In this episode, Dave and Mike Discuss the power of Bandit Signs and explain what they are, how they are used to generate leads, where to buy them, and where you should put them. We get into the how, where, why, when, and what, and basically talk all things about bandit sign marketing. This is a great episode to explain the easiest way to start marking for motivated sellers if you are new to wholesaling or even if you are a seasoned investor. The name of the game is consistency.
David: Alright guys, welcome back to the Discount Property Investor podcast. I am your host David Dodge, co-host Mike Slane.
Mike: Hey guys thanks for joining us.
David: Hey Mike, how are we doing today? Good morning.
Mike: Dave, good morning. I am doing great. I actually haven't had my coffee, but I am all jacked up on Monster.
David: Want to share mine?
Mike: All jacked up on Monster energy drink, so I'm good.
David: Got some Monster, I love it. Well hey guys, thanks for joining us today. Today's episode is going to be on bandit signs. Me and Mike's company uses bandit signs, probably not as much as we should. However in the last week we got about 500 of them out, maybe a little less, about 450 of them in a weeks’ time. Which is a great week.
Mike: It's kind of funny because-- we used to rely pretty heavily on bandit signs, and we just stopped. I don't know if we got lazy or what. We had kind of a guy that was putting them out for us pretty regularly. He got tired of doing it I guess, and just stopped. We were hunting for people to help us put them out. Neither one of us would get off our lazy butts and do it. But we were using other people, relying on other people. We just couldn't find anyone that was willing to put them out consistently for us.
Mike: So that's true, our business, we had used them a lot in the past, kind of fell off, was not using them as much, didn't have as many leads coming in from it. It really was a weakness, so we upped out bandit sign game.
David: We did, we upped it a lot.
Mike: Yeah, so we have got-- it was pretty simple too, Dave. You took the initiative and put a post on--
David: Facebook, man. It's all I did, I put it on Facebook and I said, 'anyone looking to make $200-300 in a day, hard worker, 6-10 hour day, but you can get paid cash.' The ad was kind of simple because I wanted them to reach out. When they reached out I just said, "Yeah I am willing to pay $2 a sign." Which is a little high, I even bonused them if they got 100 out in a weeks’ time. I told them I would give them $2.50 a sign. So you do a 100 of them, that's $250. You do 200 of them that's $500, you 50 of them that's $100. So just depending on the number is the way we did it.
Mike: Right so I guess before I was posting on Craigslist trying to find people. It wasn't working, so for whatever reason, Facebook, the fact you know the person--
David: What is a bandit sign? Yeah it did and it helped me connect with them for free. What is a bandit sign, Mike?
Mike: A bandit sign is pretty simple. It is just a sign that says, again it's your marketing message with your phone number on it that you post on the side of the road. Essentially-- the reason it's called a bandit sign, or the reason we refer to them as bandit signs is because you're like a bandit. It's not necessarily supposed to be there, it's kind of Guerilla marketing. You go out and slap a sign up on a-- light poke, or you get the stakes and stick them in the ground. Dave has shown us some great examples here.
David: If you're watching the video you can see I am holding up various signs. If you are just listening, Mike is explaining it to you. Exactly, they are just cheap little corrugated plastic signs. They come in various sizes, colors, shapes probably even. You can have them pre-printed with your info on them, or you can just create your own. We are going to show you guys both today. This is probably the fourth or fifth example we got. I think we got one more that we have used as well, or I have got from--
Mike: Again, that's-- people will ask you which color is the best for the bandit sign. Do you buy the yellow signs or the white signs? Do you put black witting on it or red witting on it? So again that is what Dave was just showing everybody. There is a whole bunch of different variations on it. We test them and put up tons of them, I have put up thousands of bandit signs over the time we have been together, I mean thousands. I think over the last week you said we put up 500.
