We are in the process of starting a mobile auto service. Its my job to do everything (including finding customers) except work on the vehicles. Well sometimes I even help in that manner too.
I am so stumped, I can't even tell you how much confused I am, about finding customers. Marketing is not, by any means, my strong point. I can do almost anything office related, but selling my idea or service to people, is the most troubling task. But I did hand out 4 business cards randomly today. Which I was proud of my self. But thats not even a dent, I know.
Please help, if you can. I don't even know what cliental to search for. There's also no money to advertise. I am doing all this on a zero budget. I did the business cards myself on the computer (they came out really good). I made flyers offering a 10% discount for new customers (but haven't handed them out yet). Don't know who to hand them out to. We tryed this a couple of years ago too. We had the same problem then to. This time I really want/need it to work.
#1. "RE: Where to find customers" In response to Reply # 0
Its always best to at least get an adequte marketing budget together first before going into a new business venture to hedge against failure. That being said, if you are going to do it on a shoestring or no string at all...its best to co-venture with an established company that serves the customers you are trying to service. Offer them a profit share or something. Make it mutually beneficial.
Also, its best to carefully define your customer. what are, income range,age,etc.. are you trying to reach
>We are in the process of starting a mobile auto service. Its >my job to do everything (including finding customers) except >work on the vehicles. Well sometimes I even help in that >manner too. > >I am so stumped, I can't even tell you how much confused I am, >about finding customers. Marketing is not, by any means, my >strong point. I can do almost anything office related, but >selling my idea or service to people, is the most troubling >task. But I did hand out 4 business cards randomly today. >Which I was proud of my self. But thats not even a dent, I >know. > >Please help, if you can. I don't even know what cliental to >search for. There's also no money to advertise. I am doing all >this on a zero budget. I did the business cards myself on the >computer (they came out really good). I made flyers offering a >10% discount for new customers (but haven't handed them out >yet). Don't know who to hand them out to. We tryed this a >couple of years ago too. We had the same problem then to. This >time I really want/need it to work. > >Thanks, >Christine
#2. "RE: Where to find customers" In response to Reply # 0
I highly recommend setting up a website for your business. People are looking online more and more for services and products. Having an online presence is a great start to helping customers find you. You can even set up a "mobile" friendly website that allows people searching for you who are using a phone on the internet (like an iphone or treo) to move around your site easier and find information they need.
Once your site is up and running, there are many things you can do with other forms of advertising to get traffic to your site.
#3. "RE: Where to find customers" In response to Reply # 0
I don't want to rain on your parade but - WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU START A BUSINESS WITHOUT FIRST DETERMINING IF THERE IS A NEED/DESIRE/DEMAND FOR YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE IN YOUR AREA AND WHERE IT WILL BE COMING FROM? Without that knowledge, the business will last only as long as your money can keep it afloat.
You say you tried this a couple of years ago. Was it at all successful then? If it failed, why? Go back to it and do a business autopsy to find the cause of death. While there are many causes, most businesses fail simply because they can't generate enough sales (if the top line is healthy and growing, the bottom line will take care of itself, if you are at all competent).
Did you have any customers before (or just friends and relatives)? If so, what did they have in common? How old were they? Did they have children? Where did they live? Where did they work? What shift did they work? What was their income level? Married? Single? What kind of car did they drive? Why did they come to you in the first place? Just about every business has a core group of customers with similar traits. Once you determine your core group, you look for more people who share the same traits. You have to be able to answer - "WHO IS MY MOST LIKELY CUSTOMER?"
Who is your competition? Why are they successful (or not)? Are there similar businesses outside of your area that are successful? How are they doing it? Take the owner to lunch or dinner and ask how they do it - most successful people love to tell you their story. Are there any other mobile auto service type of businesses (locksmith, windshield repair, towing, etc.) that you can partner with?
Apply all these answers to your new business. Until you know that there's enough out there to give you a promising start, proceed with caution. This is basic stuff - business 101.
Don't confuse marketing with sales. In the simplest form, marketing is lead generation, sales is lead conversion. Your marketing materials should include a "call to action", something that creates a need to act quickly (free offer/new customer discount/seasonal special, etc.). The idea is to get them to call in. Passing out business cards alone just doesn't cut it.
Get in with a local business networking group. You will get a chance to tell your story to everyone in attendance. Ask for feedback. If someone isn't interested - ask why not. Take notes. Those answers will tell you more about what needs to be done to make it desireable for them to ultimately become your customer.
#4. "RE: Where to find customers" In response to Reply # 0
I totally agree with what Steve said. I would check into that first.
Then, come up with your plan to get your business in front of companies with many employees. (depending on where you are located). You can then set up an appointment with one of the "higher ups" to propose a plan that you have to save him valuable time from each of his employees. What you are offering him is having his employees vehicles taken care of while they are at work instead of taking time off to do these repairs, oil changes etc. This also helps the employees so they won't lose time or have to do them during their lunch hour.
But remember that you must first get your foot in the door. That means past a secretary! Offer them one, two or three free oil changes in exchange for getting an appointment or phone call through to the boss.
Of course these are just thoughts to help you get going with your venture.
#5. "RE: Where to find customers" In response to Reply # 0
I beleive that All things are possible with the Law of
Attraction and Gid.
Christine, I'm not sure what type of auto service to use but,
here's a few good ideas. The key to marketing is not just
having a plan or money. The key is Creative Marketing. Place
your fliers all over the city. Blanket very car parked in
public places. Place the fliers on every door in your
neighborhood, community. And to even save more money make
small fliers, the size to put 4 cards per page. Put pertinent
information such as contact information and what services you
Buy some T-shirts at Wal-mart, buy some iron paper in the
stationary area at wal-mart and make t-shirts advertising your
When you have a Will there is always a way, no matter what
your budget is.
I have a e-report that I sell for $9.95 that tells you how to
market your business for low cost or no cost. e-mail if you
want to know where to go to order this book. Bless your
#9. "RE: Where to find customers" In response to Reply # 0
You know, no successful entrepreneur ever started a new business because he or she was a marketer! So you are in good company. Here are a couple of starting thoughts.
Since you don?t know who is most likely to be a customer, you could start by blanketing your local area with flyers on peoples? windshields in the hope that if they have a car, they need your service (Check local ordinances ? you don?t want to get fined for littering) Okay you know your customers have to have a car at the very least. Now, what else do they have: no time, right? Or, they need their car a lot and can?t leave it in the shop. Make sure your prospects know that ?We come to you? Create two offers: one for business people and store owners who can?t leave their premises, and one for people on the road who need their car all the time (like sales people). They can be the same offer with a different name, like ?Business Owner Special?, ?Desk Jockey Special?, ?Road Warrior Special? 10% off something people haven?t tried before may not work ? after all, I?m trusting you with my baby and and I might not do that for any price if I don?t know you. I wonder if a 100% satisfaction guarantee would work better ? ?satisfaction or you don?t pay, no hassle, no questions asked?. Become the Satisfaction Guaranteed guy ? there are such a lot of car repair horror stories out there you will get some business right away. Now hand your flyers out wherever these people congregate ? not just at work, but at the local watering hole, lunch joint, park. Offer to hand out other small business owners? flyers when you hand out your own, or leave them in your customers cars when you are done, in exchange for a similar service. Put them in an envelop and hand them out when you get paid, with a note that says ?Thanks for your trust in my company. Like you, I always look for people who will do good work, and I am happy to recommend these companies to you if you need the services they provide.?