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#1480773 - 07/24/10 07:26 PM Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox?
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1021
Loc: NJ
When I am out walking, I always see flyers stuck in the "flags" on the sides of mailboxes. I want to distribute flyers for private lessons in my area and it just occurred to me that it may be illegal to do that. I am sure I can't put them INSIDE the mailbox, but does anyone know if you can put them on the outside? How do you distribute your door flyers? THanks.

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#1480871 - 07/24/10 10:59 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: chasingrainbows]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7307
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
People are quite oblivious to property rights these days, and generally do what ever they want. Politicians (of course), carpet cleaners, pizza delivery, various religious groups, various groups of "do gooders," so most of us are acclimated to the continuous stream of unwanted fliers, brochures, etc.

You might consider a flier which can be stuck between the door and jamb, which is what most of these firms use, rather than hanging on mail boxes. Other than being fairly time consuming, unless you hire some young kinds to deliver them, this is fairly acceptable and you're unlikely to run into any one with a shot gun.

Another approach, which might cost you a little more money, but might be more effective and less time consuming, is to purchase a mailing list and send out post cards to prospective clients. By targeting your advertising to likely clients, you'll probably enjoy a higher success rate.

Just a thought. Good luck.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1480872 - 07/24/10 11:00 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: chasingrainbows]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
I have no idea - but does anybody have some stats as to how successful this kind of advertising is?

Such as, how many fliers did you put out, how long did it take, how much did it cost and how many students did you get out of it? Not speculation but actual rough numbers? I'm not jumping to conclusions one way or the other, just curious.

(Not to diverge from the question by the OP... maybe someone can answer this all at once?)
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#1480901 - 07/24/10 11:23 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: chasingrainbows]
saerra Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 842
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Oh no. Please don't. Really, honestly, truly - please just don't!

re: Legality - it depends on local laws in your area. Some cities have ordinances against this.

But, I can tell you, as someone who occasionally gets these (in a "no soliciting" condo complex) - I hate them, and make a point to never, ever do business with the people who leave them.

(And we have a guy on the condo board the contacts the businesses, requests that they stop, and then reports them to the police if we receive additional material from them. It seems to help.)

I know I'm going to get flak for this, but it's just such a nuisance. Half the time the flyers/letters/coupons don't stay put and end up as trash in people's yards. Even if they DO stay put, nobody wants to deal with having one more thing to pick up/handle as they are trying to get in/out of their home.

There have got to be better ways to get your name out there... mailings? website? doing stuff with the local schools?

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#1480931 - 07/25/10 12:20 AM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: danshure]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1263
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: danshure
I have no idea - but does anybody have some stats as to how successful this kind of advertising is?

Such as, how many fliers did you put out, how long did it take, how much did it cost and how many students did you get out of it? Not speculation but actual rough numbers? I'm not jumping to conclusions one way or the other, just curious.

(Not to diverge from the question by the OP... maybe someone can answer this all at once?)



I do direct mail advertising a few times a year. Since I teach mostly music & movement classes for toddlers and group piano classes for older kids, there are certain times a year when sessions begin and students enroll for new classes.

I would never go door to door and hang fliers; a waste of time and effort. I would, however, spend money instead on purchasing a mailing list. You can request a particular zip code and an age range, homeowners vs renters, income level, etc... Although there are several national companies that specialize in mailing lists, I'd search out a local company instead. There's usually a minimum cost 'per thousand' names/addresses (maybe $25 per thousand, with a $150 minimum purchase). You may honestly not even get enough names to meet your criteria, but the minimum price still stands. Then you can print fliers that look like a brochure, or perhaps send out postcards.

If you have a business bulk mail permit, you get a discount when mailing out the fliers, but there's usually a minimum of 200 or so pieces.

I have a mailing list of a few thousands names that I keep in a database. Most of these are families that I know have kids a certain age. Sometimes I do what I would call a 'blind' mailing, where I pick a neighborhood or sub-division (and have no clue who lives there) and mail out a little postcard (doesn't cost much when you print 4-up on an 8 1/2x11" cardstock). From a mailing of 500 postcards I might get 5-8 sign ups for a 12-week toddler session. And then, those kids will most likely sign up again for the next session.

Yes, it costs some money, but I look at it this way: if I get one student who signs up for piano lessons for the year, then it's basically paid for that mailing. If I get more students, then it's even better.

I realize my situation is a little different since I only teach a handful of private students and mostly group piano, but so far it's worked really well for me.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1481013 - 07/25/10 07:41 AM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: dumdumdiddle]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I'd avoid this type of advertising if possible. If you have current students, perhaps you could offer an incentive for bringing you more students. Do you have a website and a facebook business page? I get lots of hits on those items as well. Word of Mouth is the best and cheapest form of advertising!
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#1481032 - 07/25/10 09:19 AM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: Stanny]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Irenev, I think it's safe to say there would be no legal consequences to putting fliers on mailboxes. I get a lot of cheap looking photocopy ads at my door and on mailbox. It makes the person look desperate IMO.

