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Powerwashing Flyers that took business from zero to $13,202 per month

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I’m posting this guest post because I LOVE IT when people get their hands dirty in order to make money.

I think there’s more lessons to be learned by getting out there and doing small jobs than any amount of reading blog posts. 

Using some basic copywriting principles in his marketing, Peter went from making $0 with his powerwashing service...to doing $13,202 per month!

So here’s Peter showing the exact business flyers he used to “automate his marketing” instead of going door-to-door.  

Watch for the subtle psychological things happening with each flyer:

 

————PETER STARTS TALKING NOW————
————PETER STARTS TALKING NOW————
————PETER STARTS TALKING NOW————
 

There was no way in hell I was ever doing that again…..

I had just gotten back from going door-to-door trying to sell power washing after hearing from my Dad that it was “a good business to get your feet wet.”

After 2 or 3 anxiety-filled hours of stuttering my way through a pitiful little sales pitch and getting zero results, I gave up.

I don’t know if you’ve ever gone door-to-door before, but for me, especially at the time, it honestly felt like I could have been offering FREE money and people still would have said no.

I felt like a pest!

If you’re at all introverted (like me), or you’re not the smoothest on your feet, then you gotta knock on like 100 doors before you find someone….and it’s absolute agony the whole time.

So, unless you’re trying to get over your fear of rejection, don’t try powerwashing this way.  

I’m going to show you exactly how I went from $0 to over $10,000 a month without ever knocking on a door or making a cold call.

The First (lame) Attempt at Marketing:

After deciding I was never going to go door-to-door ever again, I designed a beautiful flyer, that looked something like this…

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It was so pretty and nice….

….but it absolutely BOMBED!

I got my friend to deliver a couple hundred of them and I didn’t get a single phone call.

I was shocked… (what an idiot I was).

Now if you’ve been following Neville for any period of time, you’re probably a lot smarter than I was at the time.  

You know why this flyer is sooo bad and you probably know how to write at least basic KOPY… like telling people WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM and offering some bloody benefits…

But I was stressing because I had no idea what benefits I could show.  

I started thinking what it was going to look like I was going to have to get a job unless I figured out this whole marketing thing QUICK!

I had a little bit of money left after my backpacking trip in South East Asia got cut short due to a motorcycle accident… but not much…

So, I went to my Dad, hat-in-hand, with my “beautiful”, terrible little flyer and asked him what I was doing wrong…

He laughed, handed me an old Dan Kennedy book on direct response marketing and a few chapters later, I threw away my first “beautiful” attempt.

I started again from scratch.  This time I didn’t care if the flyer was “beautiful” or “professional looking.”  I realized that didn’t matter.    

The Second Attempt At Marketing

Here’s what I came up with my second time around:

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I printed out 100 of these new flyers on my little inkjet and got my friend to deliver them to a local neighborhood.

100 flyers printed.  Total Cost = $20 

But I was still scared, because after my first failure, I remember thinking, “there’s no way I’m going to get calls…”

But the phone rang…..it rang 4 times!!!

I didn’t even know what to say when I answered… I hadn’t really thought that part through!

But it didn’t really matter… my new customers did most of the talking (you’ll find people LOVE to tell you all about their situation).

Within a day, I got 4 new customers and which ended up turning into around $600 dollars in business. 

It blew my mind!

I thought, “Hey there’s a lot more neighborhoods…..and if I just send out more of these flyers….I should get a bunch more customers… this is so much better than knocking on doors!”

How to Turn a $69 Driveway Job Into $200+ Worth of Work:

When I met with the first customer, I didn’t suddenly learn how to become a sales star or even a smooth talker, or even know what the concept of an “upsell” was.  But I found out quickly.

Usually when people call you to powerwash their driveway, they like to walk around with you tell you their life story and while they’re at it, also show you what they want cleaned…

And usually, there’s a bunch of other dirty stuff right beside the thing they want cleaned.

So there was one thing I would say that worked really well with making more money. It honestly just seemed natural to ask it.

I would just ask:

“Would you like _____ cleaned too?”

People go… “Yea, geez… hmm yea. I didn’t think about that but now that you mention it can you clean that to?”

And you get 80%+ of people saying yes.

I feel like an idiot when I don’t ask… which is a little too often.

Hiring a Roller Blader and Going From $600 to $6,292:

So I quickly learned that I just needed to send out more flyers to get more customers.  

I bought a bigger printer and I hired my friend to go out on his rollerblades and deliver 1,600 flyers each week at $0.18 cents per flyer. (At the time I didn’t know about Every Door Direct Mail in the U.S. or Unadressed Admail in Canada… which is what I do now and actually cheaper and more reliable than my friend).

