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Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work

 
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Old 05-21-2013, 03:16 PM   #1
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Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


My husband and I run a local handyman / remodeling company in Northern Virginia and there isn't a single project that we wouldn't take on....I take that back. We won't do additions, simply because we don't have the manpower. 95% of our work lands great reviews and future business with the client and referrals. We're young and motivated so we try to advertise all over the place with our limited funds. Chris is the contractor and does the work himself with two other stable helper as needed (depending on the project). We've somehow landed at a hault in work and it's May!!! This should be the uproar of the season for us and we've been out of work for 2 weeks. It's taken a serious toll on the busienss and personal well being. We're doing our routine advertising and call backs to clients but no effective responses. A lot of people think we're a bit pricey but we do not cut corners and we do give hand outs a lot. None the less, we provide the completed project under the time we allowed. People seem to want bigger contractors or guys that work for 9 bucks an hour! I am neither of those. I am a general person that takes pride in the work we perform for clients. As its much more rewarding to get a smile then a shrug. Any advice would help, any new marketing ideas, e-mailing ideas or just general help would be great.
As a reference - our last client we bidded an exterior trim replacement job went for the guys that were half our price (relying off her word) and we have done several jobs in the past for this client. We understand money is tight for her and we tried to bring our prices down as best as possible. For her townhome, the guys finished in 2 days, didn't caulk, didn't wood fill and only put one coat of Glidden paint on! She gave us a call a few days later asking if we could caulk, wood fill and put the extra coat of paint on with decent brand paint and we re-estimated our price and she went with us. This just goes to show that the $9/hour guys literally cut corners and would take money over a smile any day.

Thanks for looking at our post!
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:21 PM   #2
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


First off, if two weeks is causing this much of a problem that's an indication you are not managing finances very well.

Second, you mentioned you try and advertise all over the place on limited funds etc. Well, that doesn't mean your advertising is effective. It also doesn't mean it's "enough" advertising.

You said you are a young business? OK, well, as a business matures the owner starts to learn that advertising needs to be more targeted and effective. You are probably at that point where you need to put more thought in to "what" and "where" money needs to be spent on marketing. Welcome to the club.

As a side note, I would be very concerned about your financial position because 2 weeks is nothing in this business. That's usually a sign of a business hanging on by a very thin thread.

Anyhow, my advice to you is to pick one type of marketing vehicle and focus your energy on it. Master it! Take post cards for example - a well focused postcard campaign is highly effective. Unfortunately it requires a learning curve to really work well. The only way to learn how to market effectively is by focusing your efforts.

Often times, many companies start out by doing a hundred different marketing methods......but never really reap the benefits of good quality marketing. Why? Because they never really focus on any one thing that allows them to be effective.

Now, that doesn't mean you should abandoned other types of marketing. What you are looking for is a marketing mix, carefully balanced that still allows you the opportunity to market well. Basically, you need a good placement on search engines, a decent website, good and effective use of signage, vehicle lettering, etc etc........and while doing that - you create a focus on the "big one" such as post cards.

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Old 05-21-2013, 06:43 PM   #3
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


Just out of curiosity what are your current marketing methods?
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Old 05-21-2013, 06:47 PM   #4
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


I'm not really sure what to do about marketing, I'm still learning that myself. I will suggest that you start a Facebook page if you haven't already and invite your closest friends to "Like" it and "Share" it.

I noticed that you mentioned you brought your prices down as much as possible. This is something I have learned that you never should do. There is a certain cost that it takes for you to run your business and your markup should cover these costs.

-If you cut your prices you are loosing money
-If you cut your prices you need to make it back by raising prices on the next job which could cause you to loose that job.
-If you cut your prices customers may tell their friends that so and so will cut their prices if you ask them....
-If you cut your prices once then you will be likely to do it again, again and again which could cause your business to fail.

Figure out what you need to make to live and to support your business and stick with it. Don't ever try to get work by being the cheapest, try to sell yourself and the value that you provide.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:15 PM   #5
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


I'd never sit home for two weeks without work unless I just didn't want to work.

I sold my first two roofs when I was 18. I had a pouch and no truck. No car. All I did was knock and talk.

I've been a canvasser since before I knew the correct title was canvassing.

Established companies don't need to canvass almost as much as they must canvass and the big ones do it.

Good luck!
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:24 PM   #6
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


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Originally Posted by Roofcheck View Post
I'd never sit home for two weeks without work unless I just didn't want to work.

I sold my first two roofs when I was 18. I had a pouch and no truck. No car. All I did was knock and talk.

I've been a canvasser since before I knew the correct title was canvassing.

Established companies don't need to canvass almost as much as they must canvass and the big ones do it.

Good luck!
Congratulations but BFD. How does that help her.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:30 PM   #7
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


They don't have marketing money and they don't have work. They have not been working for two weeks.

