Business: Give Money Away?

So, here's an idea of drumming up business in this faltering economy.
This is the first time I have read a blog and of course the first post of any kind. As a 36 year old plumber I have been fired from every plumbing company I have ever worked for. All of them fired me after about a year. The reasons have all been the same, they asked my opinion about their problems and I told them the truth. It seems every company always has some sort of problems they deal with but never know the answers. The last job I had was running a new hospital project and after 9 months I was asked by management to get rid of half the plumbers and replace them with non-plumbers to drive down cost.

The short story is I said no way, it’s illegal and I want no part of it. I then said if they go over my head I will turn them in to the state dept. of health. Well, I was fired….With the economy the way it is no jobs are available. So with a family of 4 and a new house and $300 in checking I started my own plumbing company. Anyone who cares to listen here is what I have to say. Weeks went by with no customers calling and I didn’t know what to do.

We were out of money and my wife gave me a choice of getting a wal-mart type job or get out. That night I freaked out and was up all hours of the night just thinking and thinking. Then it came to me. My problem was simple, I was going about this backwards. Money is a stupid motivator, customers are the real motivator. So here is what I did. I went to a printer and had them print up a 1000 $50.00 gift cards on heavy paper stock all of them with code numbers. The next thing I did was go door to door and meet people one at a time. Ya, it was crazy at first but the people were blown away, they loved it. As of right now I am the number one plumber in a town of about 40,000 people and am looking to hire another plumber.

So whats the secret? Give people what they want. All these years I was right, most people let money motivate them and that creates poor decision making. I let the customer decide. The economy is tough so just give the customers what they want, money. People were so blown away they thought it was a joke. Think about it for a moment, have you ever heard of a business come to your door, shake your hand, and while looking in there eyes tell them you would like to earn the business and by they way here is a fifty dollar gift card that can be used anytime for any plumbing service they need.

When it’s all said and done I wished I would have done this years ago. I enjoyed the article about Mark Cuban but I think money is just a poor motivator, money is the result of good business practice. My wife by the way thought it was crazy to give $50 to everyone I meet, she was wrong, but now she is my biggest fan. That $50 is nothing when you consider a customer spends thousands during the course of a life time, not to mention they spread word of mouth business like fire. Mike my next question is how do I give out $50 gift cards for writing a bunch of posts.

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