business suggestions - advertising

Alex Crow

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hello one and all :D.

i am setting off down the road of starting my own business, and having contributed a little to this forum, i am now in a position to ask something back.

as some of you will know, i am currently working as 'senior engineer' for an independent mercedes specialist. i am in a reasonable job that, sadly, is not able to offer me new goals and rewards. although i enjoy a steady income and no financial risk, the frustrations of my employment are considerable - i feel i could do so much more.

so my plan is to rent a modest local premesis, and set myself up with the necessary insurance, equipment, utilities etc to carry out diagnostics, repairs and servicing of mercedes cars. i have found a suitable unit to rent, have the finance in place and the backing of friends and family, but need some suggestions to help me along.

firstly, i would like to ask for ideas regarding advertising. when i have a definite address and tel. number i can get some cards made up and will have a simple web site to direct people to for more info. i will make sure all the local companies that have used my expertise in my current employ know where to find me. i will advertise in various local periodicals, possibly even yellow pages. i will hopefully have a sign made up for the gate that leads to the proposed workshop. there is actually a lot of passing traffic here that cues up to wait at a railway crossing, the bigger the sign the better i guess. also i will have friends and family leafleting parked MB cars in car parks etc.
any more suggestions to get my message to the mercedes driving public?

another thing i am open to ideas on, is the name of the company! i am located near a railway station in stowmarket in suffolk btw, my name is alexander (aka andy) crow, the business will focus on diagnostics and repairs to mercedes cars - my forte.

many many thanks for your thoughts on these subjects, and any other advice that comes my way. i know there are a lot of independant specialists that post on this forum and particularly want their wisdom, but any ideas are welcome here.

thanks again.
 

Miffy

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one offer that seems to go down well is to let all the local businesses know that you would like to support the local trades by offering a XX% discount if say within 5 mile radius, dont forget to hammer on the doors of the Funeral parlours, they have MB Limos
 

television

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You will do well,,,Advertising,,care needs to be taken on this one or it can be very expensive,, local papers are ok where you can get a block deal. Thompson directories are free for a single entry, as are yellow pages. Yellow pages are far too expensive to take out a block add,,with very little in return.

Avoid all things like having your name on a football club calender or pubs etc, all useless.

Putting leaflets on cars in super markets is good, also any car parks. Most local papers will give you a free opening story,so take that up.

If you have a small van then your name on that is free.

Internet directories are a up and coming thing, but not fantastic as of yet.

Well thats my bit for now
 
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Alex Crow

Alex Crow

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thanks mark, i certainly will be offering 'discounts' at the drop of a hat while work is slow. and leafleting and carding local business is a very good idea indeed, got to get the message out there.
 
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Alex Crow

Alex Crow

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thanks for all that malcolm, i did think a proper ad in the puce pages was a big outlay for poor returns. the story in the paper is a good one, obviously need an angle but am imaginative! the van also would be good, but not quite there yet.
 

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I Have been in business the service trade since 1953 And what I put was based on the years when I did advertise,, often, only something you need do for a while to get started.

Dont forget the sprinters and Vito's used commercially
 

truthfindergeneral

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You can't beat word of mouth. If you screw up on a job and you will at some time, go that extra mile to put it right. It might cost you a few extra quid but if you don't, all your expensive advertising will be quickly undone
 

dizzy lizzy

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maybe something in the name that says "as the crow flies"
 

merc7

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Hi Andy would it be possible to keep your job & start a business on the side??!! ,see how it goes that way have your cake& eat it?
good luck to what ever you decide
 
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Alex Crow

Alex Crow

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Hi Andy would it be possible to keep your job & start a business on the side??!! ,see how it goes that way have your cake& eat it?
good luck to what ever you decide

this halfway house is great, but the compromise would be tricky. for instance i need to be able to answer the phone at all times, the boss would not be amused! i need premesis, but this would cost the same wether i used it all the time or part time. same for business rates and insurance.

if i had a very large garage and understanding neighbours this would be a good way to start- i have neither sadly. so i am commitied to some hard work and a possible loss in the first year, but a coherent and clean start to a new business. so thanks but no thanks anyway ;).
 
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Alex Crow

Alex Crow

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maybe something in the name that says "as the crow flies"

believe it or not this has been suggested. discarded as being gimicky and more than a little tacky!
 

television

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I can post to you the two trade directories that have the names of many indies just for some ideas on a name
 
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Alex Crow

Alex Crow

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I Have been in business the service trade since 1953 And what I put was based on the years when I did advertise,, often, only something you need do for a while to get started.

Dont forget the sprinters and Vito's used commercially

i too hope to be in a position not to have to chase work. but fixing sprinters and vitos does not appeal - mind you, needs must...
 
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Alex Crow

Alex Crow

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You can't beat word of mouth. If you screw up on a job and you will at some time, go that extra mile to put it right. It might cost you a few extra quid but if you don't, all your expensive advertising will be quickly undone

a very good point, i agree completely. in this trade we are always learning, and even with straightforward jobs things still go awry sometimes. to add to this i think it is vital to communicate clearly with customers about work to be undertaken to ensure they know what to expect, and any possible risks when authorising work. thanks again.
 
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Alex Crow

Alex Crow

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I can post to you the two trade directories that have the names of many indies just for some ideas on a name

yes please malc, need a little inspiration.

the car sales showroom next door is called 'platform one classics' - this is run by my future landlord, he sells all sorts including an immaculate ford capri and an equally stunning w123 (asking price is 10,000 for this 200T!). i think this is a great name, being so close to the station.
 

television

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Can you please PM me your address,,my Email is out of order
 

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Advertising, the advice given is sound, beware of newspaper advertising, especially the "freebies", been there, done that.

Word of mouth, liveried van, leaflets and again, word of mouth.

Go to local shows/car boot sales anywhere where a lot of people drive too, park you van, sell air fresheners with you name on them, cheap and effective, sell emm, even if it is for what you paid for them, don't give them away, if you do, you had better order millions of them!

Discount are very iffy, it is always easier to lower your prices than raise them and whatever you give away comes off your bottom line. In a years time that discount you gave away could make the difference between staying in business and going bust.

Identify your role in the market place first, what do you intend to offer that is not on offer locally; collection and delivery, overnight servicing, loan car, specialist repairs, gearbox, air con etc.

Have a lady driver do the car collection, the odds are it will be the lady of the house that will have the keys and ladies like to "network". The sight of their car being driven away in a cloud of rubber will not be good for your reputation and always send the car back clean!!

People buy off people as many a post on this forum has confirmed.
 
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merc7

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How about A&P engineering as in American licensed aircraft engineers airframe&power plant:D,is also your initials
 

Xtractorfan

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Nothing wrong with STOWMARKET STATION Mercedes Specialist then people will know where u are
the Mercedes specialist bit directly below the stowmarket station
And as Malcolm has said yellow pages a waste of money and soo expensive , also a big sign has to have planning permission and you wont get it if it is anywhere near a junction or blind spot or on a busy road
 
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television

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Nothing wrong with STOWMARKET STATION Mercedes Specialist then people will know where u are
the Mercedes specialist bit directly below the stowmarket station
And as Malcolm has said yellow pages a waste of money and soo expensive , also a big sign has to have planning permission and you wont get it if it is anywhere near a junction or blind spot or on a busy road

Thats a good name, I like it:D:D
 

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