And like clockwork, I would get at least 15 jobs… enough to keep me fully booked for the whole week.

It would cost me on average $25 to get a customer… and I’d bring in on average $200 from each customer right away… that’s 8x my money, which is pretty awesome math.

That’s like having a machine that I throw $100 into, and it throws $800 right back at me.  

And as long as these flyers kept being profitable… I kept sending them out. 

Mailing 16x to One Neighborhood and Still Getting New Customers:

It was amazing how I could tweak the flyer a tiny bit and send it to the SAME neighborhoods every other week and I would still get more and more people calling in!

One neighborhood in particular, I sent flyers to them 16x one summer and it was still profitable in bringing new people in:

  • People would have family coming over to visit and needed to get the home nice and clean…
  • Or they were getting their home ready to sell…
  • Or they’d see I cleaned their neighbors driveway and realize they wanted theirs done too…

People’s circumstances change and you’ve got to be there when they do.

By hyper focusing on neighbourhoods, you can quickly become the dominate player and can quickly end up cleaning 20% or more of the homes in an area.

Besides mailing a bunch I found these 3 things worked really well and would take one customer and turn it into 2 or 3 more…

Getting Neighbors as Customers Without Door Knocking:

For a service business like this… you make a lot more money by not wasting time and gas traveling long distances between jobs.

A lot of these powerwashing guys are driving all over the place because they’re not doing targeted marketing…

I’ve been able to stay busy in a small town with 5,000 homes and not have to venture out to any of the surrounding areas by doing three things:

The first thing I did this was mailing a letter like this before I was going to do a job…

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The second thing was by having a sign and wearing high visible reflective gear:

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I was such an idiot in the beginning and went without a sign for a long time!  As a result people didn’t realize I was for hire.  

The first day I got a sign, I had a lady come up and end up hiring me for $2,000 worth of work… that alone turned out to be a pretty good ROI on my $40 signs!


The third thing is to send a letter like this to the neighbors afterwards…

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The Free Driveway Experiment:

Would you spend $90 and work for free for a week… if you knew it would make you $21,000+?

I hope you would.

Because that’s how I got 45 out of 90 homes in a neighborhood to become customers, which has so far resulted in more than $21,000 in business.

Let me explain…

After cleaning a few driveways I started to notice something very interesting:

As soon as I cleaned someone’s driveway and they were able to see what a difference it made and how awesome it was to save 5 hours of back breaking, clothes soaking, mud splashing labour… it was like a switch had been flipped…

It was like suddenly they were the kind of people who clean their home and pay someone to do it for them.

They’d inevitably ask me if I could clean a bunch of other stuff for them and it would result in each customer being worth anywhere from $200 to as much as $2,000.

And it really got me thinking…

If I can just get someone started and committed to taking that little baby step, then the rest becomes really easy…

So, I picked a gated community of 90 homes, where I had already done some work and I sent out this letter for a free driveway cleaning:

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I ended up getting 42 of them to become customers and it has resulted in over $21,000 in business!

From $6,202 to $13,000

The key to scaling up from the $6,202 was to make sure I kept the “customer getting system” up and continuously working.

If you rest on your laurels and get lazy (which happened to me more than once), the business starts to dry up.  

At first I was going door-to-door myself trying to get business.  This didn’t work at all….not to mention it was extremely stress-inducing for me.  

However when I started using copywriting principles to automate my marketing through flyers, it effectively got me from $50 an hour to being able to make $150/hr or more.

Sincerely,

Peter Van Straaten

————END PETER————
————END PETER————
————END PETER————
 

 

Hey, it’s Neville again: 

Isn’t it pretty sweet how he found out that:

  • Knocking On Doors = Slow and ineffective.
  • Sending Out Flyers = Easy and profitable (with the right flyer).

Essentially the flyers were automating the job Peter was manually doing.

With concepts learned in The Copywriting Course it’s easy to see why this “pretty” flyer failed:

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The flyers that did really well look ugly…..but they seem personal, genuine, and offer a real benefit to the reader!

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Some valuable lessons here 🙂

If you’d like to know more about the psychology behind flyers like these and how to write your own copy that sells, checkout The Copywriting Course.

Sincerely,

Neville Medhora


P.S. There are many more direct mail marketing examples you can see here (including markup on how to improve them).

