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Mike M
08-25-2008, 08:12 PM
Based on disappointing/lackluster August sales, I'm thinking about vertical dis-integration and value-engineering my domicile.

If I sell my house and use the equity I have in it to buy a trailer, I could live in the country and shoot at bottles from a picnic table for most of the year. All I would need is one lighting install per year to pay for several bags of rice and pasta, and some other crap.

Lite4
08-25-2008, 09:10 PM
Hey Mike,
We could open a campground and all us out of us could park our trailers together and then just sit around a fire and talk lighting all day and reminisce about the days when people actually used to spend money and we would do jobs for customers (and shoot guns too).

worx
08-25-2008, 09:17 PM
That would be the best lit trailer park in town :drinkup: !

punt66
08-25-2008, 09:19 PM
hahah, what happened to the high and mighty lighting guys. I thought you guys were at the top of the food chain in here. hahaha Well i hope it picks up for you all.

Mark B
08-25-2008, 09:30 PM
Could we do it close to the sand, and get James boat to run baits for us at night time??It has been a weird past 2 weeks. I gave a price on the house I posted a week ago, I also just priced another big house about the same size as that one. Go figure that out. But running baits and sipping chillies on the beach sounds great to me, maybe Geek will come out for a concert...

David Gretzmier
08-25-2008, 09:43 PM
I have to admit, simplifying my lifestyle and spending less on bills sounds awesome. I'd love to sell my house and the duplex I own and move to a paid for double wide in the country. I'd probably keep the business property for the Christmas light storage. but who wants to buy real estate these days anyway?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-26-2008, 12:08 AM
"but who wants to buy real estate these days anyway? "

The top 2% do David! It is like a bargain bonnannza out there for them right now. 2nd Homes, Summer Homes, Winter Homes... and guess what? They want them all to look as nice, day and night, as their primary residences do!

I was talking to the top dog at a Manu. today, asking about their numbers for 2008. He said they had seen the typical slowdown of June July and August but that orders for Sept deliveries were back up and encouraging. Year over Year they were about even with 2007. He continued by saying that the middle of the market was definately flat if not down, with the upper tier picking up the slack.

Guess it really does pay off to be positioned to serve the top tier after all.

Chris J
08-26-2008, 05:54 AM
Your suggesting that a manu keeps track of the clients that contractors sell to, thus has knowledge of who is doing the majority of the purchases?.......What ever.

Pro-Scapes
08-26-2008, 07:54 AM
Slow down is typical here in july and august. Seems custom construction is taking forever but the fall is looking way up so far.

Im trying to take advantage of a short sale in real estate now. Definatly some bargains out there but then again its tough to unload my current casa

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-26-2008, 08:45 AM
Chris, yes I am more then suggesting this, I know it for a fact.

When I submit a PO to my distributor, that requires them to submit a PO to the Manufacturer in order to cover the order, you can be assured that there is communication between the distributor's purchasing agent and the Manu's inside sales agent. Then there are all the special orders that require the Manu to direct ship, or air freight the product... you think they don't know who they are doing this for?

Also, the Manufactures can certainly discern between PO's that are 'stock orders' designed to keep the distributors shelves full and custom orders that are made up of unique and custom components, clearly sent to fill the needs of a large scale job.

Finally, look at all the incentive programs out there... do you think that the distributors and manufacturers offer these just for the heck of it? Of course not, they love the data that they mine from these programs.

The information age is upon us Chris... any decent Manufacturer has a better idea of just who is buying what then they have ever had in the past.

Mike M
08-26-2008, 12:07 PM
I think we've been neglecting the bottom 2%. It's time I knock on some screen doors: hey, it's been about twenty years, whaddaya say I cut that lawn of yours, or maybe put up one them mercury vapor lights?

It's the lower income peeps that always pay cash.

JoeyD
08-26-2008, 12:21 PM
Unique is CRANKING!!!!! It is hit and miss with our customers, some are busy and some are not. But overall we are doing great. Our July numbers were better than last year and August so far is great! The Intelli-System is gaining some serious momentum!!!

Mike M
08-26-2008, 06:54 PM
That's great Joey!

I'm not fighting the slow down here during the summer. I'm thinking of the famous quote from Bunker Hill, regarding saving amunition, and holding back until the right time, then aiming for a focussed target. Low on funds, I'm gonna wait patiently to pull the trigger until I see the temp's drop a little after labor day, and darkness sneaks in earlier. I have a small but highly selective mailing list, and I will send out repeatedly to the same addresses three times this fall.

Wanna know how tough I am? I've been eating cereal for dinner this month. That's how tough I am. For lunch, I eat those ramen noodles in the cup things. When things get really tough, I eat those for dinner, too. My weakness--fancy jam on toast before bed.

I'm like that survivor guy, only I don't walk around naked in front of my camera.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-26-2008, 07:53 PM
Hey Mike, that "survivor guy" you speak of... he lives just north of here, in Burk's Falls Ontario.

Make sure you put some form of protein into those noodles man, cause when the work does come, you are going to need your strength to dig all the ditches!

Chris J
08-26-2008, 09:53 PM
Chris, yes I am more then suggesting this, I know it for a fact.

When I submit a PO to my distributor, that requires them to submit a PO to the Manufacturer in order to cover the order, you can be assured that there is communication between the distributor's purchasing agent and the Manu's inside sales agent. Then there are all the special orders that require the Manu to direct ship, or air freight the product... you think they don't know who they are doing this for? Yeah, there doing it for the contractor.

