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I will meet with him late this afternoon or early evening, they do not open until 4 P.M. He (owner) is one of the local bankers so I want to avoid bothering him during the day. Hopefully we can lay some details out, I can't imagine it will take that much. I will keep you posted.
On a side note I am in the process of sending out some letters to existing customers detailing our referral program. In a nut shell any person we do business with totaling $100 or more, that was referred to us by an existing customer, existing customer is eligible for choice of one cubic yard of double ground hardwood mulch, a turf fertilizer application, or one free mow. I've also sent out estimates to one time chemical application customers offering our complete five-step program with a discount if they retain us for the entire program.
I didn't do this last year, there was so much I planned to do last year and didn't get around to it due to the overwhelming volume of sales of services. This really caught us by surprise, and was a good problem to have, but it was still a problem.
I had planned, researched, written a thorough business plan, very glad I did to, I believe our year would have been extremely difficult without the preperation. That said I am in the process of writing a new business plan, this is a task I will definitely plan to do each year during the off season. I am amazed at how much more accurate, detailed and easy to write this has become since last year. Remember last year was our start up year so we really had no idea fully, what to expect. Last year was truly a blessing in two ways, in the volume of business and maybe even more significantly as a learning experience.
O.k. little off track there but back to the letters, we did gain a decent percentage of business last year by word of mouth, I anticipate the added inducement of free services/products to only increase that.
I just got back from meeting with pizza parlor owner, he was very receptive of the idea of a promotion scheme that would mutually benefit both business's. One promotion we kicked the tires on involved giving a coupon for a free dessert pizza with the purchase of a lawn application. I would pay for the dessert pizza (he would sell to me at his cost) we would split the cost of running ads. We disussed using the two logos in the ad one at the top and one at the bottom both a tad undersized, then sandwich in between them in large fonts the word FREE, in roughly half the size of the large font we would list details to qualify.
This was the only idea we spitballed, only discussed for about 20 minutes, we agreed to take a couple of weeks to try and come up with attention grabbing ways to promote thier products tied to the purchase of my services. I will post more details as we get more in depth on this project, hopefully to have a workable promotion within the next few weeks to kick of our mid-March applications (we did discuss the timing issue).
I am also calling the guy that drives my kids school bus about some in expensive advertising/promoting. He owns a carpet cleaning business thought I would pitch to him putting a flier for my business in with his statements when he sends them out and I could do the same for him with mine.
My first year I paid .6¢ a flyer to have them put on pizza boxes. This work out good, but the Pizza place (national company) got a new manager and he said it was against company policy to continue doing this.
I have tried a few times over the years to get a deal like this again, and I get the same answer from all the national pizza chains. They say if it isn't Charity, or for a government program (such as school fund raisers) they can not do it.
This is a national chain also, Paul Revere's. Seems to me the folks that buy these franchises and manage them are given a good deal of flexibility, at least it appears to be that way. He was very receptive to the idea of trying to do something that had possibilities of providing tangible benefits for us both. I am anxious to get this season fired up, it will be here before we know it. Feels pretty good just to be getting more and more on this end of the business done each day.
We will have coupons issued by PR's, then at the time we provide service we will leave a coupon with the customer or send with the statement. The customer will redeem the coupon for the dessert pizza and PR's will in turn bill us. These are a specialty dessert item that they make on an as ordered basis, therefore that eliminates the need to estimate a pre-determined amount.
This is a delivery pizza service, they do have dine in, but it is a very small area. We also tossed about the idea of a free half gallon of soft serve ice cream (this is also a menu item). The element that is crucial to make this work in my mind is that #1 we use a free offering and really emphasize/promote the free, I feel this will be most beneficial to my business. #2 That the menu item we use is something that will induce the customer to make a purchase from the pizza parlor while there/ordering.
To me the keys to ensure a successful promotion is customer inducement and mutually benifitting both business's.
No, if this were a large metro area likely, but remember we are talking of a town with a total population of 2000 or so.[B][I][U] Literally it would only take you 5 to 10 minutes to walk to any edge of town from the center. The reason I'm targeting it is because it is in my own backyard, so to speak. The bulk of the market I service is located about 17 miles away from me and my shop, this town is roughly 5 miles away, my kids go to school there, we go to church with folks there, I'm known there (just not for all services we provide). PR's and I are looking at two different methods of getting the word out: #1 local weekly newspaper #2 promotion on fliers stapled to pizza boxes when they are delivered. PR's already staples fliers to thier boxes so it would not be such a stretch to add info about my company. We have agreed to split costs on these advertising methods when we are ready to kick off this promotion.