View Full Version : The Yellow Pages, man is it expensive

06-05-2003, 12:28 PM
I want to put our service in the yellow pages, but they sent me the prices, and they are alot more hefty then I first imagined. Is anyone here in their local yellow pages?.. If so , how much are you paying for what type of advertisement, and how much return have you gotten on the advertisement?

06-05-2003, 03:39 PM
How Much??

06-05-2003, 04:10 PM
Just remember this--#1 The yellow pages will require a one year contract, and they will take you to court for the money if you cancel #2 are you prepared to drive all over hill and dale to give estimates and do work. I couldn't't wait for my ad to run out. Oh yea! My ad cost me $275 a month. Never again

06-05-2003, 04:19 PM
My ad as part of my monthly business phone line. I don't pay any extra for it. I have received very little calls from it.

06-05-2003, 04:32 PM
I got lucky and signed up the last week they were taking ads so I got 60% off. Mine, 1.5"/1.5" color ad costs me $100 a month. I myself have received a very good response rate, But my ad happened to end right in the middle of the, no other color ads on that page which is a miracle. I have got as little as no calls in a day, and up to 20+. Many of these people calling trying to get the lowest price possible. So when you do the estimate really have to use some people skills and sell yourself. For me it has worked great, Ive read other threads where it has been a waste of time and money for some. Good luck

Green in Idaho
06-05-2003, 05:41 PM
I use the Yellow Pages to shop for prices or for items...
"do you carry ____"

If one pays $100 a month, you have to be able to get a presribed # of accounts/projects from it each month to justify it.

If 5% of your revenue is for advertising that would require pulling $2,000 of revenue PER month (2,000 x .05 = 100) just to break even on the cost. Times 12 months = $24,000 revenue generated evey year to justify it in that example.

06-05-2003, 08:38 PM
Good point Idaho, I never thought of it like that.

06-05-2003, 10:13 PM
Well the cheapest ad in the minnesota yellow pages was 200+a month, this is just for a line or two. We wanted a 1/16 page with a white background, this costs about 547 a month. As of now our focus is mowing (since that is the cheapest and easiest to maintain). We want to move towards landscaping and I see the yellow page add as a great way to do that. Another thing is that the ad will really force us to do snow removal becuase in mn, lawn and landscaping season is only 8 months, so im wasting 4 months of advertising during the winter. So I just want to know how many dollars people think they have generated off their ad and for what services?

I figure the advertising may not be directly profitable, but I really want to make the name Student Lawn known, so we can really work ourselves into word of mouth, mabye a one or two year ad can do that?

06-05-2003, 11:05 PM
Start spending $10K per year on YP ads and then we're talking about cost.

06-06-2003, 10:05 AM
We used the yellow book last year, not the yellow pages. We were paying around $600 a month. Wasn't worth it one bit, I didn't pay them, they add that I had signed off on isn't what they used. They used the same clipart in my ad and three other guys ad within two pages, everyone used to call about that... A friend of mine is in the yellow pages, from verizon he pays about $700 a month for a very large ad and swears up and down its the best....

Green in Idaho
06-06-2003, 11:49 AM
Originally posted by studentlawn
but I really want to make the name Student Lawn known, so we can really work ourselves into word of mouth, mabye a one or two year ad can do that?

I would suggest spending $200+ per month (or $600 every quarter) on a direct mail campaign.

I prefere direct mail over yellow pages or any other media.

Direct-- target your customers- target your neighborhoods!

06-06-2003, 08:52 PM
how would a direct mailing system work? what would i have to do?.. just get fliers/coupons printed up? and how would i go about sending them?

Green in Idaho
06-06-2003, 09:08 PM
I have found the best way is to use a direct mail business.

Let's say you want to send a letter on your letterhead to one area. I take the letter in soft copy on Word to them along with an adequate amount of letterhead. They already have the mailing list and it's sorted by ZIP code. I tell them I want to send it to the 83706 ZIP code. I can even tell them which mail carriers I want to hit (smaller zone than a ZIP) and I can say no apartments, no businesses. Or I could say, I want to mail to all the houses over $100,000 annual income (they have THAT list). They print the letter onto the letterhead, stuff the envelops, and mail them out. I can ask them to spread out the mailer too to send 1/2 Monday and 1/2 Friday (to allow me to keep up on the response).

Since they are a bulk mailer they use their bulk mail permit so postage is cheaper. I pay them for postages, printing, & a service charge for stuffing. It is well worth the cost since my time is minimal.

OR I can have them send postcards (flyers). Postage is less, printing is less since they put either 2 or 4 on one sheet of card stock and letterhead is not required.

So it is best if you can use a business that does it all for you. Otherwise you may have to get the printing done at one shop and then take them to another to have the mail labels produced, placed, and sent.

Surf the Internet for you area or the Yellowpages for someone to do it for you. Here is my local guy so you have an idea what to look for: http://www.espprintmail.com/services.htm .

Later, I'll post a sampe of one I did.

06-06-2003, 10:09 PM
Here are some stats to think about in advertising..

YP ads....good for a year but cost $$$$ for a good ad. The ROI is medium at best. works for some and not for others.

Direct mail ads ,,you get 3 seconds to get the persons attention and then its over ( in the trash )

Flyers / handbills yield 1 to 2 % callback and an average 1% yield

local newspapers classified ads > same as flyers & HB's

Radio.. very good return , if you can afford it !!!!!

TV.... Wow, if only I could afford it ( I would be famous )

Green in Idaho
06-07-2003, 01:36 AM
Here is the mailing side of a postcard I did in '94. Notice the bulk permit in upper right corner and they printed the address.