If you do use fliers, or door hangers be sure it is high quality paper...perhaps shiny. The quality and content of the ad could outshine the impression of desperation that ads like this give.


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (07/25/10 12:45 PM)
Edit Reason: spelling
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And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
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#1481120 - 07/25/10 12:05 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"When I am out walking, I always see flyers stuck in the "flags" on the sides of mailboxes. I want to distribute flyers for private lessons in my area..."

I think your idea of acquiring students in your local area is a good example of targeting the demographic you want. And the fact is, pests and litterbugs though they are, the multitude of pizzarias and drycleaners and dog walkers who use these fliers must keep doing it because they get some business from it.

There are neighborhood throw-away papers that accept advertising, at very modest rates. Our local piano performance series accepts advertising in their programs, also for inexpensive cost, and what better example of targeted marketing could there be--- with no taint of that gum-on-your-shoe nuisance that comes with the flier under your windshield wiper, or on your doorknob, or lying soggy in the gutter, cast in annoyance where it belongs.

Making it easy for students to find you if they want you, is perhaps a better idea. There are far more affordable methods than Yellow Pages ads. The website, the professional association, the nice business card, the networking with locals like your realtor (my realtor is a champ networker) or piano/sheet music store (avoiding the entanglement of kickback arrangements), or your piano technician.

Do you think you might be up to the challenge of doing a short, regular piano education segment for your local public radio station or cable tv provider? They are always hungry for content, and it is a great way to get your name out there. A segment on public radio sponsored by you (no content needed) will work, too, and listeners appreciate these funders.

It is possible that there are student publications for a local community college or university where you could help students to find you... maybe there are those who want some tutoring in keyboard skills.

I found my piano teacher right here, by following up on a post he wrote.
_________________________
Clef


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#1481351 - 07/25/10 06:49 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: danshure]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1021
Loc: NJ
I may have misunderstood, but on another forum (yes, sometimes I do stray......), the door flyers were highly recommended as the only source of advertising for students that brought any significant results.

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#1481353 - 07/25/10 06:51 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1021
Loc: NJ
Thanks, John. PUtting them on the door knobs would be very time consuming, but probably a safer bet as far as legality is concerned. I like the mailing list suggestion, but that would cost a lot more than my delivering them to select neighborhoods.

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#1481354 - 07/25/10 06:52 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: saerra]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1021
Loc: NJ
I've posted flyers in every possible location in the past year where people go (markets, child care centers, karate centers, libraries, etc.) and have only received 3 calls and one actual student.

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#1481360 - 07/25/10 06:55 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: Stanny]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1021
Loc: NJ
Stanny, why would you avoid this type of advertising? I can't really generate word of mouth students until I get some to start with! lol. I actually offered a free lesson to start the semester, and of course, one free lesson for any referred students. I plan to create a website, but until that happens, this is something I thought might help.

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#1481363 - 07/25/10 06:58 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: Jeff Clef]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1021
Loc: NJ
Thanks, all great suggestions!

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#1481442 - 07/25/10 09:47 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: chasingrainbows]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
When I used to advertise I targeted the neighborhoods I wanted to teach in (that I knew were overflowing with kids) and did flyer drops onto doorknobs or on the outside of mailboxes. This type of advertising was *extremely* effective and I often had phone calls on the answering machine before I even got home from dropping the flyers.
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#1481941 - 07/26/10 05:34 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were starting from scratch!

Flyers might be appropriate in your general neighborhood. I would hand deliver these right to the door instead of the mailbox (unless the mailbox is attached to the house) It's also good to establish a relationship with the music teachers in the local schools and the choir directors of the churches. Don't underestimate the website and facebook page. Today's younger parents are really internet savvy!
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#1482233 - 07/27/10 03:08 AM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5422
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Jennifer Eklund
When I used to advertise I targeted the neighborhoods I wanted to teach in (that I knew were overflowing with kids) and did flyer drops onto doorknobs or on the outside of mailboxes. This type of advertising was *extremely* effective and I often had phone calls on the answering machine before I even got home from dropping the flyers.


Several years ago I did two rounds of such advertisement. Got many inquiries, and ended up with 4 students. The adult student lasted exactly one lesson. The two brothers stayed for less than 3 months, and the third kid (the dreaded Yamaha transfer student) eventually quit piano a year later when he got into the sonatinas.

You will get responses, but don't expect the best students in the world.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1482236 - 07/27/10 03:17 AM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: chasingrainbows]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5422
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Irenev
I can't really generate word of mouth students until I get some to start with!

