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TOPIC: Marketing

Marketing 11 months 2 weeks ago #13333

  • razoredgeknives
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So what are you guys doing to market your blade sharpening services? Here is some of what I do and the groups I am targeting. This is what I did starting up and I have gotten decent results with this (most of my business comes from local keyword searches in Google):


  • Got a website and cards
  • Listed my business on Google places (now google plus I think)
  • Put a bunch of key words on site and in my Google listing
  • Placed a free add in Craigslist
  • Made some Youtube videos (always helps)
  • Listed my business for free on Yellowpages.com

This is who I am getting ready to go after and what I'm going to do:


  • Got set up to do mobile sharpening (enclosed trailer - finally!)
  • Called around to all of the fabric shops in the area, most sharpen themselves or don't need the service (allegedly) but I am working on setting up a nice situation at a couple of the largest fabric shops around here to set up a table or "sharpening station" once every month or so on a saturday to sharpen scissors for their customers. One of them said some old guy used to do it but retired a couple of months ago and they have been having a bunch of the customers asking about it. Only problem is they said he charged $2/pair of scissors and $1/knife (I don't see how this is possible unless he did a HORRIBLE job)I told her that I couldn't do it for less than $4/pair of scissors (no knives until I get going). She said they would normally pass out some type of flyer a couple of weeks before he came. Said he stayed really busy for the 2 days every other month he came... I will keep posted
  • I will be making service calls to other businesses (restaurants, upholstery shops, boot repair shopt, orthopedic doctors offices <scissors>, alteration/sewing shops and clubs) I don't really want to go after hair salons. They are heavily serviced in the area while other ones (like what I am targeting) seem under-serviced somewhat.
  • I did call about 15-20 landscaping companies to try and rustle up business sharpening lawn mower blades, but it wasn't very successful. Small companies sharpen their own blades to try and cut costs, and the large businesses already have someone (if not an employee).
  • May set up at a vacant corner lot going into the city on Saturdays w/ a banner up "Get your knives & scissors sharpened while you run errands!!!" or something... it will take a few saturdays (as Tuffy has pointed out) for them to know you're there.
  • I have a friend who owns a gas station in a prime/busy part of town - he said I can put a 2x3' sign out front next to the road (have to get it made)
  • May decal my vehicle/trailer up... not sure yet but I found a way to do this on the cheap (for the trailer anyway). Found a place that I can get a 4'x8' corrugated plastic full color sign (of your own design) for around $50. Not bad!
  • Thought about radio advertising, but its too expensive ($1200-1500/month for a decent amount of ads on talk radio here locally)

You guys have any other tips or ideas on marketing? I am all ears... plus I want to help anyone else out there with what I have found works or does not work so you don't waste time/resources =)

I have included a list of companies that use scissors for anyone interested... just for ideas if you need them.


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Last Edit: 11 months 2 weeks ago by razoredgeknives.
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Marketing 11 months 2 weeks ago #13336

  • EamonMcGowan
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Josh,
What a great list! That is a ton of leads! :woohoo: My kid (24) has hit me up for money :S other wise my Twice as Sharp would have been on it's way this week. Your list makes me want to go after the scissor accounts real bad. ;)
I am very interested in the TAS convention you are headed to. I really wish I could attend. I have questions about scissors and would love the education! B)
This business section was a great idea!! Thanks a lot!
Eamon
The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result?
An old Irish toast, May the wind always be at your back, may you always have work and may you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows your dead. Cheers!
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Marketing 11 months 2 weeks ago #13339

  • Bobg
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I'm from a very small beach community, one barber shop and a volunteer fire department, that depends largely on the tourist trade. There are still year round residents and within 15 miles there are two other communities a bit larger.

So, my target customers are going to be the volunteer firemen, free sharpening service for their personal on the job knives, the local police department, same offer to them in hopes that this will generate some business from their home culinary knives.

Then there's the local tackle shop, hardware store, barber shop, wine shop next door to the barber shop to place advertising, and all the restaurants in the area. There's also the two thrift stores I buy knives from to sharpen and resell. There's a couple of seafood houses, charter boats, and the many hunters in the area that are getting ready for the up coming season.

I was recently told about the passing away of the man who sharpened for the restaurants in the town about 15 miles from me, Calabash NC. Maybe some of you have heard of it. Famous for it's seafood restaurants.
I'll be going there too.

I've got my business cards, magnetic door placards, big banner to display, and knife sleeves from the same place Tuffy gets his. I'm thinking I'll need some small yard signs to display at some of these locations, if the proprietors agree. Might even work out a percentage for the placement of my advertising.

Now, all I'm needing is for WE to come through in this 3rd week coming up since ordering, because nothing will be done until I have the sharpening equipment. I know how delays can pop up out of nowhere, and I hate to break my word.
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Marketing 11 months 1 week ago #13345

  • JedBowen
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What a great list. I may need to borrow an idea or two from there.