Also, the Manufactures can certainly discern between PO's that are 'stock orders' designed to keep the distributors shelves full and custom orders that are made up of unique and custom components, clearly sent to fill the needs of a large scale job. I don't stock anything. Every order I place is custom, and alot of the jobs aren't large.

Finally, look at all the incentive programs out there... do you think that the distributors and manufacturers offer these just for the heck of it? Of course not, they love the data that they mine from these programs. They might get a lot of feedback from contractors and the like, but I doubt very seriously that there is someone inputing data from every order that indicates what income level all of these job orders are going to.

The information age is upon us Chris... any decent Manufacturer has a better idea of just who is buying what then they have ever had in the past.
Maybe your right, I don't know. But, I don't see how any of this hearsay from your manu could possibly be accurate. Assumption maybe, but not accurate statistics. Do you provide your distributor with the home value or income level of each customer you gain? I hope not, but that would be the only way, outside of a WHOLE LOT of research that a manu would have to do to get this information. Remember, the distributor is the manu's customer. You are your distributor's customer. The manu isn't going to have that kind of accurate info straight from the source (you) unless you provide it to them.

Maybe some of the manu's would like to chime in on this topic and let us know just how true this is. I'd be interested to know if they have this kind of info.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-26-2008, 10:12 PM
Obviously the manufacturer's are not getting specific data in regards to the address of a contractor's installations Chris. However, the good ones who are on top of their business do know who is ordering what.

The point is that manufacturers do know what designers/contractors are buying and in what volumes. (They know enough to understand what sectors of the industry are shrinking, stagnant, and growing... as they should) I know that my distributor often communicates with the Manu's that a specific PO is for INTEGRA. And, when I have participated in various rewards or points programs in the past,they often required that I reveal my annual purchases, even going so far as to break things down into SKU's.

Also, I would go so far as to suggest that you are further ahead if you develop a close relationship with the manufacturers. Make them "partners" in your business and it will only help to support you along the way. Ultimately you are their customers, the distributor is more of a convenient conduit for both parties.

Now, after all that.... who really gives a rat's a--

Mark B
08-26-2008, 10:38 PM
Now, after all that.... who really gives a rat's a--

ain't that the truth....

Chris J
08-26-2008, 11:03 PM
I'm pretty much done with this topic, but I would like to say just one more thing:
The fact that any given company purchases a large volume of material per year does not, in any way, indicate that said company is dealing with the top 2% of the population. There are business models that do ten 50k jobs per year and there are others that do fifty 10k jobs. Same numbers in annual purchases, yet very different in terms of their specific model. There's no way for a manu to know which is which unless they have a personal relationship with the contractor. Having said that, I do concede that some manu's have a more personal relationship with some of their better contractors. I believe I fit this description well with my manu of choice. However, this is the exception rather than the rule. Again, it would take a great deal of effort by the manus to disseminate which is which and provide accurate statistics regarding the issue.

Now, I'm over this already. :waving:

irrig8r
08-27-2008, 01:47 AM
What about warranty registration cards? I don't know if other manufacturers do that, but Nightscaping provides one with every transformer. Maybe the number of cards they receive with a particular address is a clue?

irrig8r
08-27-2008, 10:30 AM
BTW Mike, you should use some of your down time to write a humor book or polish your stand-up comedy act.... It's kind of understated, like maybe Albert Brooks in Defending Your Life (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/defending_your_life/)..

JoeyD
08-27-2008, 04:37 PM
I will chime in a bit here. Unique considers the contractors our customers, as much if not more than the distributor. The distributor is our partner but both us and the distributor are nothing wiithout the main customer which is you guys, the installers!

Now as for collecting data. Of course we all (manus) like to think we know who all of our customers are but as Chris eluded too this is virtually impossible. Of course we know who our larger custromers are, and we also know who a lot of the loyal Unique guys are whether they are large or small. But we have to rely heavily on our distributors and sales guys for majority of the knowledge of who is purchasing what. So much of our busienss comes from the every day counter sale. 5 lights here, 2 transformers there type of business.

Obviously when we run a points promotion then we are able to track every single purchase and this allows us to gain a great ammount of insight as to who is purchasing what in certain territory's. I personally pride myself on knowing who our guys are, what they purchase, where they purchase, and how big or small of a company they are. This is all apart of knowing who you are working with and building a relationship.

As for warranty cards, we get very few of those back. We include them with every unit we ship but most people know that Unique Lighting transformers are warrantied for LIFE regardless if you return that card or not. We do not use that card for tracking territorial buisness.

Chris J
08-27-2008, 05:15 PM
Thank you Joey. As I stated in an earlier post, I'm sure you know who the better contractors are in terms of sales, and I'm positive you might also know which of those contractors are selling to high end clients. But am I correct in assuming that you could not produce a spread sheet that would identify what percentage of the population (end consumer) is buying the majority of the products from contractors?
That's one point for Chris J. Any other manus want to chime in? Don't be tellin no lies now, ya here!

Mike M
08-27-2008, 07:17 PM
Make sure you put some form of protein into those noodles man, cause when the work does come, you are going to need your strength to dig all the ditches!

I'm thinking of putting in a call to Page. Those trenches are really a lot of work. What about green wire with landscape staples?