Ultimate Guide To Snow Removal Marketing

The Ultimate Guide To Snow Removal Marketing

Our informative article provides snow removal advertising ideas, templates & examples so you can plan when to start advertising for snow removal and how to get clients.

By Matt Wacek
Published: October 1, 2020

Snow plowing and ice removal is a completely different ball game compared to the spring, summer and fall season work. A few extra inches of grass during a rainy stretch is generally not a big deal, but a few inches of snow can lead to a slowdown in traffic, being susceptible to slipping and falling, and more. Snow removal is a crucial service for residential and commercial clients and can be quite lucrative with dense routes. 

Important Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting Snow Removal

Before we get into the process for advertising and how to get more snow removal clients, there are a few things you need to write down and assess before you start advertising for snow plowing and ice removal.

Methods of Advertising For Snow Removal

When To Advertise For Snow Plowing

Ask any snow removal contractor when to start spreading the word to your existing clientele and advertising to get more clients, and you will get different answers. There is also a huge variance between residential and commercial properties, and there can even be a big difference between large retail or restaurant chains, office complexes, etc. depending on who your point of contact is – property management company or the actual business property owner.

The short answer to the question: “when to start advertising for snow removal” is long before winter begins!

Here is the general timeline for snow removal advertising that Landscape Marketing Pros’ CEO used in his Minnesota-based snow removal company that he owned from 2011-2016: (this timeline may differ slightly depending on where exactly you are located)

August: Decide what advertising methods to use.
If you are going to employ SEO (the best method to bring in the highest interest prospects) – start now! The sooner, the better.

September: Put your strategy together – are you going to offer a discount, special offers, etc? 
Print Ads – Get them ordered from your designer/print shop!
Google, FB, IG Ads – Build any necessary landing pages
Existing clients – Initial reach out
SEO – link building to get your snow removal page ranking

The snow side of fall/winter services postcards.

October: Put the strategy to work.
Print Ads – Get them distributed throughout the month even into November – can continue until the snow flies
Google Pay-Per-Click Ads – Turn them on!
FB/IG Ads – Turn them on around the middle of the month – it’s also a great time for retargeting your existing clients
Existing clients – Reach out with up-sell letters, email broadcasts, etc.
SEO – Link building to get your snow removal page ranking

November: Continue generating leads. November is often when the first snow arrives – the week and days leading up to it your phone and inbox will be going crazy as prospects scramble to find a snow service provider.
Print Ads – If it has not yet snowed, continue distributing them
Google Pay-Per-Click Ads – Keep them running (they can run all winter long if you want to bring in new clients and your budget allows)
FB/IG Ads – Continue with them if you are seeing a positive return
Existing clients – Reach out email broadcasts, direct email, etc.
SEO – Link building to get your snow removal page ranking – if it’s ranking – maintain the positioning

December: Keep everything going if there has not been any snow yet.

January: Winter’s wrath has usually arrived by now. After the first snow event the demand will drop. The best method to generate new clients through the rest of the winter is with referrals, Google Search Ads (you don’t have to pay to run the ad unless someone clicks), and SEO (once your website is ranking – the direct cost for traffic is zero dollars)

Unless it’s near the end of winter, it’s not too late to advertise for snow removal, however, the bulk of the demand for snow removal will be in the fall and early winter for the prospects that plan ahead. You can always count on a lot of demand for residential service the week and days leading up to the first snow event.

After plowing a residential property on a bitter-cold January morning.

How To Get Commercial Snow Accounts/Contracts

All of the marketing/advertising methods mentioned at the beginning of this article will work for generating commercial snow removal leads. One other method that worked well for me was cold calling. Some of the best commercial snow removal clients can be landed simply by finding the business property, locating their contact information, picking up the phone, having a short conversation and then putting in a bid via email. These properties were always locally-owned establishments.

Not Every Commercial Snow Removal Bid Process Is The Same

Most contractors that have been in the snow removal game for a while will know that there is a gigantic difference between bidding on chain retail stores & restaurants, government facilities, HOAs/Townhomes, a locally owned business property, and property management companies. Large chains often hire a regional or nationwide property management company, whom often have a network of contractors they provide a list of bid specifications to and do a Request For Proposal. This is typically the process for most large chain stores and restaurants. Cold calling these management companies can get you on their list of contractors.