Can I add take credit cards to the list. There are many mobile credit card readers out that work off of your smart phones now. I have the PayPal one and it works great for keeping up with payments received in forms of cash, check and credit card., You can generate invoices, and send receipts through email or text. Plus they do not charge monthly fees and are at 0.27% per swipe.

As I am also slowly trying to build up my sharpening business and pay for things as I go and have the money for it. I have a small generator that I will use for what ever kind of scissor sharpener I may get or lighting etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I have been looking at the 4x8 closed in trailer too with heat and A/C. But I just got the sharpening gig at our local fancy restaurant yesterday. The owner/Head Chef asked me to come by and see what I can do for some knive.
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Marketing 11 months 1 week ago #13349

  • mark76
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One thing that springs to my mind is the free ad space Google gives away. Nearly every it/related magazine where I live contains a voucher for EUR 50 free of Google ad space. If you read some of them, that amounts to quite a lot of ads.

And since sharpening is a local business, flyers, posters, ... And most importantly: word of mouth.
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Marketing 11 months 1 week ago #13353

  • limpy88
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I have no intention of making this a business to support my self9. I just want to buy my knifes and sharpening products, but I do need some marketing for this. This is what i have done.

I have 3 of the 6 marketing items.

I made cards on the home printer with the help of avery paper products.

I made a face book page.

I do have a few videos on youtube.

I did post a Craigslist add.

The face book page is free and easy to manage on a android phone. Lets you constantly update where you will be. And post pictures of your latest sharpening efforts.
Last Edit: 11 months 1 week ago by limpy88.
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Marketing 11 months 1 week ago #13359

  • DanMaloon
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This is a great topic. Is there anyway to restrict this to business owners? I see there's 9 members and 600+ guests on right now. I don't really want to be sharing business ideas with the casual sharpener that does it for change on the side. No offensive but i don't want to give out a roadmap of everything I've done just so someone can do the samething in a fraction of the time and undercut me
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Marketing 11 months 1 week ago #13364

  • JedBowen
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I do agree with Dan on trying to make a business only section for members. But how will this be verified? Also how many WEPS are out there to open this specialized type of sharpening business? I do understand trying to protect valuable trade secrets and keeping people from underbidding our businesses.
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Marketing 11 months 1 week ago #13366

  • limpy88
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DanMaloon wrote:
This is a great topic. Is there anyway to restrict this to business owners? I see there's 9 members and 600+ guests on right now. I don't really want to be sharing business ideas with the casual sharpener that does it for change on the side. No offensive but i don't want to give out a roadmap of everything I've done just so someone can do the samething in a fraction of the time and undercut me

I wouldn't see hiding this necessary. Marketing in today's world is on so many ppl minds, that it can be easily researched. The small one man shops of any service or product need marketing. though this site give specific info, any person can go to the library or surf the Internet and find what we will say here that is knife specific. Also it varys quite a bit regionally what type of marketing u do. Being in the Indianapolis area, yahts and fish markets and river side restaurants dont exist. While some ppl cater to those industries specifically. unless you feel your neighbor is going to take your business, I dont see it as an issue.
Last Edit: 11 months 1 week ago by limpy88.
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Marketing 11 months 1 week ago #13447

  • razoredgeknives
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Well, after making about 15-20 phone calls to all of the fabric stores in my area, I managed to get two leads... 1 with Hancock Fabrics and the other with Joann Stores (just opened up here in Greenville).

I stopped by Hancocks and talked to the manager there. She said that the "old guy" who used to sharpen all of their scissors just retired a few months back and they have been having a lot of customers ask about getting their scissors sharpened. She said that they would normally pass out a flyer of his about two weeks before he came and set up, and when he came, he would be busy for 2 days (every other month) straight. I asked if she had one of his old flyers and she did... INSANELY cheap prices - I can't imagine that he did a good job. $1.00 per knife, $1.50 for regular scissors, and $2.00 for plinking scissors. I told her I can't go that low but could offer scissors at $4/pair and knives at the same (no serrated on site until I can have my trailer there). We also discussed the settup... I am going to bring a table along and put it in the middle of the store for the first time or two, then I will transition (more than likely) to working out in the parking lot from my trailer (that way I will have greater freedom of equipment. She thought that was a good idea. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that I have to fill out paperwork because, basically I will sharpen the scissors and the customer will pay Hancock fabrics, who will then in turn cut me a check. I didn't verify yet if they want to take a cut out but will next week before I proceed further. Seems like it should be a nice gig!

She did say that he screwed some people's knives up from improper sharpening... so that is good for me =)

Joann Stores said she will check with her district manager and get back with me... seems real hopeful. I will keep you guys posted!
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