The number one way to grow any lawn care business is to retain and grow your existing clientele. According to Lawn and Landscape, acquiring a new customer is five to ten times more expensive than retaining an existing one, and long term customers spend 67% more on products and services than new customers. Here are a few strategies that will help you retain and grow your existing customer base:
Communicate Well and Often
Don’t let landscaping customers forget about you or the value you provide. Whether you are communicating face to face, through email, or social media, make sure your customers hear from your lawn care business at least once a week. This will allow you to understand your customers’ needs, prevent lawn care issues before they arise, and ultimately help build trust between you and your customers.
Upselling can be a strong strategy to provide more value to you and your customers. You should only upsell products or services when it’s in your customer’s best interests. This could be offering a seasonal cleanup or something as simple as a mulch refresh to increase the curb appeal of their home. Each customer is different and it is your responsibility to understand and meet their needs – get out there and make it happen.
Continually Add the “Wow” Factor
Simple gestures to impress and entice customers can lead to repeat sales, increased customer satisfaction, and positive word of mouth marketing. This can be as simple as adding edging for free in every other service, planting a few flowers at the beginning of the season, or leaving a thank you card to share your appreciation for their business. It’s these unprompted gestures that show the value you provide and get your customers talking about your business.
2. Create an Amazing Company Culture
According to the 2018 State of the Industry Report published in Lawn and Landscape, the biggest issue plaguing landscape businesses is finding and retaining quality labor. While this has already wreaked havoc on a lot of small lawn care companies, it is projected to get worse with the steady growth in the housing market and lawn care industry. Here are three things you can do to stand out and hire the right people to help grow your business:
Offer Competitive Payments and Incentives
If you want to grow a lawn care business, you’ll need to hire the right employees. Top talent requires top pay, and it’s worth it to ensure a workforce that is dependable and committed to excellence. It’s also a good idea to offer an incentive structure to motivate them during the busiest parts of the lawn care season. For example, if weather puts you behind two days, you could provide a $100 bonus if your employees can complete their routes by the end of the week. If they do complete their route, the $100 is minuscule compared to the money you made from not missing out on a service and your employees feel a sense of satisfaction for handling their business. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Establish a Promotion Strategy
Without a promotion strategy for your employees, there are only two paths they can take for professional growth: leave for a new job or start their own lawn care company. Both are a major disadvantage to you, so it's important to have a promotion strategy in place so your employees can succeed in their jobs and grow. This will provide enough incentive to make it through the hottest of days and help them grow professionally.
Create Effective Landscaping Job Ads
Not all job ads are created equal. Writing and placing a job ad that will bring in the right employees for your business requires research and strategy. First, place your job ad everywhere – job boards, social media, and, if you’re in dire need of an employee, pay a little extra to promote it. Second, skip the job requirements. Chances are, you don’t need an employee with 3+ years of lawn care experience. What you need is a dedicated employee who will show up and put in 100% – the technical skills are teachable. Don’t forget to promote the benefits, perks, and culture you offer.
With the right employees you can grow your business year over year with fewer bumps in the road.
3. Have an Online Presence
It’s not enough to rely on word of mouth marketing as a lawn care professional. With more than 86% of people turning to the internet to research before making a purchase decision, you must have an online presence to take your business to the next level. Follow these tips to grow a lawn care business and stand out in your local market.
Claim Your Google Business Profile Page
Google Business Profile is a free listing tool that helps you get seen by customers in your area. It provides contact information for your lawn care business, where it is located, and reviews other customers have left. It’s one of the easiest ways to drive more traffic to your website, and the best part is, it’s completely free. Learn how to claim your Google Business Profile page and start driving local traffic to your business website.
Post on Social Media Frequently
Social media can be a game-changer for yard care businesses because it allows you to interact and promote your product to a large audience for little to no cost. However, social media is a long-term strategy and shouldn’t be used as a short-term solution for conversions. The primary advantage of posting on social media is that it builds brand awareness. That in turn leads to increased customer retention and boosted word of mouth marketing. For ideas on what type of content you should be posting to social media, check out this article from Total Landscape Care.
Build Your Email List
Email is a powerful tool for lawn care business owners because it has a low startup cost and can yield strong results. There are lots of ways you can build your email list, but the two most effective ways are asking for your customer's emails when they sign up for lawn care services and by providing a newsletter to your audience that they can sign up for on your website. The purpose of building an email list is so you can send informational or promotional emails to your audience that drive conversions and build brand awareness. You can do this by sending how-to videos, blog posts you’ve created, seasonal promotions, etc. Read what Landscape Leadership writes about email marketing for lawn care professionals.
Build a Website
Building a website to help grow your lawn care business has never been easier and more affordable. With companies like Squarespace and Wix, you can have a beautifully designed website that drives traffic in as little as two hours. To maximize the value of your lawn care website, it should have the following:
- Lawn care business contact information
- An order form for landscaping services
- A list of the yard care services you offer
- Photos of work you have completed
Automation is the catalyst for growth in any lawn care business. As you continue to add more landscaping customers, it’s important that you free up time with automation so you can focus on the revenue-generating portions of your business. Here is a list of things you can automate that will help save time and money as you continue to grow:
Automating your invoicing is easier than you may think, and can help save time and money as you continue to grow your book of business. With companies like Service AutoPilot and Jobber you can create custom invoice templates so your landscaping customers can pay online with the click of a button. Not to mention you can set up automatic invoice reminders and easily track your customers’ payments. With automated invoicing, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to send an invoice for yard care services or wondering if it has been paid.
Lawn Care Service Requests
Don’t miss out on new customers because you can’t respond to your landscaping service requests fast enough – automate a generic email response to set the right expectations and keep your customers interested. If a customer has to wait a full day to hear back from you about a yard care service request, chances are they have already reached out to someone else to fulfill their needs. If you can, add a link to the automated response that allows them to book a time for you to visit their property to provide a bid. This will help keep you organized and convert more leads.
Investing in your lawn care business's reputation can be a huge benefit for long term growth. That is why it is important to regularly survey your customers and ask them to leave reviews. Automating this process will allow you to stay focused during the busy season while also receiving good feedback from your existing customers and attracting new ones. It is best practice to survey your customers every quarter, but you can adjust the frequency to meet your business needs. To automate this process, you can use email tools like MailChimp or HubSpot and have it scheduled on a specific date without you having to manually do it.
5. Use Lead Generation Sites to Fill Existing Routes
Using lead generation sites to fill existing routes is a great way to grow your lawn care business. Most lead generation services are free or cost less than going out and finding new customers on your own, which makes it a great strategy to take your lawn care business to the next level.
The best part about these types of sites is that they do all of the marketing, sales, and customer service for you, so all you have to do is go out, complete the work, and get paid. This saves time and money on the back-end dealing with customer inquiries, invoicing, and customer complaints. While you don’t always have as much control over the price or process of how you complete jobs, the benefits of doing business with these sites far outweigh the negatives as they continue to provide your business with a constant stream of landscaping jobs at no cost to you.
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