Yellow Pages vs Door Hangers

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Last year I paid cash, roughly $1,800.00 to have a 1/3 page ad in the yellow pages. There are three local phone books delivered to homes in my area. One is Verizon, and the other two are off-brand. I advertised in one of the off-brand books.

    All the books are delivered late in the year...September/October. My ad hit the streets in mid-September.

    Last year, my first year in the business, I serviced 59 customers. On average, each customer spent $585 with me. Realize that many of those customers didn't sign up for service until late in the year. I still don't know how much revenue I can expect from a customer over the business lifetime, but it's well north of $585 for sure.

    Here is a breakdown of how those 59 customers found me:

    Door hangers: 28
    Just saw me working in the area: 22
    Yellow Pages: 5
    Referral: 4

    One could argue that the yellow pages was a good investment since the revenues from the yellow pages exceed the cost of the advertisement. But we all know it's not that simple. I expect to get several more customers from the yellow pages before the new books come out. One thing about the yellow pages is that the work isn't as close together, creating a lot more drive time for the average yellow pages customer.

    Door hangers are little different story, as far as geography goes. Door hangers create tighter routes with less drive time than the yellow pages do. I figure an employee can hang about 100 door hangers per hour, on average. That figure is based a lot more on guessing with some experience than it is on factual data. My assumption is that I'll get 1 new customer for every 600 door hangers that I hang. That's based on historical factual data. If my employee can distribute 100 door hangers per hour, I figure it costs me about $113 to hang 600 door hangers, after paying for the printing and the labor to distribute them.

    The nice thing about door hangers is that with door hangers, I can keep my employees on the clock until my route is full. If we don't have work, I can have them hang door hangers the rest of the day instead of sending them home without pay.

    So having said all that, my plan is to definitely do a ton of door hangers this year. Capital is not a problem for me at all. I can add a second crew without any capital problems to speak of.

    Would you continue to advertise in the yellow pages as is, would you spread the budget out around all three books or would you completely abandon the yellow pages and go strictly door hangers? Again, capital is not a problem. I can spend the money to get into all three phone books and do the door hangers. The question is, is it a good investment, especially considering the additional drive time that the average yellow pages customer brings????

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  2. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

     
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I get more than one call for every 600 door hangers. I probably get about four calls for every 600 door hangers. Out of four calls, I expect to land one customer who will sign up for regular service on my terms.

    I appreciate the input regarding yellow pages. But realize that the numbers you're looking at aren't really fair. The yellow pages weren't delivered until the season was about over. I might just wait until May to make a final decision and see how things go with the yellow pages this spring.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  4. Lombardi

    Lombardi LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 538

    I used to do the flyers, newspapers, hangers, and yellow pages. Over the past 3 years the yellow pages has taken over as my best advertising source. The bad part about the other advertising is that it is a one time deal. The hangers and flyers are thrown away after a couple of days and the newspaper is thrown away everyday. The yellow pages are there everyday, all year long.
    In fact this year I am almost completely eliminating the newspaper ads and increasing the size of my yellow page ads. I do not use flyers or hangers anymore. A very low ROI. Good luck.
     
  5. coyoteman

    coyoteman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 89

    One thing about the yellow pages is that if someone is looking there they are ready to buy. these people are your target consumers.
     
  6. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

    Hi DFW,


    That's a great way to maximize time. Good for you :)
     
  7. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    I would spend the money on the verizon yellow pages. It will probably be more, but the off brand ones are a waste of money. In summer i get an average of 5-10 calls a week from my add, and maybe 1-2 a week in winter.
     
  8. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,847

    Lets just say this, the 2 largest companies in my area only have one liners in the official yello pages. Only as a courtesy to those who know their name but not their number.

    Have you considered just a line in the book and then spending the rest of the budget on hangers/direct mail?
     
  9. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    I think the phone book works different depending on your area. The book brings in most of my calls. The biggest companies have the biggest ads. I shrank my ad this year to cut down on calls because I had too much demand for service from the book. And I've never had a whole lotta luck from fliers or door hangers. Not to mention I hate doing fliers.

    I've been around for 8 years, though, and I think I have some name recognition. That helps greatly.

    If anything, I think if I want more business for next season I will add more to my phone advertising.
     

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