Top Pro Interview: “Bark is the Holy Grail – a lead producing system that works!”

Brian Wilcock always wanted to be a professional photographer. But, for much of his life, fate led him down a different path.

He was inspired to enter the charity sector when his son became disabled, and spent 12 years working for the learning disabilities charity, Mencap. So it wasn’t until 2005 that he finally had the opportunity to fulfil his lifetime ambition and become a full time wedding photographer.

Today, his company Imagination Creative is one of the most popular wedding photography services on Bark – and he’s booked over £17,000 in new business in his first eight months with us.

“I have booked 17 jobs worth a total of £17,237”

Brian first discovered Bark in February this year. Although he was initially wary because of bad experiences with lead generation companies in the past, he eventually decided to give us a try.

“When I realised that Bark had a different system that involved detailed information for individual clients I decided to give it a go,” he explains. “I’m certainly glad I did.”

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Brian Wilcock at a wedding photography job he booked through Bark! 

He adds: “At the time of writing I have booked and collected deposits for 17 jobs worth a total of £17,237.”

When he secured his first job through Bark, Brian was pleased our service had succeeded where so many others fail.

Having worked in sales most of his adult life, he says he can appreciate the value of a system that finds genuine customers looking for your services.

“It was refreshing and encouraging to feel that I may finally have found a viable source of lead production,” he explains. “I think my favourite thing about Bark is the quality of the information received for each potential client.

“As the requests are obviously completed by the client individually, it tends to be more accurate than other agencies I have tried.”

Brian currently still uses traditional methods to find new photography clients. But, if his current rate of success continues, he says he can foresee a time when Bark becomes his sole source of business leads.

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A bride and groom stare into each other’s eyes – photo by Imagination Creative

As such, he highly recommends Bark to any wedding photographer who might be thinking about giving us a try.

“Any established photographer will have tried a number of ways to find that Holy Grail – a lead producing system that works,” he says. “My advice would be to forget all the failed methods you’ve tried in the past and give Bark a try, because this one actually does work and you won’t regret it.”

Start hearing about customers in your area today, free

Bark is fast becoming the UK’s leading platform for businesses seeking new clients in a wide range of industries – from photographers to personal trainers, tradespeople and more.

With over 600 different categories to choose from, businesses of all shapes and sizes can find new customers quickly and easily with our service.

Join our network of 80,000+ registered businesses today and we’ll start alerting you to new customers completely free of charge – so you can see firsthand how easy it can be to secure new business with Bark.

Click the link below now to claim your free Bark account and start growing your business with Bark right away.

Start growing your business with Bark today

 

Why wedding photographers love Bark

The best wedding photographers are masters of networking. They know the key to success is to be constantly meeting new people who might want to do business with you.

When you get down to it, the traditional avenues photographers use to grow their business online – blogs, SEO, social media and the like – are all types of networking. But, much like networking in real life, they can be time consuming. You can introduce yourself to dozens of new people without meeting a single potential customer.

That’s what’s different about Bark – we’re a more efficient way to market your services online. By ensuring that everyone you speak to is actively looking for the services you provide, we’re helping thousands of independent British photographers grow their businesses quickly and easily online.

“Bark.com has given me the opportunity to compete with the established photographers out there,” says Bark wedding photographer, Moritz Schmittat. “A year ago, I had a different job – now I am a full-time photographer.”

Bark helps another happy couple capture their special day on film – photo by Moritz Schmittat
Bark helps another happy couple capture their special day
on film – photo by Moritz Schmittat

“Bark users can compare my quality, customer service and pricing side-by-side with industry veterans,” he adds. “This has made it possible for me to set up a sustainable photography business within weeks after joining Bark.”

We invest heavily in online advertising campaigns to find brides and wedding planners throughout the UK – something that’s simply not an option for most independent photographers. Customers looking for wedding photography visit our site and let us know what they want, and we contact quality pros in their area on their behalf.

We’ve alerted Moritz to more than 200 customers since he joined the service in early 2015 – and he’s secured 20 wedding bookings through us in the first five months of 2016 alone.

Moritz isn’t alone, either. Photographers across the country are enjoying huge success with our service – like Adam van Bunnens, who’s been alerted to over 600 potential new customers since he joined the service in September 2015.

“I love Bark, it’s sleek and professional and great [for] Google ranking,” he says. “It is what the industry has been crying out for.”

