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DeepGreenLawn
09-15-2008, 11:32 PM
OK, so I measured off my in-laws house today. Did all the roof lines and eaves and gutters and such, basically the roof line of the house, and then worked up the cost.

I measured it off at 1680 linear ft. My buddy is going to do it tomorrow to make sure I did it right.

SO, with this many feet, LED lights, I figured $3/ft? That comes out to... $5040 for C9s. Cost I figured would be around $2000, just for the lights and clips and stuff, a little under? Does this sound about right? Then maybe another 2k for other costs such as labor, storage, ins, etc etc?

Of course when I took it to my mother-n-law she said "Are you serious?" "Who would pay that much especially around Christmas time?"

:dizzy::hammerhead:

Anyways... I figured she would say that, and then she cut it all the way down to just the bottom half of the house only up front. I told her I thought that would look crappy and she said she thought it would look good.

I am going to get this program and do the house for her so she can see it...

So I got the response I knew I would get, she can be a little cheap, not to be mean, just how she is, but at least I got the reaction and I got the measuring down I think. Now I am going to hook up the computer program and check out how close the numbers match up.

hotrod1965
09-16-2008, 12:05 AM
1680 feet is a huge amount of lights for a house! How big is this place! most houses have about 130-170 feet of frontage, the ridge would be the sameish, sides a little less. So maybe 500 feet.

DeepGreenLawn
09-16-2008, 12:35 AM
its pretty big, a lot of small roofs... the house itself... well... I don't know the sq ft.

It has 5 bedrooms, all large, each with a jack and jill bathroom, one has it's own, then on the main floor you have the master, bigger than my liviing room and dining room combined, and a guest bedroom, a long with the formal living room, office, formal dining room, dining room, gourmet kitchen, "keeping" room, laundry room, etc etc, 3 car garage... if I were to move into their basement, it would be larger than my whole house and my house is about 2400 sq ft.

I will try to get a picture of it soon... I just downloaded the holiday lights design program thing, free trial, so I will try to put the lights on it. That total is for all the roof lines and crest up front, and down both sides.

It's a big one, about $1 million I would say...

I have a big day planned tomorrow with the Lawn care business so I doubt I will be able to get much done... I also plan to measure my house and my bro-n-laws to see how they come out. They are both much smaller in size.

Is $3 about right? I have read other places up to $6.50 for the first year and then half that the years after. Is this the year after price?

DeepGreenLawn
09-16-2008, 12:45 AM
this kind of gives you an idea of what I am dealing with... just a lot bigger...

DeepGreenLawn
09-16-2008, 12:46 AM
and a lot more roof lines...

I will get you a picture tomorrow, I will be in the neighborhood treating anyways...

umpire
09-16-2008, 12:55 AM
For some reason that sounds like alot of cash for the job. Also it seems like you added to much on your cost. You can get a 1000 feet of wire for 220.00 and so 2 of those should cover the wire on the job and then you need the lights. Cords, timers it should only cost you around 1200.00

turf hokie
09-16-2008, 07:35 AM
That is a tremendous amount of lights. Let us know how many were installed. My biggest roof jobs are generally no more than 5-600 lights on residentials. And those are on 6000 sq ft plus houses. If it is that big of a roof there is no way one man is doing that in a day.

hotrod1965
09-16-2008, 11:19 AM
No kidding! That's almost 2 spools of wire!

As far as price, you want to make $3 per foot year after year, plus the cost of the products.

DeepGreenLawn
09-16-2008, 03:41 PM
OK, so this is measured off with ALL the roof and gutter lines except for the back of the house. I think I may have gotten a little carried away. I take it most of you don't do the pitch of the roof and all that often? Just the roof lines and gutters and then stuff coming down such as garland and wreaths?

Guess a little overkill, when I get back to the office tonight I will get the numbers back out and see what it would be to do just the front parts.

Then we can look at it again...

hotrod1965
09-16-2008, 05:28 PM
I would just do the front of the house you pictured to make it look real nice. That looks like about 130 feet. then I would sell them about 10-15 sets of minis/5mm for the bushes.
I would price this at around $1000. Probably take 3-4 hours to put up and an hour or so to take down. Light and material cost would be around 50%, maybe a touch less, so my two man crew would make $100 per hour. The second year I would charge $700, should take a little less time since everything is cut already. So my two man crew would make around $175 per hour.
I would also add on if this property was more than 15 mins away from us.

