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#155271 12/20/04 02:16 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 272
A-Line Offline OP
In the local phone book for my area in the electrical section there is 1 full page ad, 2 pages of 1/4 page ads then a couple of pages of small ads. When I look in the plumbing and HVAC sections there are about 7 to 8 full page ads. In the newspaper I see lots of ads and coupons for plumbing & HVAC services but don't see any for electrical services.

I plan to go to a full page ad soon and I'm looking into putting ads and coupons in the newspaper. Does anyone have coupons in the paper? Does it work well for you?

It seems in my area that there isn't anyone pushing the advertising for electrical service work like the plumbing and HVAC people are. I think there is a huge market for this type of work and I think most of the electrical contractors in my area want to avoid residential service work.

How does in look in your area? Has anyone else seen this senario in their local phone books and newspapers?

Also I've heard that you can aquire competitors old phone numbers so when their previous customers call their old number they get your company. Has anyone done this?
If so how do you find their old numbers?

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#155272 12/20/04 10:46 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 55
I thought about coupons for ads, but what do you give them, 10% off your labor for the first job? Most plumbers and HVAC guys have xx% off for spring or fall system check, $xx off for 50 gallon water heater install. On the other hand, My prices are (I think low) that I would be making a profit if I discount any.

How many of you guys have stickers that you put on panels? Do you get call backs with those? and do you cover up the other guys sticker? I have nice heavy sticker that I made big enough to cover anyone elses sticker. I hope that is not unethical. They are also weather proof. The other thing that I am starting to do is making my own panel schedules with my company's info on them. I type up the schedule and send it with the invoice. What clever thing do you guys do?

#155273 12/21/04 06:43 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
I advertised in the phone book for the first few years in business. The problem I have with phone book ads is that there are multiple publishers, and I border on a different area code. To get good coverage I think I'd need to be with two or three publishers. So, we're talking about six or eight books, and of course the bigger ads are better. I'd want to get 1/3 to full-page to get good calls. It would total thousands of dollars. I'd get more calls, so...Then I need a person to handle the calls, and probably some more trucks and electricians.

It sounds like the road to fame & fortune, or a quick trip to bankrupcy. I'm really looking to fine tune my existing system and comfort level. If I had an MBA I'd be more comfortable with the bigger & better route.

Remember that your best source of more business is with your existing customers. They already like you, use you & tell their friends about you. I want to know what I can send THEM in direct mailings, or what I can try to sell THEM.

I tried the coupon route & had to eat them when it was slow, and eat them with existing customers who would have paid full price. I have been giving seniors and church members a 10% discount. Now I've found out that my profit is under 10%, so I'm turning profitable work into a loser.

Now I know I'll have to raise my rates to offer this discount. Before you know your own numbers you won't know if it'll work or if you'll be cutting your own throat.

I'd be inclined to offer a coupon if it was built into my rate as in...I make 15% profit normally, or 5% with a discount or coupon.


#155274 12/21/04 01:11 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 272
A-Line Offline OP
You are correct Dave. Coupons would have to be built into your rates just like free stuff does. Like free estimates, free labor with carpet purchase, free dvd player with the purchase of a big screen tv, etc.
All of these are sales gimmicks to increase sales. These would be included in your advertising and marketing budget.
They are part of your overhead like shirts, hats, cofee cups, etc.
A plumber in my area has coupons in the paper all the time. Right now he gives a free turkey with every service call while supplies last. Sometimes its just an ad not a coupon. Judging by the vintage car collection he has I believe he is doing very well. There is a story about him in the successful contractor magazine at It's in the Winter 2004 back issue. His website is Alot of these guys also have internet coupons. Housewifes love coupons.
I want to run my electrical service business like his plumbing business. There isn't anyone in the electrical serivice business in my area operating like he is so I am using him for an example.

[This message has been edited by A-Line (edited 12-21-2004).]

[This message has been edited by A-Line (edited 12-21-2004).]

[This message has been edited by A-Line (edited 12-21-2004).]

