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pete scalia
12-30-2007, 06:39 PM
I can't believe 2007 is almost history. The year just flew by!

What are your plans for 2008?

Here are mine:

1. I am going to try to focus on selling larger jobs.

2. I want to increase gross sales by at least 35%.

3. I do not know if this is possible for me, but I want to try to cut back my estimates to 3 a week, yet increase sales. And to do this I believe I need to tighten my the belt drastically on pre-qualification of prospective clients.

I met with another lighting contractor that sells a particular dollar amount of work, which is over and above what we do. And this guy only does 3 estimates a week! If he can do it, I CAN do it.

I really feel like I need to grab the bull by the horns.

What are you lighting goals for 2008?

irrig8r
12-31-2007, 01:22 PM
I really feel like I need to grab the bull by the horns.



Sounds to me like you're trying to grab the B by the S.

I'll be happy with a 15% lighting business volume increase. We'll have to see what direction the economy heads... I''m not a pessimist, just a realist.

Mike M
12-31-2007, 06:35 PM
Another website has a good post about not billing for hourly pay or for salaried wages, regardless of the ammount. Instead, they say how they changed that model and mindset, so they could be a business, reinvesting in itself and growing into a larger business.

Increasing sales "transactions" means just more customers. There is more to growth than that. How about saving labor hours, reducing the price of cost of goods sold, raising prices, selling up more product or service per customer, being innovative, etc...

pete scalia
12-31-2007, 06:55 PM
Sounds to me like you're trying to grab the B by the S.

I'll be happy with a 15% lighting business volume increase. We'll have to see what direction the economy heads... I''m not a pessimist, just a realist.

Forget it. I was gonna answer this but it's not worth it.

Mike M
12-31-2007, 07:02 PM
My personal and biz goals 2008:

stay a biz owner and never look back
double my last year's salaried income (great if I could just match, but this is my goal)
hire one full-time employee
buy into health insurance
not be nuts like I was while teaching last 12 years
improve my role in my family
really have my sheet together; organized, lowered colesterol, happy & healthy.
help my oldest kid turn herself around
help my younger kids be champs
help my wife to attain her own goals.

Mike M
12-31-2007, 07:05 PM
Forget it. I was gonna answer this but it's not worth it.

I thought the same. (sorry). Isn't the lv landscaping lighting industry growing at a faster rate than 15%? I'm curious, anyone got the numbers?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-31-2007, 08:31 PM
Forget it. I was gonna answer this but it's not worth it.

I thought the same. (sorry). Isn't the lv landscaping lighting industry growing at a faster rate than 15%? I'm curious, anyone got the numbers?

Mike... I am not sure that you can find any Industry Specific numbers for the LV outdoor lighting industry. In most economic census data there is no reference to our industry and comparative to something like "Landscaping" or even "Residential Irrigation" I would suspect we are just a blip on the radar at this point.

There is no doubt that our industry is growing and at a significant pace, I just have never been able to find any specific numbers out there. If you find some please share.

From my viewpoint, the last decade has seen consistant and significant growth each and every year. Looking at the demographics of our clients here I am bullish that the next 12 to 15 years will continue to be strong as the "boomers" continue to invest in recreational and retirement properties and 'pad the nest' of their primary residences.

Happy New Year.... I'm off to a PARRTTYY! :cool2:

irrig8r
12-31-2007, 09:07 PM
I wasn't saying the industry isn't growing... I'm figuring on a conservative growth estimate because I don't want the burdens of new hires or new equipment this year. The economy is just too uncertain...

Sustainable growth requires both planning and an ability to interpret the results of the extra effort.

For instance, is it really "growth" when you do more volume but increased expenses mean a lower net profit (as a percentage of gross)?

I'll see how things look by April and make a decision on whether to focus more on lighting and farm out some of the seasonal irrigation work.

The profit margins are a little higher in lighting, but the demand is still steadier here in irrigation...

Mike M
01-01-2008, 12:46 AM
All I can say is substantial growth is usually associated with increased risk. There is a value for steady, less risky work, however, if what you really want is growth, than you have to increase investment, time, and effort, and trying new things.

I was going to spread my risk by continuing with steady, reliable landscape services. But I'm having second thoughts, unless I hire someone else to oversee it. I love the idea of having my head decicated to just lighting.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-01-2008, 11:01 AM
Mike... My advice to you is "don't rush a good thing".

I would bet that entrprenuers score very low on any measure of patience. This can be a downfall as I found out about 15 years ago with my first forray into self employment.

