There are many different service focuses and other specialties which landscape contractors can use to position their companies in the marketplace. Some contractors want to be all things to all people. Others want to be all things to some people. Yet others want to be the best at this specific service.
Through thoughtful business planning, the first step to growing a landscaping or lawn care business is to identify which customer segment best suits your company.
The Right Customers
For example, if you want to focus on residential landscaping and/or lawn care, you also have to identify the types of homes you want to service. Zero in on demographics like household income, home value, property size, and maybe even things like customer age and profession. Location is another important factor. Building route density is the best way to quickly—and profitably—build a lawn care company.
If you want to specialize in homeowner associations or other commercial properties, you’ll also have to dig a bit deeper. First, identify those properties that appear to be ideal, based on things like location, property size and scope of work. Then, try to get a meeting with the property manager or other decision maker(s). Find out as much as you can about them and their landscaping needs. Joining various civic and business organizations will also help you from a networking standpoint.
The Right Message
The fine art of marketing messaging (i.e. advertising) requires you to translate features into benefits, and “I” into “you.”
You have to think about what matters to your prospective clients. If they are busy professionals who don’t have time to do their own lawn care, talk about how your expertise, professionalism, efficiency and reliability will allow them to put their mind on other things while you keep their lawn looking beautiful. If they like entertaining family and friends, talk about how your expertise in hardscape installation can help them to create an awesome backyard entertaining space that will be the envy of all their neighbors. If they simply have a functional need like a tree that needs de-limbing, talk about how your expertise, experience and reliability will turn their headache into a big sigh of relief in no time.
The Right Advertising Vehicles
Contractors market themselves in various ways: networking, yard signs, door hangers, direct mail and telesales (for lawn care companies) have been the most common. Websites, email newsletters and social media are becoming just as popular. Local home and garden shows have also proven effective for many contractors—especially those who specialize in landscape design, installation and hardscaping.
Yellow Pages (phone books) are starting to lose favor with many contractors because of the average consumer’s gravitation toward online.
Other options, although rarely used by most contractors, could include radio, TV, newspaper and billboards. They are good for building awareness because they often reach a lot of people. However, that very fact can make them rather costly, while also making it hard for specialized service providers to hone in on the right audience.
Honing in on the right audience is probably the biggest challenge for a marketer. You don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on communicating with people who have little chance of hiring you. So focus on identifying the right customers, craft the right message to compel them to contact you, and carefully select the right advertising to reach them with your message.