#155275 12/21/04 08:22 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
We've really just begun to market my company. I didn't advertise for years, but a year or 2 ago I decided to expand and build a business rather than a job. Anyway, I think you need an well rounded marketing package including yellow pages, direct market including coupons, and visual identity. It's trial and error. You must track your marketing and concentrate on what works for you. WHat works in GA may not work at all in IL.

As for coupons. We have them out there and base our prices expecting to get a coupon, if we don't it's a bonus. Also, we reward existing customers by giving the coupon discount whether they have one or not.

#155276 12/23/04 01:30 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
I think that's a good way to go, Electric Eagle. We should reward our loyal customers.

As for your original question, A-Line, here in Crystal Lake, IL (in the SBC Crystal Lake edition) there is one 3 column ad (not quite full-page), three half-page, and a few smaller. That's out of 123 electrical contractors. What's interesting is that the largest one in town has NO ad in this book.

Plumbers have one double page ad, seven full-page, a double three column, four half-page, and smaller. The two big names in town have about an inch-and-a-half in the regular listing area, but NO display.


#155277 12/23/04 01:41 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 84
in the south bend/ mishawaka indiana area
there are 126 elect listed and onlt 86 plumb
this is in the yellowpages.

seems odd to be such a big difference

#155278 12/23/04 02:48 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
I'm not an ad guru but in reading about the topic one point is allways made. Don't expect results from any 1 ad. The general idea is many ads with many forms of advertising. Remember a few years ago when the .com companies spent a large amount of there start-up $ on 1 super bowel comercial. Didn't work and there gone.

We put stickers inside and out on our panels and cover stickers on others if the work was to standards. A few places require the EC name on the work so it looks better the written with a marker. They don't cost much at $120. Can't say I got a call only because of a sticker.

We have our name and logo big enough to see 1/2 a block away on our trucks. That costs $750-$1000 to have done but it does help. The best is when your working 1 house and the person next door calls so you are right there. If they know their neibor (your customer) you allready have a refrence they can see.

I had magnets that you stick your card too. I don't feel right about handing out these or other advertising specialties. It's like "thanks for your $, heres my magnet for your stainless Sub Zero" or "a free Co. pen for every sale over $1000". I should just put the magnets on the panel too and maybe someone will take it.

I want to get company cloths to make us look more profesional.

We put a number of ads in High School sports books. They give out these books at games and they have all the student names and pictures. That seemed to be too much $ for the number of people featured in the book. Also it gave no results.

We want to do direct mail to new residents and door knob hangers for empty store fronts.

We have a web site but would like to trash it and make a better one and submit it to the search engines.

One phone book area we have an ad 1.5x2" with on a different phone # so we can track results. In 1 year we had 1 call that was a $0 WOT. Another area the same ad has had a few calls that turned into a WOT. Each one of those costs about $1200 a year. We do get calls form another book we don't advertise in. We will be tring the SBC book this year instead. The problem is they have many more different books for the same area so I know it will cost more. I do save old phone book electric sections to track to see if co. are upsizing, downsizing, or deleting their ads. I am also concidering about having an independant company draw the ad.

I want to advertice more in the small 1 town only papers that people get for free.

I don't do yard signs because a number of places you need aproval just for that.

Iv'e handed out cards to people I seen at home centers with nothing.

I get garbage about a national yellow book (it would have to be pretty big) and others all the time.

There is also people that call and for a crazy price your name will be listed on their unherd of internet data base. This is more of a scam.

Service Majic has a few new tricks to get garented $ from you. I do belong but I'll only take maybe 1-2 leads a month.

The point being it helps if they have seen or herd your name before the look in the phone book.


#155279 12/23/04 03:25 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 84
it all comes down to getting your name and number out there.

the trick is how do u get it out there????

I have seen upstarts with huge yellow page ads only to fail in less than a year. than I also have seen the little guy with no advertising be busy to no ends.

now i guess a good topic would be what is the most cost effective way to get your name out there?

oh well

#155280 12/24/04 06:00 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
If you want to get your name out there in your local community, sponsor a Little League team, or any kids sports team. For the money you put out for uniforms and stuff, it may be the best "bang for the buck" out there.

The benefits of being a community sponsor are great.

This spring I will be doing this, not so much for the advertising, but for the kids mostly.

Happy Holidays

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