P.P.S. If you want to get the editable templates for these powerwashing flyers join the Copywriting Course:

 

Get editable templates for these powerwashing flyers when you join Copywriting Course:

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As a member you get instant access to all the templates:
- Yours to modify with your own contact info, text, images -
- Download in Google Docs or Microsoft Word format -
- Easily edit them in your web browser -
- Print them for your own business -
- Join here -

199 Comments


Recommended Comments



Guest Joey Chen

My first thought when reading your copy?

"Wow, this guy is so friendly and *I trust him already.* Can he wash my driveway RIGHT NOW??"

And don't get me started on the amazing copy with your "You've Won a Free Driveway Cleaning" letter (everything post-"second attempt" is amazing but I especially like this one):

- It's upfront and honest: "Free" can set off alarm bells in prospects' heads, but you assuage their fear right away by explaining WHY you're cleaning for free.

- "No-cost, no-obligation, not teeny tiny print" makes me comfortable. "Hey, this guy isn't trying to hard sell me! So refreshing."

- You target a huge pain point and explain why you're the ideal solution. "Why break my back cleaning when I can just contact Peter? Good question..."

Oh, and the cherry on top? Ridiculously good execution of Dan Kennedy's "Rule #2" of direct marketing:

THERE WILL BE REASON TO RESPOND RIGHT NOW.

Fantastic post, man! And super instructional for every last one of us. The Force is strong with this one...

-Joey

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Guest Jeff G
So, this sounded too good to be true.. so I googled the business name, didn't find anything, then I searched the phone number, found petevanstraaten.com and clicked on it... redirected to petevs.com which is a weight loss IM site... I'm not impressed.. looks quite fishy to say the least and definitely casts major doubt on the claims in this article.
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Guest David

A very interesting article. I've been in the pressure washing business. Some years knocking on doors and handing out flyers has been the only way I've been able to get business. Other years it's been a combination of customer recommendations, people seeing me working in their neighborhoods, leads from the paint store, sign in the front yard, etc. Every year is different.

It's easy to add value to pressure washing jobs and build my price. By adding window cleaning, walkways, patios, painting attic vents as add ons, I can often add $200 to $400 to my price. Pricing it a la carte let's the customer decide what he wants to pay.

I will try this guy's flyer and see what happens.

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Guest David
And one more thing to my earlier comment. I've never found that leaving flyers at people's houses works. What has worked for me is brief personal interaction with the owner, telling him that I pressure wash, and handing him a flyer.
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Guest Pete Van Straaten

Hey Jeff,

Not to get defensive or anything but just to clear things up a tiny bit...

I've never built a website more than just washmecleaning.com or washmepressurewashing.com... I just never felt the need to.

As for the weight loss site, that was me just screwing around because I've lost some weight over the years... I went ahead a changed it because its not active anyhow.

If you have any doubt that's fine... but all those numbers are still active. Go ahead and try them and hear my voicemail. I won't answer if it's not a local call though.

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Guest Pete Van Straaten

Thanks Joey!

Just to give credit where it is due, the Free Letter is modelled very heavily on a Joe Polish carpet cleaning letter and some letters in Dan Kennedy's magnetic marketing...

It sure works well everytime I use it :)

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Guest Allen Tucker

This is a great example. Joe Polish has some good stuff that's similarly old school from his carpet cleaning days, which all came from Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert if you want more of this stuff.

It kills me that people just can't understand the math so they don't believe it. Comments here are a good example. At $20/100 flyers and an average sale of $200 only one in 1000 people have to respond to your flyer to break even on the ad. How good do you have to be to get that response rate? Not very.

Once you've got a profitable ad you're literally buying money.

I have friends that send terrible post cards, no offer, untargeted list, and still get 1-2 clients per $100 spent with an average lifetime customer value of ~$5k. Do they start spending thousands of dollars on direct mail or hire a copywriter? Nope. Insanity.

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Guest Aaron J Kelley
This was a great post. I enjoyed seeing your progression from going door to door, to these highly effective flyers, and how you kept learning as you went. Thanks for sharing this!
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Guest Robin Hanna

Great Post!

However, as long as you're at it, why not also put some before/after pictures on your flyers? That could increase your revenue in a really nice way, people are crazy about social proof!

Thanks for sharing Pete's story Neville!

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Guest Roger Williams

Neville, and Peter,

Great read! But is this for real?

1) How did you find out about Neville?

2) Why did you want to guest post? (Expected to see a "start a pressure washing business" course sale.)

3) Would this work in the U.S.?

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If I were in your area, Peter. I'd give you a call for pressure washing. I have a deck that needs to be stripped of old, chipping deck-over paint. I'm completely sold on the fact that I shouldn't have to do it myself. Great job!
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Guest Michael

Peter,

Can you share the link to the Joe Polish letter?