Be patient! Wait for the economy to turn around. I'm one of the few lucky teachers in my branch of MTAC who have roughly the same number of students for the past several years. I lost some students each year, but I also gained some. The great majority of my students came via word-of-mouth referrals. Flyers and ads don't really work for me.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1482260 - 07/27/10 04:53 AM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: AZNpiano]
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
I am about to print up 500 post card sized ads. From my experiences from the last 3 years of dropping off flyers/letters door to door in neighborhoods near by, I believe my success rate is 1%. Getting just 1 student pays for the advertising in 1 month and the rest is gravy. Getting an average of 5 from this advertising alone is really good I think. I'm realistically hoping to get 15 this time around. We'll see what happens in a month's time.
In terms of putting it outside the mailbox, I used to put them right at the foot of the door, on the tables beside doors, all the places where they were sure to notice it from the rest of the flyers. I haven't heard any complaints so I never thought of it as a legal issue

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#1482393 - 07/27/10 10:53 AM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: Dark Dragon]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1263
Loc: California
Fliers or directly mailing a flier or postcard has been better for me than ads in publications. You have to be patient, though, and know that a person has to typically see something 5x before they'll respond.

If you put an ad somewhere, make sure it's a monthly publication and not the regular daily newspaper. The newspaper is too expensive and people throw it away in a day.
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Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1482421 - 07/27/10 11:42 AM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: dumdumdiddle]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3159
Loc: Virginia, USA
I wait for Saturday and stick flyers on the back of an unwary Jehovah Witness missionary.

They usually don't notice, and they go house to house all day spreading the word.

Nice people, I enjoy talking with them.
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gotta go practice

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#1482619 - 07/27/10 05:32 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: TimR]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
So Irene asked specifically about the legality of doing it, so here it is from the horses mouth (in the US of course, your country may differ, and no, local laws can not supersede the following federal law):

Quote:

3.1.3 Use for Mail

Except under 3.2.11, Newspaper Receptacle, the receptacles described in 3.1.1 may be used only for matter bearing postage. Other than as permitted by 3.2.10, Delivery of Unstamped Newspapers, or 3.2.11, no part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle. Any mailable matter not bearing postage and found as described above is subject to the same postage as would be paid if it were carried by mail.


Sounds like a resounding "no" to me. BTW 3.2.11 refers to newspaper boxes mounted under mailboxes and 3.2.10 refers to special case periodical delivery. Of course I haven't heard of the postal secret service busting any teenagers for hanging any flyers on the outside of mailboxes lately, so I assume the law is somewhat loosely enforced. But considering the flyers will have your contact info ....

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#1482966 - 07/28/10 03:30 AM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: bitWrangler]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11572
Loc: Canada
We always get flyers stuffed into our mailboxes. There are businesses that hire people to collate newspapers and stuff them into people's mailboxes. Otoh, the mailbox on the outside of houses are often not the ones in which official mail is delivered. Might that law apply only to the kind of mailboxes that are intended for the mailman?

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#1484801 - 07/30/10 05:40 PM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: bitWrangler]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3786
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: bitWrangler
So Irene asked specifically about the legality of doing it, so here it is from the horses mouth (in the US of course, your country may differ, and no, local laws can not supersede the following federal law):
Quote:

3.1.3 Use for Mail

Except under 3.2.11, Newspaper Receptacle, the receptacles described in 3.1.1 may be used only for matter bearing postage. Other than as permitted by 3.2.10, Delivery of Unstamped Newspapers, or 3.2.11, no part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle. Any mailable matter not bearing postage and found as described above is subject to the same postage as would be paid if it were carried by mail.
Sounds like a resounding "no" to me. BTW 3.2.11 refers to newspaper boxes mounted under mailboxes and 3.2.10 refers to special case periodical delivery. Of course I haven't heard of the postal secret service busting any teenagers for hanging any flyers on the outside of mailboxes lately, so I assume the law is somewhat loosely enforced. But considering the flyers will have your contact info ....
Until I read your post I, too, thought it was NO. But after reading that, I think it's a yes. I don't see anything about penalties (unless maybe you've omitted such portions of the regulations).

So, if you're caught, you have to pay the appropriate postage? That's all?

Sounds to me like a YES.

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#1485743 - 08/01/10 09:40 AM Re: Legality of putting door flyers on OUTSIDE of mailbox? [Re: MacMacMac]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
I was a letter carrier for several years. A mailbox is considered to be federal property. You can NOT use the mail box, or any part of it unless you have paid postage. You CAN use the paper box that is along side or underneath it, as long as it has a separate opening. If they share a slot, you can NOT use it.
The carriers are instructed to pick up anything they find in/on a box and return it to the station. The person responsible for the flyer can then be billed postage on all of them.
I only knew of 1-2 carriers that actually did it, but don't take the chance.
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