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What's your method of reaching new residential (and commercial) customers?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by TGM, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. TGM

    TGM Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    i'm not by any means new to the snow/ice management scene but am for this winter in my own business. What I'm wondering is: how you guys go out and acquire new residential business? Fliers, handouts, etc.? What about repetition to specific neighborhoods?

    I wont go knocking on doors and I hate cold calling (though I have to push myself to do so on commercials as I'm trying to bid them right now).
  2. JR Snow Removal

    JR Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    What I do for commercial accounts is go in ask for the person who deals with it and hand them 2 business cards and a couple scrap pads with my logo and contact info on it and ask if they are accepting bids this year.

    Residential i printed 2000 flyers dropping them off a store fronts and handing them out.

    I also did about 20 yard signs this year haven't got anything off them yet but its still early around here for residential stuff.
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Residential you can just take an ad out in the local paper. Commercials I will just send in a bid and call them later.
  4. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,912

    Successful businesses and people for that matter do what others are not willing to do.
  5. studebaker48

    studebaker48 Member
    Messages: 53

    Do an add in the paper for home owners. Commercial is a different story some places want proof you have the equipment and man power for the job. If you havent been around the commercial world i would start with Banks etc... Then expand into bigger shopping centers etc...
  6. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Word of mouth and ad in the local paper.
  7. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    Hi I never found Flyer's or grocery stores to work well.
    Newspapers, you pay to advertise to people that dont have driveways and to people that have driveways you may not want to plow. That is waisted money, and you end up with customers spread all over. In a storm you would spend all your time driving between customers.

    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!
  8. TGM

    TGM Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    there are a couple specific neighborhoods i want to target probably via direct mailing. i used to put "resident" for residential mailings but i'll looking into buying a mailing lists at the town hall.

    yes, i try to sell quality or VALUE really rather than cheap. BUT i need to get 40+ residentials or a mix of commercials in there to feel comfortable about the winter.

    terrapro i agree, i just don't have the balls to put myself out there like that to be totally honest. i HATE cold calling and knocking on doors, but calls & and referrals to me...and i have no problem selling myself. i'm just wondering how some of you guys pick up a good list of customers' so quick without being lowballers...
  9. studebaker48

    studebaker48 Member
    Messages: 53

    Ever heard of Brickman, Davey Tree etc... You have to start somewhere if you cant door knock or cold call hire someone. YOU have to do it at first and then you have a name for yourself.I have been in business 8 years and i still cold call. You have to believe in your company and service. Something we did to help get good clients we filled the pot holes for them for free. You might try that. Cold patch is cheap in bulk. But if you cant be a sales man you wont go anywhere very fast.ussmileyflag
  10. MeeksCo

    MeeksCo Senior Member
    Messages: 214

    Good way to put it studebaker. You must call call call. Door to door isnt in my sales style. Though, I do agree with walking into a commercial property with business card and flyer in hand, shaking someones hand, being clean cut, park your vehicle properly, and give an assurance before you leave.

    I also have copies of my flyers, contracts and invoices if you're interested.

    I have signs made and place them on major corners and at the exits of developments next to, let's say, a lightpole, so it doesnt annoy so many.
    I also make flyers, place them in a ziplock bag, fill the bag with a little salt, seal the bag and toss them in the end of driveways. Believe it or not, that works great. It is also the cheapest.
    Sending out 100 letters/flyers through the mail will cost about $50 these days.
    Expect one return phone call for every ten people contacted.

    Large Decals on your vehicles window during fall/winter season. You can scrape them off after winter is over and purchase a new decal next season.
    (SNOW PLOWING 555-555-5555 LIC & INS)
    Search craigslist for a decal guy. Most will make you a vinyl decal for less then $30 if you put it on yourself.
  11. TGM

    TGM Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    i tried hiring a salesman for my landscape company ohh about late spring and that did not go well. through advertising & referrals i've been doing pretty good this year considering the bad economy (isn't too bad in the northeast).

    i would pay someone to set up contacts or pass fliers out or whatever...but i could use some advise from people who have done that before.
  12. rs services

    rs services Junior Member
    Messages: 17

    cwpm410 I would be interested in seeing your flyers and contracts if possible rscjb@embarqmail.com
  13. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I have a flier floating around on PS somewhere see if I can find it from 8 years ago.

    snowplowing flyer (Medium) (Medium) (Medium).JPG
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  14. MeeksCo

    MeeksCo Senior Member
    Messages: 214

    Monthly Agreement/contract and Per Visit receipt/contract.