David: The guy-- when I placed this order recently it was over a thousand. We don't often spend that much at a time, but we did on this one, this newest order. One of the customer service reps-- we buy at Signs On the Cheap? I think it's SignsOnTheCheap.com is where we buy them. But there are tons of places. Go on line and type bandit sign. You can find tons of sights that sell them. But anyway he pinged me, or he called me up and just said, hey someone just notified me that you spent over a thousand, I can give you a really good discount if you guys intend to spend over $10'000. I said I don't know if we are going to spend over $10,000 a year, but if that's the only market you are doing in your market, I can easily see how you would spend over $10,000 a year on bandit signs no problem at all. But I still got that special--
Mike: I was going to say, depending on the discount--
David: Hey man I am probably going to spend 7 or 8, not 10 but I would love to get the discount, what can you do for me?
Mike: I'd spend 10 no worries.
David: He said he can cut me down 25% or something.
Mike: We will do it next month.
David: There are plenty of places online to find them. Now let's talk about how we do it, Mike. Basically we buy them; you can buy them two different ways. Obviously different shapes, different colors, different sizes. You can buy pre-printed signs like the ones I am holding in my hand right here. Or you can buy-- and we typically don't buy double sided; you can buy double sided signs. We typically don’t, why don't we buy double sided, Mike?
Mike: Two reasons. One it is more expensive to print on both sides of the sign. So again, there is a cost factor involved. The second reason is, when you put the sign out, you throw it up on-- in the middle of an intersection or whatever on a sunny day, you can see through the signs.
David: That's such a great point, Mike?
Mike: -- plastic and can see through it. You can't read either side as well. So again, you may be able to market both directions of that intersection, but it is so much harder to see.
David: So much harder to see, the sun bleeds right through.
Mike: We are going into the spring or the summer now, again the sun just beats them up. One sided signs are the best, cost and again you can actually read them.
David: Yeah they're cheaper and-- I didn't know they did this; here is signs we just bought. Right now-- this is going to change-- time of year and a couple of other factors. Right now they have a six week cue is the right word. From the time that you order to the time it even hits production, then they mail it a couple of days later. You are looking at 6,7 or even 8 weeks right now, because this is high season. It's late April right now when we are recording this. So-- the printed signs is what I’m getting at; they take a long time. But you can buy these blank signs, and I didn't even know they did this until this last order but-- one side white, one side yellow which is the stupidest thing. If you did both sides yellow or both sides-- I guess white would be cheapest, but if you did yellow--
Mike: Dude that is crazy.
David: It's stupid; I don't even know why they would waste their time with it. Long story short we buy these because we can get them quick. I ordered these signs maybe seven of eight days ago at most, so maybe a week’s time to get here-- from order to actually receiving it. Again, as Mike said; two ways we put these signs in the ground or out. One we use these metal stakes right here. These metal stakes basically go into the sign, in the middle of the sign. So there is little holes in here, if you line them up-- so for those people that are listening and not watching, I am just placing the stake in the sign, you do both sides and step on it, and you stick it right in the ground. The other way that we use these signs is-- as Mike stated, on telephone poles. You basically take a hammer and a roofer’s nail. Mike, we found these roofer’s nails that are made of metal and are way better than the other kind that are cheaper. They are kind of hard to find actually.
Mike: They are.
David: The roofers nails.
Mike: The roofer nail with a metal cap is-- it was a challenge to find, but again; Lowe's and Home Depot stores didn't have them. So we went to Manards and found-- there they are.
David: Steel cap masonary. One and a half inch, these are the best ones we have used.
Mike: Okay so why? Why do you want--?
David: You don't want them to be any longer than that, let's say that. It's not going to do much after an inch and a half. Anything shorter than that you are risking the nail coming out. That's why we use that length, we use the steel cap ones because once they're in-- I wish I had something to nail it into right now. Once they're in, the sign and the telephone pole-- the metal helps support the sign and hold it tight up against it, plastic seems to break if it gets windy. It holds the sign up in outdoor conditions, windy conditions, rainy conditions. It just stops the phone from falling off the pole; sturdy.
