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· Systems Fanatic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There has been a lot of comment about the economy and its impact on us as contractors. Houston's economy has continued to grow, but we have seen some signs of general uncertainty.

Through mid-June our leads were up over last year. Through July our sales were up over last year. However, the slow down in leads caught up with us in August. We've had one of our worst sales months in years.

I say the above to say this: when our leads started slowing down we increased our marketing. And now our leads are picking up again.

My point is, marketing drives leads, leads drive sales, and sales drive profits (or owner's salary, depending on your perspective). I thought that our slow down was an aberration and would not last long, but I did not want to count on that. So we kicked up our marketing to another level.

None of us have control over the economy. We do have control over how we market our business, where we do so, and how often. We need to constantly monitor our results and make adjustments. Sometimes that means spending more money, sometimes it means shifting money to other marketing.

There are a lot of ways to increase marketing in a tight economy. And a lot of them do not require a lot of money. But they do require perseverance and consistency. It may be a cliche, but when the going gets tough, the tough get going. There are lots of ways to get going-- customer retention, proximity marketing, signage, and improving one's sales skills.

We all have a choice to be reactive or pro-active. The choices we make ultimately determine our results.

Brian Phillips
 

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Brian you makes some good points as usuall. July was one of the worst months I have ever had for leads. Aug has really been great thanks to Referalls and repeat clients, but man, all I have been doing is reading and studing marketing, I have always been under the impression, do good work after about five years referalls will take care of you NOT, we currently spend about 5% of our gross on marketing, Im ready to double that, just trying to figure out exactly whear. So far

two trucks are going to get lettered, (finally)
going to get a web sight (finally)
Proximity mailings, this one is really going to be a regular consitent thing.
Few adds in some papers and chuch bullentin.
Looking into newspaper inserts??????
Folow up calls on all estimates, cost nothing and hopefully will help in closing rate.

Currently all I do
10,000 flyers a month

I wake up everymornig and ask myself one question, what can I do today to help grow my buisness for tomorow. Its really getting fun again.

I would love to here some thoughts on a marketing plan and ideas of whear and how to spend the money, all criticism is welcome, looking for all the help I can get.


thanks
dave mac
 

· Systems Fanatic
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wake up everymornig and ask myself one question, what can I do today to help grow my buisness for tomorow. Its really getting fun again.
That's a key. It's easy to get complacent when thing are going well. I fell into that to a certain extent. When leads are flowing, we just go with the flow.

Business is dynamic, it is always changing. Sometimes we don't notice the changes because they are slow and they don't immediately impact us. I heard lots of stories about the slow down in other areas, but I didn't see it. So I didn't change. Or at least, I didn't change as soon as I should have.

That's what I love about business. No matter how much you know, or think you know, there is always more to learn.

Brian Phillips
 

· Born To Be Mild
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We already reached our goal for the year, but our leads and total jobs/time booked ahead are way down.

Pesonally have done what Brian just talked about, but on a level we can afford. Advertising in a local magazine, door hangers, joining a BNI group to increase leads, mailing to our customers whether they gave us the job or just received an estimate, even working a local chamber of commerce event, are all things we did this month.

Hopefully it will pay off in the next month. Here's the ad we are running for both Sept/Oct. (attachment)
 

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I ran more leads this week than all of june and july combined. (not an exaggeration) Not unrelated but my marketing increased in july and now we are seeing the results. So Now I just have to keep the pedal down or winter might sneak up.
 

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We already reached our goal for the year, but our leads and total jobs/time booked ahead are way down.

Pesonally have done what Brian just talked about, but on a level we can afford. Advertising in a local magazine, door hangers, joining a BNI group to increase leads, mailing to our customers whether they gave us the job or just received an estimate, even working a local chamber of commerce event, are all things we did this month.

