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yellow page add

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by lawnworker, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. lawnworker

    lawnworker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 899

    Hey, how many of you have found that a yellow page add with verizen brought in good residential customers. This year is my first year for a yellow page add. In the past, I have relied on newspaper adds, the ones where you get 3 lines for 10 days. They cost alot of cash, and they seem to bring a wide mix of people, with a wide range of price expectations. Considering estimates accepted, these news paper add have not worked to well. I hope yellow page adds will do better.
  2. Lawn-N-Garden Guy

    Lawn-N-Garden Guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 321

    what does yellow ads cost on average
  3. PR0 TURF

    PR0 TURF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    The yellow page ads bring in a nice constant flow of work throughout the year in our area. They're definitely not cheap. Our phone tends to ring year round with our ad...I'd highly recommend it.
  4. IBGreen

    IBGreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 726

    You can spend anywhere from $500 to a full page add with color for about $30,000. Very expensive. Ours cost about $2,000.
  5. Gr grass n Hi tides

    Gr grass n Hi tides LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    I'll let you know in July, which is when our phone books are distributed. I talked to enough folks that echoed pretty much what PRO TURF said & decided to buy an ad even though this is my first year. I spent about $1,000 on my modest (business card size) ad but I think it will get the message across. Sprint publishes the more widely circulated phone book out here, but the sales guy I talked with sells ads to people as far away as Texas. Actually, he was very helpful with ideas.
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,839

    Well, I've had yellow pages ads with Verizon, Qwest, and some other company. They are so small I can't even remember their name.

    Anyway, my best experience was with Qwest. But that's totally a regional thing. In some areas, Qwest has a bigger market share, in others, Verizon does. And it's hard to tell which really does because BOTH of them will show you all sorts of studies by an "independent yellow pages tracking company" highlighting their company as having the biggest market share.

    Regardless, I've found out a few things about YP ads. First thing is, that unless you are close to the #1 spot, you won't get all that many calls. Studies suggest that the #1 spot in any given category receives like 70% of the calls for that category. #2 spot gets 20% or so and the remaining 10% of calls is divided between #3 to #29. You'll still get calls. Just not nearly as many as you thought you would. If you are looking to just double in sales this year because NOW you're in the yellow pages, think again. Not gonna happen.

    Second thing I've learned is that the ROI (return on investment) is not very good. The salesman makes it SEEM good. He's try to justify that $400 a month ad by saying, "Just think! If you just land 4 new accounts at $100 a month, that pays for the ad right there!" Yah, that sounds good when you're not thinking straight. But let's look at it this way. Say you land 4 new accounts today that you'd normally charge $100 a month for. Then, you find out that for some reason you HAVE to do these accounts for FREE! Forget the yellow pages thing. How excited are you to go mow these 4 lawns for free? Spend your time, labor, gas, haul away clippings, etc. for free - every single time you visit them for a year. Now, suppose that these 4 accounts you're doing for free promise to get you another 10 or 20 customers over the next year. Do you like them better? Well, yah. Probably a little. But to me, that's still a bad trade.

    Third thing I've come to realize with Yellow pages is that whatever it costs you (say, $400 per month), that price is ALL YEAR. Yet you'll only get calls for maybe 7-8 months out of the year. You'll only get a LOT of calls, maybe 4 or 5 months out of the year. In the winter, you're still paying that same rate, even though your phone didn't ring once that month.

    I've had small ads. I've had the #1 position. I can show you copies. They never ever lead to the growth I thought they would. And they always costs me WAY more than other kinds of advertising would have cost for the same return.

    Well, that's my 2 cents on YP ads. Best of luck.
  7. wojo23323

    wojo23323 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 608

    I just signed my contract today for the Southside Hampton Roads Yellow pages and another smaller book that covers the rural areas here. It is 5 lines, Business name in bold and has my website address. Total cost is $81 per month. Books go to 880,000 homes and business'. I have $125 per month budgeted for advertising so I have some left over for local papers, HOA newsletters etc..
  8. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    I have a small ad in the yellow pages. The main reason is for the person who knows of our name via reference, or seeing our trucks, etc.. I pretty muc agree w/ Jim Lewis on this (as well as almost all of his other posts - but as I have stated before, he's my West Coast mirror).
    Cons: as stated above, you pay every month even though for most, business is seasonal. You get more "price shoppers". Many people will call for an estimate, and if you schedule the bid more than 2 days out, by the time you get there - they have already awarded the job to another LCO - and yes - they "forgot" to call you back because they know most landscapers never show up anyway.
    If you place a large ad, plan on having a lot of time to run on estimates. If ad is too big - you scare some away.
    Pros: you do get your name out ther a little more. Many who use yellow pages will look for the "local guy".

    I always ask the prospective client "how'd you hear about us?" Referals - close 85+%.
    Saw our work/trucks - 65%+
    YP ad - maybe 10%

    Good luck w/ your decision.

  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,839

    I agree with everything Bob added. All good points. And I have experienced the same things.

    We're still in the Yellow pages these days - but it's just a bold listing. Name and number, nothing more. I am done throwing money away. Flyers produce 3-4x the ROI for us.
  10. Harvestman

    Harvestman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    This is our second year for a small add in the yellow pages. I can think of only one good customer that has come from it. Mostly tire kickers. I dont think next year we well do it at all. by the way we have a business card size add.

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