By Joseph F. Schuler Jr.. Paul Sullivan has come up with a convenient way to spot houses needing work and then solicit prospects with postcard mailers. Sullivan, of The Sullivan Co. and maintenance repair company DOMO Inc. in Newton Highlands, Mass., has equipped his DOMO crew with microcassette recorders. He hopes that, left in the car, the devices will make it easy to note homes needing work.

"I used to keep a notepad in the car, and I'd end up scribbling down stuff I couldn't read," Sullivan says. "The tape recorder makes it that much easier. They won't get into accidents, and we'll get better details."

At the end of each week, office employees transcribe the addresses, log them into DOMO's lead tracking system, and send them postcards advertising DOMO's services.

Photo: Charlie Brown

Jerry Campbell of DOMO Inc. records addresses of houses in need of repair.

The leads will prompt more targeted marketing than blanket ZIP code and income-based mailings. Sullivan figures his $300 investment in the recorders and tapes will pay off with the first job. He says he won't tell homeowners what's wrong with their house but simply offer DOMO's services. "Houses generally start at $700,000 to $800,000 and up in this market," Sullivan says, "and the biggest complaint [homeowners have] is they haven't been able to get someone to do the work."