When I first started out I had the brilliant idea of looking for bird dogs to do all of the work for me and pay them commission on each deal they found. This sounded great and I remember I was so excited. I put ads on Craigslist for free and found tons of people initially interested in being a bird dog and looking for properties. I went through about 60 people, talked with them and even met and got several started. It was a management nightmare and in the end of about 3 weeks of intense effort, very little marketing was ever done and not a single deal was presented to me. Now, perhaps long term this way would work out if you constantly looked for bird dogs, eventually you would find someone that did the work but for me this was a huge waste of time and effort! Ugh, never again...that's what I say.
I then got the idea of doing flyers. This sounded like a cheap way to get started as well and I designed what I thought was an attractive flyer. I then found out that printing costs were very expensive and after finding a local college kid to put them out for $7 an hour, that it was not very cost effective at all as the calls trickled in for the amount of cost it took. When doing any form of marketing, assume you will have to find 20-25 people calling in before you will find someone motivated enough to deal. I found flyers would end up costing me far more on average than it was worth and I had to stop. Yes, you could put the flyers out yourself but I would only advise doing that until you get your first deal. If you are like me though, I am far too lazy to be handing out flyers all day long;)
So what is a good way to start off with marketing? My advice would be to start off with bandit signs. Putting out a 100 signs will get the calls pouring in and is far more cost effective than most other forms of advertising in the beginning. Keep in mind code enforcement does not like people like us littering up the streets with our nice signs...I don't see the big deal;) So you will need to get a business address (PO Box) and a business line attached to that address to cover your tracks. My partner and I use http://www.My1voice.com for the business line as you can have multiple extensions if you want and even better, you can choose your own number. This is great if you can find any number that has the word SELL, HOME, BUY or maybe CASH. This is called a vanity number really and a number like 800-BUY-HOME would probably cost you several thousand dollars a month if you rented it but if you can find a local or 800# at the site above, it wont cost you anything more than the fee they charge...awesome!
I have found this is much more cost effective in the beginning, even if you pay a local college kid to put them out. Just put them up in high traffic areas and wait for the calls to come in...you should expect them to only work for about a week before code enforcement takes them all down. A lot of investors here in Tampa (and I am sure everywhere) use bandit signs and they are a great way to start marketing your Real Estate business!
About the Author:
Chris Parmenter is a Real Estate investor in Tampa Florida, where he has lived since 1993 when he was enlisted in the United States Air Force. He is also a pretty cool guy too. For more information and a free report on wholesaling visit his website here: http://www.TampaWholesaleRealty.com