Hopefully it will pay off in the next month. Here's the ad we are running for both Sept/Oct. (attachment)

I like the idea, willit be on orange paper
 

· Born To Be Mild
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I like the idea, willit be on orange paper
No, we got a deal for a half page black and white ad if we ran it for two months. Although I like the addition of orange. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Folow up calls on all estimates, cost nothing and hopefully will help in closing rate.
Those phone calls do make a difference. It's one thing I haven't actually tracked, but I know that it does close at least one job a month. We follow up at least 3 times, unless we get a reason to stop.

Just the little extra effort can make a difference. At the least, you stay in front of the customer.

When leads are tight, we need to make the most of them. Traditionally, that meant cutting our price, which is a huge mistake. But if we can increase our closing rate and/ or average sale price, fewer leads does not become such an issue.

As an example, my leads were down about 25% through the end of July. But sales were up about 5% because my closing rate was up and the average sale was up. And I increased prices. All this meant was more money for less work on my part.

I'm not thrilled with leads being down, but that's not the most important number. Profit is, and I've had to make adjustments to keep it where I want it.

Brian Phillips
 

· The Lurker
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I agree on the follow call also... how many times I have heard "thanks for the follow up" I think some guys just drop the proposals and if they don't hear from the client thats it no deal and they move on...

If I don't hear from someone in a reasonable time frame I will make a follow up call and see if they have made up there minds, still waiting for other proposals etc...
 

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Those phone calls do make a difference. It's one thing I haven't actually tracked, but I know that it does close at least one job a month. We follow up at least 3 times, unless we get a reason to stop.



Brian Phillips
Goodstuff right their, thats 12 jobs a year, for us thats about a month's worth of work, I started this week, and must say I greeted very nicely, and really found out some good things about what the prospect were thinking.

I may also add a follow up letter, especially for the ones right on edge, and have nice size jobs.
 

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Goodstuff right their, thats 12 jobs a year, for us thats about a month's worth of work, I started this week, and must say I greeted very nicely, and really found out some good things about what the prospect were thinking.

I may also add a follow up letter, especially for the ones right on edge, and have nice size jobs.
Thats valuable information for you to be gathering, Dave. In order to be educating the consumer, we have to be listening. Thats a good reminder for us all.
 

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Very true. Gotta stay positive. Got 1 job in a neighborhood in city close by. Customer liked my work, so he wanted estimate. Got the job. Another neighbor down the street came by and wanted quote. Got the job.

Another neighbor came over yesterday and wants quote next week.

Not working for peanuts either. People still do appreciate quality.
 

· Born To Be Mild
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Few adds in some papers and chuch bullentin.
Looking into newspaper inserts??????
Folow up calls on all estimates, cost nothing and hopefully will help in closing rate.

Currently all I do
10,000 flyers a month

I would love to here some thoughts on a marketing plan and ideas of whear and how to spend the money, all criticism is welcome, looking for all the help I can get.


thanks
dave mac
Dave,
I'd join a professional type organization like BNI or the chamber of commerce in the area you want to work. I just joined BNI and cannot give you an idea how it works for me, but a friends wife got me involved because of how well it worked for her.

A quick plug for Brian, his "Getting Out Of The Bucket" manual is on sale and it contains a section on marketing.

My question for you is how do you distribute 10,000 flyers a month, what does that cost (flyers and distribution) and what your return is? If you don't want to share the numbers, I understand.

http://www.outofthebucket.com/systems/laborday.htm

http://www.bni.com/
 

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Dave,
I'd join a professional type organization like BNI or the chamber of commerce in the area you want to work. I just joined BNI and cannot give you an idea how it works for me, but a friends wife got me involved because of how well it worked for her.

A quick plug for Brian, his "Getting Out Of The Bucket" manual is on sale and it contains a section on marketing.

