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Door hangers can be effective, but you should have reasonable expectations. Don't expect them to be magic-- they should be a part of your marketing mix.

Select the are carefully. Preferably an area where you have other marketing. You should not expect more than 1 call per 1,000 distributed, particularly the first time you do it. If you repeat the same area every 2- 3 months, the response will increase.

We do a minimum of 5,000 when we do door hangers. We get 4 to 8 calls, some many months later.

When you get a job in your target area, immediately begin proximity marketing. Send postcards to the neighbors. Hand out more door hangers or flyers to the neighbors. Get a sign in the yard ASAP and leave it there as long as possible. All of this will increase your visibility and increase the effectiveness of each marketing piece.

Brian Phillips
 

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Well after reading Brian's post, I'm beginning to feel like my numbers are a little unrealistic. Nevertheless, I'll share my experiences but who knows if you should expect the same results....

I use door hangers for both proximity marketing as well as cold call advertising in neighborhoods that I'm not presently working in.

As far as results are concerned, for just cold calling I usually get 1 lead for every 500 fliers that I hang up.

If I'm working in the neighborhood, I attach a personalized letter to each hanger describing what job we're doing and where, followed by a short paragraph about my company. This direct form of marketing results in about 1 lead for every 50 houses that I distribute.

I purchased my hangers from 3000doorhangers.com for $179, so yeah I'd definitely say it's worth it. One job alone covers their cost.

In conjunction with door hangers, I've also found it's worth my time to canvass an area my crews are working in by going door to door. My pitch is very simple and non intrusive, and I easily generate 4-5 leads per hour from walking around. This past week alone, from door knocking I set up 12 estimates, and I've contracted 8 of them for about $22,000 in gross sales. I'm a young guy though, still attending the local university so that might play a factor in the number of leads I'm getting (aww, let's help the poor college student :innocent:). If you feel uncomfortable knocking on doors, hire high school/college kids to do it. I pay my friends $5 per lead, and they usually get the same results I do.

So in conclusion, definitely get door hangers, and do some door to door if you feel comfortable. Obviously don't let that be your only form of advertising though. Being a poor college student, I've found that the cheapest forms of advertisements work great. Put your business cards everywhere, talk to everyone you know or don't know, buy some cheap corrugated plastic lawn signs for job sites, etc etc etc. Get your name out there, it's really just a numbers game.

-Dylan Hawkins
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the info guys. I was thinking at the very least I'd like to start proximity marketing while I'm in the neighborhood. I already have yard signs out and thought the door hangers would just reenforce that were working in the area. Do you have a good source for online ordering?

I checked out the site rangie mentioned but those are only two color; and I was thinking about going full color with a pic or two.
 

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Rangie, could you go into more detail on what your Pitch is when doing Door-to-Door. I would like to hire some of my friends to knock on doors, what kind of training did you do to get them ready? what do i need to do? thanks man
Simple pitch:

"Good afternoon, I'm sorry to bother you. My name is Dylan, and I own a local painting company. One of my crews is doing work in the neighborhood, so I just thought I'd walk around and do a little advertising. Are you thinking of tackling any projects this spring or summer? Would you be interested in a free estimate?"

This is just a cookie cutter example. I usually try to make it as conversational as possible, as people can definitely tell and are put off when you're doing something that's rehearsed.

If they're interested I either schedule an estimate on the spot or ask for their name and number so I can call them that evening or the next day when I'm sitting in front of my calendar. The key is to get their contact information rather than just handing them a business card. They'll ask for a card and say they'll call, but they'll forget. I usually ask politely by saying, "I'm glad you're interested. Would you mind if I write down your name and number? I realize people have a lot of things on their minds, and painting their houses is probably last. That way, if I don't hear from you in a week I'll just give you a ring to remind you." Everyone is very receptive to that, and most are even grateful that you'll pay them that much attention.

Thanks for the info guys. I was thinking at the very least I'd like to start proximity marketing while I'm in the neighborhood. I already have yard signs out and thought the door hangers would just reenforce that were working in the area. Do you have a good source for online ordering?

I checked out the site rangie mentioned but those are only two color; and I was thinking about going full color with a pic or two.
Like I said, I started cheap but still get pretty decent results. One of these days I'm going to order full color, high gloss brochures. When I do, it'll probably be from www.gotprint.com. Never used them before, but they seem good quality for a fair price, and they get good reviews on Contractor Talk.
 

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Sorry I forgot to add, as far as training my friends it really didn't take much time or effort. I sent them an email for them to study regarding my company's history, what services we offer, and the sample pitch. I had them follow me around and listen to me do it for a neighborhood or two. Then I had them try it for a few houses with me there listening to offer feedback after each house. Now they have it down so that I just send them out whenever they have free time, they report the leads they generate, and I pay $5 per. It's good money for them, and great for me because leads generated in person are infinitely more reliable than those from ads, flyers, etc. My closing rate for leads generated from door to door is hovering around 80%, which is nice.
 