Mike: Stops the sign from falling off the pole, and it also makes it very hard for someone else to knock it off the pole.
David: That's a good point too.
Mike: Somebody actually physically has to go up there and cut it down. So the steel cap again, protects your sign, stops it from being taken down quickly or easily by your competitors or something else.
David: All you need is either a hammer and nails; we just bought a 50lb box of these nails because they are hard to find. I recommend going on Manards.com and just typing in the skew-- look at the picture I put up. But a hammer and nails is one way to do it, stakes is the other way to do it. I have seen people use zip ties, but it is hard to find big enough zip ties.
Mike: Or you can zip tie two zip ties together and stuff.
David: Or five or nine, but then it's a pain-- it's more work. This is the easiest way. One thing we also have, this is just a regular hammer obviously. But there is another product we have used in the past called bandit sign hammer, we actually own three of them; none of them are in our office today for this recording.
Mike: We can't endorse it, because last time we tried to order one we had a little issue.
David: Yeah that's a great point. The customer service wasn't the best, sorry guys. We are not going to endorse that product, but there are other types of hammers out there, not just that website for example. Type bandit sign hammer into Google, basically it's a hammer on a pole, the pole is maybe three feet, three and a half feet long, made of pvc, then on top it's a big piece of steel. The way that they did it was brilliant. So it's got these little metal hooks on it that you can put your nails in on both sides, you can do two nails. Then on the other size it just has hammers. So you can put your sigh on the pole, then go up to a telephone pole, however tall you are plus arm length plus four feet. So you can get these signs off the ground nine, ten, eleven feet which is great, because it prevents them from coming down, or basically you can use a hand stapler too.
Mike: I just Googled something because I knew it was my more popular videos when I first started. It looks like a post I posted in October 2013. So I just Googled real quick, bandit sign stapler. On the second one on there, it's how to make a bandit sign stapler. So this is kind of a very cheap way, basically we took a pvc pipe, throw a hammer stapler into it.
David: Those hammer staplers are fun.
Mike: They are cool.
David: I like playing with those things.
Mike: So again, it's another way-- it doesn't keep the signs up there as well. So again, I would pump four or five staples into it if you are going to do it that way.
David: That's a good point.
Mike: But it's a very inexpensive way--
David: You need to use multiple staples though.
Mike: -- to create a bandit sign hammer that is going to get them up much higher. So again, just Google it, if you find the Slane Properties one, that was one of my first videos out there. Lot of ways to do it. We recommend the nails though.
David: The nails are the best. Get them high up on the pole, because as Mike said, some people's job is to go take these things down.
Mike: Your competitors, there are a lot of people who have a scarcity mind set, and they are going take other people's down, deface yours. It's just the name of the game unfortunately. We don't endorse it, we don't do it. But you are going to get that. Get them up high so people can't mess with them.
David: Yep, you guys it guys. So whenever you are ordering these signs, they come in multiple shapes and sizes, I am not so sure about shapes but sizes. An easy way to maximize your cost is to do this. So by blank signs, again they are going to come faster in the mail, you can get white, you can get yellow, it doesn't really matter, but get the-- what size is this, Mike?
Mike: 18, I think it’s 24x30, or 18x30.
David: 18x24 maybe? Or it could be 30 but it doesn't matter. Get the larger signs. Then what you can do is you can cut these signs in half like I am going to do here.
Mike: We didn't have our straight blade, so it is a lot of easier if you just put it on a table. Because they are ridged or corrugated--
David: Corrugated, yep.
Mike: -- you can fold the line straight down.
David: Will look cleaner than my little cut, but it doesn't matter guys.
Mike: Super easy to snip in half.
David: Super simple. Now you have-- you basically doubled your sign.
Mike: What! He just made two signs out of one.
David: Two signs out of one, you--
Mike: It's kind of funny how simple stuff like that-- saves you have your money right there, just doubled your marketing bang for your buck.
