Do you ever notice when driving around that there are some tree services with old banged-up equipment that’s falling apart, and others with a brand new convoy of trucks, chipper, EWP, and traffic control?
Ever wonder how they got that big and wish the same for your business?
Below is the list of things (in order) you need to do to 3 X your business revenue in 2020.
Not only did I use the following list in order to bolster the profits in my own business (the first 4 points only, although I wish I had done #5 and #6), so have countless other tree business owners I have spoken to.
Point #6 will show you how to speed up the learning process so it takes way less time to get you to.
1. Get off the tools
You cannot work ON your business if you are working IN your business.
The best way to do it is to delegate your best most responsible groundsmen as foreman/site manager. They will meet and greet the customer, take the money when the job is done, and ensure a smooth safe work environment.
How to organize it?
Take photos of every tree you quote. If you win it, print out job sheets each morning with the address, description, image, and money to be collected. Give this to the foreman and if it’s a trim, explain which limbs have been quoted to remove.
It is important that you are clear with everyone who is a foreman so there is no fighting on-site about how to do things.
It is also possible to have a co-foreman.
Currently, if you are climbing for yourself, you are probably doing some quotes after work, on weekends, or when you get the tree on the ground.
What you need to be doing and driving around all day long quoting jobs and winning work.
So you will need to get out of the tree and hire and a good climber. This will cost you more initially, but it will pay dividends.
Sales is a contact sport! If you are not in front of more potential customers every day, then you will not be winning any more work or making any more money.
For this to work through, you will need more phone calls/job leads.
2. Get more leads
These days there is more than one way to increase the number of job leads you receive each day. Below are some short, medium, and long-term methods to get the customers calling.
If you have tried this before, you know it can be expensive (see section No. 3 on reducing costs) but it is worth it when done properly. It will take you a lot of work to learn Google Ads and not waste your money, so you are best-getting someone else to manage the account for you, but I would not use an Australian company. Australian companies will charge you between $400 and $1000 per month to manage which is a joke. Use a freelancer from overseas and get it done for $400 per month!
Note: You can do this using upwork.com to find a freelancer to do this.
IMPORTANT: You will need a separate number for paid ads. This is so you know if they are working. Use Callrail.com to get a local number for the ad which will forward to your mobile.
Job lead suppliers
Some of these can be hit-and-miss. I have heard some bad stories about hipages and service seekers being overpriced, and not making it easy to reject leads makes them hard to work with. Also $40 per lead in some cases and sending leads to 10+ contractors to quote. How can you win?
Shameless plug – I obviously back GoTreeQuotes as being the best choice for buying tree work job leads.
At just $18 per lead, easy rejection, no contracts, and leads only being sent to 3 qualified arborists, we are the obvious choice.
Go here to get a 2-week free trial or unlimited leads or give us a call on 1800 252 208.
Job lead services are not for everyone. I have noticed they suit growing businesses that are a husband and wife set up or where the owner is not on the tools and can call the leads and quotes them.
One-man bands don’t seem to be able to make them work as well as they are normally too late to the party quoting.
This is by far the cheapest option and the least utilized. Although you are not going to skyrocket your leads with this approach, it is the most ROI-positive method available so you should be systematically blanketing your service areas with flyers every 3 – 6 months.
Pay service to do this. There are some dodgy ones, but there are also good ones. Get them to do a batch in your area or a friend’s area to see if you actually receive it before ordering more.
Most people these days will use Google search, so local papers are less and less relevant, but you can still get calls from them. They probably have the lowest ROI out of the lot, but you will have to test some different ad creatives to see which works best.
Slower leads – Long term/ drip-feed
These methods will not give you an instant boost in leads but are worthwhile in the long term as they can get you a constant stream of leads for zero money down.
You will need to pay to have them set up initially, but once done you will reap the rewards for years to come.
Website & SEO
If you don’t have a website yet, you really need to sort it out. We are in 2020 after all and 90% of people who look for local services. So, do it online.
Once set up you can switch on paid ads with Google Ads or you can get your website optimized for the search engine so it shows up at the top of results organically.
It’s called Search Engine Optimization or SEO and will cost money on a monthly basis to get your website to the top of results (Should take about 6 months), but once you are there you can fire your SEO company and get free traffic for the next year.