Green in Idaho
06-07-2003, 01:40 AM
Here's the ad side. It is 4 copies per page and goes postcard rate.

Green in Idaho
06-07-2003, 01:45 AM
Here is a more recent ad I sent out in my current business. The purpose was to just get out the name and services message to a reasonalbe quantity of people in my target geo area. The front was in a digital photo so a photo of a nice lawn or landscape work would be perfect for the eye-catcher and your info on the back to get them to make the call.

Green in Idaho
06-07-2003, 01:55 AM
And the back of the dog card. Notice same postal permit. This one is 5 1/2 X8 1/2 (two per page size)

Green in Idaho
06-07-2003, 02:19 AM
To close on these, they're examples of a direct marketing campaign. With good design for a targeted audience it can be lucrative. I got a huge response from the sprinkler blow-out ad- huge being 4%. Doing a four mailers per year can be more productive than listing in the yellow pages. Even a small campaign can be good. i.e. printing a small number of cards with a photo of your work and mail them just to the 100 homes in that neighborhood.

One way to get a small number of address in an area is to use a City Directory. Most metro areas are servced by a city directory. Much like a telephone book but it's organized by address instead of last name. You can go the page for Washington Street and see the name, street number, and telephone # for everyone on that street. (BTW That is what most telemarketers use). Punch those address into an Excel spreadsheet and then do a Mail Merge function to labels and POOF you have your own small direct mail campaign that you can do over and over. City directories are often available at your local library at the reference counter. A city directory ROCKS for small scale direct mailing! Mailing services rock for big scale.

Like everything else, figure out your costs, figure out the potential profit and compare.

Advertising can be a good way to grow the business OR it can be a good way to flush money down the toilet.

06-07-2003, 03:03 PM
Word of mouth is free:) :) !!

06-07-2003, 05:50 PM
I took a Yellow Book ad out for the first time this year. It's a 1.5" in column bordered ad. Cost is $40/month. I believe I've received 3 calls.. $350 aerate & seed job I did, a $47.50 weekly cutting job and the other nothing. We'll see how it goes the rest of the year.. but not what I was hoping for. I'm glad I didn't spend any more than I did.

06-08-2003, 11:36 AM
I have gotten a lot of calls from my ad, but right now I can't handle any more work. So I'm cutting the add in the next book, just going with the name. I thought the ad rep was going to cry. 1.5 inches in red for $190/month is too much.

Mike Bradbury
06-08-2003, 04:39 PM
Yellow book, yellow pages, OTHERS.
Yellow pages USED to be a captive audience. It was the only thing people used. Now our area gets THREE different phone books. Nobody knows how many people use which, most people don't even know which they use. The effectiveness overall is WAY down due to the dilution of market presense. Yellow page ads SHOULD have come WAY down in cost since the duplication, hasn't happened.
"PostMasters" is a non profit wing of the United Way that does all types of mailings. See if there is one in your area. WAY cheaper than anyone else!;)

06-20-2003, 12:07 AM
wow, i pay $127 for a credit card size ad.. i get more calls then i can handle.. i refer them to other companyies for chemical treatments.. and for lawns i tell them were booked.. i just started my buisess last year and have gotten 20 yearly customers a year from it.. but i could have gotten plenty more if i had the time.. i guss just maybe in my area it works good.. i talked to 2 other lawns company owners both said they are getting too many calls that they can do so they can't take anymore.. i'm in that some boat now and i see why... too many calls from the yellow pages.. works great..

Green in Idaho
06-20-2003, 12:42 AM
Originally posted by jeff_0
wow, i pay $127 for a credit card size ad.. i get more calls then i can handle..

Jeff which directory in MD do you advertise in? Town? Maybe the difference is you have a really good ad!

Care to share it? or by the directory those interested can see it for themselves....

06-20-2003, 07:49 PM
i advertize in lawn maintenance if i'm not mistaken.. Maybe it's just where i live that there's a big demain for it.. You would think with everyone with a lawnmower behind there car or in there trunk that there wouldn't be but for some reason the calls keep coming.. My dad and old brother did lawn maintenace a while back and he said in june things slow down.. i got 4 calls earlier this week for grass cutting and got all 4 jobs.. usually i would of told them i'm to busy but a few of my clients have moved and 1 just bought a mower. my ad is nothing special.. just looked at other ads and put a few of the same things there.

Green in Idaho
06-21-2003, 12:22 AM
So, what city book do you advertise in?

Green in Idaho
06-21-2003, 12:24 AM
Jeff, what city book do you advertise in? as in what city are you in? What's your business name?

06-23-2003, 12:55 PM
Yellow Book is a huge waste of money. Had a 1/4 page add for around $500 a month. I've gotten about 20 calls for the entire year and thats including a free 1/8 th page add in lawn mowing. Huge waste of money. Not only that but when it was time to renew and I told them it was a waste they tried to get me to at least by a smaller ad. Why would a smaller ad be better than a big ad? If that's the case why did you sell me the big ad in the first place. All they want is your money, no concern over the fact that thier product is worthless.

06-23-2003, 03:07 PM
My ad was 1 colom x 2 inch ONLY $300 per Month x 12 = $3,600

I took my $3,600 and did some other advertising.

I cant see spending $3,600 for year round advertising that I only need 3-4 months out of the year.

I can take that money and go all out during that 3-4 months

06-27-2003, 12:02 AM
I was lucky enough to get a 3 color ad for only $51.00 per month. They had some kind of discount thing going on at the time. But the fun thing is going to be next year at what price it has raised up to.