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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-15-2005, 02:40 PM   #41
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Ok..........I can't hold back anymore...

"Let us suck your ducts"
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-15-2005, 02:47 PM   #42
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

I wouldn't spend the $ on letterhead, at least not at first. If you have a decent color printer, and good paper that's enough.

On the marketing - check out networking clubs - I hate the ones where you have to generate a number of leads every week, but some are less formal.

Or start one yourself where people in related businesses all come once a week and share tips. Breakfast is good.

Chamber of Commerce can be good depends on the town.

Is there a Building Industry Association?

Welcome wagon? (Do people want to get their ducts cleaned when they buy a new house?)

I think networking, getting your name out there with others in realted industries, is key.

If you are in the Akron area, I assume you're going to hit all the little weekly papers, there is one in Tallmadge (Tallmadge Express) where my mom found most of the services she wanted. Stow, Hudson, etc. All the small towns have them.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-15-2005, 04:05 PM   #43
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl

Welcome wagon? (Do people want to get their ducts cleaned when they buy a new house?)
WOW! I like that one...never would have considered it. How would I find who puts these things together? I want to say that I got one when I moved in a while back, my parents did etc....I jsut dont knwo how to contact those people
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-15-2005, 04:16 PM   #44
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

One area that you might "specialize" in might be new home construction. I saw the junk these construction guys left in my vents. Maybe you can work with a construction company to do this as part of the clean up of the house before sale.

Also, what about commercial office buildings?

Restaurants...kitchen vents have to get pretty yucky after a while.

Just some random thoughts.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-15-2005, 04:28 PM   #45
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

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Originally Posted by SteveR
One area that you might "specialize" in might be new home construction. I saw the junk these construction guys left in my vents. Maybe you can work with a construction company to do this as part of the clean up of the house before sale.

Also, what about commercial office buildings?

Restaurants...kitchen vents have to get pretty yucky after a while.

Just some random thoughts.
Indeed, I am trying to focus on new-home construction. Kitchen vents are a good one too....might need some special equipment, but definately a possibility.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 12:00 AM   #46
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

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What brilliant marketing ideas for my new company do you all have?
Craigslist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefed
this may sound like a dumb ?, but do you think letterhead is a worthwhile investment? I can BUY thicker stock paper for 55.00 for 500 sheets, and simply print my logo and the letters out on my home printer. OR, for about 140.00, I can have professionally made letterhead with color logo at the top, and a footer.

OR, do you think that neither is needed, and I should just use computer paper with the logo at the top of each document,printed @ home.

These letters will be going out to potential "alliance"-worthy companies.
I've never had a real job, but shouldn't the first step to be to clean a few ducts and get the cashflow started before planning the business cards, the letterhead, the alliances, and the global domination?
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 06:04 AM   #47
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

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Originally Posted by Nords
I've never had a real job, but shouldn't the first step to be to clean a few ducts and get the cashflow started before planning the business cards, the letterhead, the alliances, and the global domination?
Good point for someone who's never had a real job. Better yet work as employee for someone in the same business (different location so you don't create an enemy). You learn a lot more than any research. Every start up is a best guess with constant course corrections along the way. Experience makes for a better guess.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 08:55 AM   #48
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

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Originally Posted by Nords
Craigslist.
I've never had a real job, but shouldn't the first step to be to clean a few ducts and get the cashflow started before planning the business cards, the letterhead, the alliances, and the global domination?
considered it, but the cleanign techniques are somethign i can definately tackle by doing my own hoem, as well as family's homes for practice. In order to DRUM UP businees, I need to be incontact with various campanies to form these alliance for, as you put it, "global domination" LOL. Yellow Pages is closed for ads for a year. I haveto go other routes....and the "alliances" are the ticket imo
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 09:19 AM   #49
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

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considered it, but the cleanign techniques are somethign i can definately tackle by doing my own hoem, as well as family's homes for practice.* In order to DRUM UP businees, I need to be incontact with various campanies to form these alliance for, as you put it, "global domination" LOL.* Yellow Pages is closed for ads for a year.* I haveto go other routes....and the "alliances" are the ticket imo
Well, that's my point. Family & friends will do more for you. You're chasing after companies/people who need nothing from you and have no reason to be interested in you, and in appearances that project image instead of generating cash. Perhaps it's better to stick with the referrals and the places where the marketing is run by the customers-- like Craigslist. It's a risk-free approach. If it works, great. If it doesn't, you're not out a pile of cash on cards, letterhead, or "alliance" fees.

