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Yellow Pages

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by BSME, Jul 28, 2004.

  1. BSME

    BSME LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 829

    Just wondering what kind of success you guys have had using the yellow pages... I realize people don't think you are a real company unless you are in the yellow pages but is it worth going all out and getting on of those sweet upgrades? Any suggestions, stories, or comments more than welcome
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Generally speaking, my experience with the yellow pages has been very bad. I've had about 4 yellow pages ads over the years. Some small. Some big. One year I had the biggest ad in my section.

    There are several problems with yellow pages advertising.

    The first problem relates to the size of your ad. Studies show that the majority of people only call the biggest ads. So if you have a small ad, you won't really get called much. It's been my experience too. When I had small ads, they produced very small results.

    The second problem is inverse to the first. Bigger ads create a lot more leads, but they also cost a LOT of $$$. Often, more than they are worth. To have one of the biggest ads, you had better be ready to totally capitalize on every single call you might get. And you better be working in every single area that phone books covers. Because if not, other bigger companies will be and will be willing to pay more for that size of ad. So if you're not totally prepared for a large ad, you can end up spending a ton of money but wasting a lot of the calls/leads you get because you either weren't prepared for so many calls OR you are getting a lot of calls for areas you don't service.

    The third problem is that our business is so seasonal - but the yellow pages bill ISN'T! My last ad was costing me $750 per month - all year. And it paid for itself in the summer months. But I kid you not, for about 5-6 months in the fall and winter, I got ZERO calls each month. Do you know how much it sucks to keep getting a $750 bill each month when that $750 expense didn't bring in Jack Spit for business that month??? NOT fun.

    Anyway, that being said, I have been thinking lately of trying another ad for irrigation services. Only because the other Jack Hole who has the top spot in the current yellow pages is really ripping people off and I'm getting sick of running into people who got screwed by him. He charges $150 per hour and then he totally lies about how long something takes to do (e.g. doubles or triples the time). The other day, he did what would have taken me 2 hours to do. And he billed this old lady $1500.00 for it!!!! He replaced a nozzle, installed one new Hunter Rotor head, and switched her computer controller for a newer one. All for $1500.00!!!! I felt so bad for the old lady who got so screwed by him. And so I checked into it more. He has TONS of complaints against him like that one. So I am considering creating a new ad to run against his. We're currently at $48 per hour. If I upped our rate (to help pay for the yellow pages ad) to $75 an hour, we'd still be half of his price and still be doing better work and still be making sweet dough! So I am considering it again. But who knows?

    One thing you should always INSIST on when you do yellow pages ads - always leave yourself an escape clause. I did that with my last ad, thank God. I created a separate phone line just for that ad. And in my contract with the yellow pages, we wrote in that I would be able to cancel at any time and only pay for them for the time used until that cancellation. Of course, I also had to terminate that phone number after I cancelled. But that saved me a few fall months of paying another $750 for nothing.
  3. BSME

    BSME LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 829

    see how resourceful I am? I brought back a topic I still have questions on...

    This year I am thinking about my third yellowbook ad....

    the first year was about $16 a month...
    the second year it was about $77...

    I wouldn't even be asking if it hasn't been worthwhile so far (including the four months over the winter where I get ZERO calls)...

    my question is what you guys think about the next step in the yellowpages... it'd probably be over $200/month for about a credit card size ad... my plan was going to be to keep upgrading until it wasn't worth it anymore... I'm guessing I'll get more calls just "price shopping" but my main concern is what JimLewis said about having to turn down calls that are a little far from me...

    any advice?
  4. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    No one ever quoted me anything that looked like $16/month. Cheap was over $100/month and I passed on the ad and settled for the one liner. I did that the first three years plus. The ONLY calls I ever got from the yellow pages were from guys who wanted to know if I was hiring help. The one liner is obligatory on the phone companies part for charging you an arm and a leg for a commercial phone line. I did not want to be one of "those" companies that only had a cell phone number. I ported the land line to the cell phone and saved myself about $60/month. That's my take on the yellow pages thing. Cynical, I know, but thats what I know.
  5. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    I am seriously thinking about getting rid of my ads. I spend about $125 a month on 2 ads. The problem that I see with the ads is that I get calls from everyone.

    Everyone includes:

    People wanting a job - Gets old
    Businesses wanting to sell me stuff - Gets really really old
    People wanting quotes (most of which had called 10 others businesses already) - The amount of jobs closed is not nearly as high as in other forms of advertising.
    Old Customers who lost my number

    Now if you figure the ad is doing nothing 4 monthes of the year. I am paying about $190 a month for the 2 ads. Now what could I do with that $190 a month? That could buy a lot of other forms of advertising. I feel that I could easily do better with different forms of advertising.

    Most people when they buy an ad they don't relize how much time and resources the phone book wastes. You are spending that much more time on the phone....you are doing more estimates that close on a lower percentage.

    I felt I should give the phone book a try, but my clients aren't looking in the phone book for a landscaper. 90% of people looking in the phone book are people I don't want to talk to. The other 10% are people are good leads. 5-6 good leads a month in the good monthes. $190 in advertising good get me those good leads....and eliminate most of the 90% of the bad leads.
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,241

    Sometimes, just your business name in bold-face single line listing will get you the call. Beyond showing onlookers that you exist, I don't count on the yellow pages for much.
  7. Landscape25

    Landscape25 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 199

    I have a small ad that started in October, very bad ROI. I will not be renewing.
  8. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Sounds like the general consensus is that the Yellow Page ads suck. :laugh:
  9. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 837

    Thats a global consensus too
  10. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    You guys have Yellow Pages down there? I'd think you'd have something like Orange Pages just to be queer. :laugh:

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