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RockSet N' Grade
01-31-2008, 12:53 AM
I am curious as to what methods you guys use for marketing? Yellow pages, website, mass mailers, word of mouth.....I got that, I am just wondering what other aspects are out there.

ksss
01-31-2008, 01:15 AM
I think it depends on who your are targeting. If you going after builders and General Contractors I think it has to be face to face. This is a tough crowd to break into and I think it requires a more direct approach. My experience is with the above crowd you have to have been visible in the area for a while (thats where signage pays off) and positive word of mouth is of course priceless. If they see you around and on other big jobs, they are more likely to use you on their jobs.

Homeowners of course is a little different. The traditional methods are done by everyone including the competetion. I try to hit some of the lesser/more exclusive advertising. Example: I have a large banner at the local minor league baseball stadium (no Tim they are not called the Spuds). I also do other types of specialty advertising. I also think that impressive vehicle signage has been very benifical. Thats what I do.

Scag48
01-31-2008, 01:23 AM
T-shirts, hats, jackets, anything that can get you seen. I never had any done for our excavation division, but the landscape crew all wears embroidered shirts. When doing dirt work, I'd usually just wear my Cat hat, people would just automatically realize that I knew what the hell I was doing going by the awesome logo that was on my hat. :weightlifter: Alright, back on topic.

Dad got some really nice vests done (I know, super fruity) but they look really sharp with just the logo embroidered on them. I had t-shirts done when I was doing maintenance in high school as well as a nice jacket, makes you stand out. Sometimes the nail that sticks out get hammered, but in business if you can get yourself noticed, you're better off. My dad finally got vinyl lettering for his trucks this year. For 4 years we used magnets with the logo, phone number, and services offered. He got both of his trucks done with just the logo and the phone number, nice clean look.

Truck lettering, lettering up your machines, we put up signage on landscape jobs with the homeowner's approval, my dad usually does a little bargaining if need be. If we're working on a high visibility job, definately try to get signage up. Of course, the signage is temporary, just small signs, but they work.

We've found that yellow page ads draw price shoppers and flakes, almost guaranteed everytime. These folks are picky, want everything done now, and for a price that would rival them buying the materials and doing the job themselves. Or, they hum and haw about doing the job at all, are on a budget because they built way too big of a house and are overbudget, basically just waste a couple hours discussing a job that may not even evolve into anything. Some you could go out to discuss the job and all they do is run around in circles about what they want done, I've spent 4.5 hours with a laptop and ProLandscape setup on site with a gal and when I got done she changed her mind. Gets to be really irritating when you have a 4-5 man crew elsewhere that you need to keep busy and you're screwing around with flaky people. Dad puts his office number in these ads, he picks and chooses based on the content of the voicemails left on the recorder which people he'll call back, let alone even go look at. This isn't always true, but it seems to be pretty commonplace in our market.

ksss
01-31-2008, 01:29 AM
All customers I think feel more comfortable calling you when they see your vehicles and your jobs frequently. The more people see you around the more at ease they are of your ability and longevity in the market.

Gravel Rat
01-31-2008, 02:39 AM
Word of mouth is the biggest advertisement for contractors here. Building contractors that use one contractor on a regular basis spreads their name around. Lettering on your truck helps and something distinctive in your fleet of equipment.

Word of mouth thou has to be the most important around here. Usually you work for one person they recommend you to their friends or some other people they know.

Having the people at the local building supply helps too. Get the new people to the area they go ask places like the building supply who is a good contractor. We don't have big box stores here a building supply store is where the staff of the store know the contractors by name.

Some contractors have T-Shirts or pens etc hats are not common. Business cards are standard issue.

Last thing I think is important is don't get a bad name or it won't matter how much advertising you do.

bobcat_ron
01-31-2008, 12:22 PM
W.O.M for me, even when I had my biz name on the back of the old Bobcrap, I wasn't getting anymore phone calls for work, now I have nothing that indicates that my Cat belongs to me and I seem to get more work now, not much, but a little more than usual.