Note: there are some scammers out there, mostly the big companies. Try to find someone local.
Trick: Search “tree services + [city]” and go to the top 10 results. At the bottom of the page, they should show the company that is doing web design and SEO. If they are on the front page, you know the company doing the SEO is legit.
Having signage on your vehicles is great for brand awareness. Other things like A-frame signs, and tarp signs at key points along main roads will score you tons of work.
It will cost you money to have them all set up, but once you get just one job from them, they are paid for and you will keep getting free work.
The more free work you can get from investments like signage and website SEO the better off you will be in the long term. It will get to a point where you can switch off all paid advertising and just rely on your other advertising assets to pull their weight.
3. Make the “business owner” mental shift
This next statement had a very profound effect on the way I view business, advertising, and where I should be spending my money.
I heard it when at a business conference many years ago and it went something like this:
Advertising is like a bank. Imagine every time you walk into a bank and hand over $1000 and they hand you back $7,000. How often would you go to the bank?
Some business owners make the mistake of spending as little as possible on advertising and think they are somehow winning. As the old saying goes “you need to spend money to make money”.
Well, the truth is if you are doing it right, the more money you spend the more you will make!
The trick is to keep a tight spreadsheet on where your advertising spend is going and which is yielding the most calls and conversions. Then do more of that.
I will show you an easy way to do this.
4. You are no longer an Arborist...!
Once you make the decision to get off the tools and grow your business, you are no longer an arborist. You are now a digital marketer. Skip this learning and enjoy the run to the bottom.
For the longest time when I was setting up GoTreeQuotes, I made the mistake of thinking I was in the job leads service for arborists.
When I worked out what was making me the most of my money i.e. publishing articles on my site such as “How much does stump removal cost” and “Is it illegal to trim my neighbor’s trees”, I noticed I would get more traffic over time and make more money.
I now know I am in publishing! Leads are just how I monetize my site.
I publish articles on tree-related topics and monetize the traffic by capturing details and selling leads to local arborists at a great price.
Making the mental shift and knowing I am actually in publishing allowed me to focus on the core task which was making me my money… published articles.
You need to read as many books as you can on business, marketing, and advertising to really make a difference in 2020.
5. It’s ALL about split testing
What you DON’T know is a potential risk to you and what you DON’T know is potential profit to you!
….. And I’m positive most of you don’t know how to split test your adverts.
Basically, it means to get two x ads made up that are different. Change the title, background image, etc., and have 2 different numbers on them. At the end of the month count which one gets the most phone calls.
Then take the winner, make up another ad, and try and beat the last one.
How different do they need to be?
Take the below examples: Notice the change in title and subtitle. To bottom one has a 355% increase in conversion rate.
That was just one of many changes that increased conversions.
The second design gets 358% more conversions than the first.
Just a small change in the language used and I have just tripled my ROI.
Imagine you spend $500 per month on newspaper ads and getting 3 x the calls as you normally do. No more ad spending just 300% more customers from that ad.
Then think about doing it for your flyers, your website, and your Google Ads campaigns!
You can really skyrocket your profits using Split testing.
Pro Tip: Use Callrail.com which is an awesome service that gives you unlimited local numbers that all forward to your mobile. That way you can get all the calls from your tests to the one place, but go back and see at the end of the month which ads converted best. Then set up another split and try to beat the old one.
6. Win council tenders the easy way
Once you have been doing all of the above and are starting to get some real runs on the board, you should really consider stepping up your game and going for private or government tenders.
You will need to pay a tender writer if you want to be successful.
You can wade your way in by just doing parts of tenders you are comfortable with or teaming up with other companies, then stepping up your game as time goes on.
Getting tenders worth $300,000 per year is going to take your business to the next level.
I highly recommend you have a listen.
Ask any millionaire about their failures on their way to success and they will have a long list. The biggest failure is not any wrong action you take, it’s inaction that is the killer.
If you what to be right here you are no in 5 years’ time then don’t do anything different, but if you want to be celebrating at Christmas this year instead of making excuses then start making some changes.
If you want to change, it won’t happen by itself…..YOU have to change.
Good luck guys.