Help with our extinguisher business.

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by dmcmillan07, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. dmcmillan07

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    Oct 26, 2009
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    Hi everyone, I'll get right to a point.

    We own a fire extinguisher business. We inspect, certify, maintain and sell portable fire extinguishers.

    We are a strictly mobile business; we have no location for customers to come pick up extinguishers. Revenue comes from inspecting the fire extinguishers and tagging them, which proves that the extinguisher was inspected. The most revenue comes from when the fire extinguishers are not up to standard and must be brought back to the shop to be fixed up.

    One limitation is that, as a small company, we cannot service large businesses and restaurants, as large extinguisher companies provide larger businesses with extinguishers as well as sprinkler systems and other safety measures.

    I would like to get any advice I can on how to grow and operate the business effectively and efficiently. Inexpensive marketing techniques would be highly beneficial. Any way we can show potential clients that we are the better option would be a huge help.

    Outside of that, any general advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. seanstevens

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    Jul 27, 2009
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    Hi dmcmillan, welcome to the forum.

    Whereabouts are you located?

    If you do not feel you are ready to take on the big boys then you need to target small business owners. Search the web to find out where any trade shows will be taking place in your area. Get some leaflets printed up and attend and hand out to any relevant businesses. You can also target new start ups as they may need help to get started on the safety aspects of their business. If you are in the UK I know of a website that can help you find new start ups.
  3. Fergal

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    Nov 18, 2007
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    Welcome to Business Advice Forum dmcmillan07, thanks for posting your business questions. Please see some promotional ideas below;

    1. Keep an eye on your local newspapers for new business start ups and contact them to offer your services
    2. People often need fire extinguisher services when they move to a new building, so also watch newspapers for news of companies moving location or expanding
    3. You might consider contacting property developers and estate agents to ask them if they would recommend your business to their customers
    4. Visit new office and industrial developments and hand out your cards and flyers
    5. Attend business trade shows and exhibits. You don't even need to exhibit, you could just visit and hand out your cards to prospective customers
    6. Contact organisations that deal with new businesses and ask them if they can inform you of new businesses in your area or even recommend your services to them. You might consider organisations such as accountants, chambers of commerce, government enterprise support agencies, solicitors, etc.
    7. Could you partner with other safety companies who might recommend your services, I'm thinking of businesses like safety consultants and people who write safety statements etc.
    8. Could you promote your services through your local fire station?
    9. Are there property management companies in your area? I'm referring to businesses who manage service charges and provide property management services to apartment blocks and business locations such as industrial estates and office developments. You could try contacting them as many of them outsource the maintenance of fire safety equipment
    10. Could you partner with local security and fire alarm businesses
    Large businesses and restaurants might use a larger company for installing their systems. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they wont use a smaller company to service & maintain it, if the smaller company can provide some advantage such as a better service, a more personalised service or a lower cost solution.

    Do you provide any residential services for people who would like to have the fire extinguisher in their home maintained?

    These are just some ideas that might help you get started. Pleas post back with your thoughts and we will do our best to offer you further suggestions.
  4. Tecknowoman

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    Oct 15, 2009
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    I guess I am going to ask similar thing to Sean can you give me more information on what you already do and where you are located? How big, what area you service?

    One quick way to get "expert" status and be in people's minds is to post FAQ and SAQ short videos linking back to your website. You'd be amazed if in Australia how hard it is to find useful, relevant Australian content about where to locate, fire extinguisher use, etc.

    Never underestimate your ability to sell your service to big business. We are only an SME but we have 6 clinics around Australia and NZ (ah this is in my GM day job I am currently stepping out of) in big office blocks where the sprinkler etc are taken care of by the building but the fire extinguishers are ours - so we would choose someone like you who we could build a relationship with, trust and feel like we got great customer care from over a big business any day.

    Avoid placing limits upon your success especially since so far in my experience things can't be done because nobody's ever tried!

    The more info you can give us the more we can give you.

    OMG I have to stop doing this - just another thought do you sign your customers up to an email newsletter/follow-up where you can send them useful fire consideration/location/training/check content?

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