RockSet N' Grade
01-31-2008, 01:20 PM
I fully understand momentum and creating it by word of mouth. It makes me wonder if there is a "perceived" value difference in your area BobCatRon from yellow equipment to white? Could be......then again, our minds do play funny games this time of year....

wanabe
01-31-2008, 02:53 PM
Very good thread, but how did you start? I am going on my own this year, but the only contacts I have with building contractors is the ones that I worked for in the past. I can not take my ex boss's work? That is a big no no for me. So now what?

bobcat_ron
01-31-2008, 03:18 PM
I fully understand momentum and creating it by word of mouth. It makes me wonder if there is a "perceived" value difference in your area BobCatRon from yellow equipment to white? Could be......then again, our minds do play funny games this time of year....

Funny you should mention that, seems in my area, the people that have "other colours" (Case, LBX Deere) are cheaper in hourly rates AND cheaper in work quality, anyone who has Cat colours works at a higher rate but their work is top notch, just like my brother's company.

A lot of the little guy's that have Bobcat colours, I wont say they suck, but they could do better and I seem to have gotten at least 4 new contacts as a result of that over the past 2 years now.

ksss
01-31-2008, 03:51 PM
Funny you should mention that, seems in my area, the people that have "other colours" (Case, LBX Deere) are cheaper in hourly rates AND cheaper in work quality, anyone who has Cat colours works at a higher rate but their work is top notch, just like my brother's company. QUOTE

You have got to be kidding. So what we should get from this is that the guys that run CAT, demand more money and do a better job (you realize how subjective that is). Uniscaper oh Uniscaper I think we found your lost brother. I would love to learn the corrilation that allows for this to occur.

QUOTE A lot of the little guy's that have Bobcat colours, I wont say they suck, but they could do better and I seem to have gotten at least 4 new contacts as a result of that over the past 2 years now.

So Ron do you feel that your quality of work has improved in what the last 75 operating hours since you switched from Bobcat to CAT? Commmme on be honest. Of course it hasn't, you get referals because you do good work, no one you do work for cares what color your equipment is as long as your quality of work and price where they need to be. The equipment owner cares and you typically buy the machine that will do the most for the least cost. Beyond that no one cares. I would agree that condition of equipment has an image impact as does new verse old equipment with some customers.

My suggestion is stop reading the CAT propaganda. It is clouding your ability to think rationally.:drinkup:

Gravel Rat
01-31-2008, 04:42 PM
I agree with Ron but only on skid steers and mini excavators. I think it is because rental companies rent so much bobcat equipment people think differently. It is hard to explain I think its we can rent that and do the job.

As for larger excavators etc with Deere,Hitachi and Komatsu so previant here nobody even sees a fullsize Cat excavator on jobsites. There is no union companies in this area that do excavating so you don't see Cat equipment.

Back to the advertising part. I advertised in the local papers etc never got any calls from newspaper adds. You ask the person where they got my name from it was either from a friend or a recommendation for somebody.

People are lazy they don't want to read or search through the the phone book. The only time a person searches through a phone book is when their regular guy can't do the job.

When I recommend a excavation contractor or any other contractor I have levels of recommending.

First level is local which is the most important.
Second is quality of work.

I know contractors out of the area that are good but why give work to outsiders when the local guys are looking for jobs. There is some trade jobs that you have to go out of the area for. Excavating we have enough compentent contractors they can do any job. Yes there are contractors that I know that I really don't recommend they are last resort if you can't get one higher up on the list.

Usually when a new person to the area buys a empty building lot they find a builder first then the builder has a excavation contractor they use on a regular basis.

You can have big slashy adds in the phone book and newspaper but it doesn't really give you much return. I think keeping your presence in the area helps people see your gravel truck running around keeps a reminder to people if they need work done or somebody they know needs work done.

Another thing that hurts your chances is if your in the bar getting gooned people see that and that adds judgement to if they want to hire you or not.

Lots of things affect how you get hired to do jobs. If your a contractor that is bad it spreads like a bad rash. If you done something was wasn't done right or you soaked a customer for a job that shouldn't have cost that much is a point against you.

I know a one trucking company that advertises like crazy they must spend thousands on newspaper ads while the one little trucking company barely advertises and has lots of work because they have a good reputation and word of mouth.

It all comes to Right time Right place you get the jobs.

bobcat_ron
01-31-2008, 05:31 PM
So Ron do you feel that your quality of work has improved in what the last 75 operating hours since you switched from Bobcat to CAT? Commmme on be honest. Of course it hasn't, you get referals because you do good work, no one you do work for cares what color your equipment is as long as your quality of work and price where they need to be. The equipment owner cares and you typically buy the machine that will do the most for the least cost. Beyond that no one cares. I would agree that condition of equipment has an image impact as does new verse old equipment with some customers.