Small, local property management companies may do the RFP process, but they reach out to a snow removal company via website – which is the best because they are coming to you, instead of you going to them.

Plowing a commercial property (a local bank) during a big late-winter snow storm.

The inbound marketing methods covered earlier in this article are great for bringing in local businesses, HOAs, and townhouses as clients where your point of contact is usually the business owner or association manager. These will primarily be smaller office complexes, retail shops, strip malls, local restaurants, banks and other service businesses. Being as many of them are small business owners themselves, both parties have similarities in which they both own companies and understand business ownership, versus the person that may just be an account manager for a large property management company. Which means that as long as your company provides great service, you can expect to retain them for the long haul, versus the RFP bid process where you could lose accounts after just one year even if your work was flawless.

Based on your current fleet of equipment and what is in your budget for expansion, use what is presented in this article as a guide to see what marketing methods you want to employ to get more snow removal clients for your company. If you have questions or would like to talk with us about growing your business using the internet, schedule a strategy session today!

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How Much Is Each Client Worth To You?

calculating how much a lawn care landscaping business can earn

Earning Potential & Calculating How Much Is Each Client Worth To You?

Calculating the average lifetime value of your clients helps you figure out how much you can afford to spend to acquire new ones.

By Matt Wacek
Originally Posted: November 8, 2017
Last Updated: April 11, 2021

First things first, I could talk about this subject for hours & hours because it’s one that gets me the most excited when it comes to business of all shapes, sizes, & types.

Also, I’m not the type to get hyped up about something and say it’s the “Key To Success” or “Getting Rich Easily”. . .

BUT when a lawn service or landscaping business calculates what we’re going to cover in this post, it gives them the clarity of raw numbers it needs to know which allows them to know how much they can spend to acquire leads/clients and this is what big businesses (not just the green industry such as TruGreen or Brightview, but Target, Best Buy, etc.) primarily focus on:

This can somewhat be a technical subject for those who are new to business ownership or have never broken down their numbers in this fashion – but it’s imperative to know, so get ready & let’s dig in!

This Crucial Unknown Metric

One of the most important metrics in your business is knowing how much each client you obtain is worth to your business.  Once these numbers are calculated, everything else (labor, materials, equipment, office staff, etc.) can be fit into place when it comes to budgeting.

Giving you an accurate picture to grow your business in all aspects – hiring employees, investing in new equipment, and more. It all begins with knowing how much a client is worth to you.

I also can’t stress this enough that these numbers are POWERFUL because they give your company the ability to know exactly how much can be spent to acquire clients.

One of the best ways to describe how essential knowing the value of every client is to your business, is if you’ve ever seen advertisements (online and offline, generally from larger local & regional or even national companies) for services at prices far below the “going rate”.

Most green industry business owners (including me until I realized the importance of this metric) will simply balk at this & lash out by saying…

“Man! How are we supposed to compete and make a living with prices this low?! I’m done!”

The most unfortunate part of this thought process is that it’s incredibly short sighted!  The biggest profits are in the higher ticket & higher margin back-end services, for example in lawn maintenance this would be having the front-end service be weekly/bi-weekly mowing and the up-sell (back-end) services such as:

The same process can be replicated when advertising to acquire landscape design/construction clients (dropping margins to obtain sales) with the ever-present goal to sign on as many of those clients into recurring maintenance packages.  This practice can also be done with any first service to entice a client to sign on and then up-selling them (ie. 1 free fertilizing application if they sign on for the season with 5 total fert./weed control applications). . . the possibilities of these promotions is endless and requires testing which offers convert best (get the most clients) and the direction you want to take your company.

When a company is willing to run an ad promoting low-priced front-end at break even or potentially lose money strategically (such as free month of mowing when a client signs on for the season, or free spring clean up with signing on for mowing for the season are just some of many examples), the majority of the time they know their numbers and how long it takes for them to get an R.O.I. on their advertising and then eventually make a profit after a certain point in time because they know the average lifetime value of a client.

So many business owners don’t know these numbers and it really hinders knowing how much they can invest into advertising and worse, it prevents them from calculating how to grow strategically.

