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  1. #1

    Question

    Alright gentlemen, I need help if I'm going to make a go of this self employment. I have been racking my brain trying to come up with ideas to generate business. So far my wife and I put together a handout and stuffed newspaper boxes. At the end of May my yellow pages ad will be in the book. I also did a mailing to property management companies I don't have a big budget for advertising but I understand the importance of it. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Western New York
    Posts
    1,042
    What are you selling? HVAC or refrigeration? Commercial or residential? Service or installation?
    Experience is what you have an hour after you need it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    NH & Cebu
    Posts
    1,611
    Originally posted by akashelby
    Alright gentlemen, I need help if I'm going to make a go of this self employment. I have been racking my brain trying to come up with ideas to generate business. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
    Buy any of the "Guerrilla" books, by Jay Conrad Levinson. Tons of ideas. I used a few myself, and got some customers (good and bad) out of them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    454
    Keep up all of the things that you are doing. Direct mailing works good for me, I purchase adress labels from an add agency. The labels are pre-printed with the names of people I want to target (area, age, income). I sometimes just drive thru a neighborhood so people see my truck (truck is neat and clean)and remember the name. Anything to get your name out there. Most important is word of mouth. When you do get I customer provide them with prompt courteous service. Another place I get leads is the internet. Alot of people use the manufacturers websites to find contractors.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    2,652
    Direct mailers are great.

    We also don't hesitate to stop and chat with local building contractors, especially if you see they are just sitting around on break. Don't pressure them, just tell them that you would appreciate a chance to bid the job, ususally they'll atleast give you a chance.

    I do the driving through neiborhoods too, especially in the early evening when they are out mowing thier yards or unwinding from a hard-days work.
    There are 3 ways to do anything in life; Good, Fast, Slow: You can pick any 2.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    3,182
    Originally posted by baub
    What are you selling?
    Himself!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    637
    Ive tried evey type of adv. around, flyers (makes you look like you look desp, and doesnt work) direct mail (didnt get much either) newspaper (expensive, works alittle, but mostly cheap people) Yellow Pages worked best for me, but you have to have a display ad, I have a 1/4 column now, used to have 4 1/8 columns different areas. The trouble with yellow pages is you have a contract and pay every month, so when its in between seasons your paying for nothing no calls. The trouble now to, is there are more and more guys getting out on there own,and more competition. Using the yellow pages it still took me 5-6 years to get rolling, but I didnt know anyone in real estate, property management, construction, and I didnt sub contract any work from any of the larger hvac co.'s. You may want to go that route (subbing when your slow from larger established co.'s0 untill you get going your self. Also when I had my van lettered that brought more work in. On the drivers side of my van (no windows on that side) my letters in my name are about 10" in hgt. you can see it from very far away, I got 3-new customers last week in a high end residential neighborhood, the new customers said they saw my van parked out front of there neighbors house and took down the tel.# Good Luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    33,887
    Our best bang for the buck has always been cable TV. The ads can be put where you want them geographically and on channels that would attract homeowners and the price is good. Our commercials are hideous & embarrasing but they work.

  9. #9

    That's where the customers are!

    It was surprising to see so many people weigh in on this subject, and for that I thank you. I forgot to mention that I also put up a website, alps-hvac.com. Not much of a site yet but working on it. A lot of good ideas, I do want to try getting out and meeting people, driving around etc. I hooked up with an older gentleman last year, I've helped him on some jobs and he's helped me. He knows alot about boilers and of course furnace installation. I've met some real winners in this work though. One guy installed a furnace on a pallet and dumped a charge all in the same week. Anyway, the subject was drumming up business and all this kind of stuff helps. My wife is very supportive and she's big on networking with other professionals such as yourselves.
    As far as what I sell, I'm still trying to find a niche. Right now it's a matter of putting food on the table. I've done mostly residential but a few resturants. Gordy and I have done a few of the Armstrong Magic Paks. A lot of guys stay away from those for some reason. I give other guys respect, stay away from their customers, and keep my mouth shut at the parts counters. Lot's of gossip goes on there. All in all I will keep trying to get the word out. Thanks again and if anyone thinks of anything, let me know. Paulie

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,159

    Always have

    a business card in your pocket. When your in the store, if ya see someone buying a air filter give em a card. I do a lot of work for realators. Stop buy their offices and pass out cards. They change companies pretty often and if ya get a few agents liken ya they will get ya business. At least you can get in the door of a house to put your sticker on the unit. Get hooked up with some home inspectors. Some of them are not know-it-alls and can bring ya some biz. That's if ya want the resi stuff.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    9,932
    I've got a business relationship with a good plumber and an electrician, and a handyman. We refer business to each other and it works out extremely well for all of us, and it's free!!

    Like nehps said, the *BIG* signs on your truck. If you've got a van, it's a moving billboard. My signs are huge. Neighbors from all around my home come by and knock on the door because of the truck signs. Even though I'm only a one man company, new customers will say "I saw one of your trucks the other day."

    Get some refrigerator magnets, equipment stickers and business cards too.

    Less desirable ways of building a customer base are getting hooked up with realtors and home buyer warranty companies, but you gotta be desperate to put up with their crap.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,159

    I agree..

    ya don't build a customer base per say with realators but they bring ya biz. Thats a customer to me. After I put a new system in your house, how much money am I really gonna make of ya in the next 10 years?

    And I stay away from the home warranty co's.


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