I am a full time police officer and am starting a small flooring business on the side. I recently completed my second large project (to me, large is 500+ square feet). My partner and I are hoping that word-of-mouth will bring us a few more jobs before we have to spend any money on marketing.
We are having a little bit of trouble deciding the best way to spend some of the money we've made on advertising in the next month or so. Any ideas on very inexpensive advertising ideas? Keep in mind that my partner and I work long shifts and barely have the time and energy to install floors without spending any time marketing.
#2. "RE: Brand new business....no budget" In response to Reply # 1
Those are all good ideas. I'm definitely going to put a sign up in front of our current job. I may even try to talk some of my friends into letting me put signs up in their yards. I'm not terribly internet savvy, but I'll look into the podcast idea. Any other simple ideas would be much appreciated.
#3. "RE: Brand new business....no budget" In response to Reply # 2
You can also place flyers on the bulletin boards in stores. With your phone number placed vertically on the bottoms, several times and pre-cut so people can take one. Have someone who is great on the computer to draft up a colorful ad for the flyer. It can even be done in Word or some of the other programs that come with the computer.
Also Vista print www.vistaprint.com (no, I don't work for them) has ready made postcards you can design yourself. It is very easy. They have clipart and photos you can choose from. Then you can place your company name, your name and phone number on the front. You can write a small description on the back or you can leave it blank (less money). You can place these cards in stores on the magazine racks that have the real estate guides, contractor newsletters and clipper magazines. You probably have to get permission from the store manager though.
A newsletter. You can print some photos of the jobs you have done with a small "write up" and place these in the magazine racks as well.
#4. "RE: Brand new business....no budget" In response to Reply # 2
For the podcast idea, it's simply an audio blog. If you will.
For more information... (I apologize if there are podcasting links on IC, I am not aware of them). You can go to Penny Haynes at 1stpod.com She's been doing podcasts since before there was such a thing, really.
#6. "RE: Brand new business....no budget" In response to Reply # 0
You don't say if you are installing flooring or maintaining such as strip and wax. If you are stripping and waxing floors, visit your local janitorial supply and let them know that you will buy supplies from them and ask if they can help with leads.
If you are installing floors, network with the building supply guys. Either way, this should bring you some work.
Providing inspiration and information worth sharing to help you realize your potential.
#7. "RE: Brand new business....no budget" In response to Reply # 0
The most important thing to do is first is create a name and identity for your company...i.e.logo and themes. The sign in the front yard is a great idea...but it needs to look professional. Remember people want to work with professional well-known contractors and subs (there are some very shady ones out there!) so having a professional look from the star is important. They will never know you just started out if you look like a well established company. Set your self apart from other companies with your new look!
Jen Dudley www.zerogcreative.com Whether you need a new logo, business card, brochure or web site, Zero-G delivers incredible results at an affordable price. When it comes to your business, reach for the stars? Not your wallet.
#8. "RE: Brand new business....no budget" In response to Reply # 0
I think the idea of a flyer is a good one, however I would try using something catchy instead of something "professional" looking. It has been proven time and time again that good headline pulls in more people than a fancy brochure or things of that nature. I would try using flyers and an add as a lead generation system.
In your flyers, you could use something like: WARNING! Home owners, if you're considering getting your floors done then you need to call now for your FREE report that details the 7 biggest mistakes most home owners when choosing flooring, that costs them $1000's. Call (insert your phone number) now for a recorded message and the free report that most flooring companies are praying you NEVER read.
This attracts much more attention than using something like: Need your floors done, call (your phone number). Of course you will actually need to modify this to suit you (I don't know much about the flooring industry, but there must some common mistakes most homeowners make when choosing their flooring, or companies that they deal with). After you have considered this, write out a report saying exactly what people are doing wrong, and what you will do to make sure it doesn't happen to them if they choose you.
I would consider changing your home answering machine to say: Hi there this is Taft, if you are calling about the free report, please leave your name and address, and I will get the information sent out to you within 24 hours. If you would prefer to receive the information by email, please leave the best email to send the information to. Thank you.
Also if you have a second line that you don't use often, I would use that as the number for people to call. (Personally, I have 2 numbers that both use the same line, and when my phone rings there is a different ring for each number so that I know who is calling me personally and who is calling for business, this is very inexpensive to have added on to your monthly phone plan if you don't already have it.)
People love free information, (especially if it is going to save them money). People don't like talking to pushy salesman, so I would advise to try using 2 different lines with different ringers, so that people calling for information are sure to get your recorded message and not you.
Now comes the step where you email, or mail them this free report, remember in the report to explain what you promised you would, and to let them know how you'll be different. Close this report off with an irresistible offer and guarantee.
Try somethings like this at the end of the letter:
P.S. I'm so confident that you'll love my services and the work I do, that if you aren't completely satisfied after I finish, I will come back as many times as you want to get the job done AND I will give you a 100% refund your money. Also on TOP of this already terrific offer, for the first 2 people to book their appointments I will do the entire job for 25% off).
The great thing about this is it won't cost you very much to test it. $5 a month change in your phone plan, a couple hours of writing the flyer and report and maybe a few dollars in postage. The upside is this multi step sell system is much more effective then something like: Need your floors done? Call Taft. They say most people aren't sold on the first "touch", using a system like this (which is mostly automated), your potential customers are "touched" at least 3 times before they even talk to you! And other than the initial set up, all you had to do was send out an email or letter.
As I said, I don't know much about the flooring industry, and you will need to modify this to better fit what you're doing. This is just a general example of a proven system any business owner in any industry can use. Try it out, I'd love to hear about your results.
#10. "RE: Brand new business....no budget" In response to Reply # 0
The most inexpensive method of marketing your business is YOU.
When you meet people and they ask you what do you do, your answer should be "I am a flooring specialist."
As mentioned before Vistaprint is a great place for inexpensive business cards - less then $10 for 250. Hand them out to everybody - family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. Visit places like Lowes and Home Depot and find out the criteria for becoming one of their flooring installers.
When you go to the barbershop leave some business cards or postcards there. Have a female you trust take some with her to the beauty parlor and leave them there as well.
If you community hosts a fair, festival or some other outdoor event be there to hand out postcards.
Also develop a portfolio of your completed work, before and after picture work best. People want to see samples of your work before hiring you.
Do post work surveys where your customers answer five questions you deem pertinent to the growth and success of your business and include a space for their testimonial.
These are some simple and easy to execute ideas for starting the marketing ball rolling.
Let us know how it goes.
Lisa Douglas Inklusion PR public relations for a diverse world www.inklusionpr.com New lower rates for small/micro businesses.
#11. "RE: Brand new business....no budget" In response to Reply # 0
Why not wear your advetisement. Company logo on the front breast & a breif saying on the back. Besides yourself, pass some shirts out to friends, comp to satified customers, family members. This way your advertising is 3 dementional and moving into different arenas, not sitting any waiting to be picked up or handed out.
If you need any help in that area feel free to contact us. We do 1 offs to many thousands. Take a look at our site to see some of the services we have to offer.