My suggestion is stop reading the CAT propaganda. It is clouding your ability to think rationally.:drinkup:

Not propaganda, oddly it's coincidence, the good guys get more work because of their machines not breaking down so they need a better machine to handle the extra work load, Sure Hitachi is one of the better ones out there, but the general consensus still points to Cat as having a better machine with better resale and fewer problems than Hitachi around here.

Same goes for me, people that got me in a job site told me they saw me driving on the highway some time and said "oh there goes that Bobcat guy we always see, he must be doing good because this is the second time in a row we've spotted him", but now with the color change people they might start saying things like, "WTF, his Bobcat must be crap, 'cuz he's got a Cat now, guess that old whitey couldn't handle the extra work load, so Cat must have been a better choice".

And also a coincidence, my work has been getting better and smoother and I know this Cat won't be an "oil dribbler" so I'm not as scared to take on the longer, bigger jobs. :waving:

YellowDogSVC
01-31-2008, 07:07 PM
My suggestion is stop reading the CAT propaganda. It is clouding your ability to think rationally.:drinkup:

:laugh: now that was good.

Construct'O
01-31-2008, 08:01 PM
Here i thought you was busy working all summer,now we find out............ the rest of the story.So will you be getting credit of any kind for this design ,or just the satfaction of helping design something that will work for your use and maybe bennfit several other people along the way.

If it it without any kickback then all i have to say is your a "real nice guy":)

Glad to see you have been putting your time too good use all>>>>>>> year long.Also glad to see that some big companys do take time to listen to the small contractors and companys.Good luck:usflag:

dozerman21
01-31-2008, 08:22 PM
Not propaganda, oddly it's coincidence, the good guys get more work because of their machines not breaking down so they need a better machine to handle the extra work load, Sure Hitachi is one of the better ones out there, but the general consensus still points to Cat as having a better machine with better resale and fewer problems than Hitachi around here.

Same goes for me, people that got me in a job site told me they saw me driving on the highway some time and said "oh there goes that Bobcat guy we always see, he must be doing good because this is the second time in a row we've spotted him", but now with the color change people they might start saying things like, "WTF, his Bobcat must be crap, 'cuz he's got a Cat now, guess that old whitey couldn't handle the extra work load, so Cat must have been a better choice".

And also a coincidence, my work has been getting better and smoother and I know this Cat won't be an "oil dribbler" so I'm not as scared to take on the longer, bigger jobs. :waving:


Many people who don't know much about excavating, like an average homeowner, don't know the difference between different brands. There all "Bobcats" to them, so I don't agree with the logic. In fact, if anything I'd say it would be just the opposite. They're probably more likely to think better of your company because you have a "Bobcat" brand, than they are to think "Whitey couldn't handle the extra work load". (That was funny BTW:laugh:) Buy hey, whatever is working for you...

As for advertising, I don't think the Yellow Pages are the answer for smaller guys like most of us. They cater more to site work/development. Obviously word of mouth is a big help. I like the local neiborhood type newspapers as well.

Something I don't think has been touched on is where you live. Rural or close to a large market. I live in a pretty large market, and it's very competitive here in any phase of construction. I don't think you can advertise the same here as you would out in the country, or at least an area where you have less competition. I would think you have to be a little more aggressive if you're around a bigger market. The ratio of customers to contractors might be similar in the country vs. the city, but you have to bid against many more guys who do similar work in the city. That's where you really need a niche and a good reputation. I think you have to be willing to travel to the other side of the city or farther if you live in a bigger market and want to stay busy, because if you don't, Joe Blow's Bobcat Service will.

dozerman21
01-31-2008, 08:27 PM
Example: I have a large banner at the local minor league baseball stadium (no Tim they are not called the Spuds).

I laughed out loud when I read that.:clapping: Tim's gonna be pissed that he wasn't able to say that first!:laugh:

Construct'O
01-31-2008, 09:03 PM
Here i thought you was busy working all summer,now we find out............ the rest of the story.So will you be getting credit of any kind for this design ,or just the satfaction of helping design something that will work for your use and maybe bennfit several other people along the way.