My question for you is how do you distribute 10,000 flyers a month, what does that cost (flyers and distribution) and what your return is? If you don't want to share the numbers, I understand.

http://www.outofthebucket.com/systems/laborday.htm

http://www.bni.com/

Biker Im here to share and learn, I learn a lot more then I share, I have a company that hands them out. He does 5,000 per week, at a cost to me $315, I do it twice a month, he has 30,000 houses he hits. I have been with this guys since day one when he started his buisness, and I have a great price with him. Most companys including him, charge 7.5 and up around here. (So that would be $375) I have 20,000 flyers printed at a time, on color paper lemon lime, for a cost of $579. So basicl for 5,000 flyers to be printed and handed out my total cost is $459.75 thats bout .09 a flyer. last year I had a pretty good year and the flyers accounted for 25% of my gross sales. The return I cant seem to dig it up, I havnt checked it in several months, but it is very very low. Example this month, we got only 15 calls due to flyers// last month 6 calls due to flyer// month before that 10 calls//March we got 18 calls from flyers.

PS
the flyer guys usally put anywhear from 7 to 9 other flyers in with mine, so this is kind of like a value pack almost. I know he puts them out because I check on him, he has a gps tracking system, and I can look up on the map whear he is, then go to that hood and make sure they are going out.

Thanks for the suggestion on Brian Manuel, Ill be ordering this week, I love to read.
 

· Born To Be Mild
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Biker Im here to share and learn, I learn a lot more then I share, I have a company that hands them out. He does 5,000 per week, at a cost to me $315, I do it twice a month, he has 30,000 houses he hits. I have been with this guys since day one when he started his buisness, and I have a great price with him. Most companys including him, charge 7.5 and up around here. (So that would be $375) I have 20,000 flyers printed at a time, on color paper lemon lime, for a cost of $579. So basicl for 5,000 flyers to be printed and handed out my total cost is $459.75 thats bout .09 a flyer. last year I had a pretty good year and the flyers accounted for 25% of my gross sales. The return I cant seem to dig it up, I havnt checked it in several months, but it is very very low. Example this month, we got only 15 calls due to flyers// last month 6 calls due to flyer// month before that 10 calls//March we got 18 calls from flyers.

PS
the flyer guys usally put anywhear from 7 to 9 other flyers in with mine, so this is kind of like a value pack almost. I know he puts them out because I check on him, he has a gps tracking system, and I can look up on the map whear he is, then go to that hood and make sure they are going out.

Thanks for the suggestion on Brian Manuel, Ill be ordering this week, I love to read.
What is a service like that listed under? (phone book) Does he hit the same areas or switch them up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
the flyer guys usally put anywhear from 7 to 9 other flyers in with mine, so this is kind of like a value pack almost. I know he puts them out because I check on him, he has a gps tracking system, and I can look up on the map whear he is, then go to that hood and make sure they are going out.
We pay 10 cents a piece and we are the only one handed out. Have you tried going solo to see if the results are better?

Also, I wouldn't be as concerned about the number of calls as the amount sold, because that is what will determine your return on investment. Certainly the number of calls will be a factor, but it's not the most important one.

If you are spending $920 a month on fliers, they would need to generate $9,200 for your ad costs to be 10% and $18,400 for your ad costs to be 5%.

One way to improve the return on fliers or door hangers is to place ads in other publications that go to the same neighborhoods, and do proximity marketing as well. This makes you seem omnipresent, which can be very powerful.

Brian Phillips
 

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Biker he has 6 routes with 5000 in each route 30,000 households, he does a differnt route each week, I dont know the listing in the phone book, but around here their are lots of companys doing them, I usually see someone doing it and Ill stop them and get their names and numbers, I have often thought about starting a flyer delivery buisness, if you get 8 per flyer, an get say 9 people to commit that .72 per house, I can do my self easy 175 house's per hour, that $126 gross per hour.

her is his websight CTadvertisingnc.com


Ps
Biker thanks for the heads up on Brians manuel, Im down loading as I type, I have already read the entire marketing section, great stuff, and we get to pick his Brain right here as well, got love the internet!!!
 
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