    Attached is also a copy of a sign I posted in local stores, coffee shops, fitness clubs, rec centers, gas stations...and whoever else that would let me tape a sign to their door/corkboard. (Make sure you place about 4-6 pushpins in your flyers on corkboards so the local rival company has to take out 4-6 pins from your sign before throwing it away if they see it. If you put on epin in, they can easily walk by, grab it and throw it in the garbage. Trust me! Mine get taken down and replaced by other contracts all the time.)

    I also have a couple of other letters that I pass out to local businesses. I'll keep those to myself.

    The lawn cut handouts: These can be made into anything you want to sell: Snow Plowing, landscaping, etc. I took a hole puncher, punched a hole in the top right corner, sent a rubber band through and wrapped it through itself, then put them on peoples door knobs.
    That was way cheaper then door hangers, and it also shows that someone personally took the time to make them. WAY CHEAPER!

    You go to OfficeMax, purchase a stack of 50lb paper (your choice in color/material), make 100 copies, use their cutting board to cut about 10 sheets at a time, and you then have 500 handouts. You can tape them to peoples doorknobs or use a rubber band. It only will cost you about $15 to make. (If you ask the printing personell nicely, they may cut your copies professionally with their cutter for free...they do it for me everytime. [make sure to please and thank you them, they'll remember you.])

    I don't have a copy available for my flyers that I place in baggies with sand/pebbles and toss in driveways. But, you can simply make one if you want. Microsoft Word -> Choose Landscape mode -> Insert Text Box (This way you can position it wherever on the page) -> Make a simple layout - >Copy and paste that text box three other times to create 4 squares that are the same. ->Go to office max, copy them, cut them, place them in ziplock baggies (Bulk stores like Sam's Club, BJ's and Costco sell boxes of Glad Sandwich bags of about 500 for $5-7. Buy a big bag of pebbles/sand at walmart/home depot for $3.50, place flyer in bag, put a little sand in there, zip them up, throw them out your window in driveways. VERY CHEAAAAPP!! Works great. I sometimes get calls from people just telling me that this is a creative way of marketing.

    I'm bored, figured I'd babble.
    Okay! Bring on the critiscm...


    Attached Files:

  15. CAT 245ME

    CAT 245ME PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,066

    I found this very interesting, I would say that about 3 out of 4 homes that contact me for snow plowing are the women NOT the men, and I much rather deal with the wife because I find that most of the men do not have a clue as where the women ask the questions, such as are you insured, how long have you been doing this and ask for references.

    When it comes to adding work, if I see a home that has just been sold in my area, then I will stop in and offer my services, also look at joining SIMA it is worth every penny. I became a member this summer and wish I did a few years ago and feel if I had that I would be farther along than I am right now.
  16. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    When should I start advertising? I live in western md and only a few storms before new years. Also, does anyone have a prewritten proposal that they'd be willing to share? Thanks
  17. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    Consider the concept of piggy-backing.

    Some companies (like pool services, or lawn care only) dont offer a winter service or grass cutting service for that matter.

    Hook up with them, and try to market their existing customers. You have to assure the business owner you wont scoop any of their work-in the form of a contract or a handshake-whatever works for the situation.

    When I first started my biz, I worked alongside a large lawn care company that only ferted and squirted. A simple letter went out and I had 60 lawn booked my first year. That number went up to 300 by year 3-had more work than I could ever imagine.

    The beauty of this method is that your target demographic (income + laziness level, and geographical location) are already established. So is a rapport with the main service provider.

    Sometimes you have to think outside the box.
  18. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Maybe I missed something

    How do I get more snow jobs?
    One of the main things to consider is not simply what to use, but what do you want to accomplish? How many new accounts are you looking to add on? The answer to this question will determine the best type of advertising as well as the potential dollar volume you will need to spend to accomplish your goal.

    Advertising your snow services is not as hard as it sounds once you set your goals and determine your plan of action.
  19. Wilnip

    Wilnip Senior Member
    Messages: 592

    You know this is a 3 year old thread, right?
  20. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Thanks and Yes I saw that

    I thought you know what, maybe they are still in business and looking to grow or maybe make some changes.

    Honestly, thanks for keeping an eye out. At my age, sometimes I slip a little. Hope you have a great year.