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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband is starting a handyman business. He has worked with his hands for 30 years, has an extensive collection of well-used tools, has remodeled several homes, and does very professional-looking work. Problem is that we have no good pics. We never thought he'd be starting a handyman business-- but we never thought he'd lose his regular job, either. How can we establish credibilty and start getting jobs with no pics?

We have pics from the stuff he's done- but the quality of the lighting and photo composition are not good enough for marketing materials or the website.

I have thought that maybe he should just do some more things around OUR house and then make a point of taking really good pics.

Is it possible to start getting work with no pics?

We are running Craigslist ads- to no avail.

We have adwords ads going-- no calls.

We are about to do 3,000 door hangers.

Would joining the Chamber of Commerce help? Would it help to be able to put the Chamber logo on our promotional materials?

How can we start getting jobs, so that we can get some word of mouth going?

Also- btw- if he gets work, how should he go about getting permission from the homeowners to take pics? We wouldn't use their address or anything like that, but people can be funny about these things, and we don't want to tic anyone off.

Any and all advice would be appreciated.
 

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Is it possible to start getting work with no pics?

We are running Craigslist ads- to no avail.

We have adwords ads going-- no calls.

We are about to do 3,000 door hangers.

Would joining the Chamber of Commerce help? Would it help to be able to put the Chamber logo on our promotional materials?

How can we start getting jobs, so that we can get some word of mouth going?

Also- btw- if he gets work, how should he go about getting permission from the homeowners to take pics? We wouldn't use their address or anything like that, but people can be funny about these things, and we don't want to tic anyone off.


Furst we have all started a business at one time or another without pictures.
Door hangers work in some markets.
Always ask customers if they mind you taking pictures. Most people really don't care or are proud of how things look.

I forgot the craiglist deal, I know that must work in my area because some people keep posting adds.
I suggest you go on craiglist and look at other areas and see how the adds are done.

Now haveing answered all of that, how about going to the intro section and introduce your self. Do not forget to let us know where you live!:thumbsup:

Dave
 

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Everyone has to start somewhere. In the beginning, you have to take anything you can get. Just make sure everything you are doing is legal, and licensed trades are subbed out where necessary. Also, make sure to invest in GL insurance and work comp.

Ask him to tune in here too.:thumbsup: (I'll bet he won't post under your screen name LOL)


Edit-PS like Framer 53 said, an intro and filling out your profile will get you alot more help here. Welcome to CT.
 

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Depends on certain facts. Did he meet the peopel whose homes he worked on? Does he know them? Did the company he worked for fold? If so, he could approah some of them to get pix or referrals. If the co. is still in business, that may prove to be a no-no on several levels.

Now, who are ya'll and where do yer come from?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We're in Elgin. He was working on our own investment properties. We used to live in the Deep South. Bought houses cheap with cash and remodeled them. He also has done extensive work on our own homes-- all fixer uppers when we bought them. He has also done lots of work-- mostly for free-- for relatives. Other than that he was working on building communications towers.
 

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My suggestion is to go back to those homeowners he did work for in the past. They may have more work for him to do, and you could ask to take pictures of the work you did, provided it's not out of date. I got my start by doing side jobs on the cheap (I was 18-23) and also gained my reputation by doing good work for my boss. When it was time to strike out on my own, I already had a house lined up, and that led to 3 more. Times were different back then however.
 

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We are in Elgin.
There is actually lot's of work out there in this area. Look at advertising in the Daily Herald service directory to start. It will take a few weeks before you start getting calls, but then they are pretty consistent. That was what got me going years ago.

Just a word of caution though. Make sure you are properly insured and licensed trades are used where applicable. Illinois is VERY strict in some regards. Any job over 1K requires that you follow the Illinois Home Repair Fraud Act-check that out at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov

Also, do some research on this site about the new EPA lead laws.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great Advice- Thank You

We are actually fully insured. We found a great policy- $1 million in liability- written specifically for handymen with an A- rated carrier. We intend to do everything legally- no permit work, no work that a licensed professional should be doing.

I didn't know that the Herald pulled so well. I am glad to hear that print advertising still works-- I sold ads for the Courier while I was in college. I will try the Herald.

Also- thanks for the heads up on the legal stuff. I will follow up on that carefully. As a matter of fact, one of our fear is that we might accidentally break some law through ignorance.

Thanks for being so generous with the help.
 