My suggestion was canvassing.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:17 PM   #8
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Roofcheck View Post
I'd never sit home for two weeks without work unless I just didn't want to work.

I sold my first two roofs when I was 18. I had a pouch and no truck. No car. All I did was knock and talk.

I've been a canvasser since before I knew the correct title was canvassing.

Established companies don't need to canvass almost as much as they must canvass and the big ones do it.

Good luck!
I had a full time job when I was 3
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:40 PM   #9
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oconomowoc

I had a full time job when I was 3
Why did you wait so long?
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:43 PM   #10
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


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I had a full time job when I was 3
Probably in marketing
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:44 PM   #11
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


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Why did you wait so long?
I was previously in the Marines
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:48 PM   #12
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oconomowoc

I was previously in the Marines
Makes sense
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:42 AM   #13
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


It's easy to squander money in the name of marketing. Be careful. One method I used, and still do when things get slow is customizing a rubber stamp to fit a 3x3 post it note.

Mike once pointed out the importance of creating the right message for the phone book. The same goes with a rubber stamp. Figure out something that works for you.

a good stamp will cost about $50.00, and post-it's are cheap as well.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:51 AM   #14
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


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Just out of curiosity what are your current marketing methods?
Craigslist , Facebook, Thumbtack, ServiceAlley, mailed coupons to clients, flyers in the neighborhood. Very cheap since we only have so much $$ to work with now. From what we're learning, we're saving money to put towards more effective advertising but that will take awhile.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:29 AM   #15
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


There's no mention of a web site in your list of methods. I'm not just saying that because I'm a web guy, but you need a web site. Even if you don't show up on Google right away, the site needs to be planned for supporting your other methods. If someone has your coupon, flyer, or business card but no web site to check you out further, you are losing opportunity. Lost opportunity may not be easy to measure, but it is very expensive.

In your situation, a DIY site will most likely be required. I generally wouldn't recommend a DIY site because the loss of opportunity and slow learning curve are expensive, but it appears you have nowhere to go but up unless you opt for out. I would also emphasize Sailing's point about the slippery slope of cutting prices. That's a deep pit very difficult to climb out of.

For a web site, create a list of domain names you would like to use. Choose either Bluehost or Hostgator and set up hosting. You get a free domain name with hosting and you can use your list to search for one that's available. Look for the WordPress script in the Control Panel and walk through the steps to automatically and easily install WordPress. Start learning WP so you can develop a web site.

However, do not let building a web site get in the way of building your business. This is something you need to be working on, but not at the cost of cash flow. Get out of the office and make things happen. Build the web site during off hours at night. Once you have the site, your other methods will be more effective.

Study all you can about building value. Your mention of cutting prices indicates you're not building enough value. When value exceeds price, sales happen. If you're trying to sell a kitchen remodel, you aren't really selling a kitchen remodel. You are selling an end to the pain of the existing kitchen. You are helping someone improve their lifestyle and doing it without the problems they will experience if they go with the lower price. Don't sell your service, sell solutions to someone's problems.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:38 AM   #16
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


We have a website but it needs some updating which i'm working on right now!
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:45 PM   #17
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


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Craigslist , Facebook, Thumbtack, ServiceAlley, mailed coupons to clients, flyers in the neighborhood. Very cheap since we only have so much $$ to work with now. From what we're learning, we're saving money to put towards more effective advertising but that will take awhile.
Flyers are not the same as knocking doors. Craigslist is for bottom dwelleing wanna pay nothing buyers.
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Old 05-31-2013, 10:01 PM   #18
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


2 weeks is nothing. I sat on my a$$ the entire winter!

Hang in there guys, it takes time.
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Old 05-31-2013, 10:12 PM   #19
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


I don't miss those days... Work hard even when it doesn't seem like its working. Its tough to spend time marketing when you need to be working but that's what it takes.

Make a list of all the contact info you have for all your past contacts and start cultivating referrals. Draft an email, pre write some copy to use for phone calls, write a letter and mail it. Nothing quicker than a referral lead.
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Old 06-01-2013, 06:04 AM   #20
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Re: Advertising Help And Help With Bringing In Work


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I don't miss those days... Work hard even when it doesn't seem like its working. Its tough to spend time marketing when you need to be working but that's what it takes.

Make a list of all the contact info you have for all your past contacts and start cultivating referrals. Draft an email, pre write some copy to use for phone calls, write a letter and mail it. Nothing quicker than a referral lead.
Great advice Matt. A few years ago, our workload was cut in half due to the recession. I spent a lot of time talking to people, researching products, bidding smaller jobs, etc. It didn't seem productive at the time, but it has really paid off in the last 18 months. Sitting around doing nothing is never an option.

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