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  1. #1
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    Default Advertising your business: bang for the buck?

    Hey All,

    Finally looks like I'll be getting a chance to branch out & do some work for others with the box, tiller, & bushhog... word of mouth will do it's part certainly.

    Where did folks find their advertising dollars were best spent? Based on my primary job, it seems like the newspaper--however affordable, is an exercise in futility usually.

    Would appreciate any & all ideas/avenues people have come up with.

    Thanks!
    browns40




  2. #2
    Super Member Farmwithjunk's Avatar
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    Where do I begin.....

    Default Re: Advertising your business: bang for the buck?

    When I first started up my mowing business, I ran adds in the newspaper for 2 consecutive months. The cost is outrageous for the response it got. Our local fish wrapper charges $389 for 30 days, 30 words, in a columnar add in the SERVICES OFFERED section of the classifieds. So, 2 months = $778. Return on investment? A number of "I see you do mowing. Can you give me a price on hauling 2 loads of top soil?" stupid questions mostly. The adds bagged 2 jobs, both relatively small, with a net profit on the jobs of less than $500 total NOT INCLUDING ADD COST. Long and short, I LOST money on the adds.

    Best return? I sent out mailers to several real estate brokers and to a management company that runs several industrial parks. Cost there was under $50 and it generated work in excess of $60,000 in one season. CHA-CHING!!!!

    Business cards left in strategic locations have drawn a response at relatively no cost.

    The fine art of SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION. Tell EVERYONE who might be interested. Tell EVERYONE period.

    General landscaping and full service tractor work might draw more calls than my strictly mowing business with a newspaper add.

    Yellow page adds are costly. Unless you plan on making this a full time operation, I'd think they wouldn't be economically practical.

    I also post a sign or 2 on job sights while we're there. I had a couple yard signs made up for under $50. They've drawn a couple job leads.

    Name on the door of the truck.... That get's much exposure and makes the IRS happy.

    Your results may vary.
    There are three kinds of men;
    1.) The ones that learn by reading
    2.) The few who learn by observation
    3.) The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Advertising your business: bang for the buck?

    When I opened my business a year ago, I did a ton of advertising. Newspaper, and even radio. Advertising did absolutely nothing for me. I sent out direct mailers, little better, but not much. The best thing I did was provide great customer service. Word of mouth has been my best advertisement. Contact companies and tell them who you are and what you're about. I landed my biggest account over the internet. I went to their website and sent them a contact info form explaining who I was and what I did. I was going to follow up with a phone call the next day. They called me within 2 hours, opened an account, and the rest is history.

    Farmwith junk is correct. Pound the pavement. Get out there and put a face to your business. I found the most important thing is customer service. Do a good job, they tell 5 people. Do a bad job, they tell 500. 1 year in business I've had 1 unhappy customer. I'm told by the locals that nobody can make him happy. So, I don't know if I should even count him. They guy was looking for a steal and I wouldn't do it. Good luck.
    Knowing is not enough, you must apply.
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    Bruce Lee

  4. #4
    Elite Member AlanB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advertising your business: bang for the buck?

    For our landscaping and lawncare business, yellow pages has been by far the best, most consistent performer.

    Expensive, yes, but does get results.

    Newspapers, pennysavers, radio, etc. etc. were money lost for us. The "cheap papers" always brought us someone "cheap" some of the calls were funny and some were aggravating.

  5. #5
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advertising your business: bang for the buck?

    The local newspaper was a total waste of money for me. None of the calls that I received turned into real work, and most of them were more curious and seemed more interesting in chating then actually getting anything done.

    The local free classifieds paper has always been my go to source for work. I ran one add last year that lasted two months, or 8 issues. Off of that, I've been busy ever since. When I get cought up, I'll run another add in there. In the five years that I've been here and self employed, I've ran three adds in there and have always had strangers call me from those adds.

    My best bang for the buck is actually a small yard sign. I ask my client if it's ok to put one up in their yard while I'm working. Neighbors and people driving by stop and ask me about things they need to do around their home. What makes them stop is that I'm actually working on somebodies home they might know, or respect the fact that they hired me. That is usually all it takes for them to feel comfortable hiring me. The house that I'm working on now has led to two jobs from neighbors this way. I got this job from another house that I was working on who saw the sign. That job also led to another job from a neighbor who saw my sign.

    Some people leave my signs up long after I've finished their jobs, others give them back to me when I'm done with their project. It's always up to them if I put up the sign, and if they keep it.

    I haven't tried the yellow pages yet. Right now, I'm booked up until August and I'm hesitant to do any more advertising.

    Eddie

  6. #6
    Elite Member AlanB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advertising your business: bang for the buck?

    If you can stay booked without the Yellow pages, I sure would not enter into it.

    I left out the yardsigns, and yes, they work pretty well.

    We also landscaped the local chamber of commerece for our "membership" and they put out a very nice sign (I think they used the same signmaker we do) and we recieved some business off from that as well.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Advertising your business: bang for the buck?

    Thanks for the replies guys,

    I will definitely send some flyers out & put signs up at the local bank, stores, etc... the yard sign is a great idea! People always rubberneck when you're working (like an accident I suppose?), that'd give the message on the spot.

    How does the IRS feel about the magnetic signs these days? I thought someone had mentioned they were not "permanent enough", or something to that effect?

    The local papers here are relatively cheap--to the effect one job would likely pay for a month's worth, plus then it'd be in the file... also we have a local access TV station that runs $10 a month too...

    Again: appreciate the feedback!
    browns40




  8. #8
    Elite Member AlanB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advertising your business: bang for the buck?

    One of the questions you should ask yourself, and freinds is where do they look to find your kind of services.

    Especially ask folks who fit the demographic of the client you are looking to be of service too.

    IE, if you want to mow, $400,000 dollar homes, don't ask the guy in the trailer park.

  9. #9
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    1949 farmall, 1961 Fordson Dexta, 1986 Duetz Allis, 2001 Kubota.

    Default Re: Advertising your business: bang for the buck?

    May want to contact homeowers associations and local city and county govt about over run lots etc.

    "Filter care saves engine wear"

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  10. #10
    Member Texashayman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advertising your business: bang for the buck?

    You may want to try and put some busines cards in your local feed stores,(that really worked well for me when i first started out)and craigslist may be another alternative..its free..good luck in your business venture!

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