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Thanks for the kind words. I chose door to door as my main form of marketing out of necessity more than anything. I'm a fourth year in college, so not only did I start out completely broke with no starting funds, but also my business has been restricted to the past few summers. It didn't make any sense to advertise in newspapers or yellow pages since my work window was only May-August. I started by only passing out flyers, but door hangers just weren't getting the results I was looking for, and leads weren't coming quickly enough. I decided on a more aggressive approach almost immediately, and the leads started pouring in. I typically do at least 6 estimates a week for well qualified leads, or people that I've already met once in person who I know are definitely looking for work. This is probably the main reason my closing rate is so high.

As for other marketing, I developed a website myself at www.hawkinspainting.com. I need to figure out SEO or whatever it is, or get someone to do it for me, because my page ranking sucks. I do advertise with Google Adwords though, and that gets a lead every once in a while.

I also have written direct letters to local real estate agents and well established property management companies. I follow up with phone calls a week or two later. I haven't bothered with contacting other contractors... don't make nearly as much money working with them. Plus my target market is residential repaints, and I have no interest in new construction.

This summer after graduation, I'm going to seriously think about which direction I want to head with this business. If I look at it as a short term thing, I probably won't do much more advertising than I'm already doing.

However, my summer is almost completely booked already for 2 crews of 3. Needless to say, I've realized that this is a legitimate and lucrative business, and I'm considering expanding. If that's the case and I decide to make it permanent, I'll definitely broaden my marketing tactics. Multiple direct mailings, newspaper/magazine ads, yellow pages, SEO, lawn signs everywhere, truck lettering, etc etc etc will let everyone know I'm here to stay.

Wow, sorry, I just wrote a novel.
 

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And a good story it is.
I suspect your business endeavours may negate your academic ambitions.

That's exactly what I was just thinking.

How old are you and how long have you been in business?

I must say you are doing everything right, I'm glad you don't live near me.

What are you charging per hour? I don't mean to assume, but with a fully booked summer, I think you need to raise your prices. I would hate to think you aren't getting what you deserve and charging less than your market dictates.

Also with your professionalism and craftsmanship (I looked at your gallery :thumbsup: ) you can charge a little more than your competition.

Glad to have you here at PaintTalk.com Dylan.
 

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I suspect your business endeavours may negate your academic ambitions.
For the time being anyway. I'm a lazy/awful student, which is strange considering I have a great work ethic for my business. Regardless, post grad higher education won't come until I'm willing to take schooling more seriously.

Ideally, I'd love to run my company balls to the wall for the next 2-3 years, then think about selling it and applying to business school. I need to do something successful, god knows my transcript won't get me in anywhere
 

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Would you be interested in SELLING paint?

This is just a cookie cutter example. I usually try to make it as conversational as possible, as people can definitely tell and are put off when you're doing something that's rehearsed.
No Doubt! I hate the marketing pitch that sounds like it is being read... That is REALLY good advice I think...
 

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That's exactly what I was just thinking.

How old are you and how long have you been in business?

I must say you are doing everything right, I'm glad you don't live near me.

What are you charging per hour? I don't mean to assume, but with a fully booked summer, I think you need to raise your prices. I would hate to think you aren't getting what you deserve and charging less than your market dictates.

Also with your professionalism and craftsmanship (I looked at your gallery :thumbsup: ) you can charge a little more than your competition.

Glad to have you here at PaintTalk.com Dylan.
I'm 23, been in business for 2 summers and then all of this year so far. I was only a part time student this spring, so I had the opportunity to start work in February and work full time.

My prices are upper level for my area, but not necessarily the highest. I charge $40-45 an hour, depending on what I feel like at the time of the estimate. I'll usually base it on the difficulty of the job. I charge enough where my profit margin usually runs around 35% or so, sometimes higher.

I'm never the lowest if the customer is comparing multiple bids, but I feel like I do a really good job selling myself and my quality of work. But not in the used car salesman, pushy type of way. I've modeled my sales technique completely around being sociable (most important in my opinion), knowledgeable, and confident. And like I've been saying, it really helps being a college kid in a college town.

The reason my summer is mostly booked already is because I just contracted a job for painting the exterior of three 2-story, 8 unit condos for about $40,000. Basically it's like painting the front and back of 24 small homes. There goes most of June anyway.

Thanks for your advice and words of encouragement. I probably will start charging more per hour once I'm more completely booked, and can be really selective for jobs I want to do. Might even build another crew, I'm not sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Like I said, I started cheap but still get pretty decent results. One of these days I'm going to order full color, high gloss brochures. When I do, it'll probably be from www.gotprint.com. Never used them before, but they seem good quality for a fair price, and they get good reviews on Contractor Talk.[/quote]



Thanks for the link, looks like they have what I'm looking for.
 

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I used door hangers with some success. I put a yard sign in front of every job and then put door hangers on the surrounding homes. It helped reinforce the message that their neighbors were getting a paint job done so maybe it was time for their home too.

I used http://www.48hourprint.com/ and they did a sweet job!

This isn't the final version but similar to what I used...

Advertising Signage Banner Display advertising Brochure

The final version had better fonts, my web address, and some better layout on the back but you get the idea.

If I could change one thing it would be to make the coupon more of a coupon that was easy to see and understand what it was. Just printing $100 off didn't get the message across.
 

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You man the jobs with college kids with little to no experience? Hope you are well insured ,How many years of painting experience did you have before becoming a contractor?
 
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