Installers / Outfitters... How do you do it?!?!?

WNYEVS

Member
May 21, 2010
445
Brockport NY
I think I brought this up before. Maybe I just thought about bringing it up.


How do you advertise and obtain business?


It is literally a pain in the butt getting started! I started my "official business" in October last year and I am no where near where I thought I would be.


I've sent out post cards, went to equipment shows, had links to my site placed on a local "fire wire" website. Only the links on the "fire wires" generated 3 or 4 Jobs.


Could it be that times are tough?


Any tips/tricks or whatever is appreciated!!!
 

Jarred J.

Lifetime VIP Donor
May 21, 2010
11,593
Shelbyville, TN
word of mouth is the best and CHEAPEST advertisement.


Invest!
 

Respondcode3

Member
May 23, 2010
1,936
Northen Il USA
Hate to say its a bad time to start a business. All the shops and installers I know are slow. Lots of budget cuts, making do with older equipment . The bad thing is that if they get grant money it has to be written up and quoted by an established shop. My sugguestion is to talk to tow operators, snow plow guys, constriction compainies,smaller PD's FD's and Ambulance companies.
 

FireEMSPolice

Member
May 21, 2010
3,429
Ohio
Respondcode3 said:
Hate to say its a bad time to start a business. All the shops and installers I know are slow. Lots of budget cuts, making do with older equipment . The bad thing is that if they get grant money it has to be written up and quoted by an established shop. My sugguestion is to talk to tow operators, snow plow guys, constriction compainies,smaller PD's FD's and Ambulance companies.

Add to the list Security companies, utility companies. Basically, anyone who may utilize lights, sirens or other emergency equipment. Good luck!
 

Fast LT1

Member
May 24, 2010
2,018
Sedgwick County, KS
I do all mine on the side, but i also do audio installs, like last night i did 2 sets of speakers, and turned a nice profit! These kids today want nice sound systems but don't know how to install them, so thats where i capitalize!
 

Radio Tech

Member
May 27, 2010
39
Vermont
Image is everything. When I went to your website, I had no clue if you had a physical (read: retail) location or if it was a fly by night job. What products do you carry, do you keep anything in inventory, how quick can you get it? Within a minute or two of looking at your site I should be able to tell these things. I see you mention I29EVP and Microman, but what else do you carry? The average Joe-Blow isn't going to know and/or care about either of those. "I've got my CB fire radio to be installed and some red lights". Your website should educate the public/potential customers about your business in depth. The Google Ad and search toolbar are a good way for people to lose interest or lose "trust" in what you do when they see "LEDOutfitters" etc. You don't want me to see the ad and say "Woah, 89.99 for a lightbar!" do you? Here's a link that popped up while I took a peak at your site: HERE ... Not something you want to happen.
 

triton911bj

Member
May 24, 2010
463
Springville, PA
Myself and tritonboulder are having almost the same issues. How to get noticed and such yada yada. Pretty much we are going with word of mouth. So far its working. Made a few simple flyers for the local Fire/EMS compaines. We started out with some friends vehicles, and then a local police departments new/used vehicle and pretty much word got around. We are now scheduled to do four vehicles for our countys sheriffs office, something we are very excited and looking forward to doing. We started a facebook page just to show some of our work and help with the advertising. So theres a possible advertising tool


So pretty much do as the others have said. Word of mouth. Get some feelers out to local agencies that need emergency lighting on their equipment.


Hope this helps


BJ
 

ParkPiggy

Member
May 21, 2010
667
Northeast Ohio
I think its more of an issue, that departments stick with what works. You might be a better installer, but a dept that has had 4 cars every year up-fitted at XYZ, is going to stick with XYZ as long as they are happy.
 

Respondcode3

Member
May 23, 2010
1,936
Northen Il USA
Not always true Park, Some departments go to XYZ because they were the only game in town. If he can do a better job for less cost they may want to try him out. Ive been in this business 12 yrs as part time, full time and on my own installer. Ive seen die hard departments leave XYZ and go to another shop because the price and quality was better. XYZ always did a shit overpriced job because they had no competition
 

RL1

Member
May 20, 2010
1,650
Ga
My sgt has a side gig doing some stuff with cars (not lights/ sirens, but same concept). What he has been doing is giving people great deals on the work (like, what would cost $180 plus supplies, he is doing for $110 with supplies and comes to you) and letting them tell others. He's not making much right now, but he's for sure not losing money and is getting himself re-established since he took a break for a few years and is returning to his side-gig thing.
 

usdemt

Member
May 21, 2010
195
Vermillion SD
One thing I did inadvertently awhile back was to make my switch panel out of lexan so they could see my wiring. If I ever had someone up in the air on whether or not to hire me to do the install or not that was a big selling point to be able to show them how you wired things. Then you do the same quality for the customer (as always), even though they wouldnt want a clear panel they still point out the quality of the work you did and like mentioned earlier word of mouth is some of the best advertising you can do.


I am almost finished with completely re doing my setup and I had to stick with the clear switch panel because of how effective it has been.
 

GaryErrol

Member
May 28, 2010
308
Indianapolis
Why don't you list your physical address? Even more important, why don't you list a phone number? I've done customer service for over 35 years. Even in this day and age their are important people in businesses who hate email, some won't even use it. So since you only have email addresses listed and no phone numbers that I could find, your automatically eliminating those people from contacting you. I gave my customers every way I can think of to contact me. Email, work phone number, cell phone number, even home number to the really good customers. I've been called out many a night at 3:00am for a $10 item. They called me because they knew they could get a hold of me and that I'd get them the item. Now you may not get calls at that hour but you get the idea, give your customers every way possible to get hold of you, not just what is convenient for you.
 

WNYEVS

Member
May 21, 2010
445
Brockport NY
Thank you everyone for the responses!!!


I will be making some changes to my website. If you can think of anything else, send em my way!!!!
 

TNFF412N

Member
May 22, 2010
387
San Antonio, Texas
i will tell you that i offer to install the first vehicle for free!!! I did the install and they covered all the material. I will tell you that i now have a loyal customer. That police department is small but its a start, then they recommended me to the fire department and then to the EMA. It just keeps growing. The first car i did they had 4 going to the shop, i offered to do one for free and to prove that mine would be a cleaner and more user friendly install. The equipment came from the other install shop, i just finished mine faster and did it correctly. Its word of mouth at its best....
 

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