Marketing on a budget: Decorator edition

10 ways to get more work FAST…. for under £50

1.Social media – FREE

There are loads of things you can do on social media to get some new enquiries.

My favourites are:

  • Go into your local Facebook groups and do a quick post saying you have some availability coming up. Some groups won’t let you do this, but some will. So, it’s worth going for it.
  • Set up a Facebook business page. If you haven’t already got one, then get it sorted! You never know who might be snooping on your profile. If they don’t know you’re a decorator, they aren’t going to hire you!
  • Get on platforms you don’t currently use. Whilst I think it’s a good idea to focus most of your time on the platform that gives you the best results, I also think you should have a presence on all the major social media sites. This includes, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.  

2. Facebook ads – From £2

Running an ad campaign on Facebook can be a great way to generate some enquiries, FAST!

You can reach thousands of people for as little as £2.

Personally, I would suggest you try a 7 day campaign with a £5 per day spend cap. (Total spend £35).

These have proven most effective for me.

Ads don’t have to be complicated. A simple before and after photo of a previous job will catch people’s attention.

Then use the text on the post to encourage people to either message you for a free quote or visit your website.

The only other thing you need to do is pick your audience.

Think about your ideal customer. Are they male or female? How old are they? Where do they live?

Answer these three questions based on your experience and you’re all set.

3. Leaflets – From £10 per 1,000

Printing leaflets is so quick and easy nowadays it has got to be worth a go.

I have heard loads of stories from decorators who did a leaflet drop and ended up with customers for life.

Use a local printer if you can, if not, Vistaprint can produce a few thousand leaflets and send them to you in a matter of days.

To distribute them, you can either pay a local company, use the Royal Mail door to door service, or simply do it yourself.

It’s a good idea to always keep some leaflets in the van. Then whenever you have 5 minutes spare on a job, you can run up and down the street posting your leaflets.

Afterall, if you’re already working in that street, chances are there are other good customers living nearby!

4. Local paper / parish magazines – From £30 per month

Placing an advert in a local magazine can be a great way to increase enquiries. Think about your target customer. Without stereotyping too much, older people often like to use local magazines and newspapers to find trades people. If this is your typical customer then it will pay for you to have a listing.

5. Get in touch with other local decorators – FREE

The community amongst decorators is unlike any other. If you are struggling for work, don’t be afraid to reach out to a local decorator and see if they could use an extra pair of hands.

A week as a subby is better than a week sat at home doing nothing.

Plus, you might form a relationship that will have unforeseen benefits.

6. Magnetic signs for your van – From £50

Photo credit: https://www.discountdisplays.co.uk/

I’m a big advocate for signwriting your van. Even if you spent £500 on signwriting, if you kept it on your van for 3 years, it works out as just £13.89 per month.

That’s about as cheap as advertising can get!

However, if you don’t have the money to go all out on the signwriting, then you can get magnetic signs printed very cheaply nowadays.

This is a great option if you want a quick bit of advertising.

Plus, if you are concerned about thieves breaking into your van, the fact you can easily remove magnetic signs means it’s a bit safer.

7. Build a relationship with your local decorator merchant – FREE

Once you get to know the staff there you might start getting referrals from them. They might even let you leave a stack of your business cards on the counter!

8. Contact local schools and colleges – FREE

This is especially fruitful just before the holidays. Often lots of decorators will get drafted in to complete a load of work over the holidays. Make sure you are on their radar!

9. Email marketing – FREE

You don’t have to get all technical with email marketing for it to be effective.

Writing a simple email to all your previous customers saying you are now taking bookings could be enough to get you a few jobs.

If you get your head down, you could email all your contacts in a morning.

10. Contact your local lettings agent – FREE

Lettings agents and estate agents always need work doing. Drop in and introduce yourself. If you are a decent all round handyman then you will find lots of work available with them. You might start by tightening up the odd handle or nailing down a loose floorboard and before you know it, you’re doing all the decorating work they have available.


Marketing works best when you combine multiple tactics.

Try doing several things from this list all at once for maximum effect.

Heck, do all 10 at once if you can! You’d basically be a local celebrity by the end of the week. And almost guaranteed to get some work.

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