Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK
I could'nt stay in business like that myself. I have a customer base, but honestly, they don't number in the hundreds, and their plumbing is'nt always in need of attention. Therefor, unless I have a city contract or a maintenance contract with a real estate company, I have to advertise. Contracts are always put back up for bids every year, and I can't take the chance of going under if I lose one. That's happened to a local outfit I'm well acquainted with. They are a well established HVAC service company which has been in business since 1975! They had the same city weatherization contract for almost 25 years....and got SO comfortable with it they stopped advertising altogether (except for logos and number on service vans)...well, a new mayor got elected, and alomng with it a bunch of new politics...they lost the contract to another company, and now find themselves in the position of needing to lay off a guy or two because EVEN AFTER being in business for 30 years and having an IMMENSE past customer base as well as one of the sharpest, most knowledgeable HVAC mechanical admins in the area, they are getting maybe 2 or 3 service calls trickling in a day now, mainly for simple stuff like changing a thermocouple on a furnace or replacing a corroded dialectric union on a boiler, or replacing a rusted vent pipe, stuff that takes maybe an hour service call to do at best. They're now seeing the need for advertising in a big way.
I simply could not afford to stay in business without advertising. Referrals and past clients calling back are great, but in my experience, unless you have half the entire city lined up that way, you always have competition, you can't always get to a customer immediately because your stuck on another big project and they don't want to wait an extra hour so they call someone else....loads of reasons one simply can't afford to depend on referral work unless one is a one-man show only looking to make a small living. I'm not a weekend warrior, I depend on constant cash flow and work to stay afloat. I DO get alot of referral work but there are always weeks where they just don't come in. Without advertising I'd be twiddling my thumbs half the time. Maybe you just live in a much much larger town where the competition is'nt so fierce?
By the way, there's no law up here that says you have to put your license number or even name on your vehicle. It's just a good idea anyway.