Small business of the week: Scott Ball, red light ticket attorney
In 2008, Scott Ball graduated from USC law school with $190k in student debt and no clear career job prospects.
Criminal defense was, in his mind, “the only area of law that [wasn’t] boring as hell” — but no firms were hiring. For several years, he “tread water” by picking up legal odd jobs, like defending friends’ DUIs.
“Cities would issue hundreds of $500+ tickets a month, and regularly send the tickets to the registered owner of the vehicle without first determining that the person driving the car was the same person,” he says. “[These were] easy cases to get dismissed.”
He launched a direct mail marketing campaign with a unique promise: If he lost a case, he’d offer a money-back guarantee; if he won, he’d charge $200-300 (~50% of the cost of the original ticket).
In his first year, Ball grossed $50k; 8 years later, he’s on track to make $675k in revenue.
Though other law firms have copied Ball’s direct mail marketing model and undercut his prices, he’s now the top-rated traffic ticket lawyer in Orange County, California. To date, he boasts a 60% dismissal rate and has saved clients $2.6m in ticket fines.
Stats at a glance:
Founder: Scott Ball, 37
Years in business: 8
Cost to launch: $2k
Funding method(s): Personal savings
1st year revenue: $50k
Current annual revenue: $675k
Current annual overhead: $200k
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