Episode 14: Bandit SignsSep 21, 2022
Welcome Back to the Discount Property Investor Podcast Episode 14! Thank you for sharing some time with us today. Today the hosts discuss the use of Bandit Signs. Are Bandit signs really worth your time?
The APP mentioned in the podcast to track someone else putting up your bandit signs is called “Simple Crew”.
Check out our Tool Kit to see David & Mike’s Secret Weapons:
David: Hey guys welcome back, this is the Discount property investor podcast, your host David Dodge and Mike Slane, we definitely want to encourage everybody to check out the Discount property investor website that we have just put up, we have all of the shows on the website; there is show notes on there as well. So we have lots of good links in there, and as always check out the freewholesalecourse.com. We actually just added some more content to that recently. We plan to continue to add content to that as well so we are going to keep growing, and adding value and putting out more and more stuff on — the freewholesalecourse.com.
Mike: Absolutely, you mentioned the website; I wanted to talk a little bit about that to. All the show notes are in there as well and — if you are listening to us in audio we also have all of our podcasts recorded in video as well. So if you wanted to see us — you can look at our smiling faces online, on YouTube or the link David mentioned, the links are on the website as well, so you can check out Discountpropertyinvestorpodcast.com.
David: What is our discussion today man?
Mike: Today we are going to be talking about bandit signs.
David: Bandit signs.
Mike: Yes sir.
David: I love me some bandit signs.
Mike: So first of let’s start real basic. What is a bandit sign Dave?
Dave: A bandit sign is a sign that just says you have a product or a service that you are looking to sell and you — leave it somewhere, hence the word bandit.
Mike: Pretty much, yeah. So that is the issue and why they are called bandit signs is because they are not necessarily allowed in every [00:02:11.16 – inaudible] so you are going to want to check [00:02:12.16 – inaudible] check the rules that are out there a lot. In some of them you can put them up in the weekends as long as you pull them down after — things like that, we are not going to encourage anyone to break the law. But again, this is a pretty common way that wholesalers are finding deals. I know here in St Louis, we see bandit signs for all sorts of things. I see — queen plush, so like a mattress, someone is selling mattresses. The — we buy houses obviously, we buy diabetic test strips, and what else do you see out there?
David: The test strip ones are becoming more and more popular that’s for sure. I also see ones for — home health care, like elderly health care. Then like during tax season I see bandit signs all over for — get your taxes done, or — a lot of — there is a couple of companies around town that — they will help you get benefits.
Mike: Oh yeah I think I saw that.
David: Like, call now and we will get you — monthly paid or they will help subsidies your housing. Anyway, the moral of the story here is anybody can use them. I also see a lot during the fall, leaf removal.
Mike: Oh yeah, there is tons of those.
David: They will put them up for lawn care.
Mike: Here is a few examples that we have, this is one is white with red lettering.
David: Just says we buy houses with our phone number on it.
Mike: — phone number right underneath it. Another one we use is black and yellow. So yellow and white are pretty much the traditional signs. They are easy to get printed on, you just want to make sure you have a colour that contrasts pretty well. Here is another one that we have done. You can see white and blue —
David: So these signs for people that are listening, they just say we buy houses with our phone number. It is very basic, very simple. You got to think when people see these signs — they – are not going to have a ton of time to jot down all the information on the sign, so you don’t want to put a website, then an e-mail — you just want to give them a phone number and tell them that you buy houses.
Mike: Then they are — so we can go into it quite a bit, so what part first, we will focus on that. So it is just a sign, traditionally it is white or yellow corrugated plastic. So they are plastic and they hold up in the rain pretty well. If there is a little bit of weather conditions. I didn’t wanna get ahead —
David: Pretty durable, I have seen signs that have been up for months and months as a time.
Mike: I had one for over a year.
David: No way.
Mike: Yeah there is this spot — about 15 signs on the pole — they last for a really long time, and the key is — make sure that you write in colours that don’t fade. So — one thing, that’s something I learned is on the white signs I used red permanent marker, and the sun fades them, in a couple of weeks they’re dead. So if you leave them out there they are definitely not going to stay as long.
David: That’s a good point.
Mike: Anyways that’s pro tips. Let’s talk about where you can find bandit signs.
David: Yeah, there are a lot of places online that you can buy them. When I first started out, I think I went on like e-bay and I bought — signs that didn’t have any ink on there, I was writing them with a marker.
Mike: That’s how I started.
David: Not the cheapest route but — it’s also very time consuming to do that to 100, 200 or even 1000 signs depending on how many you buy.
