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  • Advertising in the first years.

    I was wondering what all you established plumbers did to "establish" your self in the first years. What kind of advertising and or marketing did you do besides the basic networking.

    I know back in the "gold rush" days when anyone who had a pulse was buying real estate it was a little easier because of the shortage of skilled labor but I think it's a little different now .

    I am looking at doing basic yellow pages ad, direct mail marketing postcards targeting homeowners and businesses, radio ad and newspaper ad. It's getting expensive almost 15k just in marketing ! I do have a good reputation with consumers and businesses on one part of the island. Currently I work for a company that only works on the west side of the island w/ a population of 9,100, but I am looking to do all island service. The population is about 150k. So I will need to establish my self with the other 140,900 people .
    Ray

    “Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.”— Francisco d'Anconia
    Atlas Shrugged (Part 2, Chapter 2, Page 411)

    www.mauiplumbinginc.com


  • #2
    Re: Advertising in the first years.

    Catch 22 advertise to get known or don't because you don't have the cash reserves in your new company to get known. plus add a recession into the mix. OK do a basic and I mean very basic yellow page ad. (the yellow pages no longer control us like they used to) Network to every person you meet about you and your new business (Business cards) If you are in a major city you can use google ad words to help and Service Magic. Also Craigslist to rope in a few jobs (every job you do right gets you known) Keep your advertising budget in line to what it really brings in, you can throw money away all day long on ads it's easy!
    Seattle Drain Service

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    • #3
      Re: Advertising in the first years.

      WHOA! Slow this train wreck down. I can appreciate your enthusiasm, but I can guarantee you no one on this forum started their business with a new truck, full of new tools, pumping out television commercials. Most of us are small time operators in our fields, but enjoy what we do and provide a decent living for our families. Understand that the chances of your business failing are greater than the chances of it surviving. It makes it much worse, if you have a loan payment, have your house on the line, or have spent your entire savings. I would look at your proposed start-up budget and then trim off $100,000. I would also recommend a book titled, "Guerrilla Marketing" by Jay Levinson. You can even check out the website at www.gmarketing.com
      Last edited by Devine Plumbing; 04-19-2010, 01:01 AM.
      Distractions are everywhere, don't lose sight of your dream.

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      • #4
        Re: Advertising in the first years.

        Originally posted by Devine Plumbing View Post
        WHOA! Slow this train wreck down. I can appreciate your enthusiasm, but I can guarantee you no one on this forum started their business with a new truck, full of new tools, pumping out television commercials. Most of us are small time operators in our fields, but enjoy what we do and provide a decent living for our families. Understand that the chances of your business failing are greater than the chances of it surviving. It makes it much worse, if you have a loan payment, have your house on the line, or have spent your entire savings. I would look at your proposed start-up budget and then trim off $100,000. I would also recommend a book titled, "Guerrilla Marketing" by Jay Levinson. You can even check out the website at www.gmarketing.com
        If I trim off 100,000 thousand there wont be much left. My proposed budget is 120k which includes having 15k cash on hand for expenses for the first couple months. So its 105k for van, tools & equipment, inventory (on van), marketing. A big chunk of my budget went to the van, trailer jetter and other drain equipment. Believe me I am trying to keep my costs down, I dont want some big loan payment on top of insurance payments on top of worrying about if I am going to make it. But I will definitely check out that book, you're not the first one to mention it. I wasn't thinking of tv ads, but I definitely want to do some direct-mail marketing with a 10% off coupon.

        If any of you established guys want to take a look at my buisness plan and let me know what you think that would be most helpful. It's one thing having an MBA go over it but its a whole nother thing when a sucessful plumber does.
        Last edited by mpm; 04-19-2010, 01:51 AM.
        Ray

        “Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.”— Francisco d'Anconia
        Atlas Shrugged (Part 2, Chapter 2, Page 411)

        www.mauiplumbinginc.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Advertising in the first years.

