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Author Topic: Advertising in the Yellow Pages  (Read 4334 times)

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Offline Captain

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Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« on: October 18, 2002, 05:44:50 AM »
The deed is done and the new sawmill is on the way....

Does anyone have experience with using the yellow pages to advertise portable sawmill services?  In our area, only the "Sawmills" heading is available, and there are no portable sawyers listed.

Many of my friends in the landscaping or contracting business say it generates constant business leads.  

I am in hopes that advertising will not be necessary at some point in the near future. 8)  But until then....

Thanks,
Captain

Offline Frank_Pender

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2002, 06:04:49 AM »
Captain, good fortune to you in your venture.  As to the Yellow Pages, I have been half affraid to advertise due to have to work harder than I already have to work.  I almost feel, for me, that I would be asking for more work than I could accomplish and not make the customer upset with not being able to meet  a deadline of completion. :'( :'(  I know In my area there is not ONE listed in the Yellow Pages.   Now, we do have a weekley Northwest Regional farm newspaper that has several listed all of the time.  What their workload is, I do not know.  You could try the Yelllow Pages for a year and see how it went and if you acquire more work than humanly reasonable, then you could cancel for the following publication.
Frank Pender

Offline Tom

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2002, 06:39:48 AM »
I've found word of mouth a little slow but the best advertisement.  Handing out business cards and being visible with the saw is the second best.   The Yellow pages is shopped by Urban, one-tree jobs and folks wanting their yard cleaaned up. It would generate a lot of calls but I couldn't stay open on that kind of business alone.

A friend of mine back in the 1960's advertised his photographic portrait studio in Yellow pages.  When things got tough he tried to cancel the ad.  They were really mean to him and made his life miserable.  He finally did cancel the ad and the phone company changed his years-old phone number.  He had to change all his stationary, business cards, business accounts and even have his window repainted to reflect the new number.   He warned me against ever  dealing with the organization and I've heeded it.
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2002, 07:48:50 AM »
We've actively resisted advertising other than printing business cards.  

We had a second phone line installed a couple of years back under our business name.  Mary had a heck of a time with the phone company to make them understand we didn't want it listed in the phone book and we for sure didn't want it listed in bold print and we didn't want a Yellow page ad.  The way it is,  I can't set down to supper without the dang phone ringing.   Why did we get a second number?  One to connect to the Internet without tying up our home line and two, so we could collect messages and reply when we hand time.

Mary had a new customer the other day.  When he came to pick up his lumber,  he placed another order and as did the neighbor that came with him.  He was excited about finding a mill and suggested Mary take lumber to the local livestock barn and place cards up at all the feed stores, gas stations, etc.  Mary firmly told him "No,  she couldn't keep up with the business she had."  
Wood-Mizer LT40HDE25 Super 25hp 3ph with Command Control and Accuset.
Sawing since '94

Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2002, 08:08:36 AM »
We used to run ads in the local newspaper when we did custom sawing.  We have wholesaled everything for several years but still get a call once in a while saying they saw our ad in the paper and wondered if we could do this or that.  We usually do.

The ads were effective for us,  we would run them once or twice a year.

Noble
milking and logging and sawing and milking

Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2002, 08:35:44 AM »
Probably the best advertisement is to set up along some busy road and saw.  You won't get much done but you'll get a lot of people stop to look.  

We also had our name and number painted out our 3500 Dodge.  Although we don't do mobile sawing, and the truck does not leave home often, we've gotten business from the signs.  
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Offline Noble_Ma

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2002, 09:08:13 AM »
When I was in the building business, I used word of mouth, business cards and job sign.  Eventually all you need is word of mouth.  Your work is your advertising. ;D

Online Ron Wenrich

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2002, 09:48:56 AM »
I have been in the yellow pages for 26 years.  I have a business phone, so it comes with the territory.  I am not doing sawmill work, but consulting forestry.