DeepGreenLawn
09-16-2008, 06:32 PM
That is my realization, that I was looking at too much... rather look at too much than too little? I think your price is a litte more in line with what we had talked about or I had looked at last night when I was working on the measurements.

hotrod1965
09-16-2008, 09:53 PM
Alright, but if you sell tht deal I get 10% for doing the design/quote.....

DeepGreenLawn
09-17-2008, 10:14 AM
lol... like I said... this is my in-laws, and they are cheap, I don't know if they will let me do it at cost... did I mention they still have 4 kids at home and 3 out of the house that are married along with 2 grandchildren? Things get tight even for them around the holidays...

DeepGreenLawn
09-17-2008, 10:01 PM
OK, we will change this a little...

Front of the house, and down the side to the the garage, in the picture rather than the extra garage the guest bedroom goes there... both the porch and the gutter line on the second story from my notes comes to 152'.

At $3 = $456

add another $1.30 to be safe for initial cost = $654

Does this sound better? This is for C9s only on the gutter lines. No foilage or minis. This doesn't get to the minimum of.... any help here would be nice... $800?

umpire
09-17-2008, 10:14 PM
Deep green, Have you figured out how that software works?What about inputing your pricing on the software. How is that working?

DeepGreenLawn
09-17-2008, 10:26 PM
I am getting it down slowly, I need to get a picture of the house and put it in to make sure the measurements and all are lining up. I am trying to get this round of treatments done this week and then I will have a few weeks to devote a little more time to that stuff.

It is kind of my side project right this second as I am still trying to double the size of my current lawn care company this fall... big goals but if I would love to do more than that...

SO, unfortunately I can only put so much time to the lights business... mostly after dark once the family has gone to bed... but I am getting it there...

hotrod1965
09-17-2008, 10:37 PM
Have you decided if you are going to sell the lights or lease them? Have you figured out all your wire,clip, cord, plug, bulb and timer costs per foot... Once you figure that out, then you can add on your $3 per foot and get a total cost per foot you need to charge.

DeepGreenLawn
09-17-2008, 11:01 PM
wire check, clips check, cord check, plugs.... nope..., bulbs check, timers... I think I got this one...

Other than that I should be right on. I got most costs down other than minis and still have to figure out the foilage side of things.

Half way there? Price wise that is... still have to install on my own house...

hotrod1965
09-17-2008, 11:07 PM
I'm guess that you decided to not go LED then... Cause $1.30 isn't going to cover your cost per foot. the white bulbs will cost you about that alone, wire is about 0.20 per foot, clips are 0.1, plugs are about 0.60, but divide that into you aver length perplug. Ext. cords and such... you should be close to $1.75 per foot your cost. So you should be in that $4.50-4.75 per foot range...to make $3 per foot.

DeepGreenLawn
09-17-2008, 11:15 PM
Hmmmm.... C9s are typically spaced 12" correct? So that would be one bulb per foot? I am looking at LED, I must have missed something somewhere...

This is why I am running it through you guys first...

DeepGreenLawn
09-17-2008, 11:24 PM
C9 120V Warm/Soft White LED Replacement Lamp, Box of 25
Wholesale Price: $31.05 In Stock

25/31= .80 cents per bulb...

.20 cents per foot wire

.01 cent clips

.60 for plugs

extension cords and timer = ?

so that there comes to $1.61 throw in the timer and ext cords and like you said probably hit right at $1.75

So $4.75 is total... yeah, thats about right... that is using the retro fit bulbs on the regular cord.

I don't know what happened to my math in there... maybe I am thinking C7? I don't know... glad you brought it up though... that $.75 will add up after a few homes...