David: Also if you think about it too, if you put a sign this way, this would be vertical I guess versus horizontal. You have less of a risk of wind catching it. It is not going to be sticking out from your telephone poke quite as much. One at the bottom and one at the top with your nails, or you can use stakes, you can use stakes this way, you can use stakes that way. I guess you have to go one way.
Mike: Depends what you order.
David: Depends how you cut it. But this is how simple this is guys. You just write something like, 'We buy houses'. Then you just put your phone number really large, '314.555.5555' or even make it on two different lines. That's it, that's all there is to it. Simple, you don't need to over think it. Maybe try and get a bit marker, the biggest marker you can possibly find. Maybe put the phone number on three different areas so it's larger. The larger the better, this is actually pretty small, I did it quickly.
Mike: You want to use as much of the sign as you can, with as few words as possible. You want people to be able to see these from the road, they are going to be a minimum of 30ft away from the sign. So you want to make it real big so people can see what you have written on the sign. There you go, that's looking better, that's looking better, Dave.
David: My handwriting is pretty bad.
Mike: This is good air time we have filled here.
David: Something like that.
David: Simple guys don't over think it. But that way you can have two nails in it, it’s narrower, it won’t blow off the pole as much. Basically you are doubling on your cost-- or halving your cost per sign when you do it that way. So there is really no right or wrong way to do it. That is one thing I really want to stress is that-- when I first started in this business, I had analysis paralysis with everything. That is why we created the Free Wholesale Course, guys. It takes the over thinking out of it. This business is so simple. I think the last episode we recorded was with one of our students who has six or seven deals, made 30 grand in the last three months. 30 grand-- it's funny because I didn't teach him all that much, I just guided him and said, it's simple, do this, do this, do this. Don't try and do eight things at once. Putting up bandit signs is one way to do some quick and easy marketing, gets that phone ringing, he's crushing it now, very simple.
Mike: Think what 30 grand in the next three months means to you and you life.
David: That could change everyone’s life.
Mike: 10 grand a month, I know who you're talking about; it's not a super full time thing for him at this point either. So ten grand a month is-- it's a lot of money guys.
David: It's a ton of money.
Mike: For doing something as simple as writing on some signs, throwing them out there, taking a few phone calls and flipping properties.
David: Flipping some properties. Let's talk about a few more things with bandit signs if you don't mind real quick, Mike.
Mike: Let's do it.
David: Let's talk about the legality of it.
David: So from what I-- the impression I have on bandit signs is-- they are not necessarily illegal, but they are also not really legal. It's more like it's frowned upon to put them out, especially if you are marketing for a business. If you are putting them out for a lost dog or a garage sale, I don't think it has as much of an issue-- but it is city by city. So everywhere you're at, it's going to change. With that being said, we use Google Voice for the phone numbers on there. It just prevents a lot of unnecessary--
Mike: It's called a bandit sign for a reason. They are technically-- a lot of counties don't want them up.
David: It's frowned upon. I don't think there is a law down that says you can't, maybe in some places.
Mike: Anyways, they do find people for putting them up. That's why Dave was talking about using a Google Voice number. Again, you can help yourself avoid possibly being fined--
David: Harassed and fined.
Mike: If they look up your number and they find you really quickly, again they are going to send you a fine in the mail if it is something they find--
David: In other areas-- they don't care at all. I know places in south county St Louis, where we will have bandit signs up on the side of the road-- you want to put these where people can see them if they are coming to a stop or stop. Obviously we choose intersections; we chose exit ramps of highways, basically-- even near drive thrus of restaurants if there is telephone poles in the area. Basically anytime someone is going to be in their car, stopped, they can call the number real quick or take a picture of the sign is the point. You don't want to put this on a side of a road that is going 40 miles per hour. That is a complete waste of a sign and marketing efforts, time, money, you name it. Unless someone wants to pull over, they are not going to see it. So put these in areas where-- people are going to a stop or have already stopped. But the point of my little thing here was-- there are some places in town where we will put these at exit ramps off of the highway, just outside of the city. The city workers will take the signs down, mow the grass and put the signs back up if they are on stakes, they truly don't care. They won't take them, they will put them back.
