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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bumped into an old thread on CT regarding a company in my area that gave an estimate for replacing a w/o gasket at $800.00 after already having replaced the drainage.

The company was GEM plumbing.
They had a HUGE ad campaign on local radio here a few years back, you couldn't listen to the radio without hearing their ads.

Suddenly a few years ago, they just stopped advertizing, they're still in business, but no ads to be seen or heard.

I see this often, large companies that inundate the market for a year or two, charge high rates, then stop advertizing abruptly.
It brings pause to question why...
Are they discovering the money isn't worthwhile?
Are they losing customers over word of mouth when their prices to cover the ad overhead are too high?
OR...do they just generate enough repeat and referral business to sustain themselves in the long-haul?

I highly doubt any shop owner of a company like that will just volunteer the info, I'm hoping there are maybe a few members who have some insight.
I wouldn't want to do it, but I have to wonder if there isn't something for a small one man shop to learn from it.
 

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I bumped into an old thread on CT regarding a company in my area that gave an estimate for replacing a w/o gasket at $800.00 after already having replaced the drainage.

The company was GEM plumbing.
They had a HUGE ad campaign on local radio here a few years back, you couldn't listen to the radio without hearing their ads.

Suddenly a few years ago, they just stopped advertizing, they're still in business, but no ads to be seen or heard.

I see this often, large companies that inundate the market for a year or two, charge high rates, then stop advertizing abruptly.
It brings pause to question why...
Are they discovering the money isn't worthwhile?
Are they losing customers over word of mouth when their prices to cover the ad overhead are too high?
OR...do they just generate enough repeat and referral business to sustain themselves in the long-haul?

I highly doubt any shop owner of a company like that will just volunteer the info, I'm hoping there are maybe a few members who have some insight.
I wouldn't want to do it, but I have to wonder if there isn't something for a small one man shop to learn from it.
I know of a large company out here that stop advertising for a while when they were $2,000,000 behind in their Yellow Page ad. The sad thing was they were able to negotiate the price down and continued on. I've always been one who felt you honored your debts.

Mark
 

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One thing I would look into is was there a change of ownership at the same time as the change in advertising. Also was there a change in the number of employees at the time. I have seen companies blitz a market for a few years charging very high prices, then the owner of the company banks his profits, and sells the company to a junior partner and walks away with three years worth of profit and leaves the company that now has a reputation as rip off artists to others to deal with.

A lot of times the original owner will use a portion of his profits to start up the same thing in another area and do it all over again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One thing I would look into is was there a change of ownership at the same time as the change in advertising. Also was there a change in the number of employees at the time. I have seen companies blitz a market for a few years charging very high prices, then the owner of the company banks his profits, and sells the company to a junior partner and walks away with three years worth of profit and leaves the company that now has a reputation as rip off artists to others to deal with.

A lot of times the original owner will use a portion of his profits to start up the same thing in another area and do it all over again.
I bet you're right, thats one of the things I suspect...or maybe they file bankruptcy.

I think, not sure, but think there's a way to look the info up through the IRS.
Surfing the IRS websitre is a labyrinth, but if I could find it the lesson would be pricelss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know of a large company out here that stop advertising for a while when they were $2,000,000 behind in their Yellow Page ad. The sad thing was they were able to negotiate the price down and continued on. I've always been one who felt you honored your debts.

Mark
Part of me wants to strangle someone like that, after doling as much as $1k in a month for advertizing in the past and still have a family to feed, it's not fair at all.
The other part see's the Yellow pages as monopolizing and manipulative...they are notoriously over-priced and have been known to mislead customers expectations to gain a sale.
 

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I know of a large company out here that stop advertising for a while when they were $2,000,000 behind in their Yellow Page ad. The sad thing was they were able to negotiate the price down and continued on. I've always been one who felt you honored your debts.

Mark
If they let him get strung that far out they deserve to take the loss.
 

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If they let him get strung that far out they deserve to take the loss.
Sadly just like every other business they did not take a loss. They passed the cost on to all of the other poor souls who are spending their hard earned cash on Yellow Page ads.

I learned early on there were too many other ways to spend your money on advertising than to waste it on the Yellow Pages. I use to have a radio show on the weekends answering plumbing questioned followed by a radio jingle which played all week long. I also kept my trucks stocked with fliers and when a helper had nothing to do he passed out fliers. One of the guys on another site buys advertising packets from overseas at $.16 a piece. They include the normal stuff and a few extra goodies. Now if you are spending $1,000 per month on advertising you have to ask yourself what would have a better return, a half page ad in the Yellow Pages which no one may look at or 6,250 advertising packets greeting some one when they get home. Too many plumbers have been supporting the Yellow Pages for too long hoping to make ends meet.

