we-buy-houses bandit sign

Marketing Monday: I’ve Been Caught!

Scott CostelloAll, Blog 11 Comments

we-buy-houses bandit signOne of the ways I market for sellers is to put out bandit signs.  It’s not a large campaign by any means, just 25 signs every couple of weekends.  I like the idea of bandit signs because lots of potential sellers are seeing your signs.  Unlike direct mail where one letter will be seen by only one potential seller, one bandit sign could be seen by hundreds of potential sellers.

However, there are many things I don’t like about bandit signs.  One of these things came to fruition late last week when I got this voicemail message…

[audio:http://strugglinginvestor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Banit-Signs-Police.mp3|titles=Banit Signs – Police]

I’m a person who follows rules and laws.   I don’t like the constant worrying and stress the comes along with the thought of getting fined or worse.  Depending on the town, this fine could be thousands of dollars.  Sure, most investors who put out bandit signs don’t ever get fined, or just include it in there “Cost of doing business.”  I don’t like that idea.

In any event, My partner and I spent a couple of hours last Thursday and Friday trying to remember where we put our signs up so we could take them down.  This wouldn’t have been so hard if we had just put the signs up last weekend, these signs went up over a month ago!  We found 4 signs and assumed the rest of them had been pulled down some time ago.

My signs had a not easily traceable toll free number on them, but I’m sure they could find me if the police looked hard enough.  In all likely hood a cop would not waste his/her time for a few signs, even so I wasn’t going to take the chance and decided to yank my signs down in that town.

Has anyone gotten fined for having bandit signs up?  if so how much?

Scott Costello
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Comments 11

  1. I haven’t been fined, but word of mouth is another investor in my town got fined $50 for each of his signs… Fines totaled around $1,000…

    But another thing to think about is, can they prove they are your signs? Even if they traced you through your phone number… could they prove you both put signs in that city with that phone number and you authorized the creation of that phone number?

    Only way I can see they would be able to prove you did it is if they physically see you put them out.

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      You are probably correct Chris.

      I’d be interested to hear how the other investor got snagged. My coach one time put out a few signs with his cell phone number on them just to test an area. Got a call from the cops shortly after and had to run back and take down the signs.

  2. instead of bandit signs, look into buying some outdoor advertising. i ran “junior poster” for years. these aren’t the big, expensive 40 foot boards…they are maybe 6×12. i can get them in my town for $100/month. they look professional and they are legal.

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  3. Hey Scott,

    I got a call from the Bandit Sign police today! You and I must be having the same luck.

    What did I do? Wellll I called him back 🙂 I acted all sweet and nice (which was easy to do, of course lol)
    and I asked him about the real estate agent signs on the weekend? And asked if it was ok if I put my signs up from Friday to Sunday.

    It’s important to note that my bandit signs that i had up were handwritten FSBO signs for my rental property. Anyway, dude told me that as long as I had a sign on the property and my other signs in the neighborhood DIRECTED them to my property…well that was ok. Fine with me.

    So, I’m going to redo my signs for this weekend.

    Oh yeah and last week I got a call from another bandit sign police from a different area (where I live actually.) He was from the county and told me that I couldn’t have my signs on state roads. So, I called him too.

    Again, was real nice to him. He told me to just not put them on roads that have an SR on them because they are state roads, anywhere else he didn’t care. He also told me that I could go and take them down because he knows they cost a lot of money and he won’t make his guys get them.

    Ok. Fine with me. Honestly, I never went to get them, I had no idea what roads had an SR on them lol he told me how to tell, but I couldn’t see what he was talking about when I was driving around.

    1 of my signs is up still and it’s been getting me calls……so I’m assuming that ones not on a state road. it’s right in front of a grocery store. Actually, I love that location. That grocery store was the same one that I had my car parked in where I had a seller fill out my form on my website and call me because of the writing on my car that says We Buy Houses and lists my website…

    and on that 1 little wholesale deal…..I netted $15,000!!! So to say I love that grocery store parking lot would be an understatement!

  4. Busted! That’s funny. I guess it happens to everybody. We haven’t tried the bandit sign approach yet for that reason, but I’m thinking I’ll give it a whirl in some of the more “worn” neighborhoods to see if I can get away with it. I’m not planning on putting them on utility poles, so maybe they’ll fare better with the cops. Though maybe locals will just trash them, then. We’ll see.

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      Funny enough, the signs on utility poles seem to stay up the longest though. I guess because we can put them up higher so an average person can’t reach them. Apparently though it pisses off the cops sometimes.

  5. One thing I’ve learned about the summertime is that they stay up on the poles for longer because of landscapers. For example, if you’re putting them up in the lawn in front of a supermarket, wal-mart, home depot, etc., then you can plan on them coming down the next time the lawn mowers go through there.
    In my opinion, utility poles are the best place to hang ’em for that reason.
    Not to mention, the higher they are, the more visible.

  6. Greetings,
    I realize this is a few weeks late…. Since you are only putting up a small amount, try hole punching your signs and use those quick-ties for put-up/take-down. It will save you time and money as you can reuse those signs. Also like Carey PA mentioned… try to put-up on Friday and take-down on Sunday. Use a map and color-code it so you wont forget where your signs are. If you are too busy, use high school aged kids to post your signs for a small fee per posted sign($1.50 to $3.00).
    I hope this helps you and any other biz that uses this marketing approach.

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