David: So at this point, I have gone to signs on the cheap to buy mine. Again, there is lots of different places that you can get them, but signs on the cheap is actually my favorite place. Not only are they really cost effective, they are all going to be pretty reasonable when you get up into a decent quantity like 150 to 200 signs, they are going to be the same cost, but they just had quick shipping, sometimes free shipping.
Mike: That’s huge. I was just going to say, shipping is one of the things that gets really expensive.
David: Not always, but sometimes they will have a promotion and offer that. They are just fast; if you order them usually you have them within a week. Some companies, they may say, we will have them to you in two to three weeks and — the quality has always been great. You can design on their website what you want. They have — I don’t even know the exact number, but let’s say 30 – 40 templates roughly — if you don’t like any of those templates you can design your own. Or you can use one of their templates and modify it. Which is super cool — so that is the kind of place I like to use. I recommend people check it out — actually in our show notes, we will be happy to throw a link up there.
Mike: Absolutely, on the website we will have the link and the show notes will have the link, pretty much everywhere. We also have a relationship with dirt cheap signs and — I used to use them a lot. If you mention discount property investor podcast when you call, they will give you 5% off. But again, shop around and figure out which ones are best for you.
David: Yeah, absolutely. It may depend on your needs to, if you are not in a big hurry and you can find them cheaper elsewhere that is totally understandable, we at the discount property investor prefer and currently use signs on the cheap. That is our kind of go to — but if you are on a budget I think Mike mentioned this — I think maybe episode 2 or 3 but, if you are on a budget, you can make bandit signs out of cardboard. You don’t necessarily need to have these nice corrugated signs. What does a sign cost Mike? I know there is definitely different —
Mike: If you are an amazon prime user, you got plenty of cardboard sitting around —
David: That is so true. I know there is a difference between number of colors as well as one sided or two sided. We just use one sided signs right?
Mike: Always use one sided, the reason for that is — it is not as big an issue now for us, but the sun, if you use two sided signs — and you put it out there and the sun is hitting it, you can’t read it very well. So I —
David: Because the ink on the backside is bleeding through.
Mike: We never do two sided signs anymore.
David: If you are putting it up on a telephone pole, what is the purpose of paying for extra ink on the back that no one is going to see, there is a piece of wood behind it.
Mike: So the average cost I think — I figure the average cost after shipping including stakes and everything, I think we spent about $2 a sign.
David: With the metal stakes.
Mike: But I order a third —
David: Because we are going to put them up on poles.
Mike: Exactly, so — if I order 600 signs, maybe 200 stakes as well. What I am saying there, because a lot of them we are going to put up high on the telephone poles. So — what to do then? Let’s talk about that. We are talking about how we put them out there –. When I used to be more active doing the signs myself, now we obviously have someone helping us with that. I always like to go with a partner. So we would go on Friday or — Thursday or Friday nights and we usually go late at night. There are a couple of reasons why, one is traffic. There is usually less traffic around 1 in the morning. And two is, it is not visible. Now — I have other people do the exact opposite, just do it in the middle of broad daylight just because it’s easier and they don’t want to get hit by a car so. It is kind of up to you. But we would go Thursday or Friday night, we go in partners because — when you are out there driving around at different intersections, it takes a lot of time and effort to — park the car, get out of the car, go grab your signs, put it in the ground and go back to the car, get another sign — so it is very time consuming. Or it can be if you don’t ha
ve a system down, and with two people you can really fly through it. So reach out to another wholesaler I would say and — tag team. It makes it a lot more fun to be totally honest to. When you got somebody else out there doing what you’re doing and — trying to get some deals together.
David: Yeah, if you have a partner, just another investor — there are — you can hire people on Craigslist to go and place the signs — there is an app, but I can’t remember the name of it? Can you remember the name of it?
Mike: Oh — no I don’t remember that one. Great app to track where people put the signs for you.
David: We will put it in the show notes but there is an app — the reason that we recommend the app is if you are doing it yourself you don’t need it necessarily. It is kind of a cool little thing, but if you are paying somebody, the app will allow them to take a photo of each sign that they place, and it geo locates that photo. So it actually generates a map and it puts pins in the map of all the places that there is a sign. You can click on each pin and see a photo of that sign. So you can use it to confirm that you paid somebody — X amount of money and X amount of signs to go do it and they did it. Versus throw them in the dumpster and take your money.
Mike: So — yeah let’s step it back a notch for kind of the newbies starting out doing it themselves, — so where to put them out then? I would say — get out there in your city, you got to kind of know — you got to know your roads. So I would pick some busier intersections and I would put them at all four corners, as well as on telephone poles. So you are going to get a sign stapler or something as simple as a hammer and some nails and just put them up pretty high and — staple them to the telephone poles. So how many are you going to put out? I think if you get out about 50 — in a week you are doing really good, because like I said, they do take a little bit of time to put out there.
