Ep 002: How Jacob Guttman Uses Direct Response and Branding Campaigns to Grow His Handyman Business

Ryan Shank wrote this on on October 18, 2018 in Podcast

Jacob Guttman, owner of Nail It Handyman, uses dozens of marketing channels to grow his business. He blends direct response and branding campaigns to get immediate buyers and create brand awareness for long term customers.

Jacob’s Linkedin –> https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacob-guttman-8b93377b/
Nail It Handyman –> https://www.nailithandyman.com/

Listen on itunes here.

If you want to watch the video of the interview, here ya go:


Ryan Shank: 00:01 All right guys, welcome to the second episode of growing your agency today. I am here with the, uh, the founder and owner of nail it. Handyman. We’re delighted to be joined by Jacob Gutman. Jacob, thank you so much for joining us. Absolutely. Absolutely. So just give it, give us a quick background. Uh, you know, I think you’re unique in a sense that you do a lot of stuff in house. So tell, tell, tell us a little bit about yourself, your business, how you got into this so that we know, have an idea of what you’re,

Jacob Guttman: 00:34 what you’re doing. So I’ll tell you a little bit about myself and how I got into this business. So I a n I s I had and I still have a contracting company called homeless where I need a hand. I needed handiwork, I need them. A lot of Andy Works and I had a very hard time getting the handyman to do, to work on time, on budget and quality work. So then after a while I realized that I’m not the only one, but basically every contractor and every homeowner as well as stores and facility managers, um, have this problem. So I saw the need and the opportunity. So what we opened as a handyman company that does small handiwork and small handiwork only we don’t do bigger renovations and that allows us to be on time and every job. So, uh, that’s, that’s the idea of it.

Ryan Shank: 01:27 Got It. Okay. Awesome. So you started the handyman business from seeing a need in the market you were experiencing personally. Tell us a little bit about what you did to get started. I know a lot of people who are listening and then also who are following, you know, they, they want to start their own businesses. They want to start there. How do you get it off the ground? How do you grow it? Tell us a little bit about what you did to, uh, to start

Jacob Guttman: 01:47 was creating a plan a which had two parts. It had operational plan on how we will operate a business. And as well as a financial structure, I’m like a no budget and how we will operate and make money.

Ryan Shank: 02:05 Got It. So when you say, when you say those two plans, I mean, are we talking. Let’s go. Let’s go a little bit deeper. You are you literally opening up excel? Are you okay

Jacob Guttman: 02:13 word document or an excel document.

Ryan Shank: 02:15 Got It. How did you, how did you create the assumptions for the financial plan

Jacob Guttman: 02:20 on research based on research and existing data that I, uh, that I had a. So we made the numbers. Obviously the numbers are not 100 percent accurate and we always, we keep on adjusting, get on working according to that, but you need to start from somewhere and you need to have some foundation. So we did that once I had that, obviously I went to race a capital, so we found an investor and we opened the company. We just started to, uh, we brought bands, we did the shelvings and the wrap, we bought the tools, hire the right people, and we started working and obviously the marketing company and then people start calling them.

Ryan Shank: 03:02 So, so super excited to get into that obviously, but let’s, let’s talk. I’m going back to the beginning. How did. All right, so made the plan. You decided let’s go forward with this. You got the investors. How did you get those initial customers? Because there’s a lot of content out there. People talk about, you know, getting those first 10 customers, 100 customers, especially in your business where you’re actually, and maybe correct me if I’m wrong, but I would assume that there’s a lot of repeat, you know, someone needs a handyman, not just one time, right? It’s not like a decoration

Jacob Guttman: 03:31 and I’ll add to that, especially in my business where we go into people’s homes that is worth sometimes a million or $2,000,000 and we fixed stuff. So people, we need to have a lot of trust and people need to have trust in us in order to book us. Sure. To use us. So that, that is a challenge when you start off and no one knows you and you want to get into the market. It is a challenge and that’s why you do marketing. Marketing is basically a way of communicating with people. So you basically put out an ad that a few thousand people see, so you’re basically talking to them.

Ryan Shank: 04:12 So. So let’s talk, let’s talk about that. How did you talk to us about some channels and again, um, you know, as much as you feel comfortable sharing, tell us about some channels you know, that you’re using one channels that you are having success with. But I also think it’s interesting to talk about channels that aren’t working. Um, and not to, not to tee it up, but it’s like I, you know, I’ll go places and I’ll see like diners that have like business cards on placemats and I’m like, does that work? And like maybe, maybe it’s cheap enough that you do get an Roi on it. I don’t know, but I’m just curious. What, what, what channels are you using?

