Sales and marketing is the single most important thing that will determine your success with your junk removal business. Junk Doctors was initially started on Craigslist when we first began removing junk with our pickup truck and trailer. That was back when we were the cheap guys with the pickup truck. We posted an ad on Craigslist and we’d get a couple jobs a day from it. After we became more of a professional service and our prices went up, Craigslist ceased to be a good source of work. Cheap-ass customers tend to be the ones on Craigslist. And now Craigslist has only a fraction of the users it once did. It doesn’t hurt to be on there at the start, but the average customer you get from Craigslist likely isn’t a long-term customer. It’s often just someone looking for the cheapest price on a one-time haul – quality of service be damned.
Our next major advertising venture was Google Adwords. When we first started, Adwords cost about $3 a click to get you one of the top spots on the page. Now, depending on your market, it is more like $9 – $13 a click to get the top spot. You should still absolutely use Adwords, but unless you are willing to sacrifice profits for volume, you will need to keep your cost to around $5 a click. This is going to reduce your traffic but will still bring your business. Adwords is expensive, but needs to be part of your repertoire if you are serious about building a viable junk removal business.
Google is a constantly changing beast. In fact, Google Adwords recently became “Google Ads.”
Obviously, you must have a good website. Make sure your website screams the fact you are locally owned. Of course, for those of you who bought the JRA business package or our website, you’re totally covered. For those of you who are doing it on your own, we recommend a few things.
- Have a video professionally made about why you are different
- If you are just starting out and you are personally working on the truck, BRAG about that. Many people love to see the owner of the business on the truck
- People love being able to associate a face with the business they use. Make sure you have pictures of yourself and/or your team on your site
Website design is a lot more complicated than just these factors, however. We highly recommend using our complete website, which has been repeatedly proven to rank well on Search Engine Results Pages and to convert a high percentage of visitors to customers. This is especially important when you use Google Ads and have to pay per click.
Next there’s Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor. I used to recommend signing up for HomeAdvisor, and I still suggest that you join Angie’s List. Truth be told I don’t care for either one, but having a service like them is necessary. Angie’s List has been losing ground, and in my opinion, will be all but gone within five years. They are losing the battle to HomeAdvisor. The problem with HomeAdvisor is that you pay a significant amount of money – around $15-$20 in many cases – for leads that are also shared with other junk removal companies. This means you must call the lead IMMEDIATELY after receiving it. Otherwise, someone else will beat you to the punch and you’ve just thrown away that money. Make sure that if it is a bad lead – which you will get a lot of – you request a credit on the job so you don’t pay for the lead. If you do choose to use HomeAdvisor, JRA’s call center can immediately call leads for you if you so choose.
However, there is a new alternative that is superior to HomeAdvisor and similar services in every way. It’s called the JRA Pay-Per-Job Income Generation Program. Instead of paying for leads, trying to contact customers, and competing against other businesses who were given the same exact leads, JRA’s Pay-Per-Job program ONLY charges you per booked job – and cancellations are built into our pricing. You literally don’t pay a dime for anything except booked jobs. It’s a 100% risk-free way to bring in dozens of new customers every month.
Pay-Per-Job works through the power of JRA’s optimized web campaign. We post a proven JRA page with your company’s information in your local market, then activate our time-tested Google Ads campaign to get your business to the top of the Google results page. We pay for Ads. We pay for the site. No commitment from you. All you pay for is booked jobs – again, there is literally no risk whatsoever!
Make sure you are listed on Google’s Business Maps page. If someone searches for your business category in your area then you have a chance of showing right beneath the ads on the first page of Google. Huge. It is smart to include “Junk Removal and Hauling” in your business name on Google Maps. That way, when somebody searches for “junk removal” or “hauling,” Google gives you points for having those terms in your name.
Do your best to get reviews. Provide great service for your customers and ask them to leave reviews. Send emails to your customers at the conclusion of your job after you have gotten their permission to do so. Asking for a review will help you get far more reviews than blindly sending out email requests, so make sure you ask.
Consider running Groupon deals every so often. We have used Groupon promotions when we have entered new markets. You don’t make any money on them and you will often lose money doing jobs for customers who use Groupons. In addition, Groupon advertises using Adwords when customers search for your business name, driving up the cost of your own advertising. Groupon wants you to discount your services 50 percent and then take 50 percent of the sales price. That’s tough to do and unless the job is a few price points above the discount, you are sure to lose money. However, we use Groupon to fill in gaps in our schedules and keep the trucks on the road. Truck visibility is a form of advertising in and of itself. We get several thousand dollars a month of revenue from people who see our trucks.
Make sure you have vehicle signage and markings. We recommend vinyl graphics, but at the bare minimum you should have some magnets on your truck. When choosing a paint color for your truck, select a bright color that will stand out to customers. Junk Doctors chose yellow, for example. Junk Luggers uses bright green, and I like how they made their logo take up almost the whole side of the truck. You see their truck from a mile away. Junk Doctors now uses huge graphics that cover most of the sides of the trucks, and we are recommending that JRA partners do the same.
We have used Money Mailer and Val-Pak in the past. You will lose money on them. If your goal is to gain volume, you will get some jobs from mailers, but this type of advertising is far too expensive to be truly profitable. If you have leftover money after running Google Ads, you could look at Money Mailer or Val-Pak. Again, they will help fill in schedule gaps and keep your trucks on the road, but mail advertising is not profitable for the junk removal industry.
If you have the budget, radio advertising is great, but only if you are committed to doing it often and for a long period of time. If you are planning on running radio ads just one or two times a day for a few months, don’t waste your time. However, if you can commit a serious budget and have the commercial play multiple times a day throughout the day – especially during peak drive times – then it is good advertising. But you need to do it for at least a year. Otherwise, you are pissing in the wind. We do like radio advertising better than TV. If you have a large advertising budget at the start ($200,000 plus), then use radio to really introduce your brand to your market.
A lot of your other marketing should be old-fashioned selling and relationship building. Attend Rotary Club meetings and get involved in your local Chamber of Commerce. Sponsor real estate luncheons where you pay for the lunch in exchange for being allowed to set up a booth at the event to discuss your services with realtors. Pick up the phone and dial professional organizers, estate sale companies, small home remodelers, storage facilities, apartments, and other businesses that could use this type of service. Be willing to make dozens of calls over several years to get some of these people. Don’t give up after a call or two. It can take years to develop these relationships. Always keep business cards on you. If you are extroverted, you have a huge advantage here. Talk to everyone you come in contact with and give them that business card.
Now here’s some marketing campaigns we have run in the past that haven’t worked for us. Flyers have not worked well. We still keep door hanger flyers on our trucks so teams can pass them out if there is a gap in between jobs, but they have a dismal return. Don’t do the register receipts that Register Tape Network will try to sell you. Those dudes are a bunch of crooks. We didn’t have good results with TV advertising. As stated above, I much prefer radio to TV.
Sales and marketing is the most important part of your business. Once you have used these methods to acquire new customers, make sure you have a mail and email campaign put in place to ensure that the customers use you when they need junk removal services in the future. We recommend reaching out to them once every three to six months. The old saying that an old customer is cheaper to acquire than a new one is 100 percent correct. Make sure to do a good job for all your customers so they are inclined to refer new business to you and use you again when the time comes.