Direct mail is a good way to spread this business around, but also, if you can afford the time, you can circumvent the mailing costs by distributing the ad pieces by hand, or if you have a buddy that works with you, pay him to do it. Door to door, or car windshield.
But mailing will work as well, and you can use saturation lists
to hit specific neighborhoods carrier routes or larger areas such as zip codes/city.
Printing costs for postcards run about (for 4x6 postcards) run like this:
1000 full color both side: anywhere from 70-100 dollars.
5,000 same, no mailing, 154.00,
10,000 same, no mailing, 250.00
yep, postcard printing is a cheap direction. It's the mailing
that can run the costs up, specifically the postage. But if you use a direct mailer to mail for you then they presort the mail and bar-code it, saving money on postage and paying for the mailing service in savings.
Another form of advertising you may want to consider is door-hangers. I have an inclination, (although I am working for a postcard niche sales company), that door-hangers will be more powerful for home improvement-esque services. But still, it will take you using your time legs to hang them or purchasing the legs and time of someone else. (btw my company does doorhangers as well, but we do not advertise them on the website-- we just havent been able to enter the internet market yet due to lack man power)
We have good reports back from lawn services using direct mail campains, we havent had much business from pressure washing to have mucho supportive testimonials.