In this article I want to cover the task of effectively marketing your parking lot striping or line striping business. The steps outlined below would be implemented once you have all your parking lot striping equipment and are experienced using it.
To successfully market any business a few things need to be true.
1. There has to be a demand for the product that you offer. In other words, people have to want what you sell or need the service you provide. Additionally, the demand has to be sufficient to support your business. For example, if you build ice fishing houses and your company is located in South Florida you would have no customers regardless of what your marketing plan was. Switching over to building gazebos would of course solve this problem.
2. There has to be one or more reasonable ways to reach the people that want your service or product.
3. The number of customers and the competition for these customers is such that if you had a good marketing plan and you were able to get a fair share of the market your business could make a profit.
If you have determined that these things are true then all you have to do to establish an effective marketing program is identify who these potential customers are and then establish how best to reach them. For parking lot striping your potential customer would be anyone with a parking lot. To further narrow this down your customer would be anyone with a parking lot that needed striping. Finding customers is relatively easy and simply involves driving around your market area and recording addresses and names. This will allow you to target these customers with some very inexpensive advertising. To reach the other customers you would use a broader based advertising program so that customers that you did not find but need striping could easily find you. I will start with some target marketing ideas and then move on to a broader based approach.
To reach potential customers using a target marketing approach you simply follow these easy steps.
1. Drive around town and make a list of parking lots that need striping and record the addresses. Everywhere you go you should be on the lookout for lots. Your wife, parents, friends, etc.. should be willing to help in this effort.
2. Once you have a list, go to the property appraisers site on your computer and enter the property address to get the propery owners name and address. This is sometimes out of town which is fine. The owner is always ultimately responsible for keeping the parking lot in good condition. If they have a management company that handles the property they will often forward your information. For shopping centers simply call the number on the "for lease" signs in the windows of vacant units and send a letter to the management company that handles the project. (sending a letter to the owner and management company is fine) For hospitals, malls, factories, etc... use the main address for the facility and mark it attention "Maintenance Supervisor".
3. Send them a nice letter stating that you stripe parking lots. Include your business card and any other pertinent information such as years in business, jobs you have done, hours of operation, insurance and workers compensation information. Make a list on your computer of who you have sent letters to. As you get responses make a note. After a few months send new letters out to those who have not responded. If you see the lot has been striped just mark them off your list.
This type of target marketing will normally get you all the jobs you can handle. All for the cost of a few rolls of stamps and some gas money.
Broad Based Marketing
Often times there are lots that need striping that you do not find on your own. If a person needs their lot striped and you do not find them then it is going to be necessary for them to find you. Broad based marketing accomplishes this by making your company information available to anyone who looks for it. The yellow pages would be an example of this. I have listed below several ways to get your name out starting from the least expensive way to the most expensive way.
1. Google Local Business. Do a search on www.google.com for google local business and you will get several links that will allow you to place your business on googles special business site for free. When someone in your area types in parking lot striping your business will come up.
2. Yahoo Local Business. Search www.yahoo.com for yahoo local business and you will get links into the free business listing area. This is very much like the google service and it is free. Look for "add business" at the bottom of the page.
3. Craigslist is a free advertising service. It is very popular and available all over the country. It is localized in that there are special craigslist pages for all the major cities in the US. You would advertise on the one nearest you.
4. Business Website. Your own website is very helpful and not expensive. I have had good luck with www.godaddy.com but there are many good companies that have online web building tools for you to use. Put in plenty of content. Make sure your title includes the city you are in so that when people search they find you. You would use something like ACME Parking Lot Striping Los Angeles CA . This lets the search engines know where you are. Look at other striping company websites and see how they lay out there sites. You should get a good idea of how you want yours to look.
5. Local newspaper business directories. Most papers have a business directory that is fairly inexpensive to advertise in. Put your business in as many as you can afford. In my opinion it is worth the money to pay a little extra to make your ad more visible than the rest. Just use your own judgment. 6. Yellow Page advertising. This used to be the best way to reach people and also the most expensive. Now, with the internet it has become less necessary. If you have a business phone you will most likely get a free listing. If you pay a little more you can get a larger one. I personally would recommend an in column ad or just pay the extra to make the free ad bold. 7. Signs on Telephone Poles or the Roadside. Many counties do not allow very much of this but check with yours to see. A sign company can make some small signs for you that say Parking Lots Striped and then your phone number. If you can do this type of advertising it is fairly effective.
Lastly, bidding jobs is a very important part of your marketing program. Make sure to show up on time. When doing bids make sure your bid sheet is neat and professional. Break out the different parts of the job without giving too much detail or making it confusing. Give the customer all the information they need to make a decision. Put your business license , insurance and workers comp info on the letter at the bottom so they know these items are covered.
If you follow these basic steps you should be able to stay as busy as you want to be.
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