Is a VEHICLE considered a marketing tool?

And if so, exactly how much of an impact do you think it can have on your company’s bottom line, and once that is determined, exactly how much should you spend on one?

I ask because I just purchased a vehicle, and spent WAY MORE MONEY than I had originally intended to, with the goal of creating a significant marketing tool that will demand attention as I drive around town, and capture client interest.

Anyone else gone a little further than their competitors on this, with the same goal?

I just pulled a report and we acquired 8% of our revenue this year from marketing code " [B]saw trucks[/B]". Our trucks are very plain, so well crafted vehicle lettering could potentially bring in a much higher percentage. I know I didn’t answer your question, but hope it helps.

Just as an update / correction… that 8% is of NEW revenue… Not repeat clients…

I recently got better (more visible) lettering done on my van and have been getting alot of rubbernecking as I drive around town. I’ve had at least 2 people say they noticed the van and asked for cards. I think it’s just part of making your name stand out in your marketplace. The more places they see your info the more you become synonymous w/ windows in your area.

I appreciate that feedback. 8% is a solid number. I wonder what that number will be for next year if you do something to ‘upscale’ your vehicle somehow…

I am going to be investing heavily in this strategy over the next 6 weeks or so, by having this truck sitting in the ‘cool’ areas that my target market (rich folk) like to stop and grab a coffee at, EVERY MORNING.

Yup - I’m gonna insist that either myself or someone working for me park it there every morning, so that the Porsche/Bentley/Starbucks crowd are forced to see it 30 to 40 times over that period.

Of course, I’ve assigned a totally unique webpage URL to the truck signage too, to track online interest properly, and will note any new interest that comments on ‘seeing the truck’ as to the reason for calling, if they book by phone, instead of email.

I want these prospective clients to think of us as ‘one of them’, or at least ‘someone who works for tons of them’, and see what happens.

I may have made a mistake by going overboard on this vehicle ($$ wise, that is), but so far I’m feeling confident. I should be receiving it in 2 weeks or so. Its been on order since August.

I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product.

[COLOR=Blue]I think people underestimate the power of a lettered eye catching vehicle. I have people say to me all the time that they see my trucks “all over town.” I haven’t tracked how much new business has come from it but I did schedule a $500 gig because my truck was parked outside Radio Shack last week while I was inside returning an item. The lady walked right up to me and asked if that was my truck. She requested an estimate and we landed the job.

And to think that my wife wanted to take the family mini van :)…[/COLOR]

Yes, Your vehicles are a great advertising tool. Our trucks are pretty heavily stickered, to attract the neighbors. I live near fair grounds where theres big events often. When I remember the event I will park a vehicle on the corner going in. Works great!! Our stickers have paid for themselves over and over again.

I guess I’m not expressing myself properly.

I do appreciate all the feedback, but I’m not talking about whether or not to put lots of stickers/signage on a work vehicle, and I’m not really asking whether or not you think a vehicle should have all that stuff on it.

What I am curious to know is how far do you go in investing in an expensive vehicle? Is there some marketing power in spending more $$ on a sweeter ride to make a better/more lucrative impression? If so, how much?

I’ll give you an example: I was (VERY) loosely considering buying a Porsche Cayenne (used, of course) as my next work vehicle, just a few months back. I was toying with the idea simply for marketing value.

Ever seen a window cleaner driving a Cayenne for work in YOUR city? I doubt it.

Which is exactly why I thought the idea may have had some merit.

In the end, I decided against it, because I figured it was a little too over the top - and chalked it up to ‘overkill’, thus an expensive, possibly damaging move, marketing wise. A couple other factors were involved too, but that was the big one.

So, my question really is - where is that line for you?

How much is too much? What would be the ultimate money-maker vehicle for your business with your target clientele in mind? Seriously.

This is a serious question, and I firmly believe that if the answer happens to be what I think it is, then 99% of window cleaners are dropping the ball on this one.

I would doubt that you will find that answer here. I think that the vehicle should match the profession to which you are in. Most Realtors drive nice vehicles like Cadillacs and Hummers. I would think that it would be overkill to have something that nice to work out of. Then again, rich folk (alot of them) are all for image. Having a nice ride can portray that you are doing well at what you do to afford such a nice vehicle. There is a cleaning company (maid service) around here where Im from that uses Lincoln Navigators for their crews.


[COLOR=Blue]I think that if you have a promotional vehicle for advertising, you could make it pay off. Eg: a pest control company in my area has a couple of PT Cruisers for the sales people, all tricked out. Truley Nolen was known for a long time by the VW’s that looked like a mouse.

If you had one jacked up Hummer or a custom van they would probably get noticed, but putting your name on something like a Porsche or Jag I think might make people suspect of your pricing. I think there is a difference between a “promotional” vehicle and a “status” vehicle.[/COLOR]

Good Point Steve i was thinking that to. Who knows though it might work like a charm. So don’t keep us in suspense to long… what kind of vehicle is it?

The vehicle is nothing TOO crazy, but I am still awaiting delivery. Should be arriving at the dealership this week, and it will take a week for them to make a couple of adjustments to it before I pick it up…

I’ll show you the first picture when I get it in 10-14 days.