David: Now, let me back up Mike, I was — thinking about something else here, I wasn’t giving you my full attention I do apologize. So you want to put them at intersections — on telephone poles right?
Mike: Yeah, if there is telephone poles in the intersection or around the intersection
absolutely, put them up.
David: Wouldn’t you think it would be a good idea to get them as high as possible?
David: Just so people can’t rip them down. What about like — entrance or exit ramps of highways?
Mike: Also great. I see a lot of them there. It’s anywhere where the traffic comes to a stop.
David: That’s what I was getting at, so like an entrance ramp really isn’t going to be very valuable because the cars are speeding up right there, they are not sitting. But an exit ramp, you can get it down near the intersection —
Mike: Much more valuable.
David: To where they get off the highway and they are sitting at stoplight for 45 seconds before they would turn or go straight or whatever the case is. That’s sign sitting right there.
Mike: They have got the time to take a — look at it.
David: Or just any road that the traffic isn’t moving more than 30 or 40 miles per hours.
Mike: Yeah, that could be ok to. I would say roads with stop lights more — so then.
David: Going to be better when they stop because they can read the sign and write the number down.
Mike: If they are going 40 miles per hour they are probably going to have to drive past it three or four times before they are going to actually —
David: That brings up another good point there to, whenever you are selecting the phone number to put on these signs, try to get a number that maybe as some repeaters in it — or some zeros in, something that is going to be a little bit easier to remember than just one that has a completely random —
Mike: Yeah, definitely helpful. I would say the most important thing is to get a clean phone number or — what I mean by that is something that is a GOOGLE voice number because if they are illegal in your area you are most likely to get code enforcement or the local police calling you asking you to take the signs down. So you definitely want something that is not necessarily traceable back to you in case you put out too many and start getting some — phone calls like that.
David: Right absolutely.
Mike: So I think we have —
David: You can track it to.
Mike: That’s important.
David: Versus just having one number with all of your different types of marketing going to, it’s not a bad idea at all to have different numbers for different types of marketing. They can all forward to the same number — so you don’t have to have 30 different numbers that you are answering, you can just have one. But that way you can go into your systems down the road and say, ok hey I got this many bandit sign calls last week and this many calls from letter and this many calls from postcards and so on and so forth. So — GOOGLE voice is definitely great, again because we don’t want you to break the law; we are definitely not encouraging you to do that. But if you for example go out and place some signs unknowing that those signs may be against the code in that area — and they start blowing you up and offering to — telling you they are going to fine you. We recommend going back and taking the signs down.
Mike: Yeah —
David: But if you put up 200 signs, it is going to pretty much be impossible to go and find every one of those — again so we recommend you take them down in the event that you did something you weren’t supposed to — but at the same time — worst case scenario if it got to that point you could just change the number, or delete that number so. Bandit signs are great though folks, we definitely recommend them, especially if you are getting started, great way to generate leads, some of our best deals have been from bandit signs. I just closed a deal —
Mike: That was just what I was looking for —
David: A week and a half ago —
Mike: I was looking through our system here to find a good story on bandit signs. But if you can remember one off the top of your head —
David: So closed a week and a half ago — I don’t want to name the address or the —
Mike: Oh no, no, no.
David: It was in south county here in St Louis and the individual called off a bandit sign and went out and took pictures of the home — and I made her an offer and — we negotiated back and forth for probably about a month — so definitely wasn’t a super quick transaction. But I would call her every four or five days, and eventually we kind of met somewhere in the middle, closer to my number than hers. But — it was a win, win thought because —
Mike: What were the numbers with this? Do you remember what she was originally asking?
David: Absolutely. Let me see her, I think she was originally asking — about 155,000 for the property.
Mike: What did you think it was worth?
David: The property was worth probably around 190 to 200 but it needed 20 grand worth or work. She was asking — 155 in that range. My offer was 130. So it wasn’t like super low, but it was 20,000 less than what she was asking. We met at 137, is where we met. Then we sold the deal like three days later for 145. So after closing costs it was about 7. But it was a bandit sign lead. People always say, I hate bandit signs — they don’t work. Well — this is proof, we use them.
Mike: They do work; it is a little bit of work for sure. Especially getting out early mornings like I used to do and putting them out. But yeah, they definitely worked so — there is a $7000 success. We were just looking at the number of signs we put out in the last six months and — I think total cost we were around — number of signs was like 1000 so it cost around $2000. So I mean that one deal pays for the past —
David: Yeah that one deal will pay for bandit signs for the next few months.
