How would you market this auto pinstriping business?

23 replies
Hey guys,

How would you go about marketing an auto pinstriping business? There is someone in this area that does it for some of the dealerships, and he's charging $20 a car, but, I could do it for $15 per car - and still be profitable at it. I hate cold calling, and really, don't have time for it - I can do this auto pinstriping on the weekends and after hours (as most lots are very well lit, I could do it really early in the morning before I go to work.)

I had thought of doing a post card campaign, I have tried to call before, but, I get so flustered sometimes when I try to do it.

Thanks for any thoughts.

Jeremy
#auto #business #market #pinstriping
  • Profile picture of the author Brandon Ellis
    I have a buddy that does that as a business. Just a few lot's can keep you pretty busy.
    Price point is just one way that you can set yourself apart.

    You could look at any gaps in service the other guys may be offering and set yourself up as unique and more valuable to them.

    As far as the contact probably the most effective way is to take a Saturday and go out to the Car lot's in your town and just tell them you're introducing yourself. That you're just getting started locally and are offering extremely competitive rates etc...

    Give them a nice looking business card.

    Just kind of casual. Don't slam the other guys work or anything. If they are unhappy with his service they will do that.

    After that visit I would immediately send them a thank you letter. So that the following Monday they will receive it.

    Just thank them for their time and have an offer in the letter.

    You can tell them you're rates at the moment, you can offer exclusive to him to stripe one of his personal cars for free or one of their cars at the lot to give them a sample.

    If you have done a lot of cars already you could also put those on a site and send them to check out your work.

    If you get a few little gigs, you can start to leverage that.

    You could even set up a Fanpage in Facebook. Comment on local businesses pages that will get you seen.

    For example if there was a Ribs Shack with an active FB page you could say something like " Just finishing up a few striping jobs over at Warrior Ford and I'm gonna go try out those ribs they look great! ; )"

    You get the point. You don't always have to mention what you are doing either as they will see that in your FB business name.

    But back to topic, I would think going in person real casual and then following up with letter would be effective. If you really want the client then find your top 5-10 lot's that you would like to do business with and send them a postcard, letter, little trinket (think dollar tree type gifts) every single month.

    Won't cost you but a few bucks but you'll be creating brand of mind awareness so when they do need your service you will be the ONLY person they think of and the go to guy.

    Hope that helps out man and hope it goes well!

    Brandon
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeremy James
    Thanks - I don't know why, but, I just get so nervous calling on people...and I know everyone does, but...just looking for ways to "streamline" this process. I had even thought of doing a small direct mail campaign with a post card, with a free sample on it, and a $15 price point..making it look really sharp..and then letting them call me.

    I need to get my business card highlighted. I also do cigarette burn repair, and the advent of both - can be very profitable.
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  • Profile picture of the author midasman09
    Banned
    Hey Jeremy....WHY....make "making money Sooo Hard?

    Just think about WHAT you're thinking about doing, "Providing PIN-STRIPING" on vehicles!

    THINK ABOUT....your Potential Customers! WHO are they? Are they a bunch of young guys...sitting around and talking about...."Pin-Striping" their cars?

    Maybe in congested downtown LA.... but....where YOU live?

    OK....since you're looking for a way to make some Bux....AFTER....your regular "J.O.B."....having to do with CARS....try the following;

    Put yourself in the body of TWO PEOPLE
    1) someone going to look for a Used Car on one of your local Used Car Lots

    2) An Independent Used Car Lot Owner who'd looking to SELL AS MANY VEHICLES (Both Cars and Trucks)...as FAST AS HE CAN!

    OK.... Guy #1 walks onto the Lot....doesn't want to spend much money, looking for a Vehicle 6 yrs old or older. Sees some vehicles that are in his price range BUT....the Headlights are CLOUDY (and UGLY)....the Black Plactic on the Door Handles, Rear View Mirros and Bumpers are FADED AND GRAY....NOT "New Looking"...."Old and Decrepit Looking"!

    He says to himself; "YUK! and YUK!"

    Then....the owner or salesperson comes out and opens the door. "WHEW!" he gets a BLAST of Ciggy Smoke or some other kinda BAD odor!

    What chance do you think the Lot has of Selling that vehicle?

    Yup! Little or None!

    So....what I'm telling you is....GIT YER MIND OFF DA PIN-STRIPIN' THINGEE!

    3 time this year....I showed 3 people how they can;
    Walk onto a Used Car Lot and find;
    1) Vehicles that have Yukky Looking Headlights
    2) Yukky looking "Black Plastic"
    3) Yukky SMELLING Interiors

    4) Tell the owner HOW..."He can,
    a) Sell his vehiciles FASTER
    and....
    b) for an Average of $500 MORE than he's asking now

    When the owner asks; "OK Buddy! I'll bite...HOW ya gonna do dat?"

