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When are most customers signing contracts?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by BGehl, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. BGehl

    BGehl Member
    Messages: 89

    Hey guys,

    When do you land most of your contracts?

    I am just starting my business and i am getting a little nervous that all my efforts to get the word out is not paying off in time.

    Since this will be my first year i want to keep it small, probably just 12 to 15 driveway contracts will do it. I have passed out well over one hundred flyers with 1 call so far. I have one other huge driveway that is going to cover all my costs (insurance, etc). But I am starting to get a bit nervous.

    By the way, I am looking for feedback on my website: http://www.gehlhomeservices.com/

    I am not sure if this is something i am supposed to do on this forum, but send me a PM if you are interested in a similar site for yourself.
  2. tom_mccauley

    tom_mccauley Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    If this is your first year, do not expect to be swimming in contracts. Start out small, do good no scratch that...Do GREAT work, and word of mouth will take over for your second,third etc......Excellent service is your best advertisement :drinkup::drinkup:
  3. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,921

    I have mine done by the end of Aug beginning of Sept.
    Fliers get a very poor return. 1-2% per 100..

    If your doing drives start by knocking on doors in the neighborhood that you want to work in.
    Introduce your self and sell your service then leave your card..
    Even if you don't get there business you made an good impression and theywill tell there friends,
  4. BGehl

    BGehl Member
    Messages: 89

    Thanks for the advice. Come to think of it, the guy i got was someone my 2 year old son and I personally handed our flyer to. (i know it is shameless, but i make my kid come with me. he is real cute)

    What do you guys think of a few yard signs around town? Are they at all effective?
  5. ducatirider944

    ducatirider944 Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 469

    Snofarmer is right word of mouth does way more than any advertisement does! When I started building houses on my own, I was dropping Thousands of dollars on ads, in the phone book and in the paper. All it got me was a bunch of people calling looking for the cheapest price! Trust me, that is not me nor will it ever be me. Not to sound big headed and yes there are other guys in my area that are like me, actually we are all freinds. If I lose work to them or they lose work to me we all understand why, we do very good work at a fair price. Make sure you go that extra step, even if it only takes a few seconds. You might do 100 jobs great, and if it comes up in a convesation and someone asks "who built your house or cleans your drive?", they will say your name and that you do a good job. Do a one crappy job and they will figure out away in ANY conversation how you screwed them over! It could be a conversation about football, and they will figure out away of saying you suck! :jester:
  6. BGehl

    BGehl Member
    Messages: 89

    I know i will do a great job. If you ask me, it is the only way TO do a job.

    I have tried to spread the word among people i know, but i am new to the area and don't really know to many folks yet. I understand advertising may have a pretty crappy return, but for now, it is all i got. I just want to make the best use of my time.

    I am sure it will work out. Always does.
  7. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    ive only talked to three potentials and a couple of last years so i wouldnt say your too far off track its still early for resi.
    course you probably dont want to go by my time table i tend to not worry about things unless its last minute and i have no choice.

    they are right about it being word of mouth too.

    i was talking to someone last year whose previous plow guy told her he wasn't doing it anymore so i said i would take care of hers. then the people acrossed the street asked her who she had plowing and referred me. then the people down the street asked who they had plowing..........
    then the daycare opposite from one of them asked (which i decided i didnt want the day care)

    point is just that people talk. about summer. about fall. and when winter is coming about that and who is plowing for them. along with the price of oil, pellet stoves, cord wood and everything else under the sun but the plow guys comes up.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2008
  8. 042500hd