He who can outspend his competition to acquire a client, wins.

- Business Owners That Know Their Numbers

When your business calculates how much a client is worth on average along with gross/net margins, you’re then able to see how much your business can spend to acquire a client.

The company that’s spending more on advertising (for ex. beating their competition in the organic search rankings or bidding higher to pay more per click on Adwords/Facebook) is certainly well aware they may be losing money at their front-end (ex. deeply discounted weekly mowing for the first year or a landscape installation that’s 20% off, etc.) but they will make their money back & eventually become profitable from:

This puts your company in a powerful spot by purely being able to outspend and push out your competition (especially online with pay-per-click on Google Adwords & Facebook Ads) who is still complaining about your ad for a low-cost front-end service and how it’s “undercutting”.

Calculating Long Term/Lifetime Client Value

Now, let’s figure out how to do all this. There are two main factors that must be determined right away:

Calculating how much a client is worth to your business is very simple using the Lawn Maintenance Client LTV chart:

Now that you have an idea of calculating this figure, you’ll need to do this for every client in your business (also be sure to determine the amount of time a client stays with your company).

Then once you have the total revenue generated for each client, add up your total revenue and divide that figure by the amount of clients you have which will give you the average revenue from each client lifetime value.

As shown in the example on the right, it can be kept simple by just using the overall revenue & profit figures or it can be super-detailed to calculate the average of client value for each service offered.

The important takeaway from this is that the more about your numbers that you know, the better off your business will be when it comes to investing in growth – advertising, equipment, employees, etc.

When you know this number, can you justify spending $100 to acquire a client when they generate an average of almost $1,300/year or $25 to acquire a lead if your average close rate of 25% (1 client signed out of every 4 leads), or investing even more?!

Yes, all day long!

This is how the largest companies in the world operate! Raw numbers and knowing their client acquisition costs & lifetime value.

calculating how much a lawn care landscaping business can earn

This Is Key To Growing Your Business.

These averages were lower priced estimates with a low profit margin, and do not include any longer term client relationships OR high margin & higher ticket landscape construction services. 

This also does not include having every prospective client on an email follow up funnel/newsletter where additional sales can be acquired for mere dollars without having to start another advertising campaign.

Finding The "Hidden Value" In Your Company (Simple Changes To Explode Client LTV)

Acquiring new clients is very important to growing a business, however it’s also equally important to increase the value of your existing clients by continually contacting them throughout the season to educate them on the array of services your company offers, whether it’s through email marketing, retargeting ad campaigns to past website visitors & email list subscribers, or simply sending announcement letters via mail or included with client invoices.

Even the best of sales processes can let extra revenue slip away – clients may not be interested in specific products/services at certain times, or their budget doesn’t allow for it quite yet, but regardless of the reason it’s imperative to dig in to the “hidden value” in your existing client-base by employing the aforementioned strategies to keep your company & its offerings in your clients’ minds.

This will also help with increasing referrals when your clients may be discussing their lawn, new outdoor space your company constructed, trees/stumps removed, irrigation system installed, etc., to their neighbors, friends, & family.  This is a subject that we will go more in-depth about in another post, but having a solid referral program in place to encourage your clients to spread the word about your services is very powerful because word-of-mouth jobs/projects cost MUCH LESS than most other forms of advertising because your clients are already paying you to go out and tell everyone they know about how amazing your products/services are!

I’d say that giving them a free mowing service, fertilizing application, or a bottle of wine & a Christmas card to spread the word and help you obtain another client that didn’t require additional ad spend & had minimal competition to get the job is worth it, wouldn’t you?

This can increase the value of every single client greatly!

Here’s another big kicker – if these clients came on during the fall, for example – irrigation system winterizations (blow-outs), core aeration, or fall leaf clean ups (these services require specialized equipment that most clients see more value in paying a company to do the work vs. investing in the equipment and the time to do the work themselves), make sure these new clients are added to your database to send them spring service announcement letters next spring, as well as get them on your email list so you can get them into your long term sales funnel and retarget them more offers.

The possibilities are truly endless when a business owner knows their numbers and looks at advertising from a 30,000 foot view instead of that first sale where they may be just breaking even.

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