If it it without any kickback then all i have to say is your a "real nice guy":)

Glad to see you have been putting your time too good use all>>>>>>> year long.Also glad to see that some big companys do take time to listen to the small contractors and companys.Good luck:usflag:

Sorry right post wrong place.Oldtimer thing.:rolleyes::usflag:

wanabe
01-31-2008, 09:32 PM
I will put a Hitichi up against a cat any day! A good operator can do a good job in any color machine. It is not the name, or price, it is the skill. Just because someone has a Cat brand of equipment makes them no better than anyone else! I have seen a cat backhoe get smoked by a 410 deere. It was all in the operator. I am willing to bet that if any other equipment mfg. offered to donate a new skid(or CTL) to you that they would suddenly be the best. I have ran about every brand of skid(or CTL), and they all can do a good job. Yes, I liked some better than others, but they all did a good job. But back to the original thread. What do you think of targeting new subdivisions and placing filiers or business cards on the new but unfinished houses? How do you target developers? I have e-mailed a few that are starting a new development, but have got nothing back. Do newspaper adds work? Yellow book called the other day, but I did not do that.

Construct'O
01-31-2008, 09:40 PM
Many people who don't know much about excavating, like an average homeowner, don't know the difference between different brands. There all "Bobcats" to them, so I don't agree with the logic. In fact, if anything I'd say it would be just the opposite. They're probably more likely to think better of your company because you have a "Bobcat" brand, than they are to think "Whitey couldn't handle the extra work load". (That was funny BTW:laugh:) Buy hey, whatever is working for you...

As for advertising, I don't think the Yellow Pages are the answer for smaller guys like most of us. They cater more to site work/development. Obviously word of mouth is a big help. I like the local neiborhood type newspapers as well.

Something I don't think has been touched on is where you live. Rural or close to a large market. I live in a pretty large market, and it's very competitive here in any phase of construction. I don't think you can advertise the same here as you would out in the country, or at least an area where you have less competition. I would think you have to be a little more aggressive if you're around a bigger market. The ratio of customers to contractors might be similar in the country vs. the city, but you have to bid against many more guys who do similar work in the city. That's where you really need a niche and a good reputation. I think you have to be willing to travel to the other side of the city or farther if you live in a bigger market and want to stay busy, because if you don't, Joe Blow's Bobcat Service will.

Hopefully this is the right subject for the right place.I agree rural is different then city.For me 90% perecnt of my work is for the same people over the years.Several reason ,but here are some.

One is i work on farms from acreages to 2000 acres plus.So the work for some of my customers is never ending it seem.That is if you do good work,and at a reasonable price.Which with the cost of fuel it is harder to figure what is reasonable.

So for my area,i have more area to work as to you guys as just working for homeowner.They have just one house,on a 100x100ft lot.Compared to hundred of acres for me to find work.Only problem is a lot of the area is planted ,and no place to work when crops are in the field.So makes for a season thing at times!!!!!!!

As for exposer goes,i guess people do tend to connect to what kind of equipment you are running.More on dependability as to what color it is.As for me Cat dozers does have reconnoition in my area because of Deere being the only next competiton close and there is only one of them with in 50 miles of me,and several Cat.

It's a farmer thing they do see the difference in brands compared to home owner which don't ! i will agree.Plus when you show up on time and do the work in a timely manner.They remember that next time .Especially when they are setting there with there planter ready to plant as soon as you done.

As for advertisment ,contractors give calenders ,out plus send Christmas cards thanking their customers and wishing them seasons greetings,and a good 2008.That helps keep people thinking of you for the new years,since last year is history.

As during the summer and fall there are lots of parades and lots of contractors pull there equipment down mainstreet with large crowd watching.Pretty normal here,not as much for the big city guys i'm guessing.If your not doing this it might be something new to look into.This might be in a slow time for some.

Well last ,but maybe not least!!!!!!We can do like Ron:).

If nothing else even if we have work or not just haul you equipment up and down town for people to see you.Might not be going back and forth from jobs,but they probably won't know.

Stop for breakfast or coffee early in the morning and someone might ask if your going to be close to them ,that they have something that needs done,if you get in the area,not knowing you really wasn't doing anything anyway.:dancing::usflag:

qps
01-31-2008, 09:51 PM
I think it depends on who your are targeting. If you going after builders and General Contractors I think it has to be face to face. This is a tough crowd to break into and I think it requires a more direct approach. My experience is with the above crowd you have to have been visible in the area for a while (thats where signage pays off) and positive word of mouth is of course priceless. If they see you around and on other big jobs, they are more likely to use you on their jobs.

