So, you decided to take the leap and start your own lawn care or landscaping company…
You’re feeling both exhilarated and a little scared at the same time, because you need to find your first clients.
… But it’s a lot easier than you think.
Here’s how lawn care professionals get their first clients:
Step 1: Network in Your Local Market
When you’re just starting out, the easiest way to find clients is through networking.
Networking through your local Chamber of Commerce, joining local and county business associations and other networking programs are all ways to find lawn and landscaping clients.
You’ll be starting out with residential clients first - unless you know a property manager or business owner who wants you to work for them.
So, it’s beneficial to walk the neighborhoods surrounding your company to let your neighbors know you’re open for business. Design postcards and door hangers and start knocking on doors to see who needs lawn care services.
At the end of the day, the way you build relationships, network and communicate determines the amount and quality of clients you convert.
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Step 2: Be Active on Social Media
Social Media is the newest form of networking.
You want to be active on social media, but you still have to act professionally.
You might not have a brand new truck with your logo, but still wear a shirt, be professional and don’t attack negative reviewers.
In order to find homeowners (as well as business owners), you’ll want to focus on Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn tends to be geared toward green industry pros looking for commercial clients.
Focusing on Twitter and Facebook because that’s where you’ll find homeowners. LinkedIn tends to be geared toward green industry pros looking for commercial clients.
When you develop a following on Facebook and Twitter, the next step is advertising. Facebook advertising is one of the best and least expensive ways to grow your lawn business.
Your goal, though, is to save up money to hire a web designer to develop a website that will draw people to you and make you the local green industry go-to company.
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Step 3: Get Known Online
As you grow your business, you want to include other ways of getting your name out in the digital marketplace.
Here are some low cost or free ways to build up your online presence…
Sign up on Angie’s List
Angie’s List has been around for nearly two decades and homeowners trust this source to find service providers.
You can join Angie’s List for free, but you’ll eventually want to advertise to find even more prospects. It’s also a low-cost way to advertise.
Put Your Business on Bing and Google Local Listings
You can put your business on the virtual map… literally.
While you may not have a website to include right away, you can still add your phone and text numbers as well as your email address.
Get More Referrals from Your Lawn Care Clients
If you do an outstanding job for a customer, ask them for a referral. At first, it’s uncomfortable asking your customers for their feedback, but you want to get into the habit of asking them.
When you get known online, you can beat your competition and get reviews that build your lawn care business’ credibility.
You can use these mini-testimonials on your postcards, brochures or flyers as well as on your website. They’re marketing gold and make you look like a dependable and trustworthy lawn and landscape company owner.
Step 4: Always, ALWAYS Respond
You have an excellent pipeline of customers who are happy with the work you do on their properties. However, there is one very unhappy customer who left negative feedback on your Facebook page.
You feel hurt, attacked and worried that all of your customers will leave you because this one person hated your service. So, you want to attack back.
Instead, always reply to the negative feedback and ask what specifically went wrong with your services.
Did you accidentally mow over a favorite plant? Did the fertilizer you use burn their grass?
Once you know the problem, you can calmly address it. Go and make it right if you did do something to damage your customer’s property.
You should aim to respond to every review and address the problem within 12 hours. After that, you have about 24 hours to start fixing it. This is the best practice to prove your customer service is top notch.
Step 5: Take it to the Next Level
Generally, you’ll need to gain some experience working with residential accounts before you take on the next level - commercial lawn accounts.
There is one stepping stone you can take:
Many homeowners and community associations hire lawn and landscaping maintenance companies to keep residential properties looking well-cared for and uniform.
Communication. This is especially true when they’re with a community association, because there are multiple decision makers.
When you pitch a community association, be sure to talk to the property manager.
Even though the board members are the decision makers, the property manager could potentially be an advocate for you with the board. So if you go around them, you’re likely to lose a potential advocate.
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When you’re first starting out, you need to pound the pavement, both literally and online, to find your first customers.
Once you’re on a roll, and your handiwork becomes well-known, you’ll see your client load will begin to grow too.
Your online presence is the key to finding your first lawn care clients and getting referrals.
All you have to do is start!
Originally published July 5, 2018 4:20 PM, updated June 12, 2019 11:10 AM