Borrowing a page from the Realtors' marketing book, remodeler Steve Rehder generates leads by way of those ubiquitous “Take One” boxes often posted in front of homes for sale. Only in his case, the boxes contain six-page, four-color marketing brochures for Rehder Construction, Los Gatos, Calif., and are posted in front of homes the company is currently remodeling.

“We get a lot of interest,” Rehder says, noting that one recent project alone led to four appointments for his $1.5 million company. He says he bought several of the watertight boxes from a local sign maker, paying about $25 apiece, then stuffs each with 25 or 30 brochures, along with a few dozen of his business cards. “They fly out,” he says.

Not only do Rehder's clients approve of this unusual marketing method, but “they call and tell me to refill the boxes when they're empty,” he says.

Rehder markets his company in more conventional ways as well, including a Web site ( and a strong referral business. And he sometimes distributes his brochures by stacking them on suppliers' counters. But he doesn't mail them. “They're quite large and elaborate, on nice heavy paper,” he says. Striking when prospects' interest is hot — when they're in front of an active project — seems more cost-effective.

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