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I have been in the building bussiness for over 30 years and have spent a ton of money over the years on advertising. What i have found is that word of mouth works the best. We also have 3 lettered trucks and jobsite signs.
What form of advertising works for your company and at what cost?
 

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HCI we were discussing this in another topic and I am glad yous tarted this one. I did not mean to come off abrasive, but alas it's one of my flaws, I always come off abrasive.

I agree with you word of mouth is the best form of advertising because the sale is pretty much in the bag. Your former customer has already sold the referral on your quality/value whatever. I have found word of mouth is not enough to carry a medium sized company however. First off you have to find a few jobs somewhere just to get started. Let's say you have one crew... Just to keep that one crew busy you need 100% referral rate. That means every past customer needs to referr you to at least one person, and you need to sell 100% of your estimates to stay busy. That's not likley to happen.

While referral estimates are always top priority in our company we need to pad the schedule with new recruits, so to speak. These new recruits come in through various means. I know many people that have had great success with mailers, the key with sending out mailers is consistency and timing. As with all marketing you have to know your audience. There's no use broadcasting your message to people that can't buy your service.

I think job site signs are a must for every job. Another great cheap marketing tool is signs on your truck, don't forget the all important backs of your truck. The back gets more exposure than the sides.

There are online lead services which allow you to pick and choose through your leads and buy only the ones you like. These services make up the bulk of our estimates. The key is to being the early bird. I am serious when I say if a lead came in 3 hours ago I won;t pay it a second thought. It's pretty much already in the bag, for someone else.

For us yellow pages didn;t pay off. They just messed up our bottom line. I think it is important to have a small add in all the areas you service because some people, especially elderly, will use the yellow pages as a tool to refrence your legitimateability (is that even a word?). Also sometimes people forget your number but remember your name. Heck sometimes they forget your name but remember your logo or slogan... They may end up looking in the yellow pages for you. If your not there, at least a very small tiny add, they won't be able to call you :(

It's very important in today's world to have a web site (If you need one ask Nathan to help ya out). I have our website listed on all our business cards, brochures, letter head etc... We get alot of leads through our website, and you can market your site effectively on the cheap. Not only that, but a website lends to your image of legitimacy. It allows customers to learn about who you are before wasting your time to ask the frequent questions they all ask, that are nothing more than a waste of time.

What else? There are so many ways to advertise, the key is to focus on various areas that fit your target market. Also focus on a few types of advertising. Don't spend little ammounts all over. Focus your menoy on what and where works.

Check these links for prior conversations: http://www.contractortalk.com/showthread.php?t=428
http://www.contractortalk.com/showthread.php?t=426
http://www.contractortalk.com/showthread.php?t=206

Many companies use the 10% budgeting as a rule of thumb. They spend 10% of their revenue on advertising. I think 10% is the bare minimum tp be spent.
 

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Word of mouth is definately what's going to work the best.

We are lucky, we are a part of Carpet one, a billion dollar company who helps us with advertising. We do tons of radio on a few stations, and also t.v. at certain times.

One time I was watching American Idol, and during the break I saw our commercial, I thought that was kinds cool. I am sure those slots are a tad costly, even if their shown in your area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lots of interesting facts Grumpy. I agree with the yellow pages for i lost a bundle on an add one year without a single call. I been kicking around the idea of a web site for a while. I think its time to start one.
Its also a good idea to be involved in the community where you work. ( civic league, Fire and Rescue Squad, or some other volenteer work. )
 

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Yes HCI be involved in your community is a great idea for drumming up new business. You can join the local CoC and maybe sponsor a little league. I am actually going to start a non profit at some poit in time. The point will be to educate consumers how to make educated purchasing decisions... not to get scammed by trunk slammers.
 

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HCI, I'm also for word of mouth. I don't advertise at all any more.
I have a friend that swears by the phone book, another with the newspaper, on and on. I guess you have to figure out what works for you and your area. I made a post on a BB somewhere about what worked best for me, might be here.
I'll see if I can root it up and post it.
 

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word of mouth is by far the best advertising possible, its really simple just think about your life....I'll take this out of the building/contracting so its easier to relate too.....when you need something say...a dentist, do you pick up a phone book and pick one with a cool name?...not usually, you'll call a friend or a relative and see who they go too.....well the same applies to the trades, if my brothers toilet broke he'd call me and I'd recommend a good plumber too him.....signs and fancy advertisments are great but nothing beats word of month and the only way to get good work of month is to have the best employees that a enuthusiasict about there jobs...all you need is one really really happy customer and the word will get passed on to at least one more......i also have a great example...my father lives in south carolina, hes a GC for deluxe homes, he builds a awesome house, no short cuts does everything perfectly on every house he builds plus he does it for less then fair price.....he doesnt even have a phone number in the phonebook but people hunt and search and get the number through word of mouth because they want him to build his house becuase you can see the quality.....these people are going to invest 500000+ dollars into a house from a guy that doesnt even have a phone number in the phonebook and hes turning down work because hes getting to much!.....all though word of month....

its hard to take advantage of word of month you can try different things like :if you tell a friend about us and we do work for them you'll get a XX% discount on the next time we do service for you:

other then that quality and pride in your work is the best way to spread the word :)
 

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Word of mouth is everyone's ulitmate goal for advertising, however there are at least two major road blocks.

