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Home and Garden Show Advice

borntoclean

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Jan 20, 2012
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steven reed
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We are considering doing a home and garden show for the first time. They are asking for around $900 and boast over 14000 attendees. There will be one other carpet cleaner there and they are one of the bog dogs compared to our 2 truck operation. Does this sound like a good deal?

I am looking for any advice on what has worked or not worked in the past for other cleaning companies. Also wondering what bells and whistles I should use at my booth to attract clients? Should I expect to book jobs right then and there or just work on branding and building clients for the future?

Thanks in advance for any input!
steve
 

Gemcleans

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Apr 18, 2009
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You better be ready to follow up during and after fast!!!! Have a drawing or two with 1000 Sq Ft of carpet cleaning Free valued at $350-450. Free stuff to hand out. Spotter from Home Pro with your name and number on them, Refrig magnets, pens, candy, and lots of business cards. For banners to look Professional, all the goodies to hand out for that size crowd I would say you will spend 3k. You better be booking jobs there and have someone to be calling 2-4 days straight after to weed out good prospects and book more jobs. After 48 hours they have forgotten you and moved on with life.
 

Bill Yeadon

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Actually Steve Toburen will be along shortly to give you a complete list of things to do. My question is this an event where they charge the people to enter or is it in a mall? If they have to pay, they want to be there, if it is in a mall they came to shop not look at booths.

How many days is the show and is this for just 1 booth? You definitely want to have some sort of a drawing so you can get names for your database. If it is only 1 booth then you won't have your truck. I would have a chair that was heavily soiled and clean just half of it before the show. You could do the same for a nice rug. It will draw attention and start conversations.

As a rule Flower and Patio shows attract an older wealthier demographic than home shows. I would make sure whoever staffs the booth is dressed in either a new uniform or a sport coat and tie. I would also have at least one woman professionally dressed in the booth. Your target audience will talk to a woman faster than a man.

These types of shows are a great way to start a one on one relationship with potential customers.
 

Steve Toburen

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Jul 15, 2008
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I am looking for any advice on what has worked or not worked in the past for other cleaning companies. Also wondering what bells and whistles I should use at my booth to attract clients? Should I expect to book jobs right then and there or just work on branding and building clients for the future?
steve
Good questions, Steve. Simple answer? YES, a home show is a GREAT marketing investment IF you do it right. Do it wrong and it is just an exhausting waste of money! You have gotten good advice up above- especially on the need for quick followup.

Since we are totally redoing SFS for 2012 and since I have three days to renovate while that slacker Yeadon only has one (and he's sneakily "delegated" a lot of that day!) I'm a bit under the gun. So PLEASE- download my free Checklist of How to Set Up and Run a Trade Show. It is a simple 10 second registration process for the download and I personally guarantee no-spam-ever!

Steve Toburen
www.SFS.JonDon.com

PS Couple of hints off the top of my head:
A) Ban chairs in your booth- nothing worse for people walking by than to see your people sprawled listlessly in their chairs staring blankly at the passing show!

B) Get a "hook" that will snare people walking by. We had two or three young ladies (modestly dressed in pressed company uniforms) handing out $10.00 off coupons that were printed up like company checks. When someone would stop intrigued they would

C) "hand them off" to me or another manager. You need to get OCD about every passing attendee.
 

groutguy

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Mar 9, 2008
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I did the spring and fall show in 07, 08, 09, focusing on tile and grout cleaning The first year was great, landed some very nice jobs. One was a huge house that we cleaned and sealed 5 bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, foyer ($3000) for just that one, plus many others. The next two years slowed down some, I saw a lot of the same people coming through. The last year I did it, it barely covered my expenses.

I did not give away any free crap, there are many people that just scour the place looking for free stuff. Not the kind of customer I am after. I do give away a free cleaning, in an attempt to collect emails.

The first year I brought in some of my tools, but I think that just confused people, they thought I was selling or renting the tools. What really sucked the people to my booth was the large tv with the awesome video loop. I resorted to just keeping a mini turbo under the counter for those that had questions.

I have been thinking about trying this spring again, maybe some new faces will be there. I agree with the above post that people who pay to get into these shows are ready to buy. Some landscaping vendors probably spend 10's of thousands setting up ponds and waterfalls, quite impressive. I read somewhere that 70% of people go to the shows to purchase.

a couple more notes...
Get some gel pads for your shoes, the concrete is hard after 3 days.
The spring show has much more traffic than the fall show.
The show is a great place to network with other businesses.

Good luck, I say go for it!

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groutguy

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I agree with steve on the chairs, you don't want to look lazy, but I need to have a tall stool or something to rest on from time to time as I do all three days by myself, it's a killer. I do however keep it to a minimum, just keep my left cheek on the stool and am quick to the feet when the crowds come through.
 

Joseph Rogers

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Dec 9, 2010
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All the advice is good, only thing I would change is what you're giving away for free. Don't offer a drawing for $300-$500 worth of cleaning. Offer some sort of special where people get a $50 gift cert from you if they give you their information for a follow up from your sales staff. Gift cert good for something like 3-6 months. If they get more than 3 rooms cleaned, offer them one room protected for free.

We tried the drawings two years in a row, with no real bites, and took the loss on the cleaning. Then we did the gift certs and booked $8000 worth of business for that month. Our home show pulls in 2000-2500 people, for the record. Nowhere NEAR the volume you'll be looking at.

Have your most personable employee there. You don't want a bulldog that's gonna beat the customers over the head. You want someone there who can read customers, and just offer yourself to answer questions. Have a binder that shows work you've done in the past. The idea about cleaning half a chair or rug is pretty good, too.

Good luck.
 

borntoclean

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Jan 20, 2012
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steven reed
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This is really great advice and much appreciated... Do very many people tend to book at the show or is in all in the follow up... Just wondering if I need to have an ipad or computer set up to book jobs live...

Oh and I should have mentioned this is a full 3-day show...and people pay to come...

thanks again for the info.
 

Joseph Rogers

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Dec 9, 2010
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If you can book live, all to the good. We just took down info, gave the gift cert, and followed up over the next week with someone going out to the customer's home, looking at what needed to be done, and pricing it. If they were interested, we booked it.
 

Tron

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It's a great place to collect a ton of potential clients names, numbers and most importantly emails. Emails to me are key, it's the most cost efficient way to market to them. Use a drawing for a free service, make the email mandatory for the drawing to be valid. And then give them a coupon on the back of your business card and a pen when they're done. People keep pens and may use the coupon. All the crap flyers and junk gets thrown away.
 

groutguy

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Our local radio station does a scavenger hunt at the show, the people have to find the participating vendors and get a stamp. I did this one year, it was fun and a good way to get the people engaged in a conversation. All the vendors involved donated for the drawings, the station did a great job hyping it up.
 

Steven88

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