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View Full Version : Should I or shouldn't I?


DeepGreenLawn
09-05-2008, 11:48 AM
OK, it comes down to this.

From what I can tell we are getting to the dead line of whether we do this this year or not with all the needed ads and all.

Here is my situation, I am looking to you guys for your expertise on whether this is really feasible at this time or not.

I have an organic-based lawn care company that I started this year. I currently have 50 customers and am planning on doubling that by the end of this year. That is one customer for each customer, a neighbor down the street type thing. I don't think this is too hard a goal to reach. I have a second guy that is coming in that I want to put to work but as you can see I have limited work as it is. It may be possible to have him head up the lights business for this year so he has work and then when the lawn care stops I can switch over and help with the lights.

It will be tight and busy for about a month or two as I am doing my last treatment, aerations and overseeding, but after that there is nothing to be done through the winter, which aslo means no money coming in until next spring.

I really like the idea of Christmas lights and think I have the right eye to make a house look good.

The question is do I have enough time and manpower to get this done and do it correctly? How hard is it to get it up and going being I have never done this before? How hard is it to actually install the lights, using clips and what not... I don't think that it will be too hard, just more time consuming.

Is this feasible or should I wait, learn more through this winter and next summer and be ready for the next christmas? I REALLY want to get this going this year but with everything else going on I don't want to lose focus on the main business and have both start to be don half a$$.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

How much does an "average" house run in cost of materials? Something kind of like this as I plan to hit the higher end neighborhoods...

hotrod1965
09-05-2008, 12:26 PM
This looks like about 150-175 feet of C9 for the front roof line. You need to make around $3 per foot to cover your install and removal, then you need to tack on your light cost, however you decide to do it, renting or selling. SO if you sold them the lights for $2 per foot you would charge a total of $5 per foot. (this is just an example)

It's going to take you a while to grow your business, so you might as well start now. Even if you got 3-5 accounts this year, it will help prep you for next year..etc.

Personally, I think you would be stupid to not open up a spin off company and offer all "green" decorating.(call it Deep Green Lighting..) You already have clients that want the environmentally friendly stuff, so you need to brand your whole company as environmentally friendly. Then both companies will feed off of each other. I would be thinking all LED if I were in your shoes.

DeepGreenLawn
09-05-2008, 12:47 PM
Personally, I think you would be stupid to not open up a spin off company and offer all "green" decorating.

LOL, thanks...

That is what I am thinking...

How hard is it to actually put up the lights? Do the clips and all go on pretty easy for the most part with few snags? The lights like you said I could drive over and pick up right down the street and just get what I need which will help keep my supply down until I know how things are going to go.

That and the money seems too good to pass up.

I appreciate the help... when do you start getting busy?

How hard is it going to be to pick this up and figure it all out?

hotrod1965
09-05-2008, 02:13 PM
The more you do it , the better and faster you will get. You will hardly ever have a job that is just like another one.

We will start putting up lights Nov 1st ish and go for five weeks, but we have already started going after new business this year. If you wait until Nov. to start going after business, you will get a bunch of calls around Thanksgiving and you can only help a few of those at that time.
My goal is to have my schedule filled by early November, so at that point we can just focus on getting stuff up! We'll see if it really happens that way :)

DeepGreenLawn
09-05-2008, 02:21 PM
a house like what was posted will take a day?

do you do a lot of halloween and other holiday decorations?

hotrod1965
09-05-2008, 03:18 PM
Depends what you had to do to it. two guys could do that roof line in four hours, I bet it comes down in about one hour.

DeepGreenLawn
09-05-2008, 04:02 PM
any other nice, clean features such as wreaths and would go pretty quick wouldn't they?

hotrod1965
09-05-2008, 04:45 PM
Usually. But sometimes there are tricky hangs.

DeepGreenLawn
09-05-2008, 05:09 PM
what do you do with areas such as stucko? How do you hang the wreaths and stuff in those situations? The hot glue? Liquid nails?

hotrod1965
09-05-2008, 05:47 PM
Don't know, we don't have stucko in Michigan.

DeepGreenLawn
09-05-2008, 05:58 PM
stucko, brick, block, stone, etc etc...

Stucko just doesn't have anywhere to put it, imagine a flat surface for the most part... sort of like concrete type material?

hotrod1965
09-05-2008, 06:03 PM
They make hangers for brink where you put a brick sinker in to screw the brackets with.

turf hokie
09-05-2008, 09:20 PM
Stucco is a PITA, as is the fake stucco everyone uses here, you know the foam board.....

I have not found a good way to anchor into it yet.

Suction cups for up to 48" wreaths in windows. If it is stucco I avoid the peaks unless they have a wood trim to anchor into.

You can light up the windows with minis to balance out the look also.

DeepGreenLawn
09-06-2008, 12:08 AM
Balance what look?

Sorry...

So if you have stucco you don't put wreaths in the peaks? Thanks for the suction cup info.

What about just super gluing something to the wall? A small spot that should come off pretty easy? Or just leave it up being it is typically way above eye level?

hotrod1965
09-06-2008, 12:49 AM
Yeah, I don't know many clients that would be thrilled with super glueing anything to thier house.... Sometimes you just have to say you can't do it.