Jacob Guttman: 04:47 Oh, answer the question. There’s two things. Two separate types of marketing. Direct sales. Yup. And then there’s branding. Branding means and people. It’s very important to know whoever spends money and marketing is very important to know that branding means that you’re paying money, you’re spending money, you’re paying for magazines or whatever, wherever you spend it now to do it. Direct sale, you’re not, you’re not measuring your return on investment for that. Just basically thing get out so people should see it again and again and again. So after awhile you get the recognized brand. Then there is direct sales. Direct sales is an add that converts into actual sales. Got To give you an example, Sharon, you go on the highway and you see a billboard and it says Coca Cola or Geico insurance and nothing more than that. Just the logo and a color that’s brand new.

Jacob Guttman: 05:50 There’s no call to action on, on such an APP, but when you see an ad that says, call today, 25 percent off, or, you know, get the first month your car, are you free? You don’t have a payment. That’s a call to action that says, Hey, we have a sale this week. Come by. And, and usually these companies, those compaigns. So, uh, that’s a call to action, so when you start a business, you don’t have a lot of money. Sure. And uh, the first thing that obviously is start to advertise in a way that people are the direct sales campaign. So we’ll start doing sales when you’re at a certain level depending on the company, but when you’re at the point when you feel that you can spend money just to a raise brand awareness so people should start feeling comfortable with you and recognizing you as the brand, then you can spend some money on branding. But obviously you can’t do that when you, when you’re starting off.

Ryan Shank: 06:52 So start with direct sales. Go after those intent based buyers who are searching for you, seeking you out at that moment. Kind of build the base up there. Maybe get some happy customers, then go for the long play with the branding and the awareness and that sort of thing. Exactly. Awesome. What are, what are some channels? So tell me about some challenges.

Jacob Guttman: 07:09 Circle back, you asked me that you’re seeing placements like other interesting stuff or were companies advertise on, does it work? If you’re, if you’re looking at, you’ll see that most of these types of ads are not direct sales. These are branding sale ramblings campaign. So you’re wondering does it work? Will I go now to buy something? No, that was not the, you know, that that was not the goal here. They didn’t want to buy. They just want you to think about the brand and Nope, they wanted to remind you that they exist and when you’ll be at that point, uh, that you’ll, you know, you’ll need to buy that particular product. You’ll go to that company.

Ryan Shank: 07:53 Interesting. It’s funny, I actually see real or not real or it’s like insurance agents, one of my friend’s moms has an a billboard of her face on a billboard and I always thought to myself like, you know, the why, but it totally makes sense because I was like, man, if I don’t how many people need insurance at that moment? But it’s not that direct sales play. Like you’re saying, it’s that branding play and then everyone in town, it was actually in a small town and everyone, oh, you’re the lady, you know, you’re the woman who was on the billboard and now everyone knows her. So, uh, yeah, no, that’s, that’s actually a great point because I think a lot of people see or maybe myself, I see these ads and I’m like, but you know, to your point, it’s like, look, it’s not working isn’t, doesn’t mean it’s driving a sale and there’s direct correlated Roi to that ad spend or that ad necessarily, but it’s coming down the line and I would assume that it’s hard to even attribute sales to a lot of those branding plays. That’s great. Yeah. So, so tell us, tell us about some of the, some of the channels. I know you by the way you have trucks. Tell us a little bit about that. I, I got to imagine that’s a massive branding play

Jacob Guttman: 08:58 branding because they call it a moving billboard, one billboard, but it’s for billboards because it’s both sides front and back. Everyone sees you and it’s moving. And uh,

Ryan Shank: 09:10 and I feel like even perception, not just seeing it, like in person when I saw it, to be honest, when I saw it, I was like, oh, did you see the men already are just pictures, but I’m saying when I saw the photos of him and I saw the pictures, it made me perceive you. I was like, whoa. They are super legit

