a PITA to plow, they could still say "Well it's only a 2 car garage, and your flyer said it will be $25).
    3: Commercial pricing varies greatly depending on the management company, owner, or whatever. They may want an hourly price per truck, shoveler, or whatever, or they may want a flat monthly fee, or per time, or whatever. Don't limit yourself by posting $70 per hour for commercial....be flexible to meet the expectations of your potential clients. The other thing is that there are commercial lots that are small, and may only take you 10 minutes to do, so are you going to charge them $11.70 to plow their lot?--they might hold you to it at your advertised rates!
    4: By offering free estimates, you'll have a chance to talk personally with potential customers. That face to face contact can make or break a sale. By having your prices immediately available, it gives people reasons to eliminate you as a prospect right off the bat, where you might otherwise be able to talk you and your services up to where the price may now seem reasonable to them. In many cases, you have to convince them your service is worth the $$ you're charging, you have no opportunity to do that when they don't call you in the first place.
     
  11. mean green 24

    mean green 24 Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    Thanks for the advise I do work a full time job so some of the commercial accounts are out of the picture right now(mediical buildings especially) don't need to get sued by someone who can't walk to begin with. I was trying to focus on residential this year to start and the lowballers are killing me but you guys brought up a good point in taking care of my customers and watching the unplowed houses after the storm (never thought of that) however I have offered a ten % off for each referral but no one has taken advantage of that. Maybe I'm too impatient, but are you guys picking up new customers this late in the season? Is it too late to use the flyers? How effective is it to have your number on your truck?
     
  12. peterng

    peterng Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    I started this year and this is what I have learned so far.

    Keep good records, I only have 7 residential contracts now, and the data is invaluable to the beginner. What time I showed up, left, how much ice melt, begin dya mileage, end mileage. Then distill transit totals, blower totals, plow. Know your numbers to determine what you should be charging and stating and saying.

    I've done nothing but Google adwords with a $3/day max cap. Has worked very well. A lot of people now turn to google before the yellow pages. I made up end of driveway markers with my web site and phone # on them. Our local online classifieds gets me a few calls for quotes / wk (kijiji, craigslist for you).

    I have turned down 7 out of 10 quotes. Tight service area, no gravel drives.

    Buy a Toro single stage blower. Great way to build volume until the plowing jobs you want accumulate.

    Have a long term plan of how you envision to maximize production ratios.

    I still don't know what I'm doing, but I'm learning.
    Good luck,
    Pete
    weplow.ca
     
  13. spokanesnow

    spokanesnow Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I go door to door with the flyers and introduce myself and hand them the paper tell them the price is on there and if they have any questions or want to sign up to give me a call. In going out twice after two storms for a total of four hours I recieved six new customers and one of them also gave me a $100 commercial account. It works well. Having the price on there saves you the hassle of the cheap people looking for a $10 shovel job. It also helps to have a good personality and beable to talk to old people.
     
  14. POWER STROKE

    POWER STROKE Member
    Messages: 99

    "spokanesnow"

    Do you only run snow blowers no plow. Because I started out 4 years only using snow blowers and only use snowblower to this day. alot of customers like here alot better than plows. no tore up lawn or huge piles. just wondering if you are the same.
     
  15. mean green 24

    mean green 24 Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    No I'm using a chevy w8ft plow but I do have a 24" blower and a atv w 5ft plow I just haven't thought of using them. Its hard right now cause I still work a fulltime job and my customers all want driveways done by 6am. I'm. Brand new not even out of the box. How many do you do with a blower?
     
  16. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    I never advertised in Massachusetts. I had a customer base for years and worked on referrals. My phone blew up! I wish I had my driveways back!!
     
  17. adan

    adan Member
    Messages: 36

    Try talking to some realtors. We have been getting some calls lately from real estate agents that get the driveways and sideways done nice before open house dates.

    Online advertising seems to be (if its not already) a better place to advertise than local papers.
     
  18. peterng

    peterng Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    That's a great idea. Insurance companies and hair salons are good places to show your face and drop off some cards. Girls talk !
     
  19. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    craigslist before a storm, advertise for driveways that way. just because its craigslist doesnt mean you lowball just throw an add up there for chits and gigles. could get work might not be able to. i did it before i found some one to work for. i was doing driveways and shoveling up to the front doors for 35 dallors and would throw salt for 5 dallors more. made 1000 bucks one storm and a couple 7-800 dallor storms as well. as much as i hate to say it there are people that will pay the price for a good job on craigslist, finding the costomers will be the tough part my phone would not stop ringing alot of cheap ass's i found to.
     
  20. SDP Hauling

    SDP Hauling Senior Member
    Messages: 114

    first year??

    I say sub for a larger company..practice to be efficient to be on your own