Putting up business signs on fences, lamposts, trees etc........

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Feb 14, 2021
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Hi yall,
Hope you all keeping well.
I have survived my first year - just, enjoyable but stressfull as expected, but am now struggling a bit getting local work. By local I mean actually my town and within 10 miles or so of Whitby.
Is there an unknown trick or suggestion for me to get direct local work as Im travelling up to 45 miles for little jobs at the moment but obviously would prefer the majority of jobs to be more local so fuel costs and working in unfamiliar territory would be reduced.
I have a couple of ideas such as physically handing business cards out and placing signs by the roadside but is this ok? I will be phoning the council tomorrow but would appreciate any advice you guys could offer in regards to specifically gaining more local customers, if it is possible?

Also are checkatrade type companys ok?

cheers n stuff


LBD Electrical
I don't think you will ever get council permission for roadside signs, though you may get away with displaying something not too intrusive at your own premises.
Local press adverts come to mind, and if you have them in your area, the local advertising magazines. Some shops will display adverts for a modest charge.
I don't think you will ever get council permission for roadside signs, though you may get away with displaying something not too intrusive at your own premises.
Local press adverts come to mind, and if you have them in your area, the local advertising magazines. Some shops will display adverts for a modest charge.

Thanx for the reply. Other local businesses advertise with signs on fences etc.....so I guess Ill ask them tomorrow how to go about it.
I have a few reasons in regards to roadside signs specifically ,as I think its an advertising area that perhaps, needs to be more available. But is it an option and what are the barriers, costs permissions etc........... I can only ask!
Personal recommendation and word of mouth is always the best!

A lot of formal advertising is expensive.. so look for as many free options as possible...

I wouldn't trust any check-a-trade contractor any more than a stranger I met in a dark alleyway!
Basic conflict of interests, as they are unlikely to post negative reviews about any traders who are paying their wages!!
Unless you have a lot of money to burn, I doubt they are a cost effective advertising tool.

How many of your friends / family have ever selected any type of tradesperson from a roadside advert?
I never have... and I don't know anyone who has..??
For roadside advertising to be legal I don't think it will be cheap?

Create a presence on local social media platforms.. (e.g. Nextdoor / facebook etc..)
Get yourself know for useful contributions.. Not just sponging for work!
Nextdoor and Facebook allow you to set up a business page at NO cost..
and many pages are set up by various local interest groups.. where there are generally a reasonable number of people on these sites asking for plumbers/electricians/decorators etc.. for jobs in their home?

Have you got your own website?

It often looks more professional if you can answer any enquiries for tradespersons with a link to your website with a bit more about you and full contact details, rather than just sticking you mobile number on the end of a reply post.

Do you have signwriting / contact details on your vehicle?
(If a full pukka paint job is to expensive, magnetic signage can be designed and purchased via online sites for a reasonable cost.. and can be moved between vehicles if needed!)

Statistically the fist few years of any start-up business are difficult and most failures occur with 3 to 5 years..
If you are still trading after 5 years you are normally doing something right and stand a chance of success..
so be prepared for a few more years of hard graft to get your name established....

[ I've been self employed since Feb 1999.. most of my work is within a 5 mile radius... occasionally push the boat out to 10 or maybe 15miles radius... but that is an exception.. Tomorrow morning's first appointment is to see a brand new customer.. (don't yet know where they got my name from).. But I could probably walk to them within 15minutes!! ]

You may need to do a bit of market research with all of your friends family personal contacts.. etc..
and ask them where they would normally go, (if they don't already know someone), to find a tradesperson for any job they need doing...???
It could point you in a useful direction to pursue?
Have you tried local parish magazines?

Do you have a website?

Next door is a useful way to get your name out as you can set up a free business page

What about working with other trades such as kitchen filters and bathroom fitters?

When in went SE I had some leaflets made up and posted them through local doors AND the neighbours of people in did work for

It takes time to build a business, up to 3 years or more so it sounds like you are heading the right way BUT you need to get more local jobs
Just to add further...

If you are looking for domestic work..
From my perspective the normal first choice is asking friends / family for recommendations...
Then joint second/third choices tend to be Google type searches and/or asking on local social media.

As a rough non-scientific sample of my four most recent new jobs on the pending file..

This morning have been to see a potential new customer about a shed supply..
He said he got my name from a Google search.. which brought up a map with pins in where local electricians are.. He contacted me as I was the nearest.. {I think the google map relates to info off Yell.Com?}

Yesterday I got e-mail acceptance for two other new customer jobs..
One was from an initial enquiry generated from Nextdoor.

The other was from a word-of-mouth recommendation as the customers parents are related to my wife via my father-in-laws side of the family. (people do still ask round their family for contacts)

Monday had acceptance of a quote from a previous customer who I have done numerous jobs for since 2016.

So from four jobs:
2x from internet source.
1x from word of mouth.
1x previous customer.. (but he originally found me via local social media sites)

Which confirms my gut feeling that 75% to 85% of my new work comes from internet related searches/enquires..

I would be investing time and money into improved internet presence over roadside adverts..

Or if you have any children at local schools they often have printed programs for summer/Christmas fares. and/or have a school calendar where local businesses can advertise to raise funds for the PTA.. Which can get your name know amongst other local parents.
Sounds like you are doing pretty much everything right, so it’s now just time and more customers / recommendations

The only thing I would add is never pick a fight with a customer for a few pounds as won’t help
Flyers / postcards into the houses next to where you have worked. That worked for me when I was starting out.

Follow some basic advert rules. Electrician in bold print not your name. Don't over complicate it. Offer a discount with the flyer. People love a saving.

Keep it up. You'll succeed.
The only thing to add is any flier our business card or website without a business or home address is bummed or ignored

anyone who only gives mobile number and/or email address is very likely to disappear in the event of problems, and should never be trusted in the first place!