I own a residential house cleaning business and I've struggled to find marketing that works in my area.

Google Adwords typically falls flat. Thumbtack is too price sensitive. SEO is a long game (but making progress).

From a traditional marketing point of view, I've sent out some terrible postcards in the mail and did a 5,000 flyer drop (which got me 0 phone calls). The flyers were bad, but not that bad!

I would love to try some of the methods in your post out.

Thanks,

Michael

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Guest Harsha

Peter

People get crazy about online copywriting, scaling their online biz via referrals, discounts and your post is a truly offline example and much more.

Copywriting and its benefits actually started in direct response and continued to web.

I really appriciate your hardwork and the way you handled everything. Just awesome!

All the best.

@neville thanks for posting :)

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Guest Sabita

Looks damn impressive!

I'm creating a sales page for my coaching services. My kopy skills will be tested to the most now. I'd say here, one learns the most when you do it for your own business. Should be the 1st thing to be done - at least what I've experienced so far.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

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Hey man, great post!

While I love the content, there are quite a few grammatical errors and typos I couldn't help but notice. Need a fellow copywriter to do some proofreading? Let me know.

Thanks, and keep at it!

Rob

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Guest Mark

This was a great guest post or case study thank you both. Lots of gold nuggets here and I plan to swipe them out.

I recently bought a Pressure Washer (last month) and it's true first time using I was manky dirty, shit in my eyes you name it. A lot of fun, but your hands forearms and back take a beating so your copy/benefits resonated with me.

I priced out someone to come wash the house but the cost was more than it would cost me to pick up a good machine myself.

Now I am thinking invest in 2-3 decent machines hire some folks and put them to work. I can do the marketing and keep the phone ringing following your samples and a few of my own. Insurance hmmm how much does this cost you Pete Van Straaten to have 2 million in coverage?

Brilliant stuff Noah and Pete

Thank you

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Guest xyz guy

hello Pete Van Straaten !

thanks so much for sharing your story, it's so impressive

yep, very impressive indeed :)

-Do You think that we can't adapt this business and the marketing around for other coutries, I live in France?

-How did You choose the tools for working (washing mashing, didYou started with pro tools from the begginings ?)

-I have a book from Dan Kennedy , I think it's No BS Direct Marketing , it's probably the time to read it .....

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Guest Corey

Adwords is going to rely more on building your funnel like Peter here did.

It's expensive to get people in the door, but:

- how long do they stay?

- How much do they spend?

- How many others do they bring to you?

If you have systems in place, like Peter does, your expensive cost per click (or better yet, cost per conversion) can quickly be offset with:

- upsells

- a high customer lifetime value

- referrals

- etc.

Def model (don't steal) what Peter has laid out here and make sure you target your ideal client. (Obviously home owners will be better than apartment renters)

Good luck!

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Guest Pete Van Straaten

Hey David,

One thing to add..

WHO you send it to matters a fair bit.

80% of my customers are 65+ years old and are in pretty affluent neighbourhoods.

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Guest Pete Van Straaten

So true...

Something I learned from Dan...

Good math will make up for mediocre marketing.

But the best marketing in the world won't make up for bad math.

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Guest Pete Van Straaten

Thanks Robin,

That first flyer was before I had any before and after pictures, so I just went with it haha...

Now, I always put the pictures in and list how many houses I've done in their neighbourhood, along with their testimonials...

It definitely gives it a bump.

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Guest Pete Van Straaten

1) I've been following Neville for a couple years now and I'm a Kopywriting Kourse customer

2) Neville posts awesome stuff. His Kopywriting Kourse is great. I thought the post may be interesting for his audience, hopefully get more people to buy his Kourse and get me in his good books :)

No pressure washing course for sale. Buy his course if you haven't yet.

3) I don't see why it wouldn't work in the U.S... Canada is very similar

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Guest Pete Van Straaten

Hey Michael,

Joe's letter is in his paid "Rich Cleaner" System... I don't think it's anywhere free but if you google it the course will pop up.

Personally, I don't bother with adwords because searches are quite low for where I am and with adwords your directly competing with everyone else.

What's great about offline and direct mail is you can go directly to the home owner and you show up ALONE, not with all your competitors.

I would test out a letter with a very small offer (look at popular groupons) or free offer letter, to get your foot in the door.

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Guest Pete Van Straaten

Hey Mark,

If you're serious email me at pete_vs88@me.com and I can point you in the right direction with the equipment that makes things a LOT more profitable.

My insurance is about $120 per month.

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