    042500hd Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    Pennysaver. You should advertise there. payup Last year I didn't plow my own contracts was too busy with my full time business so i had given all my accounts to a buddy that was looking to grow. I couldn't ask for them back this year so I put the same ad in that I had used 5 years ago and I get at least three calls per day. Most I turn down because I like to keep my route tight otherwise I could easily have 50 accounts signed by now. Instead I have 16 in tight little groups. I'll probably take another 10 if i can keep them close.
    I don't know where you are looking to plow but the West Seneca pennysaver worked well for me when I used it last. This time around I'm not going any further than Lackawanna. If you are looking to sub shoot me a PM or email rmyers15@verizon.net I may be able to put you in touch with a decent guy who will give you all the hours you can handle.
  9. dirtmandan2

    dirtmandan2 Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    I started pushing the contracts hard about the middle of september... Right now I finally have everything signed that I'm expecting to get this winter, but i'm sure that theres still a few people that will be looking...
  10. ServiceOnSite

    ServiceOnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 928

    in your neighborhood just make sure your quite and you dont piss off your neighbors and you should do alright. drop me a pm and ill give you a heads up about a contract that i was asked about in your area. my best friend lives on west blood and him and i were asked about plowing a lot out there. give me your contact info and ill tell you where to go and who to see.
  11. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Put your phone number on your truck.
  12. linycctitan

    linycctitan Senior Member
    Messages: 588

    Resi contracts due in by 11/1, commercials due by 10/15. Fliers are generally not worth the effort, very small return. As others have said, no better way to sell than make a good impression, face time is key. Also, let them know that you respect the fact that their time is valuable. Actually a really good write up in this months issue of SNOW magazine about "cold calling". This method does work better than you would think.
  13. 06HD BOSS

    06HD BOSS 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,611

    in all honesty, up here its useless to advertise until right before the snow starts to fly. for some reason, nobody wants to think about it until the white stuff is knocking at the door. 90% of sign-ups come towards the later half of november and early december for us.
  14. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    Thats how it normally is for us, we are darn near booked up and the flood of last minute calls hasnt come in yet. I absolutely hate turning down work because we have invested the time and effort or solid past performance/word of mouth to generate these calls, but you can only add some many trucks and drivers in a year before everything is haywire.

    Note to potential customers: you stress me out, make a g.d. decision already.:gunsfiring:
  15. plowtime1

    plowtime1 Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    most of our commercial locations and as Tom mentioned "due GREATwork and because of GREAT work; you may not have to even question next years contract.
    In addition, always remain in touch with your customers throughout the year and not just winter season. JMO
  16. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    I use to hold that same opinion about doing great work and not questioning the next years contract. I think it holds true in some cases, but others seem like its just the bottom line and nothing else matters. It is our duty as snow and ice control contractors to stress to the customers the importance of the service we are providing, the more people that put importance on quality and not just rippin through the parking lot with the blade down the better off everyone will be.
  17. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,921

    just to qualify my first post and to pad my post count....;)

    I usually see the owners of my lots over the summer and 90% of my residential customers also.
    We shake hands, after they asked, are you going to plow us out this winter again.

    Hey, Whatever works.Get him a tee shirt with Shovel crew on it
    I think a nice looking yard sign in the right yard is a good idea.
    Just pick out a good neighborhood.

    I couldn't stand to wait until Dec to know or not. Who plowed until then?
    I think this it's one of the regional things. We could see a blizzard in Oct and get 3ft of snow..
  18. 06HD BOSS

    06HD BOSS 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,611

    December is pushing it, but yeah some people do wait that long to call. if we get snow before Dec its usually nothing plowable anyways. the only people thinking about snowplowing before the snow happens is the contractors. most homeowners could care less until its in the forecast.
  19. dunlaps lawncare

    dunlaps lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 111

    first snow in the forcast is when they call
  20. Team_Arctic

    Team_Arctic Senior Member
    Messages: 176

    i put a due date on all my commerical contracts and they normally wait until the last min to send them back, its usually around the 15th of oct. residential tends to not want to worry about snow until they have to im sure you will get some people calling, a big thing to think about if you are in your truck talking to people, most people judge a contractor by how his office looks( if his truck is messy so will he be) a nicely kept up truck will help.