    You then tell the owner you'd like HIS PERMISSION to SHOW what you can do on ONE of his vehicles!

    He agrees....so....you've already scouted out his vehicles and found 1 that has Yukky Headlights and another that has Yukky Black Plastic.

    You whip out your bottle of Special Headlight Cleaner & De-Fogger, wipe it on and wipe it off and WHALA!....in a few minutes, Headlights are CLEAR and look NEW again!

    You then go to vehicle #2...whip out your bottle of "Black Plastic Renewer"....wipe it on and wipe it off and WHALA!....Black Plastic SHINES LIKE NEW AGAIN!

    You then ask the owner to take you to the FOULEST SMELLING vehicle on the lot. He opens the door....you set your "Odor Bomb" on the floor...open the top...close the door and watch as the interior FILLS WITH FOG!

    You wait a few more minutes...open the door and ask the owner to "Stick Yer Head IN and Take a Whiff!"

    WHALA! The owner CAN'T BELIEVE WHAT HE'S SMELLING!

    So....he tells you that, "Yup! You can treat ALL of my units! Tell me when you're done and I'll write you a check"!

    After an hour or so...you walk away with a check for over $200!

    Now...do this every evening and you will SOON be thinking SERIOUSLY about giving up the "Day J.O.B."

    Don Alm....I've been dere...done dat and....the guys I got into this biz are STILL doing it and LOVING what they're doing.

    One guy visits 8 Used Car Dealers a day...4 Days a week and collects over $2,000 a WEEK....while taking Fri, Sat, Sun OFF!

    PM me if you'd like to know
    1) what "Stuff" to use
    and
    2) what to Charge for the "services"
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    • Profile picture of the author umc
      Just remember, if a lot hires you on price and because you're a few bucks cheaper, they'll probably do the same to you when the next guy comes along with an even better price. Just sayin'.

      Midas above have some good points. Striping is good money because it's fast and cheap, but other services can be equally good or better. I detail cars in my own side business, and I'm not sold on the odor bombs as anything more than a cover for the horrendous smell instead of actually removing it's cause, but I digress. You can make money re-dying faded trim, by restoring the clarity of headlights, by learning paintless dent removal, by fixing chips in windshields, etc. There's a ton of ways to make money.

      If you're going to do the striping thing, be sure you know how to apply them in all types of temperatures, learn to do some custom striping with shapes and such included, maybe offer some custom graphics (which may not be as popular today as they once were), etc. Don't limit yourself to just one thing, become really good at what you're doing, and sell your quality and service, not just price.
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    • Profile picture of the author sketchart
      what products would i use, how much would i charge, and where can i order these items? i also do painted pinstriping and monogramming and i am looking to diversify!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeremy James
    I would be interested in learning how to supplement my services.

    A good friend, who showed me this business, started off 9 years ago with the intention of making $150 X 6 days a week - last year, made $104,260 in doing this business, and now works 6 hours a day, 4-5 days a week, and is on track to make well over $100K again this year. He does cigarette burn repair/leather repair/vinyl repair/pinstriping - and that's all he does.

    In my area - my competition for cigarette burn repair is a set of drug addicted brothers who are in/out of jail, and some new guy who charges a very low rate - an unbelievable rate for interior repair. My competition for pinstriping is some guy who charges $20 per car.

    I thought about doing a mailer to the local car dealerships and leading with a $15 pinstripe special, and then, while I was on the lot, finding cigarette burns to fix as well. I have the stuff for leather/vinyl repair, but, that just makes me nervous - I am not so good on color matching.

    If I could lead with a $15 pin stripe, and I could stripe 20 cars a day, I could easily find some cars that need cigarette burns fixed. (I normally charge $45 per car, but, could still be profitable at $35.)

    I don't want to get involved in any service that takes too long - it takes 2 minutes to fix a burn, 6-8 minutes to stripe a car, and 10-20 minutes to do leather/vinyl repair.

    Just thoughts.

    Jeremy
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeremy James
    Ok - my brain has been working..and I am thinking about going out tomorrow and seeing if I can drum up some burn/striping business.

    What would you say, if you walked on a lot - COLD - with no business cards (I know Don says you don't need them - I am out of cards, need to reorder some.)


    How would you market a $15 stripe/$35-$45 burn repair, if you walk on a lot, and find a sales manager, and you're doing it cold?
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Originally Posted by Jeremy James View Post

    Hey guys,

    How would you go about marketing an auto pinstriping business? There is someone in this area that does it for some of the dealerships, and he's charging $20 a car, but, I could do it for $15 per car - and still be profitable at it. I hate cold calling, and really, don't have time for it - I can do this auto pinstriping on the weekends and after hours (as most lots are very well lit, I could do it really early in the morning before I go to work.)

    I had thought of doing a post card campaign, I have tried to call before, but, I get so flustered sometimes when I try to do it.