In that amount of time, I have had 3 calls.  Not worth it, and there are better ways to do advertising.

We have a local weekly paper that is nothing but ads.  It only costs a few bucks and covers a fair sized area.  I would put my initial advertising there, for starts.

Another good one is farming newspapers.  We have one that comes out weekly and is as thick as the NY Times.  Farmers have trees and they often need lumber.  If you are doing portable work, that's who I'd want to target.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2002, 10:01:32 AM »
I've just reviewed the yellow pages of our area-wide phone book that covers about 75-100 mile radii from me and maybe contain 300,000 population.  There were four listings under Sawmill.  Three were for mills that make a dedicated product like barrel staves or cedar products.  The other was a large mill that produces hardwood lumber of all types - not sure if they do custom sawing or would sell lumber to the public.  

No small or mobile mills were listed even though there must be at least a hundred.  

Do know what that tells you other then nobody around here advertise their portable sawmill business in the yellow pages.
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Offline Corley5

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2002, 09:00:21 PM »
I looked into Yellow Page advertising a couple years ago to help move my hay crop.  At $500.00  :o :o ack! cough! gag! I decided it sure as h*## wasn't worth it.  I agree with the word of mouth thing.  Some years I'd have a couple thousand bales or more left over.  Last year I sold out at Christmas.  This year I doubled my production figuring it'd last til February.  It looks like I'll be sold out by the middle of next month ;D :D :) 8) 8)  The sales have come from repeat customers, word of mouth, and a sign by the road with my phone #.  Way cheaper than a Yellow Page ad.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2002, 03:56:25 AM »
Our Mill is in the Yellow pages under sawmills. Its listed as Billsby Lumber Company Inc.


We always know when someone is calling that found us in the yellow pages versus those that need us.

"Hello? Yes, I need a price on asphault shingles please and also, do you carry chicken wire?" ::)
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2002, 06:47:54 AM »
Mary and I generally wear a clean cap donated by Wood-Mizer when out in public.  Quite a number of times weve been approached by people wanting to know about Wood-Mizer mills or about our services.  
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Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2002, 10:21:34 AM »
Bibb your WM cap story reminded me of a similar 'the clothes makes the man' experience.

When I was a kid about Jeff's age, I decided to return to college and get a masters degree.  I usually wore jeans and an old shirt like my fellow students, but one time wore slacks and a dress shirt for some reason.  As I was standing in a hallway waiting for a class, a cute little co-ed approached me asking if I was professor such and such. A few days later I was standing in the same spot (dressed in my more casual uniform) when another cute little co-ed informed me that the tissue needed replentishing in the ladies room.

No I didn't.  

Noble
milking and logging and sawing and milking

Offline woodmills1

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2002, 03:23:01 AM »
was in a bar one day dressed in jeans and a sthil orange chain saw shirt, having just cut a whack of firwood.  this guy says, what do you do, and I answer I got a wood business, but work at a high school.  Janitor he says, no teacher says I.  wood shop he says, no Physics I say.  Oh gym teacher are ya?  yuk yuk.
James Mills,Lovely wife,collect old tools,vacuuming fool,36 bdft/hr,oak paper cutter,ebonic yooper rapper nauga seller, Blue Ox? its not fast, 2 cat family, LT70,edger, 375 bd ft/hr, we like Bob,free heat,no oil 12 years,big splitter, baked stuffed lobster, still cuttin the logs dere IAM

Offline Captain

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2003, 06:56:34 PM »
The new phone book came out two weeks ago..... :P

Two calls later, one job (1 MBF) confirmed, advertisement cost paid for 6 months.  

Now I just have to convince this guy to let me saw on the front lawn, let my wife hand out buisness cards while tailin' :-X(can I type that?) and hope the word-of-mouth starts...

