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Bonsai Marketing

Author: Lance Winslow

Site location analysis of regional service areas and planning for mobile businesses is just as important as choosing a fixed site for any business. The region must be scouted out whether you are simply adding another service unit or deciding to open an entire new marketing area. Now, assuming that you have decided to go for it and open a new territory, you must send in a scout. You must take the high tech data and then move your marketing ability in the right direction. Much like any well thought out military advancement, you need to find out what we will be dealing with, so you gather even more intelligence. Here are some of the information you must need to know. Lets assume you are in a automotive mobile maintenance business for this discussion, each type of business might have different parameters, but this will help you in your development of your own plan. First you must know where your customers are, you need to scout and locate;

Retail Areas

Office Parks

Large Industrial Areas

Major Employers

Upper Middle Class Areas

Retail centers provide a good source of income. Typically, such centers contain:

Insurance Offices

Bakeries

Hair Salons

Travel Agencies

Deli's

These are among some of the good clients for a mobile automotive business. Another major benefit of working in retail centers is that you will get lots of walk-up customers and hand out lots of business cards. You couldn't ask for better exposure, nor could a small business buy any better advertising.

Multi tenant office parks and complexes are also great because of the high density of business consumers. Most people who work are too busy to do things themselves. Since they are gainfully employed, you know they have the money. Once you do the service on their cars, others will see you out of their office windows. Next thing you know, you are flush with new customers and potentially every car in the parking lot. It is also very easy to take orders when walking door to door, since each door is only a few yards apart. (High density = High profit when it comes to office complexes.)

Major employers are also great because one company will have 100-2500 employees. One company might represent one day's work per week. These companies also have company pool cars. Large companies usually have company vehicles as well. The competition, the fixed auto businesses, also do their home work when doing site analysis and map out their greatest clientele. They too are interested in return on investment and they have a lot to lose if they are wrong. They usually hire professional car wash consultants who look at the following criteria:

Demographics

Correct Zoning

Lot Size

Visibility

Traffic Count

Traffic Speed

Ingress And Egress

Adjacent Surroundings

Existing Site Plans

Space For Repair or service work

Competition (Three Mile Radius)

Car Values In The Area

In their demographic studies they look for:

Population Of Area

Home Owners Versus Renters

Age Of Population

Number Of Vehicles

Average Driving Time

They constantly worry about what competition was there first and how strong the competition’s customer base is. They look at the competition’s image. Is it a well kept facility, clean plant, well running equipment, good management and a modern building?

They try to make their business convenient. But the fixed auto businesses can never be as convenient as mobile because they can’t move it around. Therefore, they rely on location, location, location. Obviously, they can’t compete with a mobile business; After all, we have every location any time we want it. Needless to say, areas around car washes are usually great areas in which to wash cars and it is so much fun to take their market share. It’s easy too. No Prisoners.

Industrial areas are very important as well. There you will find distribution companies, small trucking companies and the bulk of your fleet accounts. The easiest way to find an industrial area is to follow a freeway or railroad track. Industrial areas are where you will find cement trucks, tractors and various loading equipment.

Many cities will have other bonuses such as:

Airports

Bus Terminals

Harbors

Train Depots

Military Bases

College Campuses

Large Government Buildings

These areas will require special sales letters and are also high profit centers. You would be well advised to consider these areas target markets as well. When scouting an area, it is important to gather lots of information and receive help from as many places as possible. Just because you run a mobile business instead of a fixed site business is no reason not to do your homework and scout out the areas.

By Lance WinslowPENDTAG ...