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Getting new accounts

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Slicer Al, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. Slicer Al

    Slicer Al Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 12

    I am a one truck operation, triing to get a couple more account this year. I have put an ad in the local paper that has generated a couple of estatimates. What I am wondering is, how do some of you get more business.

    Do you use just ads?
    Do you go door to door, so that your accounts are close?

    Slicer Al
  2. erkoehler

    erkoehler PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,279

    Have you tried Craigslist?
  3. highlander316

    highlander316 Senior Member
    Messages: 583

    what is your main line of work? Does it tie into this business? For me, in the summer we do lawn maintenance and landscaping. All of my accounts come from businesses we take care of and a few residential customers (as most take care of the snow themselves and the businesses keep me pretty busy).

    You can try craigslist, but I think you'll get a lot of cheap people on there. It takes a while, to build up a good list (unless like I said above, your main like of work can tie into this business as the majority of places around here are cleaned by landscapers and other contractors). You can try newspapers, door hangers, etc, you have to really get your name out there in my different forms of advertisement. Your accounts might be spread out at first, unless you offer a good enough price, that you can line up driveways, one next to the other.
  4. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I'd worry about this time of year trying to get commercials, almost any part of the country -- I think a majority are already signed. Some residentials might still be undecided or available (may not have considered snowplowing yet).
  5. cleansweep007

    cleansweep007 Senior Member
    Messages: 119

    Just a suggestion.
    We put an add in the phone book which developed a few accounts and have our own website which has defintely gave us some business. People out there are very internet savy and were impressed since we are one of the only two business here in the local area that has a website. My one true money maker is "yard signs". I cant tell you how much business we have attained by putting up a couple yard signs at major street intersections. We answered so many calls after those signs went up and business has doubled since last season. Give it a shot and see what happens. I haven't been disappointed by it yet !

    Tim A
  6. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    Hi I never found Flyers or grocery stores or newspapers to work well. You get responses from all over. So you would spend all your time driving between customers, and get responses from people with driveways you dont want to plow.:dizzy:

    I usually try to make my adds funny, or at least amusing.
    I usually get a 15% return on advertising by doing it this way.

    1) Find an area you want to plow in.
    2) Drive around and get the addresses of the houses you want to do. (why advertise to
    . a driveway with no place to put the snow)
    3) Go to the town hall and buy "list of persons" or "voter registration" or "list of registered
    . Voters" towns call them different names. These "lists" are . ordered by street address and have the names at that address.
    4) Send a letter to the houses you want to do. Now you can address the letter to a
    . person, I send the letter to the wife.
    5) Be sure to tell them why your service is best for them.
    6) Tell them why your service is better for them.
    7) Tell them why your service is better!
  7. BGehl

    BGehl Member
    Messages: 89

    I am starting new this year so i had to generate all my accounts. I am shooting for 15 accounts this year and am almost there. 6 have come from yard signs, one from craigslist, two from word of mouth, and three from flyers.
  8. DeereGuy

    DeereGuy Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    When I did Resi's, the best way I found was the simple readable signs with vinyl lettering on coroplast that most sign shops sell. I tried everything and the least successful were ads in the paper not to mention the most expensive. Folk see a professional but not flashy sign on their street mted on an island etc and they call right away. Especially during the first storm. Folks are busy and they react with impulse. Keep it simple. Snow Plowing and a cell #.

    Just keep some blank contracts in the truck to sign them up right away before they change their mind. he he... I had one guy tell me he bought a snow blower during the first storm after he begged me to plow his miserable driveway over 3 or 4 calls. Contract or not I was actually relieved as I could barely swing my truck in, the entrance was so narrow. There's good money in it, i just don't have the patience any more as long as I can get the Commercial's. Good luck.

    Oh.. I almost forgot. Purchase the special for multiple signs. Say 6 at least, as the signs tend to walk fairly quickly. People in my area don't like to look at them, so they stop and take them. I don't have any right to post them on Town property so that's fair I guess.
  9. BGehl

    BGehl Member
    Messages: 89

    Regarding placement of signs, i have found that most of my accounts don't mind if i put sign in there yard for a couple weeks. I thought i would have to offer a discount in order to do it, but everyone i have asked said sure.

    That works out very well as you tend to get accounts that are close to your existing accounts. Got one more yesterday by doing that . . .
  10. Slicer Al

    Slicer Al Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 12

    Thanks for the input and suggestions. I tried the ads in local paper and have acquired 50% of the estimates that I have given out. Total number isn’t a lot but I doubled what I had last year and that was my goal. Still have some time to hopefully get more. Thanks.
  11. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    Word of mouth- best advertising out there- and it's free! Do good work and the work will follow- I don't advertise at all and I was turning people away last winter! (kept the same client base this winter)- works for me for my landscaping company too.
  12. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Put your business name and cell number on your truck. Works great for me.
  13. Slicer Al

    Slicer Al Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 12

    I also mention to clients that if I am able to get a couple of driveways in a close enough area, that my price goes down. That has gotten a couple of people excited and they respond by asking around their neighborhood and helping me get some more business.
    I have thought of the name and number on the truck.
  14. BGehl

    BGehl Member
    Messages: 89

    So my yard signs took a little hit today. A got a call from a guy at the town saying they don't allow folks to put up signs unless it is on their own property, and i have to take my down.

    I asked about the roofing and siding guys who put up signs after they do a job. He said they are only allowed to have them up for one week. So i convinced him that i should be able to put a sign up on a new customers yard for a week. That is probably the time when they are most effective anyway.
  15. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo Senior Member
    Messages: 144

    If it works so well why do you have only one truck still. Serious question. Word of mouth does NOT grow a start up business.
  16. timberseal

    timberseal Senior Member
    from 46385
    Messages: 247

    Pick up the phone and call with regard to commercial. Residential we rely on our existing local database from current customers. We just had our first snow and after doing my lots I drove through town to see who wasn't plowed. If they were open I stopped in.... if nobody was there I called to see who was in charge of the snowplowing contracts. Gained 1 account today from it.
  17. Grampa Plow

    Grampa Plow Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 274

    I agree with Timberseal. I have done that year after year if I decide that I want to pick up a new lot or 2. I will watch who either isn't done or who isn't done on time and stop by. I got 2 new lots in December of last year. I didn't want more after that, but I still made mental notes for talking with folks next year. Guess what, I talked with those folks this year after I added another truck and they were my first 2 new accounts.
  18. WheelerandSon

    WheelerandSon Member
    Messages: 77

    I put a phone book ad in this year. The book came out in November. I think people are shell shocked from last year in our area (Iowa) as the amount they had to spend over budget. I made 84 cold calls/radom bids, all priced by the hour. Got 4 that way, however, I think I am finding that the majority of the guys in my area are pricing per push. Not sure how I feel about per push pricing though. I might have to go to that to get some more accounts to keep three trucks busy.
  19. Grampa Plow

    Grampa Plow Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 274

    I am curious, how many accounts do you need "to keep busy?" I don't do that many since it's been a sideline business for 38 years, but with three trucks I have just just over 20 lots on a regular basis and some with 2 or 3 inch triggers. (I know, I know, it all depends on how big they are, but mine on average take less than an hour each, some even less.)
  20. WheelerandSon

    WheelerandSon Member
    Messages: 77

    Grampa, I would love 20 accounts. That would keep me busy!!!!!!!!