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Making Hay

Posted By: Dana
Date: Monday, 8 October 2012, at 12:40 p.m.


A slow period is a good time to do some maintenance, but also to get out and make some contacts if not sales.

For shops that are operator-owned, it only takes a little marketing in your area to boost your income especially if you do odd jobs. I welcome them because they can pay so well, but also you can make lifelong connections.

I just did one job for a car-club member and that led to three others others making inquiries. (These guys always have neon on their garage walls.)

Almost every walk-in type business I have been to has a broken sign in the back. Edge yourself into a storefront business with a small job, you will be the recipient of their future needs and maybe some free beer signs which are easy to resell once cleaned up. I never leave the parking lot without leaving a card with the adjoining businesses also.

You never know "who golfs with who..."

I have recently done about 8 'renos' as I call them of beer signs with the private owners paying up to $400 each to have them renewed. They operate and look like new when they leave my shop, along with the safer, updated transformer.

Sometimes busy work, but they talk to others so the word gets around and there is nothing more valuable than client referrals.

Like myself before I started in neon, non-commercial users of neon are very passionate about the light and learning about the process so I try to capitalize on that with a shop tour.

I have said before, but it is worth repeating: A small classified ad of the cheapest kind will cull clients from your area. Just make sure you are willing to return the calls. I get many non-neon inquiries that I simply refer to other sign shops that in turn will send clients to me. Only about 20% of these inquiries will be qualified leads so it can be tedious going this route.

I just received my largest dollar job referral ever from a non-neon sign shop that will take me three years before all of the work they want will be finished. I limit myself to interior or window neon only and I do not offer any wholesale since I prefer to work with end-users of neon.

Making yourself known by being on the street is the effective if irritating part of a self-made business. Much more effective than any phonebook listing or mailing, but there are many fronts in which you can wage war.

If you have a marketing method that has brought you work, share it.


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