Mark
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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Sadly just like every other business they did not take a loss. They passed the cost on to all of the other poor souls who are spending their hard earned cash on Yellow Page ads.

I learned early on there were too many other ways to spend your money on advertising than to waste it on the Yellow Pages. I use to have a radio show on the weekends answering plumbing questioned followed by a radio jingle which played all week long. I also kept my trucks stocked with fliers and when a helper had nothing to do he passed out fliers. One of the guys on another site buys advertising packets from overseas at $.16 a piece. They include the normal stuff and a few extra goodies. Now if you are spending $1,000 per month on advertising you have to ask yourself what would have a better return, a half page ad in the Yellow Pages which no one may look at or 6,250 advertising packets greeting some one when they get home. Too many plumbers have been supporting the Yellow Pages for too long hoping to make ends meet.

Mark
I think it depends on the area. Here, yellowpages is my best return. Everything else has been so-so. But yellowpages delivers quality calls every week consistently.
 

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Sadly just like every other business they did not take a loss. They passed the cost on to all of the other poor souls who are spending their hard earned cash on Yellow Page ads.

I learned early on there were too many other ways to spend your money on advertising than to waste it on the Yellow Pages. I use to have a radio show on the weekends answering plumbing questioned followed by a radio jingle which played all week long. I also kept my trucks stocked with fliers and when a helper had nothing to do he passed out fliers. One of the guys on another site buys advertising packets from overseas at $.16 a piece. They include the normal stuff and a few extra goodies. Now if you are spending $1,000 per month on advertising you have to ask yourself what would have a better return, a half page ad in the Yellow Pages which no one may look at or 6,250 advertising packets greeting some one when they get home. Too many plumbers have been supporting the Yellow Pages for too long hoping to make ends meet.

Mark
Not us, our company isn't even listed in the phone book.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think it depends on the area. Here, yellowpages is my best return. Everything else has been so-so. But yellowpages delivers quality calls every week consistently.
I think you're right.
I live in a major metro area, anything less than a 1/4 page gets buried, if your name doesn't start with AAA you're buried as well.

In service/emergency plumbing people aren't apt to move past the first few pages as long as someone answers the phone or returns the call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sadly just like every other business they did not take a loss. They passed the cost on to all of the other poor souls who are spending their hard earned cash on Yellow Page ads.

I learned early on there were too many other ways to spend your money on advertising than to waste it on the Yellow Pages. I use to have a radio show on the weekends answering plumbing questioned followed by a radio jingle which played all week long. I also kept my trucks stocked with fliers and when a helper had nothing to do he passed out fliers. One of the guys on another site buys advertising packets from overseas at $.16 a piece. They include the normal stuff and a few extra goodies. Now if you are spending $1,000 per month on advertising you have to ask yourself what would have a better return, a half page ad in the Yellow Pages which no one may look at or 6,250 advertising packets greeting some one when they get home. Too many plumbers have been supporting the Yellow Pages for too long hoping to make ends meet.

Mark
$1k was my highest to date for a month...lots of lessons learned as far as wasted money that month.
What are these packets?
Got a link?
 

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I think it depends on the area. Here, yellowpages is my best return. Everything else has been so-so. But yellowpages delivers quality calls every week consistently.
I'm sure there is some truth to what you say. Our problem here is there are a hundred plumbers in the book and the only way to stand out is to try and get as close as possible to the front of the section ($$$). Out of curiosity what do you pay per month for your ad and how many jobs do you get? Also with all of the "other" Yellow Pages do you advertise there as well.

Mark
 

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$1k was my highest to date for a month...lots of lessons learned as far as wasted money that month.
What are these packets?
Got a link?
I have only heard about them from the shop owner but Joey and Rick have seen them. If you are interested you may want to PM the man of many usernames on the other site.

Mark
 

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Not us, our company isn't even listed in the phone book.
I received a call from an Internet Yellow Page company on Friday and the woman wanted to know who was in charge of our advertising. When I told her we had not advertised in years she asked why. I told her we no long accept new clients unless they come with a referral from someone we know. She was not quite sure what to say and after a few stutters she hung up. The truth is we only do consulting work now and had she done her homework before she cold called us she would have known that.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have only heard about them from the shop owner but Joey and Rick have seen them. If you are interested you may want to PM the man of many usernames on the other site.

