Over the past year Service Roundtable’s Vice President of Marketing, Robin Jones has asked hundreds of contractors what they leave behind following a service call so the customer won’t forget them. Over 95% leave an invoice, a business card, or maybe, a white truck magnet. Yawn. Here is part one of 37 things you can leave behind so you’re not forgotten. Stay tuned to the 4/15 Hotmail newsletter for part 2!
Should Leave Behinds Expire or Be Permanent?
Some leave behinds have a shelf life. They expire. If these are highly valued by consumers, this is beneficial. They need to call you for more. By contrast, permanent leave behinds can keep your brand in front of the homeowner for years whether highly valued, or not.
Quality Versus Quantity?
Leave behinds range in price from the ridiculously cheap to fairly expensive. Some contractors prefer to give customers a nice product because if reflects well on them. Others bundle several inexpensive items to up the odds that one of them will prove useful to the customer. Either approach can work.
Price For Promotions
Your pricing should include a few extra dollars on each service call for leave behinds and other promotions. You can simply factor it into your overhead and allocate it across your service hours. Alternatively, you can price it directly into you billing rate as a material cost.
There is a tendency for guys to select leave behinds that appeal to them. This is a mistake since the decision maker is usually the person who answers the door, who is usually a woman. Ask the women in your office if a leave behind appeals to them before placing an order. This is the reason you will not see golf towels on the list. Just over one out of every five golfers is a woman, representing less than two percent of the U.S. population.
Just about any advertising specialty company can provide most of the leave behind items listed below. Many contractors in the Service Roundtable prefer 4Imprint due to their competitive pricing, complete catalog, national reach, and rebates. Where 4Imprint doesn’t carry an item, other sources are usually listed.
1. Bandage Dispenser
These are great for moms to carry. They are low cost, logoed plastic cases that carry several bandages.
It’s common for many companies to provide calendars to their customers. Make yours different by including local scenes and adding HVAC holidays that you can use for future promotions. Create a “National Thermostat Day,” a national “Hug Your Service Tech Day,” and so on.
3. Camp Chair
A pop up camp chair with your company logo costs less than $20. If your customers use the chair while watching youth sporting events they are promoting your company to every parent at the event.
4. Chip Clip
Chip clips are always popular. Add a magnet and they are more popular since they can hold messages or kids’ art on the refrigerator. Buy one with a push button that engages/disengages a blinking light and it becomes an effective tool for busy families to call attention to notes from one household member to another.
5. Citronella Wrist Band
The latest trend in printed or stamped wrist bands is citronella wrist bands, which are supposed to repel mosquitos. If they work, these can be an effective leave behind for homeowners in southern states over the summer.
Some contractors use a citrus based cleaner to wipe off the condensing unit and furnace. Packaged in a small spray bottle, the remaining cleaner is then left with the homeowner. Contractors can make these or use a private label manufacturer like American Cleaning Solutions.
At Boca Java you can order two ounce packages of gourmet coffee to give away with your custom label for less than $4.00.
8. Coffee Cup
Coffee cups are a tried and true leave behind that everyone appreciates. Make the cup stronger by integrating an original message on the cup and not simply, the company brand. For example, you could print on the cup, “Coffee in the morning and A/C the rest of the day.”
The industry even has a company, To Your Success, whose primary purpose is shipping cookies to contractors’ customers with a satisfaction survey. Some contractors use them for installations. Some for service as well.
10. Hand Sanitizer
America seems filled with germ-freaks. Every outbreak of the flu reinforces paranoia. People cannot get enough hand sanitizer.
11. Hot Sauce
Some contractors like to leave bottles of hot sauce with their company brand or a private label on them. These can be ordered from Branded Sauces for as little as $2 per bottle.
12. Insulated Cup
Insulated cups are always popular, but since everyone has them, find a way to add some uniqueness by coming up with a design that focuses on the local area. Or, tie the cup into an affinity marketing program by branding the charity’s logo with yours and a message like, “Sales of this cup benefit XYZ charity.”
13. Jar Openers
This is a very low cost leave behind at less than $1. It’s also one that guys do not understand. When we need to open a jar we open it. If it’s stuck, we thump it and open it. For women, it’s not so easy. They love jar openers and use them.
A lot of contractors like to leave behind branded, insulated drink holders. The problem is everyone has lots of these. If you want to use this as a giveaway, put some creativity into the design to give it uniqueness and a “cool” factor.
15. Lip Balm
Lip balm is another leave behind that gets used. It is so habitual with some people that an urban myth has sprung up about it being addictive. It’s not, but some use it like addicts.
Magnets are tried and true, just not the white truck magnet that looks like every other service provider’s white truck magnet. For a free list of 33 ways you can make your magnets different, call the Service Roundtable Success Team at 877.262.3341.
17. Meat Rub
Dry rubs are another popular item. Some contractors like to share rubs made with their own secret recipe. Others get their technicians involved and each makes his own rub. Of course, the easy option is to private label a rub from The Great American Spice Co, Spice Partners, or a myriad of other companies.
18. Micro Fiber Cloth
According to the Vision Council of America, two thirds of adults wear glasses (this does not include contact lens wearers). For those wearing glasses, for photographers, and for anyone with a computer screen that gets dirty, a micro fiber cloth is useful and handy. People cannot get enough of them.
Contracting Business Hall of Fame member, Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable, which is the industry’s largest contractor group. Service Roundtable members benefit from a massive library of contractor sales and marketing material, support from other contractors and consultants, and the industry’s strongest buying group. Visit ServiceRoundtable.com or call 877.262.3341 for more information.