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A handyman needs pictures?

I never heard of such a thing.

Pictures of the garbage disposal you changed? A screen door put in? Some illegal electrical that was installed? Some drapes you installed?

A handyman can't get calls from craigslist?

Did the world turn upside down?
 

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We are actually fully insured. We found a great policy- $1 million in liability- written specifically for handymen with an A- rated carrier. We intend to do everything legally- no permit work, no work that a licensed professional should be doing.

I didn't know that the Herald pulled so well. I am glad to hear that print advertising still works-- I sold ads for the Courier while I was in college. I will try the Herald.

Also- thanks for the heads up on the legal stuff. I will follow up on that carefully. As a matter of fact, one of our fear is that we might accidentally break some law through ignorance.

Thanks for being so generous with the help.
There is a wealth of knowledge here in this forum. Just keep reading!

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
"A handyman can't get calls from craigslist?"

We have only gotten one call from Craigslist in two weeks. Glad to hear we don't need pics. Is there a trick to writing the Craigslist ads to make them more effective?
 

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Handymans Wife- great to meet you!

In this thread there are some excellent suggestions for you. Your question about building credibility is a great mindset to come from. I teach on this often. There is a proven approach to building credibility - and there's something to keep in mind before you 'get there'. It's called visibility. (The actual process is called VCP. Stands for: Visibility builds Credibility. When you are credible, you will become profitable.)

When people hear that, there's is common misperception that occurs. They think "If I just get my name out there to be seen, I'll be visible. Once people see my name, I'm credible. Then I'll make money."

This is a bigger subject- so I'll share here just a few of the finer points to start out:

1. When building visibilty (online, offline, on the job, in the grocery store- at the ball field, etc...) EVERYTHING you say and do has a direct impact on how people perceive you. It doesn't mean you need to be perfect... ('cause no one fits that bill :) ) It does mean that we need to be aware that how we act, speak, interact, repsond, etc to people and circumstances is a direct reflection of how we run our business. Often it's the unspoken things that people pick up on that either 'connects us' or prevents a connection from happening.

2. When building your visibility, remember also, everything you do is marketing your company. In marketing -today especially -the goal is to create and 'experience' with your prospect. Again, what you say, how you say it, when you say it, what you do to follow up and how you repeat that process to keep the prospect or client engaged is very important.

3. There are many marketing and advertising 'tools' you can use - but doing it cost effectively- means knowing who your best clients are (or should be). Then, you need to know HOW to talk to them. This builds your credibility very quickly- because now you speak the language that shows you really know your stuff.

The first service business I built (owned it for over 14 years very successfully) - was built on these principles. We didn't have photos of our work at first. Just great ethics, honesty, provided high value- delivered what we said we were going to (and then some)- and along the way, were able to get testimonials and pics like the others have mentioned here.

Last- Profitability isn't just about making the sale. It's actually when you reach the point where people refer you over and over. (there's more to this also- but like I said, I'm trying to keep this short.)

If you are open to a suggestion- really consider the kind of work your husband does best. What does make you the most profits - and where can you go to find that kind of work? Is there something he's really good at fixing? If you use some of the advertising places listed here, consider these questions for ideas on what to put in the ads.

Hope this helps a bit. :)
 

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Define a few things

First of all, good luck in the new business.

Second, you might try reading through a lot of these threads that seem applicable. May take you an afternoon.

Third, no one seems to have the magic bullet, though those companies that say they canvass religiously and spend a lot of time training their people in this claim the best results.

Fourth, no matter what someone says on here, there will be a bunch that disagree with it. Ignore most of what you are told, because it will be wrong, or at least wrong for your situation. Pick through what works for you.

Fifth, don't worry about photos right now, just take them as jobs are done. Ask if the homeowner minds, but most will say okay. BBB is okay if you can afford the dues, but I'd put that down the list until you are generating sufficient revenue.

Sixth, define a few things. What is your target market? Geographically, average ticket, age, type work to do and NOT do, etc. How many jobs do you need to book? One big problem with individual practioners is they get busy doing a job that is booked and stop marketing, so there is nothing in the pipeline. The good news is you may only need one or two jobs a month.