Mark
Ahhhh...I think Robert did the same thing.
He says he got some biz from them, but not much.
I think it was relative to the volume he sent.
I think the industry standard for direct mailing is something under 1/10%, which is excellent at the cost per packet you mentioned above.
As for the forementioned shop owner...looks like he pulled a disappearing act.

Time will tell.
 

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Ahhhh...I think Robert did the same thing.
He says he got some biz from them, but not much.
I think it was relative to the volume he sent.
I think the industry standard for direct mailing is something under 1/10%, which is excellent at the cost per packet you mentioned above.
As for the forementioned shop owner...looks like he pulled a disappearing act.

Time will tell.
This weekend was his trip to Whiskey Petes but I believe he posted this morning.

A lot of times it is the little stuff which gets you work. We use to do a ton of copper repipes. When our trucks were on a repipe they would attract a lot of attention. Every neighbor in the area was watching to see what was going on. The first thing I did was put a yard sign in the lawn which was made with a copper piping frame. The second thing I would do is pay a bunch of kids to hand out fliers to every home in the neighborhood. Soon I would have neighbors fighting over who would be scheduled next. It was not unusual for us to repipe 20-homes on one block. The cost of advertising was around $20 so even with only one sale it was money well spent.

Mark
 

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I'm sure there is some truth to what you say. Our problem here is there are a hundred plumbers in the book and the only way to stand out is to try and get as close as possible to the front of the section ($$$). Out of curiosity what do you pay per month for your ad and how many jobs do you get? Also with all of the "other" Yellow Pages do you advertise there as well.

Mark
Tis a new season started in the yellowpages, I don't have any hard numbers for you just yet. But in your areas, (as grumpy, westcoast and you have pointed out) you guys have tons of plumber's competing for attention. Here there are only maybe 15 guys with 'display ads' so with a half-page ad I am on the 4th page in 5th position! My ad gets a lot of attention so far. Also its not just size and placement but CONTENT as well. My ad is possibly the best content-oriented in the whole book.

Drain Medic is in first position in his area and he does very well in the yellowpages. On the other hand, Westcoast's area is so competitive, he said he would have to spend big bucks or he'd be buried under pages upon pages of ads, so for him its a poor investment.

It seems I am in alucky niche area for YP. Also since my new ad design is performing so well, I am going to replicate in teh competing Yellowbook this year. My budget is higher than most companies because as a start-up business, I need to advertise much more than an established company would.

I agree Mark that the YP can be over-priced, and someday my goal is to drop the display ads (or at least downsize) and work of word-of-mouth referrals and repeat clients exclusively.:thumbup:
 

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Tis a new season started in the yellowpages, I don't have any hard numbers for you just yet. But in your areas, (as grumpy, westcoast and you have pointed out) you guys have tons of plumber's competing for attention. Here there are only maybe 15 guys with 'display ads' so with a half-page ad I am on the 4th page in 5th position! My ad gets a lot of attention so far. Also its not just size and placement but CONTENT as well. My ad is possibly the best content-oriented in the whole book.

Drain Medic is in first position in his area and he does very well in the yellowpages. On the other hand, Westcoast's area is so competitive, he said he would have to spend big bucks or he'd be buried under pages upon pages of ads, so for him its a poor investment.

It seems I am in alucky niche area for YP. Also since my new ad design is performing so well, I am going to replicate in teh competing Yellowbook this year. My budget is higher than most companies because as a start-up business, I need to advertise much more than an established company would.

I agree Mark that the YP can be over-priced, and someday my goal is to drop the display ads (or at least downsize) and work of word-of-mouth referrals and repeat clients exclusively.:thumbup:
You will always need at least an honorable mention sized ad. After we quit using the Yellow Pages we had some customers who thought we had gone out of business as our ad was missing. They eventually found us again but had some bad experiences in between.

Mark
 

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Yellow page ads - My experience with YP has been good. The return you get is directly related to your content. Virtually all plumbing companies do water heaters - why should the customer call you? Answer that in your ad in a way that touches people and the phone will ring.

Companies advertising non-stop on the radio, cable, etc. are doing it because their repeat/referral rate is very low. They are always looking for fresh blood.

Hard working, honest, growing companies very seldom can afford advertising blasting.

Logic dictates, plumbers offering low quality at cheap rates are not going to have repeat business. Laws of economics prove you can not provide top quality at the lowest price. Unless you want to run a non-profit shop.
 
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