          Originally posted by mpm View Post
          If I trim off 100,000 thousand there wont be much left. My proposed budget is 120k which includes having 15k cash on hand for expenses for the first couple months. But I will definitely check out that book your not the first one to mention it.
          15K is not a good reserve becuse jobs will come your way that you need tools for that you may not have, you can rent then, sales items come your way from jobs and can add up fast between the times the checks from the last finished jobs come in, you really never want to be caught short on cash reserves it will slow any progress you can make. so enlarge that reserve some. Cash is one of the best things that will keep a new business alive while the journey has begun.( god that sounds dumb lol)
          Seattle Drain Service

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          • #6
            Re: Advertising in the first years.

            When I looked around Hawaii many years ago, I remember talking with a lot of contractors who agreed on one thing: If you're not local, and I mean going back generations, construction business is one tough nut to crack. Do you have connections, business and family? Are you already "known" by supply houses, inspectors and so on? (I'm not trying to discourage you, but these are real issues.)

            I have zero presence in Yellow Pages. I don't think there is any value there. My main focus is networking, and I try to do it ALL the time. A phone call from a potential customer who found your ad in the Yellow Pages is a long, long, long shot, whereas a call from a potential customer who says, "A friend of mine knows you" is money in the bank. As our business is rarely a scheduled need, like groceries or insurance, but rather a semi-emergency need, we have to stay at the front of the line (and on the tip of their tongues) when something does happen. In your business plan, what is your five-year projection, and have you witnessed any other start-up in your area that was able to perform to that level? While I admire optimism, reality is what leads to success.

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            • #7
              Re: Advertising in the first years.

              you could try adams hudson at www.hudsoninc.com. i have one of his books "contractor marketing secrets". a real eye opener. breid..............

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              • #8
                Re: Advertising in the first years.

                i have never in my life afford a discount in an add. i don't want discount customers. breid...................

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                • #9
                  Re: Advertising in the first years.

                  Forget advertising! Do a 1st class job everytime, people will talk, & you can pocket all the money you would have wasted on advertising, & talking with all the " information shopping, bargain hunter, time wasters" you will incurr, with advertising.
                  Start small! Just my 2 cents

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                  • #10
                    Re: Advertising in the first years.

                    Originally posted by breid1903 View Post
                    i have never in my life afford a discount in an add. i don't want discount customers. breid...................
                    Respectfully, I will disagree with you. There are many times I will offer a discount coupon for the labor rate. Everyone loves a good deal. I usually offer this discount all the time to senior citizens, active military, etc. Sometimes a discount customer is better than no customer at all.
                    Distractions are everywhere, don't lose sight of your dream.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Advertising in the first years.

                      Buy everything used....with the exception of rodding cables.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Advertising in the first years.

                        The way my father started his business is with an old pickup truck a rail, hand rod (flat tape) half dozen bushel baskets , a square jaw and a catch basin spoon. He then knocked door to door telling people he just cleaned their neighbors catch basin, he could clean theirs for $45 bucks. If it needed rodding it was more money.

                        As he grew he did not knock on the doors much but he did put fliers on each door of the homes next to the one he was doing work at. When things are slow we put fliers out in whole neighborhoods.
                        Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                        A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                        Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                        Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

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                        • #13
                          Re: Advertising in the first years.

                          hopefully in the 8 years you've been at it. you've made contacts with friends, family, neighbors, and others that know you.

                          you could be the best plumber in town, but if they don't know you exist and are on your own, you won't get the chance to operate.

                          hopefully your getting the word out far in advance of the grand opening.

                          the advantage you have is your local and you have contacts in the community.

                          good luck and just as your advertising your start up plan here, your potential customers need to know you're getting ready to open your doors to them.

                          rick.
                          phoebe it is

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                          • #14
                            Re: Advertising in the first years.

                            well i restarted my drain biz and spent over $30,000 in equipment 6 months ago, after 5 years of being really busy with my other businesses. i went all out on my YP very agressive/expencive. i have to say that i know regreat my choice in the YP as all it brings me is price shoppers.
                            the only dumb question is the one that is not asked!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Advertising in the first years.

                              Originally posted by Western Reserve View Post
                              When I looked around Hawaii many years ago, I remember talking with a lot of contractors who agreed on one thing: If you're not local, and I mean going back generations, construction business is one tough nut to crack.
                              This one statement hit the nail on the head. Being local is the #1 influence of how you look at Hawai'i.
                              Buy cheap, buy twice.

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