Hey, If Joey Lowe can do it..... ;)

Captain

Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2003, 07:10:48 PM »
When I first got my portable mill, I had a friend print me some business cards and handed them out and had a few tacked to bulletin boards in some local stores.  6 months later I took down the ones I had tacked up and started hiding the rest I had.  Now I just advertise by word-of-mouth or sawing where I'm visible.  I've even done a small job for free where I was visible from two well traveled roads and counted it as advdertising.  I usually have to send 4 or 5 jobs on to competetors each year because I can't handle all the jobs.  Occasionally I have a week or 2 of slack, but that's when I get to do some of my own jobs. :^)
I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline JoeyLowe

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2003, 07:03:21 AM »
 ;D  Hey Captain, good luck in your new venture.  Yellow Page ads will bring you some business, and it will also bring alot of salesmen wanting to sell you something too.  Tom and Bibbyman are 100% correct in their methods. (I followed them to the letter).  Set up the mill in a busy area and start sawing.  People will stop and you will get jobs.  Word of mouth does work and believe me, the phone will ring.  Don't try to be everything to everyone and for all means, don't be afraid to charge for what you are doing.

This reminds me of a recent story that I wanted to share about pricing.  I have a customer who was wanting some oak logs sawn.  Only problem was that the logs were still trees.  I told him that I don't fell trees.  He called several loggers who blew him off and he tried a couple of tree services who wanted as much as $1500/tree to fell these oaks.  He was getting kind of desparate so he asked me to help find him someone.  I called around and found a feller who cuts firewood for a living.  I made the introductions and set up a meeting.  The firewood man and I arrived first and the customer was a little late.  While standing around waiting, I asked the firewood man what he intended to charge to drop those trees.  He told me "About $35 each".  I told him that maybe he should rethink his price.  He came back a few minutes later with $25 each.  I said hmmm.  When the customer arrived, everyone shook hands and I immediately chimed in that the firewood man would fell the trees for $100/each.  They customer said okay, when can he get started.  Later the firewood man calls me and thanks me and tells me that he owes me big time.

Now the point of the story here is not that I made more money for the firewood man or took advantage of the customer.  (I would never do that)  The point is don't be afraid to charge a fair price for your work or you will resent it.
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Joey Lowe

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Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2003, 09:13:57 AM »
I have a neighbor who retired from his job in town and needed something to occupy his time.  He built a shed by the highway and bought a tire changer and air compressor.  Sold tires at very little over cost and fixed flats for almost nothing.  I suggested he could charge a little more and still be giving a good deal and get plenty of business.  He said he just liked having people to visit with and didn't need more money.

Stopped by one day with a flat.  He said he sold his tire changer and quit.  Said he was having to work all the time for nothing and people were always rude because he was behind.

Joey is right,  you need to charge a price that is right for the coustomer and yourself.

Noble
milking and logging and sawing and milking

Offline dewwood

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Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2003, 10:21:16 AM »
In response to the original post, the yellow pages might be ok if you live in a large metropolitan area.  Where I live is rural with a couple of 10,000 population towns within 20 miles, I advertise my wood business in both of these towns yellow pages and am not sure the cost is ever recovered in the form of profit.  I do also advertise in a local free paper(it costs to advertise) and get a very good response so I guess it is whatever gets the word to your customers.  Word of mouth still brings in a lot of business.

In response to Joey and Noble's posts, they are on the money.  Do not try to cheat your customers it will come back to haunt you, do however charge a rate that will allow you to stay in business and make a profit so that you will be there the next time that customer needs your services.  Profit is not a dirty word, you have to make money to continue operating your business.  There is another post concerning sawing rates, it is my observation that they vary widely by regions, some areas saw one type of lumber and other areas do a different type.  The answer goes along with the above, you have to stay in business but you also have to be competitive.  You need to do some research in your area to see what the going rate is and price according to the competition always keeping in mind what you need to make a profit.

Dewey
Selling hardwood lumber, doing some sawing and drying, growing the next generation of trees and enjoying the kids and grandkids.


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