Coupons, promo’s, discounts, and other specials all have their place in generating sales.
They can be successfully used to increase traffic, create a new customer, and help keep your business in the spotlight. There can be a very fine line between these promo’s and a bait and switch scam, and often business people utilize “situational ethics” to help them overcome an otherwise unethical or even dishonest situation.
Recently, in Florida, I picked up a “Coupon Booklet” that had “sales, deals, promo’s, coupons, special savings” and more. I rarely ever look at this type of advertising, but since I had a couple minutes, I read through it page - by – page and was shocked at the gimmicks being used in an attempt to get business. What a crazy world of advertising!
One ad read “$6.95 carpet cleaning – any size room” No I didn’t mis-type, it is six dollars and ninety five cents to carpet clean any size room. “Five rooms for only 34.75” The next page had a carpet cleaning ad that read “half price carpet cleaning only $20.00 per room” (Ok, they did mention a three room minimum!) Can any legitimate Carpet Cleaning Company even walk to their van for $60 much less $34.75? Even a one – man – and – a –van operation incurs over $100 to take his vehicle out on the road for a job.
I should also mention that both ads (different companies) had a tag line that offers 24 hour water extraction as well. It should also be mentioned here that some “contractors” are offer insurance adjusters $5 (five dollar) per air mover rental on a drying project – if the adjuster will send them all the water losses.
Here is the question you knew was coming… “Is this type of carpet cleaning promo legit and/or ethical?” Should they be run out of town, as the saying goes, or is there a way to expose them for what I think may be “situational ethics” at the very least, and possibly a true bait and switch program? Sadly, we even have contractors offering air movers to adjusters on water losses - for $5/day retail!
My opinion is that this type of advertising and the likely pressure tactics at the job, costs legitimate carpet cleaners and restoration contractors much more than some lost revenue. I think it devastates the overall credibility of the legitimate companies, making it impossible for the buying public to trust any of us.
The only part of the Coupon Book that I liked was the ninety nine cent tacos and draft beers, and the $2.49 margaritas. I guess not ALL hope is lost.
Dick Wagner is a Disaster Restoration and Commercial Marketing Consultant. 419-202-6745