Postcard/letter/brochure to neighbors of previous work

18 replies
I have an idea that I would like to implement, it's very simple and won't cost much, so even if it gets me just one job it will pay for itself and then some.

As an electrical contractor I work in many old neighborhoods and it's easy to tell when the houses are similar. A lot of houses have Federal Pacific panels and old electrical services, many with the meter in the basement- which hasn't been allowed in 50+ years. Upgrading electrical services is high profit work that any electrician loves.

So here is an example, I just upgraded a customer's service because they just bought the house and the home inspector cited the old service with the meter in the basement and Federal Pacific panel as being possibly dangerous. I notice that there are 12 other houses on that block with the same style house, 60+ year old service, and meter in the basement. So it stands to reason that they also have a Federal Pacific panel in there.

I have a list of houses like this in all the neighborhoods I have worked in over the last year.

It seems like once people learn about the dangers of FPE panels they want to upgrade, but educating them is the problem. That's why I was thinking about sending out some type of postcard or letter. But I don't want to use scare tactics either.

Here is an example of what Electricians Success International (owned by Success Group International) did to get people searching online: Is My Electrical Panel Safe? - Important Information About Federal Pacific Electric, Zinsco and Outdated Electric Panel Boxes

Here is a 6 page document that I could send out: http://www.codecheck.com/cc/ccimages/PDFs/FPE_2012.pdf

The problem is coming up with the wording. Getting the customer to start reading it, keep them reading, but not use shady tactics that could get me into legal trouble. As I mentioned earlier, all it takes is a home inspector telling them that the panel is dangerous, the service is old and undersized, and/or the meter should be outside to get them to want to upgrade it.

Before I get into figuring out the copy, is this a worthwhile endeavor?
#neighbors #previous #work
  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    Who has more trust and authority in the consumers mind,
    a certified electrician or a home inspector?

    Best,
    Doctor E.Vile
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    • Profile picture of the author RogueSparky
      Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

      Who has more trust and authority in the consumers mind,
      a certified electrician or a home inspector?

      Best,
      Doctor E.Vile
      This is actually something I was just pondering as I sit here on this warm Labor Day night sipping a cold beer.

      I was just using the home inspector to show how customers want the service upgrade as soon as they learn about it. A home inspector has a reason to be there, because the person is buying a house. My goal here is to get in the door with new customers that I had no other reason to be talking to in the first place. That's what I was hoping the postcards/letters would do.
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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        Originally Posted by RogueSparky View Post

        This is actually something I was just pondering as I sit here on this warm Labor Day night sipping a cold beer.

        I was just using the home inspector to show how customers want the service upgrade as soon as they learn about it. A home inspector has a reason to be there, because the person is buying a house. My goal here is to get in the door with new customers that I had no other reason to be talking to in the first place. That's what I was hoping the postcards/letters would do.
        The reason I asked because when your message is in front of
        these people, they will act more positively
        towards the one who has the most respect and authority.

        Then you can use this to your advantage in your message.

        Best,
        Doctor E. Vile
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        • Profile picture of the author RogueSparky
          Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

          The reason I asked because when your message is in front of
          these people, they will act more positively
          towards the one who has the most respect and authority.

          Then you can use this to your advantage in your message.

          Best,
          Doctor E. Vile
          I honestly don't understand.

          I wasn't planning on bringing home inspectors up in the postcard. I only mentioned them here as an example of how people are willing to do this service as soon as they find out about it.
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          • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
            Originally Posted by RogueSparky View Post

            I honestly don't understand.

            I wasn't planning on bringing home inspectors up in the postcard. I only mentioned them here as an example of how people are willing to do this service as soon as they find out about it.
            I was basing on this quote of yours, "The problem is coming up with the wording. Getting the customer to start reading it, keep them reading, but not use shady tactics that could get me into legal trouble."

            The wording can be chosen by mentioning a home inspector,
            or not...that's all.

            Best,
            Doctor E. Vile
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            • Profile picture of the author RogueSparky
              Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

              I was basing on this quote of yours, "The problem is coming up with the wording. Getting the customer to start reading it, keep them reading, but not use shady tactics that could get me into legal trouble."

              The wording can be chosen by mentioning a home inspector,
              or not...that's all.

              Best,
              Doctor E. Vile
              So I can mention a home inspector, or not? Lol.

              I assume something went way over my head because I am extremely confused. :-)

              Edit: I put my electrical license number on all my ads as well as saying that I am imsured and bonded, if that's what you are meaning.
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              • Profile picture of the author RogueSparky
                I was thinking that a hand addressed letter might go over better with the following letter inside as well as that 6 page PDF I linked to above:

                We are a licensed electrical contractor serving this area for many years. Recently we upgrade the electrical service on a house in your neighborhood and we couldn't help but notice that your house seems to have the same older service.

