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For the first time in my life, I am a homeowner, and have been for over a year now.  My house needs things.  The back pool area needs to be re-graded to keep water from forming puddles and running into the garage and foundation of the house.  We need some landscaping improvements.  The driveway is asphalt, and it’s very old and ugly.  We need help getting our lawn back from the dead.

Yes, there is Angie’s List or even Yelp.  The reviews are usually extremely helpful, and the folks I called in the past were pretty spot on.  Two of my neighbors had their driveways re-done this year.  And both times, the people doing it drove anonymous trucks with no signage.  I smiled at the workmen and wanted to approach them and ask them for a business card, but they usually scowled and turned away, too busy with the job to speak to a neighbor, who they probably thought was just there to complain about the noise or something.  So I still don’t have anyone lined up to do our driveway now or in the future.

The missed opportunity is so obvious.  What better advertisement can their be than the fact that one of the neighbors decided you were good enough to pay to do the work?  Vistaprint will create a magnetic car sign for some unbelievably low sum.  You don’t even have to keep it on your car, just put it on when you are going to the worksite.

I am a bookkeeper on the side, and there is simply no way I can impress neighbors, because the work I do is invisible to them, and also a little bit private.  So my type of work is not really cut out for the magnetic sign.  But contractors, landscapers, repairmen – if you don’t have an ad on your truck, you are shooting yourself in the foot marketing-wise.

I have seen trucks with signs driving around, but I don’t know if they’re any good.  After all, they’re out driving instead of doing a job on my block, so how can I be sure they’re any good?

Yes, online reviews are probably the single most powerful determinant of your future success.  If you get a bunch of one star reviews, it’s time to go into a different line of work.  But if you get four stars out of five, and you did a nice job on my neighbor’s driveway, I want to call you!  How can I, if I don’t know who you are?