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As the number of automobiles on the road increases, and as drivers are forced to spend more time in their cars and trucks commuting back and forth between home and office, the bumper sticker is becoming an item of greater visibility. The car ahead of you in traffic challenges you to "Ask About My Grandchildren," "Support Your Local Police Force," or informs you that the driver's child is an honor student at the local elementary school. While political candidates have long used the bumper sticker to proclaim their worthiness for public office, business has been slow to make use of this powerful and inexpensive form of advertising. The bumper sticker business is one that can be established with a minimum investment and can easily adjust itself to any circumstance.

Bumper stickers can either be sold to existing businesses as a method of advertising, or they can feature political, social or comic sayings that express the driver's individual feelings and sold wholesale to retail outlets. As you consider the income potential of this endeavor, your first decision will be whether you want to sell advertising stickers to businesses or if you would rather develop a line of stickers for retail sales.

If you choose to sell bumper stickers as advertising, first determine if you will line up people who are willing to "wear" the bumper stickers on their car as advertising showplaces, or if you will first line up the business owners who want to advertise in this manner. A good friend of ours started such a business several years ago, and he found it easier to sell a business owner on the new service by telling him that 100 to 200 people were all set and willing to wear his bumper sticker advertisement. An owner who knows that his message is ready to be flashed across town will be easier to convince than one who has to visualize the end result sometime down the road.

We recommend that you first establish your advertising showcase. Talk to your friends, neighbors and coworkers. Get as many of them as possible to agree to "wear" a bumper sticker. You might offer to pay them $10 for 3 months or $5 for 6 weeks. Gather a group of college students together--members of a fraternity or sorority--and offer to donate the money to their organization if each member will place one of your advertisements on his bumper for a semester.

With the inducement of money just to put a bumper sticker on their cars or trucks, you won't have too many refusals. One person we know runs an ad in his weekly shopper's newspaper advertising the fact that he pays money just for "wearing" a bumper sticker. Also, don't overlook the pulling power of all the bulletin boards in your area. It shouldn't be difficult to arrange for several hundred drivers to place a bumper sticker on their cars for a three-month time span.

Next, check with a number of printers in your area and determine the cost of having bumper stickers made to order. Generally, you should be able to get 1,000 bumper stickers for approximately $200. Whatever the cost, this initial outlay should be absorbed by your charge to the advertiser. Suppose you have 100 people lined up to "wear" one of these bumper stickers on their cars for 6 weeks.

Figure the bumper stickers will cost $100. What do you charge the advertiser? Always charge based on the circulation of the ad, like newspapers do--on a "per car" basis. If you charge $1 per car per week with 200 cars, this comes out to $200 per week, or $1,200 total over 6 weeks from the advertiser. Subtract $100 for getting the bumper stickers made and $500 as payment for the cars "wearing" the bumper stickers, and you would end up with a profit picture of $600 for those 6 weeks. And that's just from one advertisement!

In the beginning, you should be the one calling on potential advertisers and doing all the selling. Once you've got your program organized and running smoothly, your next step is a natural multiplication of your efforts. Run an ad in your local paper for commission sales people. Brief them on the basics and get them out on the street selling the concept to advertisers for you. The best time to launch a business of this kind is during the fair weather seasons or just in advance of general political elections in your area. Once established, however, the business can and should sustain itself year around.

The selling keys to this style of advertising are the same as those for any "word-of-mouth" advertising. You've got people all over town spreading the word--talking about the advertiser. These are the people who are saturating the area with the advertiser's name and message wherever they go.

This is also an ideal business for constant free publicity write- ups in your local newspapers. Your unique advertisements will draw frequent comment from folks commuting to and from their places of business or school. It's easy! It's simple! And it works!

Compared with other more traditional advertising methods, bumper sticker advertising is very low cost. One of the tricks of the trade is in using short, snappy, even humorous slogans or messages. For instance: "Anderson's Cafe--6th & Main--That's where I'm going--How about you?" Another idea is to make the lettering on the bumper stickers luminous to the headlights of the cars behind.

Neon colors and letters will also attract attention. Most important, make sure to make your lettering easy to read and the message short enough to comprehend in one glance. Potential customers are all around you. Think about it. You can start at the front of the yellow pages in your phone book and probably never run out of places ready to be sold on your plan of bumper sticker advertising. Some of the more traditional places to sell this kind of advertising include: Taverns, Newspapers, Movie Theaters, Pizza Houses, Radio & TV Stations, Sporting Goods, Flea Markets, Insurance Companies, Auto Repair Shops, Physical Fitness Clubs, Appliance Repair Trade Schools, Political Campaigns, Travel Agencies and Events Sponsors.

The important thing is to always be creative in your selling efforts. Be sure to show the prospect how his business can grow by advertising in the manner you propose. Describe how your method is more positive, more responsive and lower in cost than the more traditional advertising. For example, if the average car "wearing" one of your ads is seen by 10 drivers a day, 7 days a week for 6 weeks, that single ad has appealed to 420 people. Multiply that by 200 cars, and now 84,000 have seen the customer's ad for a low $1,200--Less than one and a half cents per contact! That is a true advertising bargain.

Remember, too, the more clever or "catchy" the message on the bumper sticker, the more it will make people talk and respond. For ideas along these lines, go back to the yellow pages of your telephone book and read all those short, crispy one-liners.

Practice writing and rewriting your ad copy before settling on the best. Make sure you have several possible choices to present to a new client. Or they may have a slogan or motto they would prefer to use. While their choice may not be the one you would choose, remember, the customer is always right!

Remember also that advertising is a form of "brainwashing," and the more people see the message, the stronger appeal it will have. Thus, when they need or are in the market for services or products offered by the advertiser, they will quickly refer to the strongest, easiest-to-recall advertising message in their minds. And that, of course, means that if the prospect sees a specific advertising message on the bumpers of the cars in front of him day after day, when he's ready to buy, that particular advertiser will be the one he will most likely patronize.

As you experience success with your bumper sticker advertising business, you can expand to include magnetic signs on the sides of cars, saddle-back designs on the rear of pickup trucks and even yard signs in residential neighborhoods. As explained in this report, line up your "method of exposure," determine your costs, and then go after the advertisers. It can be a very easy way to achieve real wealth and independence. See you at the top!



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