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This $20 Item Brought Me a $13,000 Job

Hey, Ron here, I want to share with you how a $20 item brought me a $13,000 job, and it is not a pyramid scheme.

Most of the smaller crews; 1 to 4, 5 people don’t even think about a marketing budget.

I know with me, a while ago, whatever came up, I wrote a check for –someone wanted to ask for something, I wrote a check for it –I needed new shirts, I wrote a check for it.

It was just how we operated, there was no budget for things, we just paid for them, if we had the money in the bank.

But I want to give you some advice –if you don’t have a budget, but you still want to make a bang.

Here are some ideas on what $20 can do.

  1. Buy Thank you cards and send them to past customers

So, I will get to my story in a minute, but $20, if I had $20 right now, what would I do?

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I would probably go to Dollar General, or one of those dollar stores, pick up 2, 3 or 4 packages of Thank you cards and Notecards

If I did have any printed up with my own logo, I would say thank you to all my past customers and people who I meet and greet at the stores and networking events and things like that, just to let them know I am out there.

I won’t be soliciting for more, I just want to let them know I really appreciate their business.

  1. Give a thank you gift to a customer

I would bring a thank you gift to my next completed, project, maybe not a commercial one, but a residential one, where you might have done something that is $2,000 or $3,000.

Not too many contractors bring a gift, they are always looking to get paid, and so can you imagine this, that on your last day on the job, you bring a gift and you give it to the homeowner and say, “I really appreciate your business, thank you”.

Nobody else is doing that, and maybe you write a little note on the top of it.

In the DYB community, you are going to see a lot of us giving out home-made cookies and pan cans with logos.

I personally give out pies, a lot of people know that. I have a friend who makes homemade apple pies and those are our thank you gifts.

So, imagine if you would be a little creative, you don’t have to go crazy, but if you have $20, you can print up a little note card, thank you, with a nice little gift.

That is going to be shared –that story is going to be told when that person is with their friends and they are talking contracts, as in painting contractors.

Or if you gave them a dessert, it is going to be eaten at dinner and they are going to be thanking you while they eat it. Just make sure it is good, and it is not cheap.

  1. Connect with someone over coffee or breakfast

Let me get to my $20 item that brought me an almost $13,000 in one more minute. What else would I do with $20?

Well, I would probably bring coffee and donuts to someone, I would invite someone out for breakfast, or at least coffee.

What is coffee going to cost you? $7? Well, worth with.

  1. Yard Signs

Early this year, we have been using $20 Yard signs, the ones that kind of flap in the breeze –they are made out of cardboard, you have seen them all over on sides of the road.

We keep it very basic, we have our phone numbers and logos, our logos are Rams because our last name is Ramsden and we have the 1800 painting.

We buy these by the dozens and it is part of the crew leader’s job.

The crew leader would work on a software called Basecamp, some of you might have heard of it, if not, I would love to share it with you, if you have a question, just send me a message.

Basecamp; our projects are loaded in for the crew leaders and one of the crew leader’s job items is to place signs in the ad but ask for permission first.

Homeowners, 90% of the time are okay with it, depending on the condominium.

Some homeowner’s associations don’t let us do it, but most homeowners are fine, and we take it down as soon as we are done

If it is a 2-day job, it stays there for 2 days, hopefully, we get a weekend out of it.

We also have the big metal ones, those ones are a little harder to move around, we leave them in the truck, but the guys always have fresh ones if they need them

We only put them on the jobs we are working on, we don’t just stick them on the side of the road for free advertising, because you might just as well throw your money away.

We had one of these in a customer’s job, the house was 90% done, we just had to come back on Monday or Tuesday and finish it up, and over the week, the neighbor had a cookout and all the neighbors were there.

The neighbor’s friends were over, and one of the neighbor’s friends who was at the cookout said “hey, I saw you at the painted house” and he said great job.

The guy copied the information down and never even asked the homeowner who did it because our sign was up at the front.

  1. Be sure to ask, “How did you find out about us?”

That week we had an appointment, we went and looked at a customer’s house and he told us the source of the referral was from the sign out in front of the person’s house, and he did ask the homeowner how the job was and was he happy and all that stuff, but he never actually asked who did it.

We call it ‘Sourcing’, one of the things is we make sure we know where every lead come from.

Occasionally we have the unknown, but we really like to know where every lead come from because we want to know if we should keep reinvesting in these signs.

The signs are good for about a season, they do get worn off, thrown out of the truck, and some of them, unfortunately, get stolen.

But also, $20 sign, we end up doing a proposal for the homeowner, the homeowner accepted and it was a little shy of $13,000.

So, that conversation still would have gone on at the cookout, possibly.

Would it ever have been brought out if our little sign was not at the front?

We don’t like to cloud our signs with all kind of sayings and wording… interior, exterior… they know painters do all that.

If we are just doing kitchen cabinets, the sign would say, kitchen cabinet specialist, if we did power washing, we would say, power washing on it, but we just want to keep painting because that’s what we do best.

Anyway, it turned into, like I said, almost $13,000 through the source of the sign.

And now I know I am definitely buying more signs next year and I wanted to share that with you.

So, if you only have $20, be creative with it; thank you cards, take someone for coffee and donuts, take them out for a coffee, bring someone a present –just do something different for somebody.

Maybe the guys at the paint store are giving you extra special service, bring them something, it will be well worth it.

I am Ron Ramsden and I am a DYB coach, also a painting contractor. If you would like to chat, you can email me at, find me on Facebook, I’d love to chat. Thank you and have a great day. Bye…

About the Author

Ron Ramsden is the owner of the successful Ramsden 1-800-PAINTING, who implemented the DYB SYSTEM, and crushed it in 2015, and now coaches other painting contractors around the nation to do the same.