I suggest trying a "narrow and deep" strategy. If your return is 1/2 of 1% and you need 4 jobs per month, you need to hit 800 households a month. If your return is greater or less, adjust accordingly. You might cut that by joining Business Network International (BNI) and getting referrals to prospects. Repeatedly being in front of people is the key. So if you geographically limit it to a 5 or 10 mile radius, you might have 10-20,000 households. Narrow that down to what you can cover every 1-3 months, and keep working those neighborhoods.

Might try combining canvassing with door hangers if you or your husband are doing them yourself. Maybe one of you spend an hour a day doing this, you could probably cover 20 or more households if you actually talk to each homeowner. Maybe another hour for each person who is a serious prospect. If it's doorhangers only, I can cover 100 in about 60 to 75 minutes. Best wishes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Might try combining canvassing with door hangers if you or your husband are doing them yourself. Maybe one of you spend an hour a day doing this, you could probably cover 20 or more households if you actually talk to each homeowner. Maybe another hour for each person who is a serious prospect. If it's doorhangers only, I can cover 100 in about 60 to 75 minutes. Best wishes.[/quote]


I was wondering how quickly I could distribute the door hangers! We're having some printed soon. I'm going to distribute them myself. Hopefully we'll get some more business. Thanks for the advice.

I have been thinking about joining BNI. I am worried that I would not be able to deliver enough referrals for other people.
 

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BNI cost me more money than it made. For certain trades it could be excellent and doing handyman type of things it might excel in but in my trade, I could never compete pricewise with all the other contractors they had out.

I think printing door hangers is a waste of time. I found this out when we printed off roughly 1500 and only got two calls. We are also able to tell which home is need of a new roof without going in, something you wouldnt be able to see when doing inside work. It is much more effective to knock on the door, have a quick conversation with the homeowner and be onto the next. Of the last 5 things that got hung on my door, I could not tell you what or who they were for.
 

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Door hangers work good in my area. I hung 200 yesterday and I got 6 calls, and I already booked two kitchens to paint and 99.9% sure i got to paint a 3 bedroom apartment. Maybe they dont work all over. But it does not hurt to try. I made mine myself with a paper clip and rubberband and regular paper with black ink only well worth the $7.00 investment.
 

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Have to do marketing consistently

I was wondering how quickly I could distribute the door hangers! We're having some printed soon. I'm going to distribute them myself. Hopefully we'll get some more business. Thanks for the advice.

I have been thinking about joining BNI. I am worried that I would not be able to deliver enough referrals for other people


If you decide to do BNI don't go in worrying about referrals. You have to do a short training class and the weekly meeting is mandatory for you or a substitute and you will get in the habit of looking out for referrals. The real issue is getting in a group where you have good reciprocal members who can send you referrals regularly. If so, good success. If not, you might breakeven and call it quits after a year.

Don't let people discourage you from any particular method you think will work for you. You can learn from other people's mistakes, but don't take everyone's opinion as gospel for YOUR case.

You might want to see thread "Guerilla Marketing." Major arguments on that for and against. I will tell you this. Door hangers, or anything else, take consistency. Most people go put out a few hundred or spend one day doing it and say that proves it doesn't work. This is the equivalent of running an ad on TV or radio or newspaper for ONE day.

Marketing people tell us it takes at least three impressions before a company or product sticks in someone's mind. BUT they only absorb 1/9 of what passes in front of them, thus they have to see your ad at least 27 times. If they see or hear 1 out of every 20 ads you run, that's 540 ads before anyone absorbs your name. And maybe only 1% or less at any given time are in the market for what you do when the name registers. So you have to keep doing it. You have to be in their mind when they need you.

I don't have the budget for massive radio/TV/print, so I'm trying other ways. I like the door hangers because, if well done, you may make an impression on a homeowner with only ONE to THREE pieces. If you are passing them out yourself it won't be unusual for at least one homeowner a day to ask you to seriously look at doing a job for them. If you combine that with actual canvassing/door knocking/presenting the service or product, you may do really well if you only need a few jobs a month. If you are working with your husband, maybe you do the canvassing and estimating while he does the job. The problem is if he is busy working and neglects marketing, the job ends and you have to start all over.

My trouble is I need to get out about 15,000 pieces a quarter and I can't do them all, or even very many, and I can't find any reliable help to do it consistently. Good luck with your business.

PS - Your door hangers don't necessarily have to be fancy. Print a few hundred off your home printer. Color with photos or clip art helps. You can call around and find someplace that has plastic door hanger bags. You can be putting them out the day after Christmas if you want.
 
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