“Using Bark is a unique, refreshing way to interact with clients and give them the photographs they desire for their special day,” he adds. “The experience is very rewarding.”

Kissing the bride by moonlight – photo by Moritz Schmittat
Kissing the bride by moonlight – photo by Moritz Schmittat

“Bark has indeed helped my business a lot,” agrees Laine Apine Photography’s Kristīne Pētersone. “I have many great quality leads coming in my mailbox – unlike some other services I have used where the budgets are almost always unrealistically low and the leads are scarce.”

So that everyone can test out our service and see how well it can work for their wedding photography business, we ensure our new pros can always contact their first three clients on us. That means joining Mortiz, Adam and Kristine today couldn’t be easier:

Simply click here and open a free account right away.

Bark has grown rapidly since our founders Kai Feller and Andrew Michael started it in late 2014. Over 60,000 small businesses up and down the country are already registered with us and helping regular people find everything from window cleaners to legal representation.

“We wanted to create a resource you can use to find local professionals for absolutely anything,” Kai explains. “That’s the vision, really – helping people find wedding photographers is just one part of it.”

He continues: “As a photographer, we’ll alert you to customers we find in your local area completely free of charge. When you see someone you’d like to help, it’s then just a small one-off fee to introduce yourself to them, and everything you make is yours to keep.”

Wedding photography has proved to be one of our most popular categories, with more people turning to us every day to find the perfect pro to capture their special day.

As such, we’re always looking for new pros to keep up with this rapidly growing demand, and if you think Bark could work for your business we’d love to welcome you on board.

We’ll alert you to potential clients completely free of charge, so you can pick and choose the ones that work best for you. We don’t take any commission, and there’s no obligation to continue using our service after you’ve used your three complimentary introductions.

So there really is nothing to lose – and potentially everything to gain.

Click here to open your FREE account and start growing your business with Bark today.

Transform your small garden with these creative landscaping hacks

When the sun is shining everyone should be able to enjoy basking in their own back yard – whether it’s a vast country manor, a compact city garden, or even just a small concrete area.

No matter how small your garden is, we want help you transform it into your own little strip of paradise for the summer.

So we met with one of our top gardening pros, Harrison Gardens founder Julian Harrison-Jones, to run through four creative ideas to liven up even the tiniest city garden.

Garden hack #1: Wall pallets

Liven up your garden with wall-mounted pallets
Liven up your small garden with stylish wall-mounted pallets

When you’re short on garden space, the key is to start thinking vertically. One classic space saving trick is to plant things in wall-mounted pallets.

This technique has become so popular in recent years, you’ll even see it used on building sites to make them look more attractive – and they’re something Julian and his team often use to liven up small gardens.

“We’ve done that quite a few times. It’s great for space, and it looks really good,” he says. “You start it horizontal and you plant everything. Then you leave it for three weeks to establish before you lift it because, obviously, you have to wait for the roots to establish before you do.”

“There are offshoots of that,” he adds. “You can have pots attached to the wall. But if you want things actually growing from the pallet, which I think looks the best, you want it horizontal first.”

Garden hack #2: Climbing plants

Another great space saving technique is to make the most of the edges of your garden using climbing plants. Boundary walls and fences that are covered with climbers will blend into their surroundings, making the garden seem bigger.

“Climbing plants are a good solution as well, you know – clematis, honeysuckle, whatever it may be. You could have a vine. You could have wisteria,” Julian explains. “But think vertical really, if you want to be saving space.”

Plants like these are relatively quick-growing compared to specimen shrubs, which means they’re also ideal for disguising things you’d rather not look at.

Garden hack #3: Tree stump features

Many people view old tree stumps as eyesores that need to be removed. But this can be expensive and, Julian argues, seeing them as a positive can help you create really interesting garden features.

“When tree surgeons take down a tree, they don’t usually take the stump,” he explains. “Another creative solution is to make a feature of that stump. You can hollow it out and make it a bed for woodland-type plants.”

Garden hack #4: Raised beds

Harrison Gardens installing a raised bed
A raised bed will make a great addition to almost any garden

Last but not least, raised beds have long been popular among serious gardeners.

They’re a great way of growing a wide range of plants, and are particularly popular for growing fruit and vegetables.

