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DeepGreenLawn
09-11-2008, 06:42 AM
OK, so what does a Christmas light bid form look like?

I got my own lawn care forms, but I have never seen one of these before...

Any help would be appreciated.

hotrod1965
09-11-2008, 10:28 AM
Well, I have quickbooks, so they look like a quickbooks estimate form.

DeepGreenLawn
09-11-2008, 10:37 AM
What I am saying is when you go to the customers house. What or how do you give them their estimate? Do you not have a form that you fill out and leave with them? I am looking at this a lot like I do with my lawn care company. With this I have a form that has a "survey" of their property. Type of lawn, weeds in the lawn, cutting height, watering... you get the idea. Then at the bottom has a spot for all the different services and a price for each that apply.

I figured with the lights sheet that it would be similar as having a spot for the different lights,

Ex: C9: Color: ______ Ft: _______ Price: _____

Then you do this for all the different sizes and kinds... then have a spot for your foilage, displays, clips, etc etc. I basically would design it so I could get another guy during the transition month to help sale. He would then have his sale pitch using the catalog and demos and then be able to just go down the list sort-of-speak and check everything off. That way nothing is missed, easy to tally up, etc.

I guess the clips and all could be on a seperate form for our purposes? The customer get the basic one that they have for their records so they know what lights they picked out and all. Maybe break the sections down to sections of the house... roof, front, windows, trees, lawn, driveway, etc etc. That way they know what they wanted where.

How does this sound?

hotrod1965
09-11-2008, 12:05 PM
I have a huge inventory list in quickbooks, I select what they want then put in the quantity, it calculates everything for me, then I print it out, or email it to them.
If they buy, I can deduct what they purchased from my inventory so I know how much of things I have left.

You really could use excel and make a estimate form. Not as easy to keep track of your finances that way though.

DeepGreenLawn
09-11-2008, 12:33 PM
That is a good point... I came up with one, I will PM it to you to see what you think...

DeepGreenLawn
09-11-2008, 12:35 PM
So you don't give the cutomer the estimate right then while at their house?

hotrod1965
09-11-2008, 01:24 PM
Not usually. I try not to sit around peoples homes calculating lights out.

If it's just a roof line, I tell them right on the spot.

DeepGreenLawn
09-11-2008, 01:34 PM
they don't mind the wait or you don't loose the customer for not giving them the price right then?

turf hokie
09-11-2008, 07:44 PM
I give them an estimate on the spot. I prefer to take a deposit at the time of the estimate, but I dont pressure. If they need to talk to their significant other then by all means do so. I will check back in a few days.

I am thinking about a laptop and printer in the car so as not to make math errors and to have a neater looking estimate.

I usually figure about 1 hour per estimate. When people spend a good amount of money I am willing to spend some time with them.

Appointments are booking already and our ad does not hit until next week. Hope everyone elses season starts of well too.

DeepGreenLawn
09-11-2008, 07:54 PM
Sounds like what I am wanting to do. I have a laptop or two laying around, I guess that would work, just need the printer. Can you adapt a normal printer to work in your car? Just need an adapter I guess for the outlet? I am pretty sure I have one already, just have to figure out what is wrong with my printer.

What are you going to do if you have more than one sales guy? He should have a lap top I would think... he is a college grad, SURELY he has a laptop.

hotrod1965
09-11-2008, 08:08 PM
I was 15 for 17 in new customers last year, meaning for the 17 quotes I did I got 15 of the jobs, so I guess it isn't an issue.

I thought about getting a portable printer, but I'm not sure it's worth the hassel.


they don't mind the wait or you don't loose the customer for not giving them the price right then?

turf hokie
09-11-2008, 09:08 PM
I was 15 for 17 in new customers last year, meaning for the 17 quotes I did I got 15 of the jobs, so I guess it isn't an issue.

I thought about getting a portable printer, but I'm not sure it's worth the hassel.

Wow, that is a tremendous close rate. We ended up with a rate of about 40%.

you must qualify over the phone, we do, but sometimes people just dont beleive what the office tells them our pricing until they see it in writing and then they balk.

hotrod1965
09-11-2008, 09:18 PM
Two things, 1, i qualify like crazy over the phone. I only closed 20% of the calls I took.
2. I'm selling all LED, so my productline was different than others in the area.

David Gretzmier
09-11-2008, 11:57 PM
I used to qualify over the phone, now I just go and bid them. I've found that folks that can spend 3 grand for Christmas lights get really turned off over the phone when you qualify them. I give folks a range of dollars that my customers spend, all the way from 250 bucks to 35,000 bucks. i met with around 125-130 Christmas folks last year, and closed 40 new customers or so. so about 35%. I'm shooting to meet with 150 folks this year and get 50.

Our bid forms are 2 part, full color front and yellow/black back, and have different columns for 1st year cost and following years cost. I've included the more common boxes preprinted on there for c-9's, garland, light links, wreaths, mini's, etc. I have probably invested 2 grand or so on forms, and spent another 2 grand today on 500 presentation folders, 500 more color proposal forms, and 1000 bi-fold color business cards with color photo's on front and back. Along with the color catalogs, uniforms ( will drop 500 on t-shirts next week ) yellow pages, all these things SCREAM professional and trusted. if you want to command respect, be treated as a professional and get the prices you need to turn a profit in this business, you have got to have everything look branded and top notch.

hotrod1965
09-12-2008, 12:25 AM
Well, you do have to be tackful and tricky when you qualify over the phone. You need to get the customer to talk to you and tell you the idea that they have. Then you can tell them a ball park price. They even tell you that it's fine and come on over, or they tell you that's too much. I'd rather not show up to someones house to be told they don't want to spend the money. Gas is too expensive!

We have an issue here where we have a lot of laid off or auto buy out workers doing lights, and they charge next to nothing. So alot of people use them because of the low price. they advertise prices like $200 to put up lights.. it's nuts!
the good news is, I get a few calls to fix thier mess ups!

Your forms and such will get better every year. I used to use excell sheets for quotes, and now I use Quickbooks, which is easier to keep track of everythig. I have a nice organized record of each client. I can keep track of what I quoted, what I billed, what I actually installed, detuct it from inventory...etc. And it's fairly paper free.