I appreciate the continued discussion here on this subject too. I hear what you guys are saying, and I think that’s why the Cayenne is a little over the top. BUT…then again, if I was operating in Beverly Hills, or Vegas, I would more seriously consider the Cayenne as an option. And…perhaps I am dead wrong to believe that it’s over the top in my area, too. Cayenne’s are like mini-vans up here, every well-off family seems to have one, or a comparable Land Rover…

I think that there needs to be a little ‘status’ in every ‘promotional’ vehicle. Otherwise, what is our vehicle promoting? No matter what we drive, it is ‘talking’ to our clients, whether we like to admit it or not. And I think that when we are operating in more affluent markets, the ‘status’ ingredient has to be added into the mix in substantially larger amounts. (and, come to think of it, I think that increasing amounts of ‘status’ can create comfort for clients, and make them feel happier about giving us their money)

Cheap car is communicating that we are doing [I]okay [/I]in business, or poorly.

Nice vehicle, professionally lettered up is saying that we are [I]successful[/I], and can be relied upon to do an excellent job, since obviously a whole whack of other people must have relied on us enough to have been able to afford this vehicle.

Does it end there, though? Does ‘over-the-top’ ride say “we charge too much”, or does it say “[I]we are the best and the most expensive, and only the smartest and most important and successful clients would even dare hiring us[/I]” ?

If this last possibility is rooted in reality, then I would venture to say that almost every one of us has been leaving a lot of money on the table for a long time.

Are there Real Estate agents who drive their clients around in Lamborghini’s? Would a certain kind of prospective client be drawn to that? How many homes would he have to sell to pay for it…? And how many fellow RE agents would call him a fool for driving clients around in it, while he quietly earned 10 times more than they did?

An even better related question: If you were a RE agent, and found out that the Lamborghini guy was making 10 times what you were - in YOUR same market - would you write the cheque for the downpayment, and go get a Lamborghini of your own?

I am thinking that there is a corollary for our industry, too, but as yet, I have no scientific results to prove it.

And taking the Real Estate Agent analogy just one step further - I wonder who the first RE agent was who bit the bullet and spent the big bucks on their vehicle, standing out from their local crowd…

P.S. : The Lincoln Navigator thing is EXACTLY what I was hoping to hear. Very very VERY interesting.

hey paneless i see the potential in using a status ride to promote your business but on the other side of the coin there might be some " haters" out there that think you are making too much money washing windows, if your in a ride like a cayanne or a range rover. A lot of people dont understand how much work and how time consuming window cleaning is. Its blue collar labor intensive, some people think its easy. The reason i say that cuz ive come across many a person who make snap judgements on peoples rides. I over heard a couple people saying, while in the home depot parking lot, looking at a pool cleaners tricked up truck say. " hes making too much money cleaning pools im gonna give my money to the little guy, I dont even drive a car that nice." But then again if your marketing to the super rich. They could probably give a hoot.

Good point, and I think that’s the key.

Let the haters hate. No matter what you do, someone will hate or criticize you.

I think it has to do with how people choose to view the world. Some may look at someone earning $200/hr with disdain, and resent the fact that they only earn $35/hr at their corporate gig. On the other hand, others may be intrigued, and even a little impressed, and seek to learn something useful from the $200/hr guy.

I don’t want the business of that couple that resented the pool guys truck. They obviously have some issues at play in those words…

" I don’t even drive a car that nice…"

Obvious case of jealousy and resentment.

And ironically, that pool guys pricing may be almost identical to the rattle-trap-truck pool guy down the street, but their own stubbornness blinds them to the fact that they could be getting better service/workmanship/overall experience for the same or similar price, overall.

Of course, another way to look at is that the beater-truck-guy is doing a fantastic job of marketing to the resentful, bitter client!

If I were to get luxury rides for me and my guys I would crap every time a hose end drops taking it out and scratches the paint!!! or bumping it with a ladder or what ever. I would say keep it practical for the service industry. My newest is a plane jane 06 Silverado.

maybe get something with power windows but keep it in the 15-20k range.

Sounds like you got a nice ride. What is it? What are you having done to it to advertise? equipping it a custom way?

My truck is nothing fancy. Just an 06 Ranger. But I wanted the top of the line. In the end this truck will cost me close to 23k, which is a lot for a ranger. I could have gotten a much larger lower end model. If I had a high end truck or car I would not use it for work. I would not feel comfortable and worry too much. But one thing I know for sure is a nicer truck/van does make a statement that you are doing well. If you are or not, no one will know but you. I had a lady come up to me in a parking lot, ask for a card. She lived around the corner and asked if I could estimate the house right then an there. I had just come off of an estimate earlier that day that was over $600.00 that had a ton of cut ups. When I got to her house, she had pretty much the same deal with glass. I did not even get into the house and told her she was looking at least $500 for the job. I did not want to waste her time or mine anymore, if she was just fishing for quotes. She told me, “That’s ok, you have a nice truck. I’m not that worried about price as I am the quality. You truck looks nice so that tells me you care about how things look.” Sounded crazy to me, but got the job cause of a nice, clean truck. Weird.

My favorite is still the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile:

Red Bull has a mini cooper with a great big can of red bull mounted on it.

so, would a fancy truck up the sales… why would it? Does it have a great offer written on it? Cool truck = cool window cleaner?

One thing we as the business owners do is let our pride direct our marketing. Our trucks fanciness will not get us more customers. The lettering really does not do much either except for getting the neighbors attention and “awareness”. I mean, whens the last time you jotted down a number from a vehicle? First I would need to think “hey, I could use that service”, then I would have to think “hey, I should get that number”, then I would have to dig through things to get a pen and paper… by then, who cares. I have lost interest. I’ll just look somebody up online or in the book later. No big deal.

My vehicle signs are for company awareness only. I have never received a call from them… except a YP a-hole trying to sell me a space in the book.

Is it a marketing tool? Not at all. For those that disagree, please study up on marketing so you know what it really is. The truck is a tool, just not a marketing tool.

in my humble opinion