My fellow tae kwon do parent, Kenny the carpenter, doesn't advertise. He doesn't have alliances with major construction firms or homebuilders or real estate companies or decorators or anyone else in the business. (Although they're all good drinking buddies.) What he has is a bunch of customers whose kitchens & houses speak for themselves. I think the results reflect his success. He's padding his estimates by 35% and he's still turning away business yet working 60-hour weeks. He has his customers on caller ID but otherwise his cell phone goes straight to voice mail. He doesn't get contracts from his drinking buddies, he gets them from new customers who've been wowed by his work for his other customers.

By maintaining my own home (and relatives & friends & neighbors) I have more unsolicited handyman business than I care to tackle. I don't HAVE business cards, nor Yellow Pages ads, nor alliances. Heck, I don't even have a plumber's or an electrician's license. I haven't had to beat a single drum because "my" putative "customers" do it for me.

But, hey, I've never had to make a living at this. All I've ever had to do is sit back and think about it... you gotta do what "works" for you.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 11:00 AM   #50
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

i appreciate and understand your position here.

the thing is, how do I clean ducts if nobody knows I do it? lol. MARKETING! I'm a firm believer that MARKETING and IMAGE are the two most important aspects to a business. Some will argue that quality of work is #1, but I think that either adds or detracts from your image.

what company do YOU hire? you're a property manager for a 100 unit apartment. Both companies have the same experience, insurance, referrals etc...EVERYTHINGS the same. 2 identical letters, 2 identical prices and services, but one on letterhead, in a company envelope with business cards. The other is on regular computer paper, no logo, no business cards.

I personally would go with the company that projects the more professional image.

And as far a marketing...thats a no brainer. marketing is a must if you want to IMMEDIATELY sell your services or products. I COULD very slowly build business off of referrals, but a few thousand in ads will more than pay for themselves, IMHO...considering referrals should be comign as a RESULT of the people who answer the ads...exponential growth.

Your method works for you because you dont need to do it to make a living, whereas that is my goal. And thus, liek you said, "Do what 'works' for you"...


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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 01:44 PM   #51
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

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Originally Posted by thefed
...
what company do YOU hire? you're a property manager for a 100 unit apartment. Both companies have the same experience
...
I personally would go with the company that projects the more professional image.
I've started a couple unsuccessful companies. So, don't listen to me, but....

In both cases I focused too much on the product and the details of the business and not enough on interacting with the customers. If I were you I'd focus on direct contact with your potential customers and less on logos and letterhead.

I agree that the manager of the 100 unit apartment would go with the experienced company. Since your company is new, I'm not sure how you would compare. Maybe the older company sends out new hires to do the actual work and that could be a selling point for you.

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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 01:47 PM   #52
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

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Originally Posted by thefed
what company do YOU hire? you're a property manager for a 100 unit apartment.* Both companies have the same experience, insurance, referrals etc...EVERYTHINGS the same. 2 identical letters, 2 identical prices and services, but one on letterhead, in a company envelope with business cards.* The other is on regular computer paper, no logo, no business cards.

I personally would go with the company that projects the more professional image.
Ye gods, man, I'd go with the one that does the better job.* That has nothing to do with how good an image they project, that has everything to do with how good a job they did for their last dozen or so customers.*

But if I constrain my answer to the strawman conditions that you've stated then I'd go with the company having lower fixed expenses (the regular computer paper) and thus more room to afford a discount-- or at least able to do the job without feeling the financial pressure to hustle me for more revenue.