152' @ $4.75/ft = $722

Plus foilage and bushes and that should break $1000? Being that the $722 is only for the C9s on the roof?

hotrod1965
09-17-2008, 11:28 PM
Alright (I really should be billing you for this :) )
1. bulb 1.30
2. clip 0.10
3. wire 0.22
4. Plug per foot ~ 0.05
5. ext. cord per foor ~ 0.13

total = $1.80

DeepGreenLawn
09-17-2008, 11:30 PM
where did I go wrong for the bulbs? Or do I need to add a few cents for installation due to them coming serperate?

hotrod1965
09-17-2008, 11:49 PM
It is 31/25 for the price per bulb. or $1.24

David Gretzmier
09-18-2008, 01:40 AM
guys, try to remember this is a public forum and all your customers can read your posts. I'm ok with quoting prices on what we charge customers, even talking about what I pay my guys, but I reccomend you not quote what your costs are on the public domain.

Looking at the costs you are talking about above, you guys are not figuring anything for gas, vehicle, insurance, or any other overhead costs such as a storage facility, advertising, office help/supplies. I am hoping you are not planning on your 3 bucks a foot to cover all that "extra" stuff. cause that stuff is expensive. If you don't start figuring on those costs now and include them in your price, you will not be able to buy any of them when you need them.

This is why so many business's can't grow. they never charged enough to be able to buy a building, hire a secretary, spend on advertising, or purchase new vehicles hire crew foreman or buy workman's comp/ liability insurance. Please, guys, I have been doing this awhile, and you need to be charging more than this if you want to grow beyond yourself, a helper, your truck and your garage at your house.

hotrod1965
09-18-2008, 02:11 AM
For the record, prices you charge depends on area too. I am almost always more expensice than the christmas decors and what ever the other francheses are around here. If I quoted $6.50 per foot I would never get the jobs. The market doesn't bare it around here.

Also, I have a house with a lot of land and storage, so Dave is right, if you don't have it in your budget it will be tough to grow when you need to. I just have it so I don't need to worry about it...yet.. but i don't sell alot of wreaths and garland, mainly just lights which don't take up a lot of room.
Also, my labor cost for a two man crew is most likely a little lower because of the area, so that allows me to charge less, and I am a GM family member so my truck is cheap, also allows me to charge less. Truck also gets 20mpg/16mpg, also alows me to charge less. I have two clients over 20 mins away, but they are bigger jobs. Staying close to home is key! Think of it like running a lawn care company. You still have to pay those guys an hourly wage when they are driving to that job.

Once you get going you will find ways to keep your costs down.
You will also figure out what works best for marketing so you get the best ROR.

But listen to Dave, make sure you figure out what all the crap cost you before you start pricing. My insurance will be a different price than yours, gas will be different here...etc

turf hokie
09-18-2008, 07:39 AM
Add all the overheads that you have been given by David and hotrod and then dont forget to add shipping too, add a % depending on how far the product is going. It is more than your think it is.

DeepGreenLawn
09-18-2008, 09:18 AM
It is 31/25 for the price per bulb. or $1.24

yeah... that would mess things up a bit...

guys, try to remember this is a public forum and all your customers can read your posts. I'm ok with quoting prices on what we charge customers, even talking about what I pay my guys, but I reccomend you not quote what your costs are on the public domain.

Looking at the costs you are talking about above, you guys are not figuring anything for gas, vehicle, insurance, or any other overhead costs such as a storage facility, advertising, office help/supplies. I am hoping you are not planning on your 3 bucks a foot to cover all that "extra" stuff. cause that stuff is expensive. If you don't start figuring on those costs now and include them in your price, you will not be able to buy any of them when you need them.

This is why so many business's can't grow. they never charged enough to be able to buy a building, hire a secretary, spend on advertising, or purchase new vehicles hire crew foreman or buy workman's comp/ liability insurance. Please, guys, I have been doing this awhile, and you need to be charging more than this if you want to grow beyond yourself, a helper, your truck and your garage at your house.

True... sorry for doing that to you guys... obviously my costs are still needing tweaking...

hotrod1965
09-18-2008, 09:49 AM
Excellent point! Alot of my stuff comes from an importer that is close by, so we just go and get it. I also buy factory direct on a lot of other stuff and that gets shipped in pallets.. which is cheaper than by the box....

I would plan on paying about $1 per strand of lights for shipping.

Add all the overheads that you have been given by David and hotrod and then dont forget to add shipping too, add a % depending on how far the product is going. It is more than your think it is.

