In 2011, Dustin DeVaughn and Richard James created a new personal injury firm in Wichita, Kansas and set out to do things differently than their former employer. As they grew, they decided to move to a higher visibility retail location that included their own outdoor advertising space. We recently spoke with them about the advantages their new office provides.
What about your old office space was holding the firm back? Poor visibility and very limited space. Our first office had 2,000 square feet and was located in an upscale suburban neighborhood area close to our houses. It was better suited for a dental office, but less than ideal for a personal injury law firm.
How long did it take you to find new space? What aspects were most important to you? It took us about six months to find the right space and location. We followed the advice of Arnie and other cj law firms and looked for a high visibility location. Rainwater, Holt & Sexton advised us several years ago to buy a huge billboard with a building attached. That advice really resonated with us, and that is exactly what we tried to do as we looked more for retail space and less for typical office space.
What are some of the most unique or exciting aspects of the new office? The most unique aspect of our office is the high visibility. We believe we have the most visible space in the entire state for a personal injury law firm. Our office sits near an interstate that has a traffic count of almost 50,000 cars per day. The majority of cars traveling from the suburbs to downtown pass our building and sign. We put over $100,000 worth of signage on our building, including a 30’ high stand-alone LED billboard. The building was originally designed for an upscale restaurant and sits on a lake, so we believe it has a nice retail feel.
Do any other personal injury firms in your area have an office like this? No one in the State of Kansas has an office like ours.
Describe your new LED signage, what you use it for, and how often you rotate it. We are very thankful to Arnie for his advice and guidance on the LED sign. We were hesitant to spend the money on the LED sign. Arnie’s advice was fantastic. He said, “Do it! Do you realize the power that weapon has and how that can separate you from your competition?” He was right. Each image is on the screen about six seconds, and we usually have 6-8 different images in rotation. We hired a local public relations agent to create the content, and we put new content up on a weekly basis. We always display the time and a two-day weather forecast. Each week, we also run positive community messages or announcements for local charities (Big Brothers/Big Sisters, United Way, and local reading programs). These ads give the commuter a reason to watch for the sign.
Do you get intakes that you can attribute to the signage and location? During the first three years at our first office, we had 3-4 “walk-in” cases during that entire period of time. We have that many walk- in cases on a weekly basis now. We had to create a new category in Needles to keep track of clients referred to us by signage.
What should other firms keep in mind when they decide to move or open an office like this? Location, location, location. Also, buy a huge billboard that happens to have a building attached to it.