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I have quite a bit of filling in to due, on my snowplowing routes, this year. Do you think there is still enough time to target new customers. I need to add about 50 to 60 residential customers, to maximize my plowing routes.

Chuck B.
 

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new customers

I only have a sign on my front lawn ......busy street . My phone keeps ringing . I am not taking on new customers but I keep the sign up in cause I might get a "perfect customer " That is a straight push next to an existing nearby customer .
 

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It's never too late!!!! I just turned in a bid this morning for a very large subdivision. I also was called today by a consulting company I deal with asking if I was interested in biding 3 more subdivisions they handle since they only recieved one bid for them and would love 3 but will settle for 2 bids. So I have a busy day tomorrow.


Ray
 

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You could try contacting contractors who have routes in other nearby areas from where you want to target, and see if they will refer to you. I include the area we plow in our ads, but a lot of times people don't pay attention to that, so I receive calls regularly from people looking for plowing in adjoining towns where we don't service. I hate to just turn people away with no help, so I have a list of contractors with good reputations that service these other areas, and that way I can give the customer a contact name and phone number of someone who can help them. Of course, this means other businesses are benefitting from my advertising, but a number of them reciprocate the favor, so everyone wins. And since we are not directly competing for customers, it is a friendly situation.

If you want to grow your business, and have the ability to take care of it, go ahead and take new customers now. In our established route areas, we will take on new customers all through the winter. Some of our best customers are ones we took on mid-season.

You could also try direct mail or doorknob hangers to directly target your route areas. Offer customers a "rebate" if they refer neighbors to you. We give existing customers $20 for each new customer they refer to us, on our receipt of the new paid contract.

Just a few ideas that have worked well for us. :)
 

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Chuck,

Give me a call, 215-783-4165. What are your advertising methods? Do you list in the yellow pages? Do you send direct mailings? Do you have a flyer that you can drop in mailboxes or post in a market? I'll be getting calls from now til mid Feb, call me.

KenP
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies.

Well here is the story behind the thread. I moved in August, to a new house on the same block. I had my mail forwarded to the new address. I have been running my snowplowing business out of my home, so I kept the old address, as well. (I am building a new house on the old property.) Well to make a long story short, I had serious problems with the mail. I got about 40 phone calls from customers stating that their contracts/and checks came back to them. This was about two to three weeks ago.

At the time I was about 50% below my yearly average, with regards to signed contracts. So I sent all unanswered/unsigned customers a new contracts. Well, alot of people went with other contractors, stating that they thought I must have closed shop. So our business is down about 15 to 20% from last year.

I usually do not need to advertize so late in the season. Just thought I would ask, to get some feedback. I will be sending out direct mailers to neighbors of all my clients. I also, will be sending all current clients a letter stating $20.00 rebate for any signed referal. Plow Babe suggested the $20.00 rebate - it sounds like a good marketing tool.

Chuck B.
 

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GO FOR IT !

It sure can't hurt.

But I would send them the $20 rebate if and only if the referral stay with you all season.
 

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Its still a good time to try and take on res customers alot of em drag their feet till the first snowfall anyways... i would just flyer the area shortly before the snow hit so your co's name is fresh in their minds.
 

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I agree with everone else it is never to late to pick up new customers. Some of your old clients may end up not likeing the new contractor an other potential customers still have not made up their minds yet or are waiting for the first snows to remind them that they need to hire a contractor. JMO
 

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As queer as it sounds, most customer hate doing paperwork.

Suggestion 1- Highlight any changes in your contract from previous contract , if any.

Suggestion 2- Add on your paperwork current address, AND AFTER X date our address will be X.

Suggestion 3- IMPORTANT, look into business reply postage. It is usually a little cheaper than regular postage rates and you only pay for what gets sent back to you. I think you start the account with like $100.00 and you get a slip of paper with your envelopes with the amount deducted and your balance. Nothing like having to go to the post office to get stamps, see part 2

Suggestion 3- Part 2, Enclose a Self Addressed STAMPED envelope, so all they need to do is sign and return with payment.
I do this with my customers at the lot, it speeds up the turn around time if I need something signed or missing vehicle registration information.

Not too cost effective, but isnt maintaining a client worth $.37?
 

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old customers

With the hint of snow in the air . Customers who didnt respond to my mailing are finally sending them back
 

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I found the Application for Business Reply. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.

From the USPS.Com website

Basic BRM Annual permit fee: $150.00.
Per piece fee (in addition to the applicable First-Class Mail or Priority Mail postage (R100)): $0.60.

High-Volume BRM Annual permit fee: $150.00.
Annual accounting fee (for advanced deposit account): $475.00.
Per piece fee (in addition to the applicable First-Class Mail or Priority Mail postage (R100)): $0.10.

Basic Qualified BRM Annual permit fee: $150.00.
Annual accounting fee (for advanced deposit account): $475.00.
Per piece fee (in addition to the automation First-Class Mail QBRM postage (R100.3.0)): $0.06.

High-Volume Qualified BRM Annual permit fee: $150.00.
Annual accounting fee (for advanced deposit account): $475.00.
Quarterly fee: $1,800.00.
Per piece fee (in addition to the automation First-Class Mail QBRM postage (R100.3.0)): $0.008.

Bulk Weight Averaged Nonletter-Size BRM Annual permit fee: $150.00.
Annual accounting fee (for advanced deposit account): $475.00.
Monthly maintenance fee: $750.00.
Per piece fee (in addition to the applicable First-Class Mail or Priority Mail postage (R100)): $0.01
 

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Suggestion 3- Part 2, Enclose a Self Addressed STAMPED envelope, so all they need to do is sign and return with payment.
I do this with my customers at the lot, it speeds up the turn around time if I need something signed or missing vehicle registration information.

Not too cost effective, but isnt maintaining a client worth $.37? [/B]


thats what i did this year. ROI is excellent and it's a small detail that gets NOTICED!!!:shades
 

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FWIW

1) The later return contracts, late pay, and not stop calls either when it snows, or when I want my grass cut Saturday instead of Thursday, is why I WILL NOT deal with residential customers.

2) To aviod creating an impression of an unstable business when I started my business, which is a home based business, I opened a PO BOX where the bulk of my business was at the time. Although I have move since than I am still close enough to the PO BOX so that I still get my mail there. IMO well worth the $70.00 a month to have a stable address for mailing, and the privacy of where I live athough I do not see any of my commercial customers coming to my house, I bet there are a few stories out there about residential customers showing up at someones front door.

Hope #2 helps. #1 is not meant to be offending just my experience with home owners has been a waste of time. I am a professional and like dealing with other professionals.
 
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