    Thanks for any thoughts.

    Jeremy
    Jeremy it would just take one or two car lots per week to fill your weekend... I can see a carlot pointing out 3-4-5 cars at a time that you could do... so that wouldnt take much to accomplish.

    You could practically go out live on the weekends and land the clients clients and the work on the spot, but I feel uneasy advising you this, because I happen to think you can pull alot more out of yourself than a $15.00 job from what I know of you.

    The right idea will hit you and you will apply your "self" to it, and that will be enough to succeed. You are just a man waiting for an idea... you have all the other qualities... Im not sure this is the idea for you... But Im sure its a no brainer and you could pull it off easily.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeremy James
    Well, I enjoy cigarette burn repair, because it's fun - matching colors and getting the hole covered up...

    That being said, it's hard for me to match colors perfectly....

    IN a perfect world, I'd do this one day a week as a "hobby" job. However, things are a touch tight..and I know this is profitable.

    Again - I am not sure yet, but, I am thinking about going out and visiting some car lots I have never been to before..and I'd love to walk away with a few checks tomorrow. It sure would help a lot.

    Oh - John - when could we talk? I have PM'd you (I think) on TMF - and tried to catch you on Skype. I'd appreciate a conversation, for mutual reasons.
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  • Profile picture of the author DWolfe
    Originally Posted by Jeremy James View Post

    Hey guys,

    How would you go about marketing an auto pinstriping business? There is someone in this area that does it for some of the dealerships, and he's charging $20 a car, but, I could do it for $15 per car- and still be profitable at it.
    Jeremy
    Not sure where you live but painted on Pinstripes in my area are $75 a side !! One local Infiniti Dealer has a Pinstriper that charges $250 a car.He uses two different colors, nothing fancy. On each vehicle he paints two little feet & his name underneath the rear name plate. His "trade mark" or "branding" Logo. He has been doing this over ten years.. My Point re-think your value and try new car dealers !
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy James
      Originally Posted by DWolfe View Post

      Not sure where you live but painted on Pinstripes in my area are $75 a side !! One local Infiniti Dealer has a Pinstriper that charges $250 a car.He uses two different colors, nothing fancy. On each vehicle he paints two little feet & his name underneath the rear name plate. His "trade mark" or "branding" Logo. He has been doing this over ten years.. My Point re-think your value and try new car dealers !
      Wow. That's amazing. I wish new dealerships would do pinstriping - maybe I could convince them to do that. That's cool.

      Reminds me of a Frank Kern quote - "What can I sell to people with money, for a premium price, that which they will value more than the money they give me?"
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      • Profile picture of the author midasman09
        Banned
        Ugh! $15 for a PinStriping job! Good Golly Miss Molly! You are giving your Time & Talent away for pennies!

        My goodness man....even in my Small Town area....NO pinstriper worth his salt will touch a car or truck for less than $250.

        And....the "HeadLight Renewal" is $75 .....Door Handles ($10ea)...Rear View Mirrors ($15ea)....Bumpers ($35ea).....and....the "Odor Bomb" is $40 per vehicle.

        I know one guy who specializes in "Odor" only at $40 per and he averages 10 vehicles a day....on his "Route".

        I learned Long ago that "Low "Price" is NOT what will get jobs....in the "APPEARANCE-SERVICE" business! They "Get What They Pay For"! with PinStriping and other "Vehicle" services.

        Don Alm
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  • Profile picture of the author prid
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy James
      Originally Posted by prid View Post

      ขอบคุณครับสำหรับการแบ่งปันข้อมูลที่ดีมาก ..
      You're quite welcome.
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  • Profile picture of the author Danny Turner
    oooh - I just had to reaad this - chuckle - I was a pinstriper 20 odd years ago - I moved on 'cause it was a dying business then - and even less demand now with the shape of todays cars...but if you add the other services you might do well.....
    When I started there was a lot of competition - not so these days
    From my experience it is a business where you need to be comfortable with the call
    and I think you will struggle if you don't visit during the day .... especially during the morning when they are arranging the cars.
    Used car managers are a tough group to deal with - I used to make a habit of calling on dealers on a set day everyweek - walk around the lot and then suggest which cars could use a stripe - don't worry about being nervous - you will get over it in time.
    If your doing striping - drop your card (yes, you do need b/cards) into the panel shops - they can be good customers.
    If you are visiting car yards have a look at some of the threads re: QR codes
    Possibly much more lucrative the striping...............ah those were the days
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    • Profile picture of the author umc
      I think some of you guys are comparing two different types of striping. The $250 pinstriping is done with paint, whereas the $15-$20 job is applying vinyl stripes to a car.
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  • Profile picture of the author rolltide
    Jeremy,
    How did it go out in the trenches today?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy James
      Well, I decided to go out today. One of my initial thoughts - this will be a great weight loss program.