Quote:
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i appreciate and understand your position here.
Well, guys, I've tried.* Maybe someone else with more credibility & experience can step in here.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 01:56 PM   #53
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

There's a lot to be said for bootstrapping. There's also a lot to be said for starting with a huge marketing blitz -- if you're well capitalized, well run, and know your market and competition very well.

In other words, you should bootstrap.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 02:36 PM   #54
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

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But if I constrain my answer to the strawman conditions that you've stated then I'd go with the company having lower fixed expenses (the regular computer paper) and thus more room to afford a discount-- or at least able to do the job without feeling the financial pressure to hustle me for more revenue.
You're just being contrary! First you scared off JG, now this!!
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 03:09 PM   #55
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

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You're just being contrary!* First you scared off JG, now this!!*
Let's just say that I've learned a lot from this board and I'd like to continue to do so...
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 07:18 PM   #56
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

thefed,

Does you area have any "home shows" in a local expo center or in the local malls? I've been to quite a few of these and they get a lot of foot traffic from interested buyers. It costs you a little bit for booth space.

Also, in some areas they have popular weekend talk shows (such as handyman Glen Haege). If you could get 'known' to the talk show person, you could be on his referral list when people call in with home maintenance questions.

You may also want to hook-up with local realtors -- perhaps give them a $25 or $50 off coupon for either their home sellers (make the clean ducts a selling feature) or home buyers.

When you do a duct job -- even your 'practice ones' --- put a temporary sign (either on of the nice steel ones that looks like a realors sign or a nice corrugated plastic one that you can have a 'sign store' make for you) in the front yard for a few days so drive-by traffice (e.g. the neighbors) will be aware of your work. Houses are often of similar age and cointruction within a neighborhood, so if someone sees a neighbor getting their duct clenaed, they may decide to have their own duct done, too.

Alos, get magnetic signs for your work truck -- it will serve as a rolling billboard. (And son't forget the back of the truck, as that is what following traffic usually sees for the longest time).

omni
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 07:28 PM   #57
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Try the phonebook for welcome wagon. If you don't fine them, the local chamber of commerce should be able to direct you to them since they probably distribute some literature from the city along with coupon advertisements for local businesses.

Make sure you ask about putting a sign in the front yard before you do it. Some neighborhoods do not allow that, and some homeowners don't like it. Put the magnetic signs on your truck with the name etc instead....

Also, if you advertise with a 20.00 coupon off the regular price, you migt get those people who won't pay full price (like many of us). Good luck.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 08:08 PM   #58
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

thefed,

A local house painter I know used to advertise in the Yellow Pages. He later started advertising in local church bulletins (of the high-end neighborhoods that he was targeting). He found that he got almost zero customers from his (very expensive) Yelleow Pages ad and many customers from the (inexpensive) ads in* the church bulletins. So he quit advertising in the Yellow Pages.

omni

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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-16-2005, 09:24 PM   #59
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

all great ideas guys, keep em coming!

and Nords, you seem discouraged...like I dont hear what you're saying or something....lol. i think you've mis-interpreted my post. re-read the WHOLE thing, and you might see what I mean

But again, thanks all of you for your ideas.

I like the church bulletin thing too!
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-21-2005, 12:13 PM   #60
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

well, the marketing calls to companies are starting today. i have someone that is working for a small commission to get these companies on board. today is just a trial of abotu 15 companies in different industries. she's trying to get comfortable witht he whole thing.

having someone else is good because i ahve time to do other things (like work my 9-5) and because SHE can make some serious $$ if she does well. The drawback is I dont think many people are as savvy on the phone as I. I am on phones 12 hrs/day for my 9-5 and other things, so I know i can take a conversation whichever way i want. by my helper is a stay at home mom who USED to do sales and such 10+ years aro, but nothing since. she is very well spoken and quick witted though, so we will see how it goes.
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