David Gretzmier
09-20-2008, 12:50 PM
I just really want to see you guys be able to afford to expand your business by buying used trucks and buying commercial property, building buildings, etc. If I was priced just 10-20% less, I would not have the money I need for expansion every year. I would've maxed out my truck 4 years ago. It was only because I began with a very aggressive pricing structure, nearly double the price of everyone else, 8 years ago. 7 other christmas light companies that were here in 2000 are out of business and nobody bought thier business.

why?

they did not charge enough. many were 1 or 2 bucks a bulb for rehang or install. Christmas Decor was 4.50 per foot.they made enough to support the business and a couple of guys, but not enough to store lights or expand. Even Christmas Decor went under.

Hotrod, you said on another thread you close most( 70%? 80% ) of your bids. Most sales books will tell you you should only close 33%-35% of your bids. That is how you know you are charging the right price for the percieved value the customer is receiving. anything above 40%, most sales books will tell you that you are leaving money on the table. Yes, you will get less new customers each year, but over the years you will build a very profitable and expandable business.

I'm not trying to be preachy, but I want you guys around on lawnsite in 5 years talking about how you need to build a bigger warehouse building and you are expanding into multiple crews, and those are the problems I am solving now.

hotrod1965
09-20-2008, 02:29 PM
I closed 15 out of 17 that I showed up to bid. I took about 90 or so emails or calls last year and weeded out the 17 most serious and closed 15 of them. So I am really about 20 percent. I am always working on better target marketing to get a litle closer to 30 percent.

Ramairfreak98ss
09-23-2008, 09:30 PM
No kidding! That's almost 2 spools of wire!

As far as price, you want to make $3 per foot year after year, plus the cost of the products.


How do you guys charge this much for the lights?

If thats $3 per foot labor, thats insane. What types of lights are you hanging?

if your doing trees, heck we can use up 100ft for a big shrub, and get $300 plus the cost of the lights? Enlighten me:)

DeepGreenLawn
09-23-2008, 09:40 PM
these are prices for c9s for the roof, minis are different... I believe...

David Gretzmier
09-25-2008, 02:17 AM
most people think prices for Christmas lights are insane until they do it and get 20-30 jobs under thier belt. The price for mini's on a bush or small tree is 27 bucks a strand, 100 light strand the 1st year. includes all cords, timer, labor up/down,stored at my warehouse. It sounds insane too. but it is the pirce you need if you want to hire folks and be able to pay for everything.

lites73
10-15-2008, 08:51 PM
i totally agree...not only do you have to account for those costs but you must be able to project future increases as well, if you want to grow your company...take the scandalous yearly price increases of business and health insurance! its insane. By me the majority of homes are mini mansions, try getting on them roofs on a windy day, unless you're experienced, you will be spending quite some time up there. I have a pro roofer, he's not cheap, but he's worth his weight in gold. I lost many a bid to inexperienced installers, they aren't around anymore because they realized they were losing money, a little too late, but I'm sure some more will pop up this year...there's plenty of work for everyone out there, that's why I believe if everyone did their homework and research first and priced appropriately, not only would it make for a better business climate but clients would see and appreciate the value of the service.

David Gretzmier
10-16-2008, 01:36 AM
Pricing is a tough topic. Given what I have invested and the volume I do, I know what this stuff should cost. my problem is I buy the best I can find, so my costs tend to be higher. then I tend to pay my help more than I should, because this is a temp job and a hard dangerous one. And I tend to be overly generous with my warranty program, often giving free service calls to folks in thier 5th and even 6th year. And then when I don't have enough money to expand and run my business I get frustrated.

But I still tend to be the highest guy out there.

turf hokie
10-16-2008, 07:52 AM
I sometimes equate christmas lighting to snow plowing. It is fun for the first bit but after a while it almost seems that you cant possible charge enough.

It is dangerous, definately not easy if you are doing a quality job and nothing beats a tripped gfi or dog chewed extension cord on Crhistmas Eve....:cry:

David Gretzmier
10-17-2008, 09:24 AM
When you have your first fall off a roof, or one of your guys falls, and you have a guy in the hospital, you will charge more for this service. The danger element alone should put this job in a high revenue situation. the guys that put grass cutters up on roofs for 8 bucks an hour without workman's comp are huge losers. they just don't know it til a guy falls.