Jacob Guttman: 09:31 when you arrive to a customer’s house and the customer sees, wow, this is the van. It gives them a much better feeling and the same as with the uniform and all of that. But let’s go back regarding the, the marketing. Yeah, wrap. If you think about it is the best advertising and the cheapest because a van that we have usually lasts about 10, 15 years. Yeah. Rap. Such a vehicle is about three to $4. Three to $4,000. Yup. So let’s make the calculation. Let me do right now. Let’s say even you spend $4,000 for a wrap. It’s 300 bucks. Fifteen years. It’s $266 per year divided in three 65. You spend seventy three cents a day for a moving billboard. I don’t think there’s any other marketing campaign that can be less

Ryan Shank: 10:33 expensive done to this wow. Seven cents per day. And I’ve been a very small amount of people look at it that way. You know, they think the big, the big onetime expense, but like you gotta look at it over so many years

Jacob Guttman: 10:49 through the years that you’re going to be using that. Then it’s the cheapest, the cheapest way around sizing.

Ryan Shank: 10:55 Wow. That’s awesome. So, so what are you doing for director and I know, you know, I’m familiar with the advisors.

Jacob Guttman: 11:02 Pretty much everything, right? So there’s many different things we do traditional, which is a local papers, mailing campaigns. Then we do a TV ads.

Ryan Shank: 11:14 Hold on before you just go along. I’m just super interested in a lot of these. I went to a conference and tell. Talk to me about the mailing because I’ve never tried lumpy companies.

Jacob Guttman: 11:25 There’s a company called Postcardmania. Postcardmania. Yep. Florida. Florida, yet maybe you know.

Ryan Shank: 11:33 No, no, no. I just went to a conference and one of the sessions was about direct mail, but they were just saying like all this cool stuff and tactics that you can do

Jacob Guttman: 11:41 so. And I was, it really depends how the, uh, the key to direct mail is to be consistent with it. Every marketing complained. The key is to be consistent, especially with direct mail. Basically what we did, we created two lists. Okay. We send every second week to the, to the other lists. Okay. So every person gets a mailer every month, once a month. Okay. And we did that for six months. So a person gets a postcard six months in a row every month. The postdoc. Interesting. And what we saw is that people. No one calls in the first month or the second month on the third call, we have a few people calling, but then the fourth and the fifth month we get huge return on investment.

Ryan Shank: 12:36 Wow. And I would have to say too,

Ryan Shank: 12:42 and again, I’m not super intimate into the space of like handyman, you know, but I would also imagine that, you know, maybe month one as you’re thinking through it, they might not have anything but now you, you hit them once, you hit them twice. And I feel like there’s some psychology, there’s some number where now they’re like, all right, five times. Then they’re like, oh crap, like my door broke. Like what’s that company that’s been sending us that stuff, you know? Or maybe it’s sitting around. I feel like, you know, those kinds of things have to have to play into it. How have you tracked like true return on investment, you know, like spend twoK on mailings and, you know.

Jacob Guttman: 13:14 Yeah, because on the mailer we put a five percent discount or something like that. We always have. So with the digital ads, it’s much easier because you have the analytics, you can always see in the traditional as you always need to put something. So obviously we’re following and we track all of these, but you can also put promotions a lot of different. Uh, uh, ways that you can track, but it’s very important to track because we do a lot of marketing and we, and we adjust that accordingly if we see something doesn’t work. Uh, we, uh, we stopped, but as well as we negotiate, negotiation is based on our number. So when I get everything, multiple people call me to put an ad in the paper or whatever, the arrows. So basically what I do is I tell them, look, I, I use a company phone rang, I track the return on investment and I know my numbers, I know how much I can spend per lead recall.

Jacob Guttman: 14:18 So let’s do this. Let’s start for one month, our risk x amount of money, but then we’ll circle around after the month and see the numbers. What we do then as after the Monday calls, do you want to continue for another month? So I say, okay, hello. Um, we advertise in this paper and we get this amount of leads for a dollar. You get much less if you want to match that. You can either give me more exposure for the same amount of money or charge me less than I’m willing to go for another month and usually they do. So what happens is I’m stronger now and I can tell them how to charge me or what to deliver for that amount of money

Ryan Shank: 15:00 because you’re not flying blind anymore. I’m sorry. Okay.

Jacob Guttman: 15:02 I know I know my numbers and they can’t say, oh, you’re missing out the best marketing and whatever. They’re great salespeople but they can’t afford anything anymore because I know my numbers and say, well, it’s a very good marketing, but look, the numbers doesn’t work for me. So.