Build the lighting business and your talent and reputation in that business as you continue to 'enjoy' the income that comes from landscape services. Then when the time is truly right and the right opportunity presents itself, go for the 100% lighting gig.

"Good things come to those who wait." is one of those timeless sayings. It must be repeated so often because it is true dont you think?

NightScenes
01-01-2008, 12:19 PM
My first two years as a "lighting only" company still had a few electrical jobs here and there to make ends meet. Now I sub out my electrical work that needs to be done. So you may want to use your landscaping to fill in the blanks so-to-speak until you find that you don't have time for the landscaping work.

As for this years goals, I have enjoyed an increase of over 100% each of the last 4 years in this business. My goal this year is for a 25% increase because I have reached the point where doubling my business is not practical.

I think this year is going to be the year that I learn to stream line and be more efficient which should increase my profit margin. I should have less expenses this year like the trailer and some tools but I do plan on replacing one of my trucks.

Chris J
01-01-2008, 09:14 PM
My first two years as a "lighting only" company still had a few electrical jobs here and there to make ends meet. Now I sub out my electrical work that needs to be done. So you may want to use your landscaping to fill in the blanks so-to-speak until you find that you don't have time for the landscaping work.

As for this years goals, I have enjoyed an increase of over 100% each of the last 4 years in this business. My goal this year is for a 25% increase because I have reached the point where doubling my business is not practical.

I think this year is going to be the year that I learn to stream line and be more efficient which should increase my profit margin. I should have less expenses this year like the trailer and some tools but I do plan on replacing one of my trucks.

Those numbers sound tremendous Paul! But 100% of what? Sales? Gross profit? Net Profit? Do tell! I think if I were having that kind of growth, there would be no question as to if I would increase the size of my company. I'd just start with a quality sales person first to lighten your personal load. If you're having that kind of income explosion, what's the problem with that?

NightScenes
01-01-2008, 09:33 PM
Chris, those numbers are gross sales but I have always maintained a 25% net profit margin. I just ran our numbers for this year and we were over 100% growth (gross) again this year. I just don't think that we can come close to that another year. Sooner or later things have to start leveling off. I would be very happy with a 25% increase in our gross this year.

Chris J
01-01-2008, 10:04 PM
I just don't understand your reasoning. If you have a track record of 100% growth for 4 consecutive years, what would make you think you would drop to 25% this year? I've always experienced some kind of "gain" whether it be small or huge. If your accounting is showing 100% growth consecutively, then you should capitalize on it while your market is hot. You can always track the income monthly, and let the additional labor go if need be in times of stress. Why don't you take advantage of it while it's here?
Tell you what big shot: I'll move to Texas and you can train me in your ways. As long as you continue your upward spiral, I'll work for you for a small yearly salary of 100k (this should be nothing considering you should already be doing at least 500k and 1m next year). I'll gladly take the pay cut to release myself from the headache. If it doesn't work out, I'll move back to FL. Deal?

pete scalia
01-01-2008, 10:08 PM
These percentage #'s don't mean a thing when they can't be referenced to totals for gross sales .
I've already been candid with my numbers. I've gone on the record here with them whether you believe them or not.
How about sharing yours? Nightscape? Granola? Mr. Johnson? Mr. irig8tor? others?
Just your gross sales for landscape lighting in 2007 that's all.

Somehow I feel this is not going to be answered and

You can go and get angry with your response or not respond at all which is what probably will happen . I mean the moment of truth be told, some of you guys talk a really good game and try to persuade others with your thinking which is fine. However if your doing 50K a yr or less like that guy in the article I don't think your advice holds as much weight as someone whose doing much larger business.

Chris J
01-01-2008, 10:16 PM
Pete,
Your request for bank statements are very tacky and are really not worth the response. If it will ease your pain, however, My gross sales for this year (including service) was X,XXX,XXX.XX payup

klkanders
01-01-2008, 10:22 PM
Not so fast Johnson!
How is that going to work when I was gonna make a trip to Florida and study under the best CLO in Florida......Chris J! :) If not I am going to Texas with you to study under the Master himself. Paul G (MLO) OK I better wait to see if you can stand me at the AOLP conference first. :)

pete scalia
01-01-2008, 10:26 PM
Pete,
Your request for bank statements are very tacky and are really not worth the response. If it will ease your pain, however, My gross sales for this year (including service) was X,XXX,XXX.XX payup

I figured as much. What's to hide nobody's asking for your taxable net?

klkanders
01-01-2008, 10:29 PM
Pete,
At this point in my lighting career (short) I envy the guy making 50K and doing magazine articles. If Johnson doesnt take me under his wing in Forida maybe I can hitch a ride out east and you can show me the ropes Pete. Hey a fews crumbs of that 600K sounds pretty good to me!