Homeowners of course is a little different. The traditional methods are done by everyone including the competetion. I try to hit some of the lesser/more exclusive advertising. Example: I have a large banner at the local minor league baseball stadium (no Tim they are not called the Spuds). I also do other types of specialty advertising. I also think that impressive vehicle signage has been very benifical. Thats what I do.

So....how are the Rigby Bakers doing:)...spuds...that was a good one....on a somewhat serious note what is the population of Rigby...and do you have to drive to other towns for most of your jobs???...you should have seen the collection of CASE equipment I seen today;)

Fieldman12
01-31-2008, 09:55 PM
I will first say that as most of you know I really like Cat equipment. I dont how ever think just because you have Cat equipment means your are any better than the next guy. You know I can remember guys all my life that said from now on I am going to run this brand and nothing else. About six to ten years latter suddenly that machine that was so great is now a pos and they have moved on to the next brand and color. What Im getting at there is allot that goes into making equipment no matter what the brand. Dont forget if times get a little rough in the market dont think for a second they will not cut corners to make the product or cut the time way down on the research. I personally think most of the construction brands out there have something they really shine at making that makes the next company look not so great. Some companies get so big that they think they dont have to try near as hard any more to sell products. Before you know it the small company is making a better product and is slowly chipping away at the market. I will be honest Cat makes big equipment but in this small equipement line I would be scared to death. I mean look how many different companies make machines out there. Cat for now is kicking butt because of the pilots and the name but wait until a few more companies start offerering. Cat will have to work harder down the road to stay close to the top. Just look at Bobcat now. I bet they are really thinking now what can we do that is so great to keep our name on top. Cat is still king of the big dozers. As for excavators Komatsu and Hitachi/Deere are everything the Cat is and then some. As for advertising I have found out word of mouth works best. I have had a business before. Virtrually all my work came from people I know. I got the same as no calls from paper ads.

ksss
02-01-2008, 12:06 PM
So....how are the Rigby Bakers doing:)...spuds...that was a good one....on a somewhat serious note what is the population of Rigby...and do you have to drive to other towns for most of your jobs???...you should have seen the collection of CASE equipment I seen today;)


Rigby's population I think is around 3K. Idaho Falls is where most of the work takes place pop of about 60-70K. The metro area is quite large (for this area).

Dirt Digger2
02-01-2008, 04:25 PM
Yellow pages, website, mass mailers, word of mouth

all of them...we also bid on some public jobs

wanabe
02-01-2008, 10:02 PM
all of them...we also bid on some public jobs

So what worked bast Dirt Digger?

Dirt Digger2
02-01-2008, 10:13 PM
word of mouth always works best, whether it be a tree service recommends us to come in and grade a homeowners lot or another homeowner recommends us to a neighbor...but we do get a good bit of business with our septic pumping company through our mailers...also we do a lot of work with a few local builders, they like our work so they hire use time after time even if our price is a little higher then others

to get a mailer to work you need to offer them some type of discount...we offer 10% off to first time customers that are getting their septic tanks pumped

RockSet N' Grade
02-01-2008, 10:55 PM
DirtDigger.........the mailer thing I have never tried because I just can't wrap my head around giving 10%-20% off. They are tough around here anyways when it comes to money, and grind you right from the start.....then to pull out a "coupon" and get another discount just doesn't sit well with me....

Dunlaps LawnCare
10-24-2008, 02:31 PM
newspaper and mailers work well

RockSet N' Grade
10-25-2008, 10:16 AM
I did mailers this year and did not offer any discount or coupons. I mailed out 20 per day for 90 days at the start of the season. I got 4 good sized jobs. I will do it again, say, starting this next February for the coming Spring. On another note: we used to work with a supplier and he would refer us all his rock setting jobs. Got no calls from him this year and wondered why.....finally found out the answer the other day. He saw that I was making money, so his brother started setting rock.......now they mine it at the pit and set it also......

bobcatuser
10-25-2008, 01:00 PM
You can't beat word of mouth or repeat business. I have a website and some decals on machines that's it for advertising. Yellow pages was a waste of money, people just wanted to shop for prices.