                The house we upgraded had a 60+ year old 100 Amp electrical service with the meter in the basement and a Federal Pacific panel (which are know to do be hazardous, check out the included documentation). We upgraded it to a brand new 200 Amp service with the new meter located outside and a new panel to replace the Federal Pacific.

                If you are interested in this upgrade, we would be happy to give you a free estimate.
                I know this is probably really horrible
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Home inspector says fire that destroyed house could have been avoided had the electric box been updated.


    Get a home inspector to say that about a house fire (let you quote him/her).

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Home...destroys+house

    House Fire in Northwest Bryan Displaces Residents (fire started with the electrical box)

    http://www.heraldpalladium.com/news/...7feb0fd60.html




    Originally Posted by RogueSparky View Post

    I have an idea that I would like to implement, it's very simple and won't cost much, so even if it gets me just one job it will pay for itself and then some.

    As an electrical contractor I work in many old neighborhoods and it's easy to tell when the houses are similar. A lot of houses have Federal Pacific panels and old electrical services, many with the meter in the basement- which hasn't been allowed in 50+ years. Upgrading electrical services is high profit work that any electrician loves.

    So here is an example, I just upgraded a customer's service because they just bought the house and the home inspector cited the old service with the meter in the basement and Federal Pacific panel as being possibly dangerous. I notice that there are 12 other houses on that block with the same style house, 60+ year old service, and meter in the basement. So it stands to reason that they also have a Federal Pacific panel in there.

    I have a list of houses like this in all the neighborhoods I have worked in over the last year.

    It seems like once people learn about the dangers of FPE panels they want to upgrade, but educating them is the problem. That's why I was thinking about sending out some type of postcard or letter. But I don't want to use scare tactics either.

    Here is an example of what Electricians Success International (owned by Success Group International) did to get people searching online: Is My Electrical Panel Safe? - Important Information About Federal Pacific Electric, Zinsco and Outdated Electric Panel Boxes

    Here is a 6 page document that I could send out: http://www.codecheck.com/cc/ccimages/PDFs/FPE_2012.pdf

    The problem is coming up with the wording. Getting the customer to start reading it, keep them reading, but not use shady tactics that could get me into legal trouble. As I mentioned earlier, all it takes is a home inspector telling them that the panel is dangerous, the service is old and undersized, and/or the meter should be outside to get them to want to upgrade it.

    Before I get into figuring out the copy, is this a worthwhile endeavor?
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  • Profile picture of the author Doug McIsaac
    It's worth doing. It wouldn't hurt to say, "I just replaced your neighbors box" or even giving your current client a spiff if he gets his neighbors to sign up.

    If the job takes more than a day you should also look into placing a sign in the front yard when you're doing the work. I've worked with roofing guys that had good luck with that,

    You will get the most sales if you're willing to knock on doors, hand out the info and offer to do a free inspection.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    Smartleadsusa.com has a program where they will send a postcard to 50 homes around an address.
    There is a one time setup fee. After that, it's cheap. ($45) Look into it.

    I don't have time to house hunt after a job, or hand write letters. I can however, submit an address.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    If FP panels are now dangerous, you're really providing a service that provides piece of mind.
    To buyers, people who intend to live in their home for a long time, and to landlords.

    Who wants to have a fire? I don' like scare tactic marketing, but you're really providing the piece of mind.
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    "If you think you're the smartest person in the room, then you're probably in the wrong room."

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  • Profile picture of the author Craig McPherson
    Isn't there an example of a guy pressure washing driveways and getting half the neighbourhood with a simple flyer?

    Did I see it here or elsewhere?
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Work a split shift so the neighbours see your yard sign and/or truck with contact information
    when they go to and come back from work. Keep a yard sign in the customers yard for a week after - with permission of course.
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    "If you think you're the smartest person in the room, then you're probably in the wrong room."

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  • Profile picture of the author CharlotteBarnes
    I think it is definitely an idea worth exploring. Sounds like you have a ready-made market for your services on your doorstep so why not promote yourself?

    In terms of the document itself, I think you'll find that anything with 6 pages is going to be too long. People just won't read it.

    If you can get your information onto one side of a flyer then that's the best way to go. Give them the overview of what you're offering and why. Use the previous work you worked on as an example (with the owners permission) and let your potential customers know that they could have a similar problem.

    Perhaps you could offer a discount or something similar if they quote a code on the flyer to you when they get in touch?

    Regarding wording, keep it simple, easy to read and informative. Break it down into easy-to-digest chunks;

    The Problem (the faulty panels)
    The Solution (getting them upgraded)
    How You Can Help (your swift and affordable services)

    Good luck with it, hope it works out for you.
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    ~"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx~

    Currently writing and working for Spiral Media and thoroughly enjoying myself while I'm at it.

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  • Profile picture of the author iseultmca
    I agree that maybe 6 pages is too long, a one page document should be able to concisely give the dangers you could prevent. It's a great idea however, and I would say definitely implement it.
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