Chris J
01-01-2008, 10:35 PM
Not so fast Johnson!
How is that going to work when I was gonna make a trip to Florida and study under the best CLO in Florida......Chris J! :) If not I am going to Texas with you to study under the Master himself. Paul G (MLO) OK I better wait to see if you can stand me at the AOLP conference first. :)

I'm sure I can stand you Keith, the question will be if you can stand me! Now all we have to do is combine forces and convince Mr. Paul to merge!

Mike M
01-01-2008, 10:38 PM
What's to hide?

How about hiding a website or a business name? hehe. Come on Pete, who's hiding what around here?

Why not trust us? Just be yourself, let the guard down, let us appreciate you for who you really are, your experiences, mistakes & successes, etc.

You're like the wizard of oz, all tough behind the curtain.

klkanders
01-01-2008, 10:45 PM
Will the real Pete or wizard please stand up? :)
Reminds me of watching that game show as a kid. To tell the truth!

pete scalia
01-01-2008, 10:49 PM
What's to hide?

How about hiding a website or a business name? hehe. Come on Pete, who's hiding what around here?

Why not trust us? Just be yourself, let the guard down, let us appreciate you for who you really are, your experiences, mistakes & successes, etc.

You're like the wizard of oz, all tough behind the curtain.

Because I don't care to communicate or develop a relationship outside of this website with any of you for starters.
I don't wish to open myself to further redicule #2
and #3 I don't wish to be solicited at my personal contact #'s anymore than I already am in Private messages here that's why.

I exist let's keep it at that.

My personal life is just that personal.

What do you care anyway?

Haven't you benefitted from my participation at least a little bit?

Why don't you come out to LI and track me down?

Mike M
01-01-2008, 11:03 PM
Just thought it was funny that you want people to disclose gross revenue. That's as about as personal as it gets for a biz.

But you know, it wouldn't hurt if that was a part of our profiles, Pete! If they use a heading for website, business info, etc., why not have a voluntary gross sales: 0-10k, 10k-50K, 50k-100k, 100-200k, etc.

On the lawn side, they list their equipment on their tag. Gives you a good snap shot of who you are getting information from.

pete scalia
01-01-2008, 11:10 PM
Just thought it was funny that you want people to disclose gross revenue. That's as about as personal as it gets for a biz.

But you know, it wouldn't hurt if that was a part of our profiles, Pete! If they use a heading for website, business info, etc., why not have a voluntary gross sales: 0-10k, 10k-50K, 50k-100k, 100-200k, etc.

On the lawn side, they list their equipment on their tag. Gives you a good snap shot of who you are getting information from.

Gross sales are as private as it gets?
Maybe when the numbers are anemic yes as I could see how some would feel that way
If you were a public company or a franchise operation those numbers would be public information.
Again, I'm not asking for net here.

This question really seperates the wheat from the chaff.

NightScenes
01-02-2008, 12:11 AM
Tell you what big shot: I'll move to Texas and you can train me in your ways. As long as you continue your upward spiral, I'll work for you for a small yearly salary of 100k (this should be nothing considering you should already be doing at least 500k and 1m next year). I'll gladly take the pay cut to release myself from the headache. If it doesn't work out, I'll move back to FL. Deal?

Where does a response like this come from? I gave a good answer to a question and I get crap like this in response? Just so you know, I did enough this year to know that I would be a fool to expect another year of 100% growth.

Chris J
01-02-2008, 12:30 AM
Tell you what big shot: I'll move to Texas and you can train me in your ways. As long as you continue your upward spiral, I'll work for you for a small yearly salary of 100k (this should be nothing considering you should already be doing at least 500k and 1m next year). I'll gladly take the pay cut to release myself from the headache. If it doesn't work out, I'll move back to FL. Deal?

Where does a response like this come from? I gave a good answer to a question and I get crap like this in response? Just so you know, I did enough this year to know that I would be a fool to expect another year of 100% growth.

Paul? What's wrong with you tonight? I didn't mean to upset you, and I'm sorry if I did. My post was a little in jest, but I would actually be happy to come work for you for that salary! Maybe it was the "big shot" stamp that I gave you, but that was intened as a complement. Again, I don't know where you get the "crap" from, but I assure you I was rejoicing in your success. Sorry if I offended.