Mike: It's weird, because then there is the other half of north county where you put one up, and you will get a call ten minutes later from one of the---
David: Code enforcement people? Some people even have auto-dialers like the cities do. They will put that number on auto-dialer and it will call it every number. The reason we use Google Voice is one, we are typically not answering these calls live, because we are out putting up signs and it is hard to do both unless you have a good team. But two, Google Voice will record voice messages for you, also show you missed calls if people call and don't leave a message. But another great function with Google Voice is you can block numbers. So if you do get put on auto-dialer, just block the number.
Mike: Yep, we have done it. We have cycled through a few different Google Voice numbers every time-- you end up getting a lot of the same code enforcement numbers calling you, you block it. So basically the message on Google Voice just says this is out of service.
David: Just doesn't connect it.
Mike: Just the way it goes.
David: Bandit signs are a cheap and easy way to get started. I think it was the first thing I did when I got in this business. It is the easiest way to get marketing out. Direct mail is great but it takes time. Sometimes it can take 14 days for a mail to drop unless you pay more-- a higher class of mail. Bandit signs are great, not only can you get these delivered with print or without print, but you can buy them locally sometimes at sign shops. You may pay a little bit more than getting them from a wholesaler online-- but long story short, if you wanted to get some bandit signs out today, you could find them in your town, go buy them, write on them with a marker and get them out, it's that simple, it's that easy; you are talking a couple of bucks a sign at the most, unless you cut them in half. Maybe get them down to even less than a buck a sign. You can put them all over town.
Mike: So let's recap then. I know there are a couple of other topics we need to delve into about bandit signs as well. So we talked about where you can get them, we recommend going on line, Dirt Cheap signs, Signs on the Cheap.
David: Those are what we use. There is probably a hundred of them out there.
Mike: Go online, that is probably going to be your least expensive, even though the shipping is what crushes you. We do buy big, in bulk. The shipping is pretty darn expensive. So buy them online. We talked about writing on it, or getting them pre-printed. We talked about-- one sided or two sided, the colors. We talked about putting them out there. Again the stakes run up another buck or so.
David: Oh Fridays we didn't mention that.
Mike: Where to put them out, we put them in as Dave said, busy intersections, but you want it where traffic stops, so someone can actually see the sign, read the sign, write the number down or call you.
David: Good thing about intersections is that if you get a good busy one, you get four opportunities to put a sign out, one on ever corner of that intersection.
Mike: We talked about where, Dave was just alluding to when, so when do you put them out? Our recommendation is kind of like what we said, it's called a bandit sign for a reason. We talked about the legalities; some counties take them down very quickly. When do city workers work? Monday through Friday from 9-5. So quite frankly if you put them out on a Friday afternoon, you have got a pretty good change that they are going to stay up for a few days.
David: I would say more 10-3.
Mike: It's funny because it's a joke but it's also true. It really is funny, we got some rehab projects going and they-- the code enforcement are done, they are done at 3pm.
David: Yeah put them put on Friday afternoon, Friday evenings, because in the event you do have high code enforcement, or just a bunch of people that are not interested in these signs, that want to take them down, if you do it on a Friday you can buy yourself the weekend. It's kind of crazy; we will go out and put out 100,200 signs. Sometimes we are done putting out signs some of the signs are down, people take them down within minutes. Other times we will have signs that will stay out for three or four months. It just depends on where you're at, what part of town--
Mike: I had one I swear that was over a year. Literally the sun had faded out the writing where you can't read it anymore.
David: That's awesome. Some signs will stay up for a long time, sometimes people will take them down, cut the grass and put them back up for you; it's crazy. But I think one of the main messages here, other than how where when of the bandit signs is consistency, which is something we haven't recently been with them. We do have eight other channels of marketing too, so it's not a huge deal. If you are putting these signs out, it's best to put out maybe 20 a week for ten weeks straight, than it is to put 200 out in my opinion. Just because people will see the sign and they may or may not call it right away. If they can see that sign 2, 3, 4, 5 times, you are basically touching that person with your marketing every time they see it. The more times they see it the higher percent chance they are going to call you. Let's talk about the numbers.