      Got one dealership that I drove past 0- they have 5 cars that need cigarette burn repairs - and many need pinstripes.

      Went to 2 others - one was closed, and the other one - I don't think will do anything.

      However, I did go to one that I have passed ever since I thought about this business - usually has 40-60 cars out there. I talked to the owner, and he was pretty open. We agreed for me to stripe one car and fix one cigarette burn as a "test," which he would show to the other owner on Monday - and if they decide, I can come out and get all of their work. They also want me to do leather/vinyl, but, I have to grow in that skill set first.

      The burn repair went well.

      The stripe - well, it took me a few minutes - I have really only ever striped just a few cars, and it's been almost a year - but, I did it, and it was straight - which was a concern.

      He paid me - I was surprised. $50 in Cash - made me feel good. Called on 2 other dealers, one was closed, and the other didn't have the owner in, and there was one car that needed a burn repair, and they had 8 that needed striped.
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  • Profile picture of the author IdeaFool
    Y'know, I had a bit of a crazy idea. If there are any large flea markets in your area like there are here in Oklahoma City, renting space that has auto access and putting up a splashy sign might get you a ton of business, especially if it only takes about 15 minutes per car. PINSTRIPING WHILE YOU SHOP! 15 Minutes and 15 Dollars! That might be kinda cool actually. I could take this, put it in the right place, throw in some ladies in bikinis, and voila! Money in the bank. If there are no busy flea markets, there may be some other venues to check out. You could actually make this service a weekend event with hotdogs, bikinis, sodas, balloons, and did I mention bikinis?

    While you're doing the cars, you may be able to collect email addresses for future marketing.

    Just a couple thoughts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeremy James
    That's a decent idea, IdeaFool. I'd have to modify it somewhat for my personal use, but hey - your mind is working.

    Update - I called them back to see if I could do more work for them, and decision maker #1 was on vacation, #2 told me to call back on Wednesday, on Wednesday he was gone utnil Friday, and on Friday, when inquired about Saturday, said that Monday was better.

    Hope to bring home the triple digits tomorrow!

    Jeremy
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  • Profile picture of the author Amoore9900
    I have done a lot of postcard in the past. The message has to be something that will get people, and you only have a few seconds to make an impression. Also it's a numbers game you need a good list, and have to keep your message going. I would maybe go to a few dears give them some info and offer to do a car or 2 as a "free review".
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  • Profile picture of the author BackLinkingNinja
    No one likes cold-calling by phone and walking 'on lot' if you're new to that can be a little intimidating also. So how about...
    Start a simple website with an overview of what you can do, nice photos of pin-striping and your price list etc - discounts for trade customers etc.

    Then do a google search for all the local car lots and dealerships.

    Go visit, but look around 'as a customer', no selling on this day and gather a business card and ask do they have a website you can check for stock.

    Go home and send each an email saying you visited their lot 'recently' and introduce yourself with a nice email with link to your website and a 'Try Me X% Discount' voucher for your first 5 vehicles. Tell them it's valid for 60 days and list your other services too...

    Do 5 vehicles as then you'll become a regular visitor and by the end of the trial period they should be hooked.

    Then write a letter a few days later and include something memorable - maybe a roll of striping! ...repeating your offer and checking they got your email. Highlight you are happy to visit early or late so you're not around at selling time.

    Then when you are passing next, pop by to say hi and make sure they got your letter and ask to leave some business cards with the owner/manager. Before going in check out the lot for any 'didgy' pinstriping and say 'hey have you see the pinstriping on that X, it's a bit damaged and could be putting off customers - I can fix that for you if you'd like'v

    Ask who does it for them now, how much.., 'oooh that's pretty expensive, why not let me quote on your next job'?

    Then each month send an email out with an 'offer'.

    Very very soon using this marketing with soft-follow-up you'll be know as the Go-To Guy for local auto-pinstriping... Good Luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author BackLinkingNinja
    Oh and another idea is to try and keep to working a certain town on a certain day - that way you can schedule your week and cover a wider geographic area... E.G I'm always in XVille on a Monday and can pop by - there's no call-out charge...

    When you have one regular customer, offer to do a car free if he'll write an 'open' letter of recommendation... You write it for him, he prints out on headed paper..,

    I regularly use Jeremy for all my auto-pinstriping, burn repairs and bumper blacking. He very reliable and does a great job. I am happy to recommend him as his low-cost service helps me achieve higher sales returns and a quicker turnaround of stock...

    You then photocopy it and include it with future drop off...
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  • Profile picture of the author oldyounggary
    I don't know what your vehicle looks like, but if you're dealing with used and new car dealers it'll make your first impression. Im not sayin' pimp your ride, but washed and shiny may say something about your work to them.

    Just a thought.

    Good luck,
    Gary
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