A card deck service that targets owners of homes valued at more than $500,000 has returned solid leads for Washington, D.C.–area remodelers.

RSVP card decks package 3½-by-5½-inch direct mail postcards promoting a variety of products and services via a four-color photo and a call to action on the flip side.

RSVP ( www.rsvppublications.com), the company used by Hassle Free Home Improvements and Odell Contracting Co., has 77 franchises nationwide.

“It has paid for itself,” says Tom Redding of Odell Contracting, McLean, Va. In fact, Redding is cutting back because he can't keep up with response. After an initial $5,000 test mailing, Redding invested $30,000 for six mailings to 50,000 homes each time, over a year. “I could tell from the caliber of the people and the projects that it was doing what I needed it to do,” Redding says.

Mickey Taff of the 2-year-old Hassle Free Home Improvements of Clarksburg, Md., advertised in the same card deck. He received a dozen calls from 100,000 cards mailed, and he's investing another $8,000 in a second mailing. He has a $50,000 bathroom remodel on the books from the mailing, and other jobs pending.

Card decks, such as those offered by RSVP, can be used to tap upscale clients. Hassle Free Home Improvements and Odell Contracting Co. have both had success with the campaigns. “We're a good medium to reach a specific part of the market,” says Nate Jackson of RSVP. Nate Jackson, owner of the D.C.–area RSVP franchise, says cost varies, but you can spend about 6 cents per 100,000 cards for a one-time distribution, or $6,000. The closely guarded demographic is the top 20% of upper-income population.

Jackson says while some recipients throw the cards away, others clearly read them. Advertisers are promised exclusivity, with Redding billed as an additions contractor, Taff the bathroom remodeler, and a third firm in the deck in the design/build category.