I had a Google alert come through this morning for a garden maintenance company selling their services via Groupon - see link:

Is selling garden services via Groupon a viable proposition?

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  • PRO

    Interesting to see this as towards the end of last year I started to consider this approach for lawn feeds and if you limit the area to be serviced and place restrictions to the lawn area being treated for the set price and uplifts for anything larger it can work out to be a win win and hopefully build up additional client base.   My idea was to use this approach to target the people who would normally use the large lawn franchise company who tend to get seduced by price.

    With the offer by DS Landscaping, they have specified a small garden area for the price / hours and I am sure that they would make even more money by charging their normal rates less 10% to finish off any work or better still win regular maintenance.

    I note that so far having sold 22 offers at £34 that’s £748 turn over less fees for 66 hours of work or £11.33 per hour.  Whilst the hourly rate appears low this might be fairly competitive for the area and if they have a small client base what a great way to get new clients at a fairly cheap outlay.

    Groupon does tend to receive some bad press at times and you hear horror stories of traders getting done over but if the conditions and limits are well defined it could be a useful tool to use.

  • As some of us(not all!) have said before, some work is better than no work and this seems a great way for someone with a (very)thin order book to get the year started and hopefully pick up some regular clients.  I can see a problem arising however, when 'normal' enquiries come in priced at the going rate - will there be the motivation to clear the Groupon work at 60% discount?  There is also the possibility of being swamped as others have found.

  • There was a company local to me doing 2 hours maintenance at £30 which included pressure washing a driveway. I wouldn't consider this type of thing unless I had no work. I do doubt there would be a significant conversion into regular work as the vast majority of people looking at groupon tend to want cheap cheap cheap!

  • PRO

    As with any marketing plan, it needs to be well planned and run professionally.  With Groupon you have to be mindful of their fees which can be as high as 50% of sales.

    However, if you work out how much a new client actually costs you and there is a cost unless it comes as a referal some may consider using this approach as a viable option.  The key is to limit your exposure and not to make a loss.  The gamble would be if you couldn't convert the one off's to regular work.

    Whilst I agree with Dan, about people wanting cheap, I think if you viewed it more as people wanting a "deal" and if used to your advantage it can still be a win win.

  • I would think there would be a certain percentage of people that pay for the deal upfront but miss the expiry date for actually carrying out the work.

  • PRO

    I had a quick chat with DS Landscaping this afternoon to gauge their feed back and to discuss various options and by all accounts it is working well for them. 

    I found the talk most helpful and very informative and I should point out that this is their second offering and whilst it is fair to say that there is a very small profit margin on the basic service they have been rather fortunately to retain clients from last years offering as regulars and additional one off repeat business and not to mention the exposure the company has received within the area has more than made it worth while.

    Funny as today, another deal came up   2 hours for £24!! I do have to wonder what feed back they will receive from the 147 people who have already brought the coupon.

  • Anyone venturing into Groupon needs to be careful. Their fees are 50% of the "deal" value (plus set up charges). They also do not pay when they receive the money, but retain 50% until the deal surrender date has closed. They insist on a minimum of a 50% discount on the normal price of product or service. In this case, the vendor will receive 50% of £11.33... or £5.67 per hour!

    It is a useful vehicle for selling something which has an expiry date... tickets for concerts, sport etc, or where you are looking to off load stock. However, advertisers need to be wary of the thought of repeat business and some of the horror stories, where groupon has not restricted the numer of deals as promised. This can be a very quick way to losing money hand over fist and the chances of retaining a customer (at £85 in this case) is slim, as groupies tend to be perennial bargain hunters rather than potential customers looking for a good introductory rate

  • I must admit I did look at this but I think you have to be so specific about what you're offering and spend the time to sit down and work through the worse case scenario. I agree when there is no work then any work is good but as has been said you do have to wonder if you'd get any repeat work afterwards to make it worthwhile?


  • Perhaps there is another way of looking at this. You will be giving 75% off for delayed payment on work. You would be better, in my opinion to offer a deal (that you are more comfortable with) and targeting your local area, using more conventioanl marketing tactics. You have better control on how the message is put across, and although you may pick up the 'try once' brigade, you at least have the opportunity of selecting the customer.


    I take Graeme's point, that the company concerned has seen some benefit, but i am not sure how his other customers might feel, if they saw the deal. The over-riding impression I get from householders outside the industry, is how do they choose a landscape firm and what should their expectations be. I am still astounded at how poor some maintenance firms are, yet they get away with it, as the customer is poorly informed as to what to expect

  • Morris has beaten me to what i was going to put on the forum about this.

    I spoke to a friend who has a business/lead generation company who uses Groupon, he only uses them for his seminars/courses that he runs which have no cost or very little cost to him. His advice was it probably wasn't a good thing for our industry as we have costs. He did say that in the USA there has been a back lash against groupon as some restaurant's (and other types companys but mostly restaurants) have gone out of business due to the large number of uptakes that they have had to honour, one restaurant had 200 people turn up on one night for a deal, they didn't make any money to cover staff wages, cost of food and drink that night all they got was a big loss and still time left on there offer.

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