NightScenes
01-02-2008, 12:33 AM
Sorry Chris, you know what they say about being able to detect "jest" in writing, you can't see facial expressions and such. It's hard to tell when someone is just fooling around.

Chris M is coming here next week to hang out for a few days. You're always welcome at my house Chris.

extlights
01-02-2008, 05:24 PM
Actually I don't think Pete was out of line in stating gross sales....it is what it is...Gross sales. One thing I learned in business school is that opening final yearly numbers can work towards your advantage(even with small businesses). It's not like your posting net profit numbers...it's a completely different ball game. It also helps validate the credibility of a company.

NightScenes
01-02-2008, 05:40 PM
I don't think it's a good idea to announce to the world what your sales are unless you're a publicly owned company and you're looking for investors. This information then becomes available to all spammers and your future clients who might think that if your pulling in $x,xxx,xxx.xx, you might be making too much money and therefore try to get you to lower your price. It could also be misconstrued as braggadocios for me or someone else to divulge their sales. I'm not a bragging type of person but I am very proud of what we have accomplished in a fairly short period of time.

Just my .02

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-02-2008, 05:46 PM
Ultimately, who really cares besides Pete? I could give a rat's arse as to what Pete or Chris or Mike or Dave or Paul's gross sales are. I prefer to know and understand the character and composition of my colleagues and competition. Gross sales are not the measure of 'the man' nor the measure of a sucessful business.

To have someone who will not even provide their company name and phone number (hardly "personal information") request and demand to know other people's gross sales is ridiculous.

Take a look at some of the largest privately held Corporations in North America and see if you can find out what their gross receipts are. You can't, because it is not public knowledge... and yet they are wildly successful companies.

extlights
01-02-2008, 05:52 PM
In a sense I agree with you Paul, but you have to remember that Pete stated Gross sales only. Every company is different in the way they operate and what their overhead expenses are. How many vehicles do they have, how many employees work for them etc. Stating your net profit numbers would be a big no-no, but gross sales wouldn't hurt anything. You also have to remember that it's purely a number. Most people won't assume that a company is making too much money based on a gross number alone...now if someone stated that they grossed $x,xxx,xxx.xx on 50 completed annual projects, then the perception might be a little different.

Actually James, you can get the annual numbers for the largest privately held companies in North America. Forbes puts out those numbers every year as well as what the company is worth in total assets.

Look, I'm just looking at it from a certain perspective....some people don't like disclosing numbers, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that...others don't mind putting it out there, and if you're not sharing your total profits, then I can't see how it will hurt someone. To each their own.

pete scalia
01-03-2008, 12:04 AM
Anyone who doesn't want to discuss gross is either embarassed about it or doesn't understand business. What are you doing out there anyway? Doing business or twidling your thumbs.

I retract the question as I see no one had the nerve to go on the record which tells me everything.

This is not a contest but it is also what is typical of contractors. They like to talk a big game and act big time but in reality many are just getting by or not even getting by at all. However you'd never know it how they act here.

All the truth comes out once you ask somebody to put their money forth to back their words.

This is not meant to single anyone out. It just is what it is.

pete scalia
01-03-2008, 12:25 AM
you might be making too much money and therefore try to get you to lower your price.


Do you think that successful business people think like this?

Do you ask McDonald's to lower the price of their happy meal because they must be making too much. How many Golden arches do they have all over the world now? Where do you think that money came from to grow that business? From customers who asked for discounts because they are making "too much money".

Anyone who would begrudge small businesses like we have and think they were making too much money and ask for a discount as a result is in the words of Mr. Trump a loser. Don't do business with losers.

extlights
01-03-2008, 12:26 AM
Well we don't have our totals complete yet, so I don't know exactly what we did in total revenue this year. As far as 08' goals go.....I'll be happy with increased business and dropping our overhead. We just payed off the last truck payment, so that's $600 a month less overhead for 08' so far. Any increase from the previous year is a decent year...as long as your overhead doesn't increase with it.

pete scalia
01-03-2008, 12:28 AM
Well we don't have our totals complete yet, so I don't know exactly what we did in total revenue this year. As far as 08' goals go.....I'll be happy with increased business and dropping our overhead. We just payed off the last truck payment, so that's $600 a month less overhead for 08' so far. Any increase from the previous year is a decent year...as long as your overhead doesn't increase with it.

I'm retracting the request. Too many are uncomfortable posting it and that's fine. We'll let it rest.