The Rewards of Building a Hyperlocal Lawn Care Business Strategy
We profile Jobber customers and industry experts for #thedailyhustle to learn how they build and operate successful businesses.
Cultivating a side business
Brad Lloyd knows all about community service. He’s protected his local community as a firefighter based in Raleigh, North Carolina for a decade. So when he decided to pursue a new career, he looked to his neighborhood—and his experience.
Lloyd, 30, says the seeds for his popular Your Way Lawn Care service were sown many years ago, when as a 14-year-old, he partnered up with a friend and they worked together cutting lawns one summer. He and his buddy kept at it, working each summer through to high school, at which point 18-year-old Lloyd joined the local fire department.
But the call of the lawn never completely stopped and Lloyd kept doing lawn care on the side, working for a local property management company. In 2012, he returned to his roots and started his own business.
“I decided to stop working for someone else part-time. I actually started doing my own thing while I was still working as a firefighter,” says Lloyd. “I went out and bought all the equipment I needed before I had a single client. I just took a leap of faith.”
He decided to use Facebook’s geolocation targeting feature to grow his business. “I started advertising on Facebook when it was a fairly new thing. Very few people were using it,” says Lloyd. It was a successful kick-off for his new business, and soon Lloyd was asking his dad to step in and help now and again.
Fast forward to today
In a few short years, what started as side business was more lucrative than his job as a firefighter, and while he loved what he did, the attraction of working for himself was too great to ignore.
Now, Your Way Lawn Care has two full-time and two part-time employees and Lloyd says he is content with the pace. “I’d like to add another crew eventually, but we’re pretty well where I want to be at for the next year few years,” he says.
One thing he would like to grow is the density of his customer base. “My plan is to target very specific areas and have a high-density client base in small areas. I’d like to get it to where I can pull up to one property and do three, four, or five properties and never move my truck,” says Lloyd.
And he’s got a multi-prong strategy to concentrate his customer base even more.
Tried-and-true meets brand new
“Word of mouth is definitely number one with the client base we have. We get a lot of referrals. Someone tells their neighbor that this guy is doing my yard, he’s doing a great job. That, hands down, is the best marketing you’re going to have,” he says.
But to really get the word out, Lloyd uses the community function of a variety of social media tools. Specifically targeting a local geographic area, whether it’s a zip code, area code, city, or town can be an excellent way to build a sustainable business.
Case in point: as internet habits become increasingly mobile phone-based, Google Trends has noted a dramatic increase in the ‘near me’ queries since mid-2015.
Hashtagging for leads
“We get decent traffic by hashtagging things like the local cities and areas we work in,” says Lloyd. “By posting pictures and hash tagging we get at least one call a week just from Instagram hashtags.”
"By posting pictures and hash tagging we get at least one call a week just from Instagram hashtags."
Lloyd will often tag his lawn care equipment manufacturer of choice, Scag Power Equipment, and other products he recommends from trailer racks to trimmer line. He loves to showcase the tools that work best for him, and hashtagging also gets his company out to the greater green industry community.
And of course, Lloyd has endless photos showcasing the properties he takes care of because nothing sells better than pride in your work.
Lloyd also posts Instagram and YouTube videos, often about local weather conditions, how-to advice, and product reviews. By optimizing his content for hyperlocal targeting he makes his feed relevant to people in his specific area.
His latest social media marketing tool is an app called Next Door that creates private social networks for neighbors in or nearby specific communities. To register an account, users must use their real name and have their home address verified. “It’s like a Facebook community page, you can only get in if you live in a community in that area,” explains Lloyd. “We’ve been able to target down to specific areas using that app. It’s become a lot bigger to us than Facebook now.”
Finding work-life balance
Lloyd has four good reason why he wants to keep his business local. “I love to go home and play with my kids; they’re 11, 9, 5, and 4. We’ve got our own little basketball team,” says Lloyd. “That to me is how I live. I go home and enjoy them.”
And although Lloyd loved working as a firefighter, he finds being his own boss is a great way to provide for his family and do something he’s passionate about. “I love what I’m doing, and I have a love and a passion for the lawn care business. I learn something new every day.”
Lightning round with Your Way Lawn Care!
The most valuable tool in your toolbox?
The Scag Power Equipment V-Ride 52” Mower. If I had to pick one piece of equipment on my truck that would be it.
Other than equipment, what do you never leave home without?
My headphones: LG Tone Pro Actives. I definitely don’t leave home without them. I listen to books and podcasts. That’s what gets me through my day. That’s something I would definitely go back and get if I forgot them.
Your favorite Jobber feature?
Client hub is going to be a phenomenal tool for anybody in the service industry. It allows communication back and forth for clients making it super easy for them. It makes it super easy for client to say ‘Hey, I want something done” or ‘Pay attention to this on your next visit.’
If you weren’t running your business, what would you be doing?
Firefighting. It’s a love and passion.
Run a lawn care business?
Learn how Jobber can help
Jobber software helps you quote, schedule, invoice, and get paid—faster.Find out how