Ryan Shank: 15:17 Absolutely. Awesome. So, so quickly, what are, what are some other other channels that you’re using for direct response? Um, and then after that, I’m curious just to get into like how your, what kind of tools you’re using for like just internal reporting and you know, what you’re doing.

Jacob Guttman: 15:32 So let’s, let’s, let’s, let’s discuss the categories. Okay. Traditional marketing as local papers, which is newspapers, magazines, and all of that. Mailing mailings and local events like shows. These things are traditional marketing.

Ryan Shank: 15:52 I totally forgot. I don’t know how you do a lot of that stuff, right? The linkedin, you do a ton of stuff.

Jacob Guttman: 15:58 Shows, events, networking events, which is huge. Huge. It works the best you, you see people in person, you talked to them, you connect with them. It’s the best. They see you to see who you are.

Ryan Shank: 16:12 Are you organizing those? Like that Linkedin meetup that I had

Jacob Guttman: 16:14 actually, I wasn’t involved. I get involved. I’m not officially an event organizer, but I did have a lot. I am a member of all these organizations. There was a ton of people there. That was actually my on my youtube channel. You’ll see, um, there’s another big construction show, uh, coming up November I think it is or maybe still in October. I’m not sure when it’s going to be. I think in November the Oj be a interstate expo, so they did a whole promotion video from us. If you’ve gone our website, you’ll see. Right. Okay.

Ryan Shank: 16:48 I think I saw, I think I saw a preview. I know I didn’t click it yet though.

Jacob Guttman: 16:51 So, uh, yeah. So would that show. I’m not hosting that show or we get them involved. So yeah, we awesome when we inform people. So, uh,

Ryan Shank: 17:03 amazing. Um, all right, so just just kind of circling back. So what are you using to talk to us about? I know you mentioned phone wagon, we don’t have to do a plug here, but talk to us about what other tools are you using, what are you using to, uh, maybe dispatch the jobs to your guys are using some type of field service software. What do you use for internal reporting or using?

Jacob Guttman: 17:23 So, but that’s, I’m in no way related to tracking the marketing. We do use a fleet manager, a management software we use to be called fleetmatics now it’s called verizon connect and acquired it. So with the category of traditional marketing, there’s two ways of tracking, either promote, putting in different types of promotions and tracking manually or phone whack. Okay. That’s how I got to from wag. Zander is digital marketing and then there’s TV. Sure. You can say it’s digital, but it’s not. It’s like you don’t have basically it’s TV, they give you reports on how many deliveries there were, but there’s no real way of tracking get unless you do a promotion. Okay. So digital marketing includes Google ads, ad words, facebook ads, which is facebook and instagram and all of these banner ads and websites we do and all of that, which is much easier to track. You can’t track how many, how much money you made, but you can track how much leads you got or the engagements and all of these.

Ryan Shank: 18:43 Got It. Awesome. Alright, so just wrapping up, so we’re just going to do you know, three final questions. One, what is your morning routine?

Jacob Guttman: 18:50 I get up about five to 5:30 in the morning as you can see. I’m Orthodox conservative Jew, so I go in synagogue on price in the office, usually 7:00,

Ryan Shank: 19:02 7:00.

Jacob Guttman: 19:03 The first thing I look on the social media and then I go to emails.

Ryan Shank: 19:09 Got It. And then a one piece of advice. If someone was just starting out, what would you, uh, what would you say to do to, to get started? Get the business off the ground,

Jacob Guttman: 19:18 make sure you have your numbers, your plan. No Sir. Don’t take the advisor as a babysitter for you in the business, but this cassette with the advisor to make sure you have the accurate numbers. If you have a good foundation, then you can succeed.

Ryan Shank: 19:36 Got It. Awesome and cool. I appreciate it. Now tell, tell everyone where we can find you.

Jacob Guttman: 19:43 Get in touch with you or your. Your, your website. Yes. So nailed Handyman Dotcom. Okay. Or Eight? Five, five, five, six, two, four, five, four, eight. You have talented people in our office that will be able to help you and yeah, that’s basically it.

Ryan Shank: 20:01 Love it. Love it. Thank you so much for, for being here guys. Jacob Gutman a nail at handyman. Crushing it right now. I’m doing all of his marketing in house. Really appreciate you. Uh, you being with us

Jacob Guttman: 20:13 today. Thank you so much, Ryan. Thanks.


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is the CEO at PhoneWagon. Ryan loves helping small businesses generate quality leads by implementing creative solutions that are proven to work.