Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why Buy A Competitor When You Can Buy The Phone Number?


A lot of fiscally healthy contractors are taking advantage the current economy to buy weaker competitors. Sometimes companies can be purchased for little more than the provision of a job for the owner and a percent of future sales from his customer list. If the owner would make a good technician or fill a need for a service manager, an acquisition might be the best approach.

On the other hand, if the company is going under, why not let it and buy the phone number as soon as it becomes available. While it varies, the average cost of buying and forwarding a phone number runs around $30 a year.

What do you get with old phone numbers?

- Calls from old business cards
- Calls from old equipment stickers
- Calls from old invoices
- Calls from old refrigerator magnets
- Calls from old marketing material
- Calls from old yellow pages


Eric McChesney of Drain Masters Plumbing in St Louis vigorously tracks all leads. He says that 30% of his yellow pages calls come from books more than two years old. I don’t even keep new yellow pages directories, but clearly a lot of people keep their old yellow pages.

For $30 a line, buy old numbers and keep them active until they cease to get calls. At one call a year, the line pays for itself.

Whenever you discover an out-of-business competitor, call the phone number to find out when the number will be available. Enter the date in your organizer and buy the number. Why buy a competitor when you can buy a number?

© 2009 Matt Michel

2 comments:

  1. Matt, do you have any tips for how to find out when people go out of business? Other than manually calling old yellow page numbers, I'm having trouble thinking of a good way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How do you buy a phone number?

    ReplyDelete