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bcm_spark

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Arms
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Morning all,

Right, I have been subbying for a long time and just before xmas I decided that it was time I had my own business. I placed an advert in the local business guide which ran for 2 months (dec & jan) and last week I placed an advert in the local paper which has a circulation of 120k. This advert went out on Thursday, then in a free paper on friday and the internet for a week.

My problem is, I have not received one call from these adverts. I know January is normally quiet anyway but I thought I might have got something. At the moment I am sat on my arse trying to think of new ways to promote the business but don't really want to spend another £180 on advertising that won't work. I have some professionally printed business cards and letter heads. I have sent letters to all the local estate agents and gone on the councils website to get names and addresses of those who have submitted planning applications and I have sent letters off to them.

Sorry for such a long first post but I am getting very frustrated. If you are advertising at the minute, what is working for you? Thanks, Ben
 
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S

skiandy

Hi Ben,

I've only been up and running for a 6 months, and I was using the search engines. This was working fine until just after Christmas but now its gone dead.

I would recommend that you do not let BT Customer Street sell anything to you. They will promise you the moon on a stick and deliver nothing but their invoice.

People say they will build a website for £99 and it will be on Google within a month, its just not true. Sites don't rank well in Google for 12 months and this is with really good SEO.

The only thing that really works for me is word of mouth but at the moment things don't look great.

Andy :)
 
A

actionjack

Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, but you need to get them initial jobs first.

There are loads of free listing companies on the net but be prepared for loads of salesmen ringing you off them.

Local newspaper advertising wont be worth it until middle of Feb imo.

Website, sign written van and flyers are probably the best way to start.

Did you get any replies responses from the estate agents?
 

bcm_spark

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Arms
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
I have not had anything at all from the estate agents as yet, I am going to send a few more to agents further afield. I am registered on all of the free advertising sites i can find and have had a barage of calls including from BT customer street. Whats the score with them? Guy I spoke to had all the sales patter and as I was on the computer at the time he got me to do searches on google for sites they have set up for sparks in other areas and I could see the stats which looked quite good. Seemed good but I wasn't keen on shelling out anymore money upfront. I am getting work from the rated people website but not enough. However, these customers have been impressed and happy with my work, so as you say, the word of mouth machine will hopefully soon be in motion.
 

brs73

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Arms
bcm,
do you get much work from rated people??
i signed up and got my first contact free
then they wanted 8quid+vat just for a contact.!!!!
do they send each contact out to loads of people??
only done it yesterday so not sure whether to shell out for work thats being punted out to 100 other sparks?
any pointers would be appreciated
cheers mate
 
W

WarrenG

bcm,
do you get much work from rated people??
i signed up and got my first contact free
then they wanted 8quid+vat just for a contact.!!!!
do they send each contact out to loads of people??
only done it yesterday so not sure whether to shell out for work thats being punted out to 100 other sparks?
any pointers would be appreciated
cheers mate
Word of mouth is best obviously, but be careful as you will get every tom, dick & harry trying to sell you their bit of space. As said sign writing leaflets, writing letters etc is probably the cheapest route untill you can build up the invaluble word of mouth.

I personally tend to avoid sites like rated people based on the fact that when you join, you are just becoming part of a Dutch auction thats set up to screw you down in price - its not the best way forward for a business to make profit and work like a dog!

Lets face it you are putting yourself automatically up against 3,4,5 other sparks in your local area (who probably didn't know about each other to begin with) to quote on jobs without even seening them first? This just leaves you wide open. The checky sods expect you to pay for the
privilege as well!


Plus competition becomes more paramount outside of the website in your local area. The customer will go for the cheapest price probably anyway because thats the reason they signed up on the site in the first place.

Only my opinion of course!

You could argue 'you have to be in it to win it'?

But there is such a saying as 'a busy fool'

Still to what your doing and surely something will come up!

