Coupons/Val Pak advertising

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by bruces, Nov 28, 2001.

  1. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    In my area there is advertising called Val Pak. It is an envelope full of coupons for various businesses, probably 40 - 60 per mailing.

    I am considering using them for a mailing rather than doing fliers.

    1. Can target specific area (10,000) households per area.

    2. Assistance with ad design from their staff.

    3. They do printing.

    4. They do mailing (yeah, I know, included w/ 50 others).

    5. Cost is $210 per month for one zone (10,000 homes) if
    I commit to 2 months.

    6. No labor or additional cost on my part.


    1. Included with other coupons.

    2. Probably get tossed by good portion of people without

    This seems to me to be worth a try.

    Very easy compared to fliers,

    Cheap compared to newspaper or yellow pages.

    High volume exposure.

    The representative seemed to think I would get a 3% response rate.

    Is this realistic?

    Seems to be well worth the money if I get a 1-2% response rate and can close 30% of those.

    What are your thoughts and experience with this type of advertising?
  2. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Sounds cheap, we pay a little over 300 for the same amount of houses and we mail every month, year round.

    I do very well, but it wasn't always that way. Do a search of advertising on this site, worth a look.

    Don't expect 3%. Of course she will tell you that. Do you realize that 3% of 10k is 300????? 300 people will NOT CALL YOU. I can promise you that.

    Expect to get around 1/10th of a percent that is about 10 calls. That might actually be alittle high. If you get this amount, consider it worth it.

    I do quite a bit of it and mail approximately 50,000 pieces per month and get a high return, but I have been doing it for around 5 years. The longer you are in the envelope the better you will do. If you are going to do it, budget at least every other month to the same areas so that they receive it 5-7 times per year.

    Did you know that it takes about 5-8 impressions, meaning the client has to see your ad approx 5 times before they even think of responding? That is a proven fact, I could be off a little, but not by much. This means your first 5 mailings you may not get one single closed sale, a lot of tire kickers will call too. If you plan to do this, budget for the long haul and then once you start, don't even think of stopping.

    ONe other thing, ask her for exclusivity, meaning you want to be the only landscaper in the envelope. You will pay more and she might say no but it is worth it to ask and to pay more if she will say yes.

    Good Luck! Make sure you use an offer with the mailer, do not use a % off coupon, make sure it is a dollar figure, or even better something FREEEEEEE.
  3. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648


    Don't expect 3%. Of course she will tell you that. Do you realize that 3% of 10k is 300????? 300 people will NOT CALL YOU. I can promise you that.

    Expect to get around 1/10th of a percent that is about 10 calls. That might actually be alittle high. If you get this amount, consider it worth it.


    I don't doubt you a bit. I would be happy with 10 to 20 calls from the 2 months mailings. What I am thinking about is maybe expanding to 2 to 3 zones (10,000 each, the cost is a lot lower for additional zones) to get 30 to 50 leads.

    If I can close 1/3 of the calls I would be satisfied.

    Are you using the same type of mailings?

    As far as continuing, I am looking to sign up customers for seasonal service agreements, (primarily mowing).

    Once I achieve my goal in number of customers, I will probably back off of the advertising and rely more on word of mouth.

    I assume the difference in my focus and yours is that you maybe have more one time calls for sprinkler repair or installation versus a season long, weekly service type business.

    Thanks for the input.
  4. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    YOu have to look at what it will cost you to sign one customer up.

    If you mail 30,000 and get 1/10th of a percent that is 30 calls

    If you sign up 1/3 or 10 of them then each new client costs you......63 bucks according to your price for mailing.

    That is pretty cheap when you figure out the benefit of each new client to your company over the course of 2-5 years.

    But........wouldn't it be nice to add this amount of customers to your routes, next door or in the same neighborhoods?

    Why don't you give some incentive to your existing clients to refer their neighbors and really tighten up your routes?

    Might be cheaper and a hell of a lot less cold selling.

    As for us, yes we need new streams of clients continuously to feed the overhead monster. We mail approximately 50k per month,,,,year round. Am planning to add 30k or so next year.
  5. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    All very true. Cost is nothing in reality. I'd pay $63 per customer all day until I had all I could do.

    As far as tightening up my routes, I've just started part time and
    don't really have "routes". I've have taken about whatever business I could get (at a rate I can make decent money on) so
    the business is a little bit scattered.

    Until I get to full capacity, I will probably continue to take most customers that are willing to pay a fair rate for my services. As I add customers and grow, I will hopefully either fill in the routes so that they are more efficient or be able to drop customers that don't fit my service locations and replace them with others that do.

    I am intending to send out some type of referral coupon with XMAS cards to existing customers, something for the customer who provides the referral and something for the referred customer with a service agreement.

    Thanks again.
  6. Lawn Wizard

    Lawn Wizard LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    I was thinking of using the valpaks myself but decided against it. Mostly I decided against it because it takes repeated mailings to get the calls you want and I dont have that kinda money lol. I fu put it on there only 1 - 2 times I doubt you would get an kind of sizable response.

    If your just starting out maybe try flyering door to door in your neighborhood or where your already established. Its a lot cheaper, much more targeted, and you get to look at each lawn. Well just a thought.

    If you do decide to use the valpak please let us know of your results.
  7. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Is Val Pak your actual media or a similar one in your part of the country?
  8. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    We use acompany called American Direct Marketing. Same idea, only her envelopes look like an american flag.

    I may try val-pak though because it seems like every customer says this " i found your company through that val-pak thingie"

    Funny huh? Val pak seems to be the leader and gets the credit even when it shouldn't
  9. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Could you mail me some of your samples?

    What is your "hook"?

    What are you going after, service, installs or both changing focus during the year?

    You getting a 1/10th response? For service do most book a visit?

    In the south west is there a traditional maintenance program to follow on a system? Another words is service a one and done, see you in a few years if I have problem or can you develop regular annual income from an account?
  10. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    I will absolutely send you a sample foxx, email me with your address. Never mind, can I send it to address on

    My hook is a "tuneup special". I change it to read spring, summer, fall, winter. It is usually about 5 or 7 bucks cheaper than my normal service call but is limited to evaluation type work with the repairs beyond normal small stuff being extra and at normal rates.

    I also toss another coupon on there for installs, I have just changed that format and it hasn't mailed yet, but it works too. The tuneups actually work best and bring in lots of customers.

    They normally call us more than once per year. Ya know it is real hot here for about 6-8 months in a row so any little problem and it is obvious.

    We are not fortunate to have a winterizing and turn on need. I wish we could bank on regular visits from folks but the truth is they usually only call when needed. If I were a smart marketer I would be mailing them all the time........then they would need us know what I mean?

    Let's put it this way..........I am not going to count the responses right now for you, but.....1/10 to 2/10 is average. Some of those people are still calling me 5 years later.

    Infact, funny story, I went to do an estimate yesterday for some folks who said we have been coming there for years. They all say that right? They had every invoice we ever gave them, 7 in all, since may of 1995. I thought that was cool. Talkabout memory lane, the invoice from 1995 was out of an invoice book and had a stamp with my address that was off center and crooked. I had done the job and my handwriting hasn't changed much. It was pretty neat to watch the evolution of my invoicing techniques over the years.

    I' will send you those as soon as possible.

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