Mike: Few years.
David: Few years probably. But really if you look at it that way — at this point we don’t have to be out there ourselves doing it, we can hire people to do it and so on and so forth. So definitely encourage bandit signs folks, they are definitely a great way to — get your message out, you buy houses, we buy houses, put your number out there. Don’t over complicate it — the stakes you can buy — like Mike said, usually buys about a third — of the stakes as he does signs, the reason for that is — we only put a third of the signs into the ground. So the stakes a just little pieces of metal that go in the bottom of the sign and they go in the dirt. We prefer to put out signs up on telephone poles — because they tend to last a little bit longer and most of the telephone poles that we are locating and using are at intersections. Again for people sitting in their car, where they have the ability to — read your message and actually write down the number or pick up their phone and call it in real time.
Mike: Obviously we do use both, and if you are going to go with the stakes, there is the two types, the 1H stake — and that is really small, what’s going to happen is you are going to put half of it in the ground and half of it in the sign. So your sign is almost sitting in the ground. So if there is any snow or grass growing, they might not even be able to read the bottom of your sign.
David: Or if it’s in a ravine, the road isn’t flat.
Mike: So I never buy those signs anymore, I always buy the taller ones. A little bit more expensive — but absolutely —
David: You get more visibility.
Mike: Got to get it off the ground.
David: What is the purpose of putting a sign out if no one is going to see it?
Mike: Exactly. Important point there.
David: Real quick, just to touch on it, how would you recommend people putting the signs on telephone poles? Because — a lot of people that are new to bandit signs or real estate investing and generating leads via bandit signs — they may not know. So when I first started out doing bandit signs on telephone poles. I literally went and bought a hammer and nails. Then I progressed to — a little short like three step ladder, get the up a little higher. Now — we have — we have a tool that we bought online. It is called the bandit sign hammer. People online are — I am seeing all over now that are making them at home, going up to the hardware store —
Mike: Three years ago there was a video — probably one of my most popular videos. Back on Slane properties. I think it’s maybe 40 bucks worth of materials, and that is including the $30 wall stapler. Like a hammer stapler. You can actually put it together with — some three inch pvc pipe and — the hammer stapler and a door jam — the transition piece in a door jam. You put it together and it allows you to throw the sign in that thing — and then get it up really high and tack it up to the poke — to the light pole — ten feet in the air.
David: Let’s add that to the show notes Mike.
Mike: We will add the link to that — we can add — definitely.
Mike: Yeah. So that — extremely important again — get them up high but not too high — you get people in the car — if it’s up 20ft high they are not going to see it because when they pull up next to it, it’s going to be over their field of vision.
David: That’s a good point, don’t go too high or they won’t see it. But you definitely want to get it above where somebody can reach. Because the [00:20:46.05 – inaudible] —
Mike: Exactly, if it’s easy to take down they are going to take it down.
David: Other investors — they might want to get your sign off the pole and put theirs up.
Mike: Definitely not encouraging that — there is plenty of deals out there for everyone.
Mike: So guys — I think the action item for this week — since we are talking about bandit signs we are going to encourage you guys to at least purchase them if you haven’t already. If you have, put out 50 bandit signs and see what happens. Just put them out there.
David: You are going to get calls folks, you are going to get calls. Another thing is — let’s say you put out 50 signs and you get — five or ten phone calls off those signs, hopefully more. If you don’t get a deal off of it, don’t be discouraged. You at this point have a name, a phone number and an address from that call off somebody that was at least motivated enough to call and get more information. So follow up with those people, on average our deals — they don’t happen immediately.
Mike: The money is definitely in the follow up.
David: The money is in the follow up, you got to call these people — five, seven, and ten — we have had people that we have called — 25 times.
Mike: Rewind five minutes of six minutes in this podcast and listen to Dave’s success story. He just said he called her a bunch of times.
David: It took me a month. I think I called her every three or four days and it took me over a month, so that’s ten calls every three days so — look at what it benefited. I made 7000 on that deal from a bandit sign.
David: The bandit sign didn’t do anything but just escalate his interest knowing id buy her house. What actually got the deal done was the follow up. Very cool. Well guys check us out online thediscountpropertyinvestorpodcast.com, of course we are always encouraging people the freewholesalecourse.com it’s free, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain — tons of content. We are obviously always wanted to provide value so we will be adding more stuff to that course — if you want to contact myself or Mike, [email protected], or [email protected] I think that wraps up this show on bandit signs. Mike do you want to close us out with a quote.
Mike: Sure, “keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.”
David: But get our bandit signs out there.
Mike: That’s right, but get your bandit signs out there. Alright, thanks for listening guys.