10 cheap or free ways to help you get your first 10 clients fast!
So you decided to start a new lawn care business? Congratulations! It’s exciting to start something new. But I know from experience, it can also be incredibly nerve wracking. Unless you can find customers to give you money in exchange for your services, your new business is just an idea, right?
So let’s get you those first 10 customers!
When you start something new, who’s the first person to buy your widget, read your blog post, or like your IG post? Your mom, right? Or maybe it’s not your mom - maybe it’s your dad, your grandma or your best friend. Whatever the case, there’s probably a handful of people who care a lot about you, want to see you succeed, and who also happen to need their grass cut.
Shoot them a text! Let them know you’re starting up a new hustle and just ask if anyone’s looking for a fresh cut.
When it comes to home services like lawn care, drive time is a huge factor in calculating your effective hourly wage. The less time you spend in the truck means the more time you can spend mowing and making money.
And what’s the best way to eliminate drive time? Turn your neighbors into customers. Getting customers who live on your street will minimize your drive time and maximize your effective hourly rate.
This doesn’t mean you have to put on a suit and tie. Even a simple work shirt with your logo on it has a more professional look than a ratty old t-shirt from highschool. Make it easy for people to want to hire you.
Jot down a rough outline of what you want to say when they open the door.
Talking to strangers can be scary so give yourself a simple script to follow that’s short and sweet.
Include an answerable question.
Including a question such as, “Is this something you would be interested in?” or “Can I give you a free bid?” makes it easy for the homeowner to respond.
Mention that you service one of their neighbors.
Lawn care is a business built on trust - if their neighbors trust you, they’re more likely to trust you as well.
Here’s an example of what you might say when a homeowner opens the door:
Hi, I’m Tim with Green Grass Lawn Care. I was just servicing your neighbors property and wanted to pop over and see if you’d be interested in lawn care service. I’d be happy to shave off a few bucks since you’re on the same street. Can I give you a free bid?
This idea is a riff of #2. Knock on the doors of your current customers’ neighbors. The next best thing to having your own neighbors as customers is to at least consolidate your customers as much as possible. This is what we call “Route Density” in the industry.
Don’t have time to go knocking on a bunch of doors? Drop flyers! This is one of the cheapest ways to get the word out because you can print a bunch of flyers on regular printer paper.
Please note: DO NOT put flyers in mailboxes, I repeat, DO NOT put flyers in mailboxes. Despite the criminal amount of junk mail that comes through the postal service, putting something in another person’s mailbox is a federal offense. Simply drop the flyers at the front door or knock and hand them to the neighbors in person.
We’re providing a free flyer template that you can download and customize at the end of this article.
One of the best ways to encourage your customers to pass your name along to their neighbors is simply to offer them an incentive such as a free cut or a discount. Combine this with door knocking and flyers and you’ll increase the odds of getting more customers in the same neighborhood. Remember, the more neighbors you get, the shorter your route, the more money you make.
Though everyone loves to hate on Facebook, it really has made the world a little bit smaller. When I started my lawn care company, I got my first 5 customers from a simple post on Instagram and Facebook. Your friends care about you and (hopefully) already trust you so it’s an easy decision for them to say yes if they actually need a lawn care provider. Put yourself out there and see what happens!
In fact, you can just copy and paste part of the post I used:
I'm starting a lawn care company!
I'm looking to take on 15-20 clients. So, if you're in Baton Rouge and you need your grass cut on a regular basis, please DM me or text me. Even if you don't need your grass cut, if you refer someone to me that becomes a regular customer, I'll Venmo you $30! 🤑
Help me out here! Who are two people you can ask right now if they need someone to cut their grass? 🤔
Despite it looking like it time traveled from the 90’s, Craigslist is still an active community for home services. A simple post on Craigslist every week or two is a great way to find customers in your area.
Be sure to post in your city’s listings under the “Service” sub-categories:
Include your business name in the post.
Having a business name makes your operation look more legitimate. I mean, which one do you think looks better…
“Call Tim for all your lawn service needs”
— OR —
“Call Armstrong Lawn Care for lawn service today!”
Don’t have one yet? Take a look at our other blog post called Starting a Lawn Care Business in 2021 and scroll down to the section called “Coming Up With A Brand”.
Upload images of your previous work.
Posts with images get more views. If you don’t have any clients, just cut a friend's yard for free to get some pictures of your awesome work! You can upload a screenshot of your flyer as well if you have one.
Include all services that you want to offer.
Include multiple ways for the potential client to contact you.
The best two are mobile phone number and email. Just make sure your email isn’t something unprofessional like firstname.lastname@example.org. Gmail addresses are free to set up. Once you land on a business name, go take a look to see if it’s available as a Gmail address! That will hold you over until you can snag a website and domain name.
Include a clear “call to action” or CTA.
This is a sales term that means to ask the potential client to do something. When starting up, the most common call to action is “Call or text today for a free quote!” Of course, you can tweak that however you see fit.
Pro tip: add a guarantee on there such as “Call or text today for a free quote. Receive a response within 2 hours or your first cut is free!” This will make potential clients want to give you a shot since it’s already pretty hard to get a hold of lawn guys!
An up and coming app for localized community discussions is Nextdoor where you can find everything from hilarious complaints about spying sunflowers and cheese vandalism to genuine requests for lawn care services.
So while you’re scrolling through the posts for the fun of it, keep an eye out for anyone requesting lawn care! Once you get some customers, set up a business page on Nextdoor and have them recommend you and leave reviews so that you start to show up for others!
A “Google My Business” page is simply the way you can get your business to show up in Google’s search results when someone searches for something like “lawn care near me.”
It’s super simple and you can start setting up your GMB page here.
Let’s take it back to the basics. Who needs lawn care services? People who have lawns that need to be serviced. We don’t have to overcomplicate it.
If you’re driving along your route or through your neighborhood and you see a lawn that’s getting a little shaggy, pull over and take 5 minutes to knock on the door and offer your services. Who knows, you might just pick up a new client and schedule your first cut right then!