David Gretzmier
09-06-2008, 03:21 AM
here's how you hang a wreath on stucco/drivot: you go to the soffit. with a 3-4 inch outdoor decking screw, find the framing member where the stucco foamboard meets the soffit. there should be a wood frame somewhere behind the trim that is where the stucco and soffit meet. most homes have vinyl soffits that can be pushed a bit for a look with a flashlight. put one screw on each side, and run galvanized 16 guage wire to create a "v" going to the 10 o'clock and 2 oclock portions of the wreath. I usually will run a white 15 foot lamp cord up one of these wires to go to my orange roof cod to power the wreath.

as far as the house, I would not do a 2 story home like that for less than 6.50 bucks a foot for product, install and takedown/storage, as you wil have to work with ladders on the straights. that roof is pretty high and steep. at 3 bucks a foot labor, with 2 guys and 5 hours ( my estimate ), and 1 1/2 hour takedown( drive time) , let's say it is 175 feet. 175 x 3 is 525 bucks. 13 hours labor figures out to be 40 bucks per man hour. Not in my opinion great money given the risk, or the wage I have to pay to get good help that can DO this job properly in 5 hours.

I'd give a price on the front face for c-9's and Light links, a wreath at the peak, probably a 6 or 5 footer, garland for the posts or archway entry or both, clear mini lights in the bushes and a rough estimate on upighting the home for them to chew on til february/march. I'd also glance around the inside of the home while I am doing my sample showing of product to see if they have a collections of something- penguins, cats, dogs, birds, etc. I have displays or lit yard art that have those things and more with a christmas theme.

Given enough choices a customer will build the total display in thier head, and either do more the first year or add elements in the following years. I'd rather take photo's of this house with lights on top, big wreath with nice bow, garland, mini's. that is closer to a full days work for the guys, closer to 1000-1200 rehang, and a home that will build your reputation as an outdoor decorator. THAT is the customer you want.

hotrod1965
09-06-2008, 10:40 AM
Yeah, $80 per hour for a two man crew isn't that bad, I shoot for $100 myself. But I'm in SE Michigan where it is currently easy to find affordable good help. You want to find roofers or contractors that need winter work, they will amaze you how fast they are moving a ladder. But I'm in an area where we have a true group of folks that need winter work because you can't roof or build a whole lot in the winter!

If this place is far away from you, you need to tack on some travel time in your price.
I would bill everyone the same, but add a travel cost to places that are further than 15 mins away.

turf hokie
09-06-2008, 12:40 PM
That good advice from David, I never even thought of putting into the soffet.

By balance I mean I look at a house and try to always balance the display left and right and top and bottom. I dont like doing roof only jobs or ground only jobs. I feel you need to have the roof, something on the house and something on the ground so that the whole display is balanced and you dont have any areas that look dark or vacant at night.

DeepGreenLawn
09-06-2008, 01:40 PM
That good advice from David, I never even thought of putting into the soffet.

By balance I mean I look at a house and try to always balance the display left and right and top and bottom. I dont like doing roof only jobs or ground only jobs. I feel you need to have the roof, something on the house and something on the ground so that the whole display is balanced and you dont have any areas that look dark or vacant at night.

I agree 100%.

David Gretzmier
09-06-2008, 06:35 PM
Turf hokie is also right about balance. I look to the roof first, then wreaths and garland in the middle, then mini-lights or displays on the ground. the homes that have all three levels look the best.

DeepGreenLawn
09-06-2008, 08:02 PM
Here is my situation, I am looking to you guys for your expertise on whether this is really feasible at this time or not.

I have an organic-based lawn care company that I started this year. I currently have 50 customers and am planning on doubling that by the end of this year. That is one customer for each customer, a neighbor down the street type thing. I don't think this is too hard a goal to reach. I have a second guy that is coming in that I want to put to work but as you can see I have limited work as it is. It may be possible to have him head up the lights business for this year so he has work and then when the lawn care stops I can switch over and help with the lights.

It will be tight and busy for about a month or two as I am doing my last treatment, aerations and overseeding, but after that there is nothing to be done through the winter, which aslo means no money coming in until next spring.

I really like the idea of Christmas lights and think I have the right eye to make a house look good.

The question is do I have enough time and manpower to get this done and do it correctly? How hard is it to get it up and going being I have never done this before? How hard is it to actually install the lights, using clips and what not... I don't think that it will be too hard, just more time consuming.

Is this feasible or should I wait, learn more through this winter and next summer and be ready for the next christmas? I REALLY want to get this going this year but with everything else going on I don't want to lose focus on the main business and have both start to be don half a$$.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Well... I think I have figured it out... this is kind of to get back on track as Hotrod is the only one to respond thus far...

As of right now, unless you guys tell me I should wait, I think I am personally going to focus on the Lawn care business for now. I have a guy that is arriving tomorrow, earlier than I was expecting, that I am planning on using for the lawn care business BUT... the business is still just a little too small to put him to work full time just yet. SO, I am thinking of starting him on the lights doing the sells and what not until the lawn care business stops in about a month or so...

At that time I will then pair up with the new guy and we will both hit the lights full force. I am leaving it up to the new guy to see what he thinks. I know what you guys are thinking... this is not your typical employee. He just finished his last game with the minors and is done. He is a business major from GT and said he would rather work outside with me than be stuck behind a desk all day.

I plan to use him to his fullest potential all through the business. I see him as a great guy and a great asset and will be able to do things properly while I am still tending to the business. He is a great guy, I know him personally, not just some guy off the streets, and really smart too with his head on straight. I will work with him as well just my main focus will be the lawn care business until the end of this next round and it will be done until next spring.

I think this will work, again, just wanted your expertise on how the two typically work together with the rest of you guys.

Thanks in advance...