Think that 1-800 marketing service is a good deal? Think again.

Have you looked around and seen other lawn care businesses that use those vanity numbers like 1-800-lawn-mowing? Most all of them have signed up with a company that has secured a few memorable 1-800 numbers and for a fee will forwards calls that come from a certain zip code, to your phone. You may think having a memorable 1-800 number would lead to more calls, but for at least one lawn care business owner who experimented with such a service, he found that not to be the case. Here is his story that he shared with us on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

He wrote “I just want to let other lawn care business owners know that they need to be careful when they enter into a contract with a marketing company. Read your contract carefully and do not enter into any contract unless you understand your obligations, the marketing company’s obligation, and exactly what your expectations are about the results you are going to get. Also, make sure that their ideas match the business ethics you have set for your company. That will not necessarily come out in the initial consult. If you are not careful at the beginning, you will find yourself spending a bunch of money with no recourse to stop the bleeding.

We choose to sign up with a company that secured the vanity number 1-800-###-#### because that is what they had available. WE WERE WRONG! The vanity # you choose should match the company and it’s personality. You should not have to revamp your entire marketing strategy to fit the vanity #. We are a lawn care company. We were very excited in the beginning and we spent gobs of money putting the vanity # on everything. Trucks, mailers, signs, invoices, statements, webpage and web advertising, even radio advertising. It was not long that we noticed that the only calls we were getting on the vanity # were our customers with billing or service questions.

It stands to reason, if you advertise a phone #, people will call it. People call whatever number is most convenient. Because that was the number on invoices and statements that was the number they would call. We also found out that new customers were not getting the number off of the trucks. Rather, they were approaching the technicians and getting a business card to call, because they wanted to meet and interview, even if just for a moment, the person doing the work.

In my opinion, you can advertise any number and you will get the phone to ring.

There is a lot more to this story, but the bottom line is, this marketing did not work for us, and when we approached the company about our concerns, their approach was to try to prove that the system was working with no offer to help us adjust the strategy to make it work for us. Just be careful what you do and make sure you know the people you are dealing with.”

Another lawn care business owner said “I had a meeting with the similar company a few months ago. We had a great talk, but in the long run I could not come to grips with paying $200 a month for a phone number. They had a great sales pitch. By the time you finish talking with the rep you felt like running for your check book. But I had to stop and think. I said to myself why pay them when I can do the same thing for pennies on the dollar. That’s why I chose to get my own 1-800 number which now costs me under $10 per month.”

In the end, you have to keep in mind that you are promoting their 1-800 number. You are helping them build value in their phone number. Over time they can raise your price and you will have no recourse but to cancel service. If you stop paying, they can resell the number to a competitor in your area. Why bother with a high priced vanity number when in the big picture, no one cares about a phone number. You can purchase your own toll free number for much cheaper.

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