Running a small lawn or landscaping business can be a great side job if you’re looking to make some extra money. There’s relatively few overhead costs after the initial equipment purchases, you can work as little – or as much – as you want, and your income increases the more time you spend outdoors underneath the shining sun.

Things get a little more complicated if you want to make full-time money. Full-time money means full-time clients. And to get full-time clients, you’re going to need to market yourself.

Marketing. Blech.

Fortunately, marketing isn’t all sleazy suits, slicked-back hair and snake-oil grins. In fact, a lot basic promotion tactics don’t involve any face-to-face time with potential clients. Here’s 5 effective ways to promote your lawn or landscaping business.

1)    Look Professional – Nobody wants unwashed, scraggly people skulking around their property in torn clothing. While working outdoors is almost always a dirty business, a team of matching, well-groomed landscapers cultivates an air of professionalism – and professionalism draws new clients. You don’t need to go over the top and dress your crew in tuxedos, but color-coordinated work pants and tee-shirts emblazoned with your company’s logo create a great impression.

2)    Get Your Name in Front of People – So you’ve got your company name on your uniforms. Good enough, right? Not quite. Cars zooming by can’t read the small print on clothing. Invest in some professional-looking lawn signs to stick in front your work sites. Slap your basic info in an eye-catching font on the exterior of your work vehicle. Fancy silk-screens and custom paint jobs look great, but they can be expensive. You can purchase custom vehicle magnets for much less.

3)    Advertising 2.0 – The Internet. Have you heard of it? Websites are practically a business requirement in this day and age. Even if you can’t afford a slick, professionally designed site, you should at least have a page with your basic service and contact info.

4)    Get Your Name in Front of People, Part II – Direct mail lets you reach customers you’d never otherwise meet, and you can canvas local residential areas pretty cheaply these days. Conversion rates typically fall around 1%, so if you mail out 5000 pieces, expect about 50 responses. An even cheaper option involves printing out simple fliers or door hangars and passing them out in the neighborhoods you service.

5)    Word of Mouth – Referrals are the best advertising you can get. Do a good job for a good price, act professional and stay friendly and wait for the phone to start ringing. While you can’t plan referrals, you can encourage them by actively asking loyal customers to spread the word – and offering them some type of discount if they send a new client your way.

See, no snake oil – I promised. These techniques work for large, established companies just as much as they do for smaller operators, but all the promotion in the world won’t sell shoddy work. Keep your lawns nice and green and your flowers bright and beautiful if you want to attract new clients.