Problems of the
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HAULIER and CARRIER THERE can be no doubt that a smart and wellkept vehicle and an equally smart driver are valuable means for advertising a haulier's business. That so many machines and drivers are the reverse of well kept and smart is not in any sense of the word a refutation of this argument. Indeed, it may be taken as a proof.
Most poorly maintained vehicles arrive at that state because their owners are not efficient business men and nre not in a position to give good service. They obtain work by cutting rates. Because they cut rates they have not sufficient margin to enable them to pay for the prioner maintenance of their business, or to take care that the driver is always smart. Even if the driver be actually the owner that does not affect the truth of this matter. It is price-cutting, with its attendant lack of profit, that makes him unable to afford the essentials of smart appearance.
The Value of a Smart Vehicle.
There is, indeed, a whole lesson in this one small aspect of the subject that I am discussing. A smart vehicle, well turned out, is emblematic of that efficient custom-earning service which enables a man to compete successfully without reducing rates below a profitable minimum.
The next point that should have attention at the bands of the haulier who is either starting a business or reorganizing an existing one, is the notepaper and bill headings that he uses. It is a great mistake to use cheap paper with ill-designed and poorly printed headings. The difference in cost between a good notepaper with a well-designed heading and cheap material is small, especially if the period over which the expenditure is spread be taken into consideration.
Even if the cheap paper costs only 10s. per 1,000 sheets and the good-class paper with a neat heading costs four times that amount, the difference (30s.) is expended only once every 18 months or two years, in the case of a man in a small way of business, and the advertisement value of an attractive notepaper heading is much more than the actual amount involved.
In connection with the notepaper the question of name occurs and the need for choosing an attractive B44
title for the concern, to which matter I have already referred.
It is a good idea to make use df a simple and easily remembered slogan. What that slogan should be depends upon the type of work. Nothing fancy or intricate need be thought out for this purpose. Such terms as "Prompt deliveries," " Safe transit" and "Heavy loads for long distances" are examples of suitable t;logans. It is as well, however, to make sure that a local competitor is not using the one selected.
A camera is a useful adjunct to a haulage business, especially where a haulier is likely on occasion to have to handle unusual loads or to do business in connection with an event of topical, even if local, interest. The conveyance of an unusual item of furniture for a forthcoming production at the local theatre ; a special load for the local agricultural show ; an unwieldy piece of goods carried in connection with some local building operations or for the installation of new machinery for a local enterprise, are all potential photographic studies which are.usually acceptable to the editor of the local newspaper.
They are good publicity for the haulier, if the editor publishes them. I know a man in Brighton whose name seems to be always in the Sussex newspapera for the reason that whenever he carries out an unusual job (and that Is frequently) he takes a good "live," newsy photograph and sends it to the local journals. The consequence is that nearly everyone in Sussex is aware of the fact that this'po.rticular man is well experienced in the handling of unusual jobs and, in consequence, whenever anything of the kind occurs his name is the first to come to mind.
All the foregoing are easy and inexpensive ways of achieving publicity. Really they cost nothing. It is the duty of every haulier to keep his vehicle in good condition. He will reap the benefit of that in its improved running, apart from all else. He must have notepaper, whilst the use of a camera can be made a hobby.
The first thing that will come to the mind of the reader in connection with selecting methods of publicity will be advertising in the local Press and I will, therefore, deal with that first. The principal question is : What is the value of this advertising to the haulier?
The answer is that this largely depends on the class ce work he is doing.
To appreciate the value of Press advertising it is essential to bear in mind that advertising rates are based on circulation. If, therefore, the subject of the advertisement be something for which every reader is a potential buyer or user, the advertiser receives his full money's worth. If, on the other hand, the subject of the advertisement be a commodity which not one reader in 1,000 would be likely to want, the advertiser is getting only 1-1,000th of the value of the money he expends.
Economics of Local Press Advertising.
Even that simple explanation does not, perhaps, put the matter perfectly clearly, and an even better way of considering it from the point of view of the haulier is to set the cost of the advertisement and the probable. number of readers likely, to be interested in that advertisement against the cost of communicating direct by post.
Suppose that the number of readers of the local newspapers is 5,000 and that the cost of the advertisement is £.2 10s. DI that case the cost of reaching each , reader, assuming for the sake of argument that every one actually sees the advertisement, is approximately If all readers were potential buyers of the goods advertised, that would be an inexpensive way of bringing them to their attention. In the case of the haulier, with parcels to carry, it may possibly be that one in 10 of those readers is a potential customer. Therefore, supposing that every one of the possible customers sees the advertisement, the cost per person is lie_ In that case it might be worth while to make that advertisement permanent, provided that the total revenue from the business justifies an expenditure of at least £2 10s. per week on advertisement.
Will One Reader in 500 be Interested ?
In most cases, however, the number of readers of a local paper likely to become customers of the average haulier is not one in 100. It may be an exaggeration to assume that even one in 500 is a potential customer. Then the wisdom of advertising in the local journal becomes doubtful. It means that £2 10s. has to be expended in order to chance catching the eye of 10 readers. The cost of reaching each one would then be 5s., and as it is likely that half of them would miss the advertisement the real cost of reaching each reader of the advertisement who matters would be 10s.
If there be only 10 potential customers, obviously there is no point in spending money on this form of Press advertising. The haulier can get into touch direct witil :Pall his potential customers. Thai is the case in connection with such haulage business as the conveyance of road-making materials, building materials, beet, hops and the like. Readers' interest In the subject of the advertisemeat is the key to the value of that particular advertisement.
While on this subject I may mention an interesting scheme which one parcels-carrying and general goods haulier has adopted in ccrnnection with his local newspaper. Each week he writes an interesting little paragraph relating to his business, to the goods he carries, to something he has done in the past week, or to something that he is going to do in the following week and persuades the editor to put it (as an advertisement) at the foot of a news column. He finds it paying.
I have taken, in the foregoing calculation, a figure of £2 10s. as the cost of an advertisement, and that may strike the haulier as being rather a large sum. Perhaps it is in some ways. It would not be excessive in the ease of a man owning upwards of half a dozen vehicles, because it would be worth that sum merely if it kept his name consistently before possible customers.
In the case of a smaller haulier, who has the same object in view, he may be able to achieve it by means of a suitably 'worded single-column announcement about 1 in. deep. The cost of that would be a few shillings, and if there were a sufficient percentage of readers who were likely to be customers, it would be worth while.
Most hauliers are engaged in a business that lends itself to direct canvassing of customers either by letter or by personal visits. In some cases this may well be supplemented by the above-named small advertisement, but often the direct appeal Is sufficient. I will deal with that in a few words in the next article. S.T.R.
(To be continued.)