Rochester, Minn.: “How many of you guys run mowing ads over the winter months?
“I was thinking of running a general ad in my local paper, just to keep my name fresh. This will cost some money—worth it?”
Maryland: “I would not spend money on a newspaper ad now for mowing.
“Do you have a Web site? If not, invest in that.
“Are you a member of your chamber of commerce? If not, invest in that.”
Maple Grove, Minn.: “You will be the only ad in the paper. I wonder why you would want to waste the money. Lawns are the last thing on people’s minds when they are covered with snow.”
Jupiter, Fla.: “I’m telling you, go knocking on doors. It’s free; people get to meet you in person so you are not just a name, it is good exercise, etc. Don’t waste money on an ad, just my opinion. I have had amazing success doing this.”
Harvey, La.: “I’m so about to try this method. Me and the fiancé go walk the dog every evening. I might as well meet some potential customers while I’m out!”
Jupiter, Fla.: “I’m telling you, it works. I started about three and a half months ago and about 50 percent of my customers came from knocking on doors. You never know who is unhappy with their current LCO, who wants to let someone start doing their yard, etc. When you come knocking, who do you think they will try? This method works and its absolutely free.
“Also, keep in mind that even if someone takes your card, they may call you a couple months down the road. This happened to me one time, but it’s the point. You never know.”
New York: “Door to door sucks in rural areas. Not because of walking or driving. It’s too intrusive. It could work well for developed areas.”
Northeast Mississippi: “I agree. And sometimes its half a mile or more between houses around here. Save your money and advertise in the spring.”
Rochester, Minn.: “I shouldn’t have said mowing ads.
“I meant a general business card type placement in my local paper—business services section or similar. I would not be advertising ‘Spring Mowing Special’ or anything like that, I know that is pretty dumb right now.
“My take is no one does this sort of thing.
“Web site is fine, but in small town Midwest, it really is just a novelty I don’t want to pay for.”
Upstate South Carolina: “I run my ad all winter. Here in the South, I can actually mow fescue, rye, etc., during the winter and do leaf cleanups pretty much until spring as long as it’s not too wet. I agree that it keeps your name in potential customers’ minds. I think advertising should be consistent to work, and if you only run it when you are slow then it will not consistently produce customers for you.”
Groton, Mass.: “I sell firewood, so I advertise in the winter. It also keeps people thinking of you.”
Milford, Conn.: “They are not thinking about you in the winter, and if they are not in buy mode they do not even look in that part of the paper. Your ad will likely go unseen. Sort of like car ads will go unseen a year or so from now if a certain guy raises taxes and puts us in a depression.”
Jupiter, Fla.: “I agree with that (if you are in a northern state). Like I said, I think your best bet is to go door to door. Just because they won’t use you now, doesn’t mean they won’t come next season. Give them your card and talk to them. If you have nothing better to do, why not? It’s great to be in an area where you work year-round in this biz. Winter is heaven for us down here. You get all the extra jobs—plant installs, mulching, trimming, cleanups, etc. You only cut twice a month, it’s awesome.”
Toledo, Ohio: “I will advertise all winter long. I’m not sure if anyone else has had these results, but the majority of my calls from fliers are months after I passed them out. I also advertise in some small local newspapers, which is very inexpensive and helps get your name out so people will remember you when they need your service.”
Jupiter, Fla.: “One more thing I’d like to throw out. If you do go the route of advertising, you may want to target neighborhood-specific newsletters. I have an ad going in one in December through February, and it cost $100 for three months. It is really cheap and I think more people will tend to see it because it is specifically for the residents of this neighborhood. If you are going to spend money, just make sure it is effective.”
Northeast Wisconsin: “If you are offering some type of immediate winter service—Christmas lights, plowing—then I would say it is worth it. Being from an area similar to yours, I would say that if you just want to keep your name out there without any winter service, then no.
“People in our area will put yard and lawn stuff on the back burner until March. I would save the money that you would now spend and either go on a flyer blitz in March or sign up for a booth in a local trade show, which usually happen in late February or March. People at those things want to think about outdoor services. Door to door is tough to do here as it is a-hole cold when you have the time in February and March. You can also do some prominent lettering on your truck so people see it all winter as you are driving through town.
“Hit your local hardware stores and grocery stores and see if you can put some cards on their ad board. See if that has any impact on your business, but I would save my money on the paper ads. Just my opinion. Good Luck.”
Richmond, Va.: “I’ve picked up some new accounts walking my dog. I always carry some brochures and business cards with me. The best time is on the weekends when people are home. You don’t always see people out in the yard, but at the least the dog gets a little exercise.”
Jupiter, Fla.: “My best door to door time is during the weekdays.”
“In Your Own Words” is contributed from the lawn and landscape forum at www.lawnsite.com. Visit them, and join in the discussions.