1 - if you are first starting out word of mouth isn't going to work, you can only get the word out by working for customers, and you aren't going to get too many customers without advertising.

2 - Word of mouth has a much greater effect on your business depending upon the size of the market you work in. If you are in a small town it is a much shorter road to developing a word of mouth only advertising program. Working in a large city and it takes much, much longer.

That being said, of course word of mouth advertising is the pinacle of marketing methods that we should all be working towards. 1st off it is cheap!
 

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I'll tell you a secret short cut to word of mouth advertising:

Work for rich people. They take pride in spending a lot of money and they like to tell their other rich friends how much they spent to get the quality of work they got.

Rich people like to refer to you as their 'guy'. Such as, "My guy was tough to get to do the job, he was booked for six months in advance, plus he cost a fortune, but he really did a great job for us."
 

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Mike Finley said:
I'll tell you a secret short cut to word of mouth advertising:

Work for rich people. They take pride in spending a lot of money and they like to tell their other rich friends how much they spent to get the quality of work they got.

Rich people like to refer to you as their 'guy'. Such as, "My guy was tough to get to do the job, he was booked for six months in advance, plus he cost a fortune, but he really did a great job for us."

Good advice Mike, this is the area I've always had problems with, getting my foot in the door in the high end exclusive neighborhoods, where the residents have the $$ to spend and are more worried about a quality job than what the bottom line on the invoice is. Got any secrets to share on how to get into this market?
 

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Referrals are the best of course. If you can get one job done that can get your foot into the door. You could join their country club of course. :cheesygri People with money definitly like to get referrals from their rich friends, especially because this gives them a chance to let everybody know that they are going to be spending a lot of money and often they get off on telling people how much money they spend.

But to advertise to them the main thing is to keep your advertising medium on as high a level of quality as they are used to.

When a realtor sells an average priced home he runs off on his computer 8 1/2 x 11 paper fliers to show the house. When a realtor sells a multi- million dollar home have printed a 4 color glossy brochure. - you need to keep that in mind with your advertising. If the advertisement doesn't look like you are the best at what you do you are cutting your chances of them calling you.

With that in mind a direct mail campaign with an expensive looking brochure would be where I would start. Having a really good looking website to let them look at and displaying the address prominently on your piece would be a good idea also.
 

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Thanks for the advice Mike, I'm working on upgrading the website ASAP and in general upgrading my company image. When I first started off I thought the quality of my work would sell itself, prblem I've realized as has been stated before is getting to a point where you're not constantly worried about where the next job is coming from. Going to talk to the local COC guys today to see about joining that. We have a local rep with GC as doing first rate work, but we ain't cheap, and we don't cut corners period. We do things per manufacturer specs or else we tell you to find someone else to do it. Right now I'm down to two GC's that we will work for, because they only build for quality, neither of them have so much as a phone listing for advertising, in fact the one guy doesn't even have his name on his trucks! But both are backlogged with work, you call one of these two to build your house, you best not be in a hurry, cause they won't be getting started until summer, that's next summer 2006 at the earliest!
 

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Great info guys, I will save this for future reference.

About 4 years ago I a bought a used 12 foot box truck and put my company name and logo on it taking up almost the full height on each side. This thing is a rolling billboard and people can’t help but look at it. Everyone knows when we are in the neighborhood that’s for sure.

Door hangers, post cards and yard signs have also work extremely well for us along with web sites.


Best of Luck

Jesse R. Kirchhoff

Advanced Power Washing and Restoration Services LLC
Professional Products ~ Professional Service ~ Professional Results
www.advancedpw.com

Kirchhoff Handyman Solutions LLC
“Making Your Life A Lot Less Complicated”
www.midmohandyman.com
 

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As far as the referrals go, I was at a dealer meeting for a manufacturer of products that I offer. During one of the sessions the question of referrals came up. The answer given by the speaker, a professional salesman that works for the manufacturer, was, ask for them from your past customers.
Tell them your business depends on, counts on some referrals to stay busy and in business. Sit down with them and ask for names of people whom they know that might be interested in your service/ products.
 

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With every bill I present to my customers I give them a card that states I will give them a 5% commision on any paying job they refer us to.
 

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some of the medium to larger local guys around here set up a kiosk in the mall or in a Sams club or costco. Theyll have an attractive lady there asking people for appointments.

probably expensive, but it seems like they get leads doing it.
 

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Paul Staub said:
some of the medium to larger local guys around here set up a kiosk in the mall or in a Sams club or costco. Theyll have an attractive lady there asking people for appointments.

probably expensive, but it seems like they get leads doing it.
It is my experience tht this form of lead generation produces low quality leads. The problem is that a majority of the time the lead generator is asking the potential customer to sign up for some type of sweepstakes or raffle. On the sign up form there will be a section to fill out asking if the potential customer wants any services windows, siding, roofing etc... I have found most of the people who enter the sweestakes really have no interest in the windows diding roofint etc... they just checked a box hoping it helps out their chances of winning the raffle.

If the lead generator were to change their approach and really try to find people who want roofing siding windows etc... the quality of that lead is gold.
 

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red_cedar said:
The answer given by the speaker, a professional salesman that works for the manufacturer, was, ask for them from your past customers. Tell them your business depends on, counts on some referrals to stay busy and in business. Sit down with them and ask for names of people whom they know that might be interested in your service/ products.
This gives me the heebie-jeebies. I would seriously consider not hiring someone again who did this.
 
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