Topic: The Fine Art of Using Bandit Signs…or…What I Wish I Knew When We Were Starting Out
Presenter: Joe Bauer
This meeting marks the first anniversary of our meetings of the FortuneBuilders Mastery Seattle Investing Club. We began our second year with a record crowd of 25 people, including six brand new to our group. Thank you ALL for coming!
We met at the Shoreline Conference Center. Coach Joe Bauer and Mastery student, Julie Clark, organized it. Thank you! We usually meet the first SATURDAY of the month. Due to New Years and the Seahawk game(s), we met Sunday this month.
The usual format is to mingle, ‘network’ the first hour which this time we did; this format can vary. With a record 25 in attendance it took some time to get around to everyone and talk shop. Since Joe’s presentation was 30 minutes, the presentation started at 5:30.
Joe introduced his topic by saying that over the years he and Coach Erik Bee have honed their wholesaling system to the point where they think it is ‘even better than FortuneBuilder’s’. This is great news especially for those marketing in the Seattle area.
Joe’s six topics were: Bandit Signs, Route, Set Up and Documenting, Tracking, Sign Police, How to Hire.
The best color choices are black on yellow or blue on white. The larger the better, 18” x 24” is workable. The simpler the text the better — We Buy Houses and a phone number seems to be effective. Do NOT use your personal (trackable) cell phone number. Get a call forwarded number like a google voice number or some other low cost NON traceable number. More on this later.
Instead of placing them on busy streets, they find more success by posting them on poles in neighborhoods, on slower streets where cars stop or go slower or can pull over easier. Use a tall sign stapler. One was demonstrated. It is about six feet long with a stapler attachment on the top. Joe has a cheap supplier…about $35. Get two in case you need one and your hired person has the other.
Choose neighborhoods that have houses like the ones you are seeking. Use the MLS to back track where the houses are selling.
Drive the route where you are thinking of placing signs noting on paper were to place them. Make a map of the zone you want to target. Twenty signs per zone is about right. Five block separation is a good minimum and facing different directions. Do not place signs too close to each other or facing the same direction in sight of each other. Try to find a balance between too much exposure and too little. Too much might ‘turn off’ some neighbors.
The key is consistency. Often it takes sellers seeing your sign 5 to 7 times before they call you. Refresh the signs that disappear from 2 to 4 week intervals depending on the frequency of irritated calls you get. The more negative calls, the longer the refreshing interval. You want the neighbors to be your friends…if possible.
Create your zones of about five miles in radius depending on house movement and prices you target. Use your Google account with “mapsengine.google.com” as a tool for this. Take a picture of EVERY sign you place and note where it is.
If you don’t seem to be getting much results, don’t give up on a zone. Keep refreshing them to AT LEAST FOUR TIMES. Plan on four refreshings…maybe even more.
When you get a call, always ask which sign they saw. This way you can determine which signs are ‘working’ and possibly shrink your zone and thus the number of signs. If you want to change something, test ONE change at a time. For example, if you want to test if changing the color of a sign will bring better results, change ONLY the color. Then track the results for awhile before changing something else. Variations can be printed or handwritten, color schemes, size, wording, location, etc.
Successful investors are always marketing to get deals. If you do get a deal and for some reason you are not ready or able to rehab it yourself (too many going on already?), you can wholesale it to other buyers…like to this author for instance! =)
Some areas/cities are ok with signs, some are not. Bellevue is NOT. There are ‘techniques’ to keep in mind in using signs. The Edmonds sign authority called Joe with an ultimatum…take em down by noon or they’ll fine him $250 each. What if he had no idea where all the signs were? What if he had not made a map, and had not taken a photo and labeled each photo location of each sign he or his hired person had placed? What if he couldn’t find some of them? That’s what happened to Joe in his early days of placing signs in Bellevue. It cost thousands in fines. Who can afford that?
Here’s something to say when confronted by ‘sign police’…or anyone who doesn’t like them. You can try to explain to them that we really do not WANT to put out signs, (after all, they cost money and take time) but we DO want to buy properties that need renovating. We have the ability to buy them, fix them, and put them back on the tax rolls at increased values (which pay their salaries) while improving the neighborhoods. This is what we do…and signs help us to finding these properties.
HOWEVER, we’d love to find these eyesores that they see everyday on their rounds without using signs. Perhaps the city authority person would like to provide to us a list of potential properties we could purchase and renovate. This is the idea.
Bothell did this for Joe once, giving him a list of some 40 properties. He then wrote them all letters in his marketing letter campaign to find owners needing to sell to him.
Think of all the many people who drive around each day and see empty or run down houses, eye sores that need our services. Mailmen, plumbers, utility workers, contractors, couriers, UPS drivers, real estate agents, taxi drivers, bus drivers, …just ask if they know of or see any empty houses to give you a call. Give them a card. Tell them you’d appreciate it. There are creative ways to make it worth their while even if they cannot take money….
Of course it is always okay to place your WE BUY HOUSES signs in the yard of any property you own and are renovating. CT Homes does this, so does Hallmark Homes and others in the area. Anthony Moore just hosted a webinar Friday, January 31, 2014 about how to presell your home. It is posted on the Mastery site under Webinars and Replays, on the left see Business Systems (Friday Replays). There are examples of signs he uses and considerable discussion on the topic.
Last but not least, you don’t really want to be the one doing all your own sign placement…do you? At first you do, but after awhile it’ll be time to hire someone to do it for you. Joe pays his people $15 an hour, and double that the first time out (because he says he wouldn’t work for anything below that himself. Hmmm…anyone need some side work?)
He puts an ad on Craigslist. He gets the ad from FortuneBuilders Mastery and changes it as needed. When people respond, he screens them twice with email. Then he calls the best three to arrange to meet each one in a public place. The goal is to get to know them, see what ‘vibes’ he gets, determine if he thinks they’ll be reliable. If he thinks he found one, he goes out right then with them to put up signs and show him how to do it. If all goes well, he leaves a stapler with them, a map of the zones he’s created, and explains that he requires documentation for each sign they put up. When they bring that back and can show him the signs, and where they are on the map with the photos of each sign they placed, then and ONLY then does he pay them.
The best times to place signs are Fridays after dark or early Saturday mornings.
So, that’s the idea. There are trainings on the FortuneBuilders Mastery site, and you can always ask Molly for more input. You can ask Joe for more ninja tips too and I bet, if you ask really nice, he’ll even let you practice putting up some of his signs.
Do you have ideas for a meeting topic? Please let Julie or Joe know what you would like cover in future meetings. Perhaps you know an expert to invite. Perhaps YOU are the expert. We welcome suggestions.
Thank you for helping our group to grow and move forward in our active investing businesses. Meetings are now MONTHLY, the first Saturday of the month, 4 to 6pm, unless otherwise announced. Watch for Joe’s emails and view news on the exclusive Seattle Investors Club Facebook page. If you need an invitation to join that site, ask Joe. If you don’t know how to reach Joe (email), ask me at [email protected].
Looking forward to seeing you there!
Joe says, “GO HAWKS!”
Disclaimer: Though every effort is made to report accurately; the occasional error may occur, perhaps due to the writer’s lack of brain nutrition. Feel free to let me know if you see any goofs. Thank you. AF email), ask me at [email protected]