But, as Julian explains, they’re also great for small city gardens with limited space for flower beds, or very poor soil.

“In city gardens, if it’s just a paved area, then an obvious one is a raised bed,” he says. “You can use old sleepers or something and then you put the soil in, because you don’t want to dig really.”

Find a local gardening expert today

Hopefully these creative garden solutions have got you thinking about what you can do to create a garden you and your family will love spending time in this summer.

Now you’ve seen how you can turn even the tiniest outdoor space into a stylish city garden, the next step is to find the right pro to help you – and that’s where we come in!

With 3,186 registered gardening professionals, giving your garden a makeover in time for summer is easy with Bark.com. Simply click the link below to find gardening professionals in your area today.

Hire a pro to transform your small garden today.

Ask the Expert: Five essential gardening jobs to do this spring

With spring in full bloom, now is the perfect time to create the perfect space to relax with your friends and family. Getting on top of things now will make all the difference as temperatures start to rise and barbeque season gets into full swing – and that’s where Bark comes in.

To help you make the most of that neglected outside space, we asked one of our top gardening pros – Harrison Gardens founder Julian Harrison-Jones – to run you through five essential gardening jobs to do this spring.

1. Fix up your lawn

You can find hundreds of Lawn Care specialists on Bark.com
You can find hundreds of Lawn Care specialists on Bark.com

One of the main things that people think about at this time of year is Lawn Care. Weeds are coming through, the edges aren’t done and it’s starting to look overgrown.

“It’s time to start working on your lawn,” says Julian. “That means aeration, mowing, weeding and feeding. You feed the lawn twice a year, in Spring and Autumn.”

“When you’re starting to mow the lawn, because it will be the first cut of the year you should do it on a high blade,” he adds. “You’re just encouraging new, healthy growth. Don’t go crazy otherwise you’ll do damage and you might kill the lawn.”

2. Get on top of the weeding

Your lawn isn’t the only thing growing again now the winter months are behind us. Rolling up your sleeves and tackling the weeding now will mean you have a head start going into the rest of the year.

“To be honest, weeding is probably ‘number one’ because of the time of year,” says Julian. “You’ve left it over the winter, they’re coming up now and if you don’t tackle weeds now they’ll compete with shrubs and plants that you want to keep.”

“Basically, they’re all competing for nutrients and water,” he adds. “So if the weeds take over, they’ll take that away from the actual plants. As well as some weeds, like Ivy or creeping weeds, which will can strangle and kill your plants.” 

3. Choose your ‘feature’ plants

Julian planting flowers for one of his many happy clients
Julian planting flowers for one of his many happy clients

Once you’ve got the weeds under control, it’s time to think about the plants you actually want to look at.

“It’s still relatively early in the gardening year,” Julian explains. “So you can plant your ‘feature’ plants or architectural-type planting – your shrubs, the backbone of your garden.”

He adds: “If you like roses, this is the perfect time for them, as well as perineal flowers and trees.”

4. Get mulching and feeding

Mulching and feeding goes hand-in-hand with weeding and planting, but the exact type of plant food you use depends on what you’re using it for.

“It could be manure, it could be peat, it could be leaf mould or compost,” Julian explains. “If it’s roses, for example, they really like a horse manure. Whereas, in general, your shrubs prefer bark just to supress weeds and keep the heat in.

“With your lawn, it would be nitrogen. Generally, a well-balanced fertiliser containing nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in equal proportions. You can’t go too wrong with that.”

5. Repair damaged trees and fencing

Starting with storm Desmond back in December, the UK has been buffeted by a wave of severe storms over the past few months. Thankfully, the worst of it is behind us, and you can now be thinking about repairing those damaged fence panels.

“Because of the recent storms, any damage that’s been caused over the winter – fencing, staking trees – those kind of essential works can be done,” Julian explains. “That’s what took up most of January. Lots of fencing work.”

“About two weeks ago we had a job that involved a lot of staking and getting everything back into shape,” he adds. “You should have two large stakes either side of the tree, which should be tied together firmly, then the tree tied to that.”

Find a local gardening expert today

With thousands of registered gardening professionals, giving your garden a makeover in time for summer is easy with Bark.com.

Whether you’re fixing the fence, clearing away those pesky weeds, or planning a full-blown garden renovation, we can help. Simply click the link below to find gardening professionals in your area today.