Do you all advertise in the paper? How many calls (generally speaking) can you expect to receive from a service classified ad? Do you think it's too late in the season to place an ad in the local newspaper??
I had a real good response from and ad I ran in a local "Main Line" paper that ran once a week. Cost about $125.00 to run it for 4 weeks. Sold over 60% of the leads I got from it. After selling a job, I put flyers out in that area. Targeting a certain developement is alot easier with just putting out flyers. (which I also had a decent response with) This is my first year out and am only taking on res. work. I have got 19 signed contracts and am sure I'll be picking more work up in these neighborhoods if and when it ever snows!! If you can pop an ad out there I would say go for it!!!
It is never too late to advertise for snow plowing unless it is April or May. We advertise in a local paper for about $100.00 per month. They are a suburban newspaper and kind of target most of the type of customer that we are looking for. They only have Thursday and Sunday editions but they have proven to be our 2nd best advertisment with word of mouth being the best. With all the snow we had this past week our phone rang off the hook. We had our hands so full with our regular customers that we did not service anyone extra.
My first year out I direct mailed 100 postcards to local business that I hand picked. I got about 10-12 calls for quotes, and closed on about half of them.
I also ran an ad in the local paper. That netted zero commercial calls, and the only residential calls were little old ladies that wanted plowed three days after the storm. It also netted some calls from people that drove over their driveway for days, and had 2" of hardpack that could not be scraped up. I did not get any "regular" customers from the local paper.
After my first season out, I have not had to advertise, and can pick and choose accounts.
That is exactly what I was thinking, as well. My first year out on my own I did advertise, but now I turn down more jobs than my advertising ever produced. It seems that once your established, the work finds you. Especially on a winter like this . People who have gotten by without service for years are now looking for me.
I tell most of them that I can't help them, and if I take anything on at this point its "blizzard pricing" all the way!