David: That is a really good topic to finish up here with.
Mike: Absolutely, we kind of talked about-- we were fading off and now we have ramped back up. Dave we have had some good results recently.
David: We have yeah.
Mike: We had-- what do you think we put out about?
David: I think we put out 450, little over that number roughly in a nine day period.
Mike: Okay so call it a week we put out about 500 signs, just roughly, for easy numbers. So we look in our system and how many calls did we get? I believe it was close to 50.
David: In a week’s time, so we are going to get another set of calls this week, next week and the week after. This week it was about 50.
Mike: It was actually surprisingly a high number of calls in my brain, because I feel like we have seen so many bandit signs out there.
David: Yeah, they are everywhere.
Mike: We got a really good response rate. It is jsut that enforcement of hey, we need to keep doing this, because there are leads that are coming in from these. You are going to get other wholesalers calling, other investors calling. But again we got 50 calls. So the moral of the story is we got 50 calls, how many leads did that convert to?
David: I believe it converted to maybe 5-7 leads that we were interested in. Other people were calling-- out of the 50 calls, a couple of those people are calling saying take your signs down, or hey I got a house listed on the market right now, you interested? Well no, you got an agent working with you, you are obviously not motivated, thanks anyways. Maybe we will take their number and name and put it in our follow up system, call them in a couple of months and see if they still have the property. But for the most part, of those 50 calls we maybe had between 5-6-7 leads that were people saying, hey I got this vacant house, or I inherited a house, or getting divorced, what can you do? We would go out and set 6-7 appointments on those leads. Of those 6-7 appointments I think we got one property under contract, and 2-3 that we are in the negotiation process with. So we are talking about $1000 work of marketing, that we manually went out and hung signs up. Waited for the phones to start ringing. We got one deal that we may make $10,000 on, and 2-3 that we are in the negotiation process with,
Mike: I never like to say a deal we are going to make $10,000 on, because until it closes--
David: You don't know.
Mike: It's nice to look forward and plan out what you're expecting, but we never like to say that it is locked and loaded. I don't know, old habits die hard.
David: That's a good point. We don't know what we will make on that, but I am guessing.
Mike: Again, we have one solid one probably locked and loaded on, and several other leads in the pipeline. It's all from our recent-- I don't even know what to call it. Re-focus on putting the bandit signs out.
David: Getting back out there, hitting the streets and just getting them up. But I am pretty confident we are going to do well on that. I don't know about that ten but-- it's going to be good. The whole point is that this is a numbers game. If you put out ten signs, you are not going to get 50 calls. You got to get 500 signs out to get the 50 calls. Then of the 50 calls you are going to give 5-6 maybes, of the 5-6 you maybe get 1, you may not. But you got next week and the week after.
Mike: I guess the 500 signs also depends on how large your city is too. St Louis, we are pretty large.
David: 2.8 million.
Mike: Our city can handle that. We have talked to other students and again, there is not that many places to put them. They couldn't even get 500 out if they wanted to.
David: If you have a town of 100,000 people it is way different than a town of 2.8 million.
Mike: So consistency, that is the key. I think we talk about a lot. Consistent, persistent action. We do that, we recommend you guys do that, get out there, order some bandit signs, put some up. Just get started in doing some marketing.
David: I agree, I think it's a great way to get started, an inexpensive way to get started. It is an effective approach to getting the phone to ring. Get out there and do it guys, thanks for listening to this episode about bandit signs. Mike, you got a quotable quote?
David: Consistent persistent action. Let's use that. Keep the marketing going, if you are new to the game, this is the easiest and simplest, most cost-effective way to getting in the game. Thanks for listening guys, have a great day, bye.