Good Luck

Warren :)
 

bcm_spark

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Arms
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
Thanks for the comments Warren. I have found that Rated People is working well for me. In all the jobs I have been interested in, I have visited the client, looked at the job and provided my quote and always got the job. I don't think I have been cheapest all of the time either, I tell the customer whats what, how I will do the job, importance of RCD, testing, certifying etc and they give me the job. After finishing I give them a card and hope they use me again and pass on my details.

I can't stand the sites like My Hammer and My Builder, they really are a waste of time. I suppose I will just have to keep writing letters and do quality work and like you say, work will eventually come.
 
M

MRES

Search the net for an organisation called BNI. I am in BNI it works really well and is a no brainer for tradesmen.
 

bcm_spark

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Arms
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
BRS73, rated people send you a text or email depending on how you set it up. You can view the job on their site and if you want the customers contact details you have to pay the fee. This varies depending on the value of the job. When you have the customers details it is up to you to sell yourself and provide a good quote to the customer. On all the jobs I have had through them, only one or two other sparks have been to quote so the competition isn't any different from people ringing sparks up from the paper.

I spent over 60 quid the other week for an ad in the paper and haven't received one call. I have spent about 50 on leads through rated people and have got all of the jobs I have been too and made good profit too.

Search the net for an organisation called BNI. I am in BNI it works really well and is a no brainer for tradesmen.
Looks good! I will look into that. Thanks
 
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actionjack

hmmm what kind of wages do you get off Rated People? or are you on commision only? :cool:
 

bcm_spark

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Arms
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
They don't pay me. For example, a job was posted on the site yesterday to fit 2 wall lights and install a socket in a loft. I paid £4 for the customers contact information. I went and had a look at the job, cust also wants a 5ft fluroescent and switch putting in loft. I priced it up, told the customer how much and I am going to do it tomorrow afternoon. They pay me whatever I quoted them, they don't pay rated people and I don't pay rated people anything. It works for me at the minute while it is quiet and it is getting my name out there in the local area.
 
W

wattsup

>>Sites don't rank well in Google for 12 months and this is with really good SEO.>>

Depending on your geograffic location, or your intentended customer base I will bet big money I can get you first page in google within 3-months. Now if you are a spark in London or other major cities then it will be more difficult, granted.

But I can assure it is possible wherever you are within 6-months.

I am not talking sponsored ads, adwords et el, just free organic listings.

My only advertising is through organic listings via the Internet, my hosting fees are £50 quid a year. I'm in a major city and competition is fierce. I do not pay any adverstising fees whatsoever (I get cold called loads of times by internet seo companies, they are worthless and a waste of money, the only drawback is nuisance calls from so called 'experts'.

If you miss out now on the Internet it will get harder, local papers will not be the source for ads in the very near future.

It is simple to make a website, seo is a bit more tricky but there are basics to understand, honestly now is the time, if you do not have a website it will get more difficult to find work and break in on the Internet over the next few years. Once you have a customer base then the rest is easy, but first you need a customer base to start with

Don't pay for leads. It is similar to old time gambling scams..I'm not going to go into detail but be wary, very wary
 
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S

scatman

think about this, why would someone post a job on rated people or my hammer?

i wouldnt would you? you would ask someone you know who was a plumber or a electrician, or if you didnt know anyone maybe you would use check a trade.com
only people on them sites are made up jobs or people who want work done for nothing!
 
W

Wiredspark

A wee word folks about advertising in newspapers. Spending £50 on a newspaper add is totally pointless. I recon for that your getting linage only, you'd be as well putting an ad in the lonely hearts column for this (just as much chance of getting work). I used to run newspapers adds for my old firm and managed to tie up what was called "advertorials" these are adverts but with pictures and text. We focused on "new and exciting projects" and "exciting projects just completed" (You getting the drift?) These advertorials came in about £450 to £600 per week but were 1/4 page. We generated alot of interest by doing this.
 

mattyevz

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Arms
I also think the internet is the way forward. Newer generations of people will be using the internet more often. Google ranks sites on its age aswell as many other factors. So get a page up and running now so its there for the future.
 

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