Nathan Stratford was comfortable working outside in the garden, but it was a different story when it came to using online tools to find new customers and grow his cash flow.
Tradies of all kinds often fall into the habit of relying on word of mouth to find new customers.
After all, if it’s worked to grow your business so far, why change it?
For gardener Nathan Stratford, this was the case until he decided to strike out on his own and launched Silver Fern Gardening Pty Ltd.
Stratford, originally from New Zealand, had already worked as a gardener for five years before starting this new operation – but starting out in a new area means losing your original networks.
Stratford needed a way to find new customers, fast.
Like any small business just starting out, Stratford’s biggest hurdle was getting work. He made a website and a Facebook page, but it wasn’t enough.
With the added stress of water restrictions due to drought, he found people were less concerned about their gardens. So Stratford decided to widen his services to include commercial, residential and end of lease cleaning. This resulted in an increase in strata work.
But, with less residential work, he needed to find more business.
Stratford decided to give hipages a go. They provided a trusted platform to advertise his work to the right customer. Pictures of his gardening, the services he provides and unique selling points could all be viewed by customers when they most needed it.
Stratford really benefited from the targeted advertising offered by the hipages platform.
“Small businesses like mine don’t have a budget of thousands of dollars to advertise on television,” said Stratford.
He saw first-hand the advertising hipages does and how small businesses like his can benefit.
“With hipages, I mostly get residential jobs, but it also gives me access to some commercial and strata (work).
“I had some cash flow issues before joining hipages,” he said. The higher number of enquiries helped to solve these cash flow issues.
The benefit of hipages over other online directories is the choice given to tradies.
Customers post the job required on hipages, then hipages send the ‘lead’ to appropriate tradies on their platform.
The tradie can decide whether to accept the lead or not. Up to three tradies can apply for one job so the customer gets to choose which one to use.
The customer can see the recommendations and star ratings for the tradie, which is like a testimonial of the quality of their work. The higher the star ratings and recommendations usually results in more work.
“I’ve got a lot of referrals from hipages, plus the five-star ratings help when you’re after new leads. If you don’t do a good job then you get a lower rating and you get less work from hipages,” said Stratford.
Nathan has been with hipages for only four months and has already seen results.
“When I jumped onto hipages, I started getting twice as many leads than any other company could give me,” says Nathan.
In four months, Silver Fern Gardening’s profit shot up 20 percent.
“The advertising was massive for me,” said Stratford. As he earns more positive recommendations and five-star ratings, the workflow is sure to increase.
Stratford considers the money he’s spent on marketing with hipages as money well spent. Independent research found tradies with hipages earn on average $23 for every $1 spent on leads.
“hipages has basically provided me with more work.”
Stratford found hipages to be the perfect way to advertise to the right people.
Being a small business just starting out, he didn’t have a large budget for marketing or the know-how. hipages provided the exposure and the right marketing for his business at an affordable price. The higher number of enquiries helped relieve his cash flow problems and resulted in more bookings and brand exposure.