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Having a hard time getting phone calls and customers, need some advice.

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by summit583guy, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. summit583guy

    summit583guy ArboristSite Member

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    Hey guys, im in the pacific northwest, ive been out on my own for just over a year now, been in the biz for about 6 or 7 years. It's been a long rainy slow winter here and im ready to get going here but still having a tough time getting customers. I tried advertising on 411.ca (yellowpages) with very little success ( 3 phone calls in 6 months @ $70 a month) I advertise on local internet neighborhood blogs that advertise ''Skilled trades'' with decent success. I dont currently have a website but should have one up in 2 or 3 weeks, Ive had a few ''word of mouth'' phone calls that turned into good jobs and am just starting to see a few repeat customers. I did about $68,000 in sales my first year and didn't take any lines of credit etc, the only debt I have from my buisness is a truck payment ($11,000). The jobs that I do get (about $600-1200 per week in sales on and off) I spend alot of extra time doing fine tooth cleaning of yards and gardens before I leave to impress the customer and use me again, and always make sure the customer is happy with the job. What sort of advertising would work best for me? I dont have a huge cashflow so I have to be really careful where I spend my outgoing money. thanks
     
  2. Jeffsaw

    Jeffsaw ArboristSite Member

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    How about a one page mail-out brochure that gets sent to a target neighbourhood or area of the city you think will need your tree service? Our post office did it for me a few years ago for 11cents a brochure. They were put in post office boxes and taken on one of the rural routes that I thought would get me some business. Good luck.
     
  3. stltreedr

    stltreedr ArboristSite Operative

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    Getting new customers

    I think most everyone is fighting this battle. The bad thing is, you're going to have to spend time and money to get new customers. I have not had a lot of luck with yellow pages or yp.com so far, I've had an expensive ad on thier website for about 5 months about $300 per month... Unless that changes i won't be renewing that contract.

    I've had pretty good success with service magic. I have been with them for a few months and have received about 20 leads, and won about 7 jobs out of the 20. They are charging $19 bucks per lead, whether you win the bid or not, so this can be frustrating but overall a good investment for me.

    Also doing direct mail, but not the traditional way. When you get a lead, drive around the neighborhood for awhile, looking for dead trees, hazard trees, etc. write down the address and send the customer a hand-written note on your letterhead and let them know you'll be in the area. This is very low-cost and works great. I've gotten jobs from letters that I sent 6 months ago.

    I would suggest getting a website if you don't already have one, consumers are using internet searches more and more frequently.

    Good Luck!
     
  4. Zach Sanchioni

    Zach Sanchioni New Member

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    Try Craigslist. BUddy Bill get more calls than he can handle
     
  5. summit583guy

    summit583guy ArboristSite Member

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    Thanks guys, website is up Specialized Tree Care - Home . Its been extremely slow as of late, one week your smoking busy and the next your dead. Anyways I'm staying optimistic and dumping most of my profits back into advertising and online seo
     
    tree md likes this.
  6. stltreedr

    stltreedr ArboristSite Operative

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    If your website is slow, check out the thread below this one about tree removal pricing. We can license the calculator to you for use on your website, or if funds are low, just provide a link to it. A couple guys are doing this and I can tell from my website stats that they are getting clicked quite often.

    Tree Removal Cost Calculator
     
  7. Fairbanks Stump

    Fairbanks Stump iStumpgrinder

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    Advertise!

    Hey buddy this is a problem for everyone just getting their name out there. With out wasting 200 pages and hours of your reading I will nutshell for you what has worked for me creating start ups in this industry.
    1st of all be the very Best, do what ever it takes to insure your customers not only like, but love every aspect of what you do ( 0 cost invaluable returns )
    2nd Branding choose a catchy name with a small descrete logo and put it every where on your Pick up ( both sides and the tailgate) business cards and business card magnets give these out for their refrigerator on every job with the receipt. Even though repeat business only equates to 20-30% in this business, referrals are KING! ( Truck lettering $450, quality business cards $50/1000, magnets simple logo name and number ONLY $140/500)
    3rd set up a page on face book and get as many likes as possible by posting at least 3 times a week ..... Further start an advertising campaign on face book! ( this will allow you to target the demographic ie 30-55 year olds who own houses! And helps reenforce existing advertising! ( cost between $100-600 a week depends on your comfort level!
    4th get a web page and set up a google AdWords cost around $1000 a month

    This should get you started. Directed Advertising in these specific areas WILL make your Phone ring ALOT. Wrapping your head around the necessity for marketing your self can be daunting. But if directed this way at the end of the year advertising will be equal to less than 18% of your gross! Remember to effectuate your prices to allow for that just as though you would a jump in fuel cost .... It is all a package deal! If this is helpful please like the post and feel free to call me I will be happy to expand on any thing I have said!
    Thanks, have a great day!
    Jon Fairbanks Stump Grinders! 907-978-0292
    Fairbanks Stump Grinders
     
  8. Shaunbobby

    Shaunbobby ArboristSite Lurker

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    What areas in the lower mainland do you work?

    Shaun
     
  9. ashevilletree

    ashevilletree ArboristSite Lurker

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    Advertising --SMH...

    Yep, advertising can be very tricky :msp_sad:. I'm not too sure what it's like in Canada, like whether the phone books still work but we've been content doing seo & a just a little ppc. I guess there's been a decent stream of calls for tree removal work and pruning.

    You just need to make sure you find the right company to do it for you, there are just so many scams out there. Remember-you get what you pay for..
     
  10. cnpser

    cnpser ArboristSite Lurker

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    There are many ways to advertise cheaply. One way is to always have your truck lettered and have some of these on both sides and the back Outdoor Business Card Holders that way they don't have to remember your name and number they can take a business card. Have the wife and friends put the flyer holders on their cars. Park at a busy mall up at the front of the row and come back later for the truck.

    Put a bilboard on a trailer and pull it around neighborhoods on the weekends or evenings. Park it somewhere on a main road.
     

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