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TXNSLighting
10-15-2008, 11:31 PM
This forum has been dead th last few days, whats going on??

S&MLL
10-16-2008, 12:23 AM
....Dig em up

Mike M
10-16-2008, 09:08 AM
It's been like this for a week or so, and the old regulars are MIA.

I am very curious about how everyone's business is doing. I am off to cut lawns for the day, and waiting for my next round of post cards to circulate (any day now).

EOL
10-16-2008, 12:20 PM
On vacation for a week in Cancun.

The Lighting Geek
10-16-2008, 01:41 PM
I can tell you that I am interviewing next week for a job. My phone has been dead for 3 weeks and I am wrapping up what's in the pipeline in the next week or so. I am just going to hunker down indefinitely until the whole mess begins to recover, and that could be quite a while. Everyone around me is going to BK and either shutting the doors or getting a job. No one is spending money here. I ended up with shingles from the stress, so I getting a job. :)

irrig8r
10-16-2008, 03:08 PM
It's kind of a mixed bag around here.

I guess either I'm just lucky or the economy hasn't been as hard hit here (yet.) A friend told me he signed a half mil landscape job (about an acre, includes a lot of masonry, hillside, stairs, patios.)

Other friends of mine with bigger operations have cut back. One who hasn't done any advertising in years is sweating over his phone not ringing. Another lost two landscape maintenance accounts, each over $600/ mo. when her raised them each by 5%.

I finished a partial backyard upgrade and replacements w/ 22 uplights and 9 pathlights on a job, and I'm replacing transformers and doubling capacity in two more areas of the same property to 2K W this week for future renovations that I hope to get done by December. (Still planning parts of it.)

Still fitting in irrigation repairs around this longer term job.

Litewerks Expert Lighting
10-16-2008, 04:23 PM
It has been slow going here as well. I haven had a install for 3 weeks now! Hopefully it things will better soon or I too will be in the market for a job. I've circulated over 1000 flyers in 3 weeks (door to door marketing) with no response, I use to have this rule of thumb that for every 100 flyers i get one job. Currently that rule is out the window. Its rough my friends and I'm bout over it.

TXNSLighting
10-16-2008, 04:45 PM
Yeh this is super scary! I havent installed in over 4 weeks. i did an add on last week. Did a landscape job last week, and i got another add on next week. Nothing that is really going to help all that much tho.

Mike M
10-16-2008, 04:57 PM
Job? :cry:

Which business is good during bad times? Bootlegging? We need to bring back prohibition.

:drinkup:

irrig8r
10-16-2008, 06:12 PM
Mary Louise Parker's cable show Weeds is sort of like a modern day version of a prohibition era entrepreneur.

The way it looks in the show, any business enterprise of that sort has lot of risks... from deadly competition, production issues, financing, and all that's entailed in living the life of an outlaw... Makes for an entertaining story, and Mary Louise is certainly a hottie, but I just think it would be even harder in real life.

BTW, a branch of my dad's family was involved in bootlegging during prohibition in western PA. The odd thing is, the way I heard it anyway, my dad's uncle was murdered after Prohibition was repealed, when there was tough competition for legal beer distributorships by former bootleggers...

JoeyD
10-16-2008, 06:44 PM
anyone doing demos???

Mike M
10-16-2008, 06:59 PM
(Gregg, is there some kind of google family history thing now?)

Joey, demo's? I did one recently. Why, is that worth merit? Almost as good as money!

I never got trophies or real awards, just a bunch of "certificate of merit" thingies. I would hang them all proudly on my bedroom wall.

I don't know about bootlegging, but my ancestors drank Utica Club.

irrig8r
10-16-2008, 09:01 PM
(Gregg, is there some kind of google family history thing now?)



No Mike. But as far as I know the Mormons are open to people using their genealogical libraries if that's your thing...

I just have heard a lot of family stories over the years... I could probably write a couple of good novels and a screenplay if I had time...

But I did run across City Directories of San Francisco on www.sfgenealogy.com ... so I looked up what streets various family members lived on in say 1915 and 1930... somehow I ran into links to city directories from quite a few other cities too... can't find them now though.

Lite4
10-16-2008, 09:02 PM
I just started a full time job today at a local factory and I have an ASVAB test and physical on Tuesday for the National Guard which I will probably enter in July, Maybe..
I am finishing an install on saturday and I have a home show next week that I hope will generate a job or two at least to pay some bills. Heres hoping!

MarkOlex
10-16-2008, 09:06 PM
Is it really that bad out there. I suspect if things where so bad there would be more posts on here because we are all just sitting around with nothing to do. I have had a back log of 10 - 15 jobs at any given time for most of the year. This whole year (minus January) I have had maybe three weeks with no jobs to do. I had 6 jobs on the board at the start of this week and picked up 3 more today. Look up things will get better.

TXNSLighting
10-16-2008, 09:27 PM
anyone doing demos???

No....This is just depressing...

TXNSLighting
10-16-2008, 09:28 PM
Is it really that bad out there. I suspect if things where so bad there would be more posts on here because we are all just sitting around with nothing to do. I have had a back log of 10 - 15 jobs at any given time for most of the year. This whole year (minus January) I have had maybe three weeks with no jobs to do. I had 6 jobs on the board at the start of this week and picked up 3 more today. Look up things will get better.

I guess i need to move to VA!!

Mark B
10-16-2008, 09:34 PM
This really bites. We all have had good yrs in the past, now some of us have gotten jobs. Again for myself I feel like I made a really smart move by getting my job. I see larger companies cutting there prices to keep work. They are beating the street really hard.

But for me it was & has been worth getting the job. I have slept great every night. I just got back from a week from fishing. I"m leaving for key west to party and forget the world for a week. I'm sure it will get better soon. My .02

MarkOlex
10-16-2008, 09:39 PM
I guess i need to move to VA!!

I am not saying I have not been nervous. before today i didnt know if i would have work to do in november. Also, I bought gas for 2.65 a gallon. Finally able to fill up for 82.00. Normally I put 100.00 in the tank and it only gives me 3/4 on the gauge.

tonyGub
10-16-2008, 10:00 PM
Biz is slow round here

TXNSLighting
10-16-2008, 10:28 PM
I am not saying I have not been nervous. before today i didnt know if i would have work to do in november. Also, I bought gas for 2.65 a gallon. Finally able to fill up for 82.00. Normally I put 100.00 in the tank and it only gives me 3/4 on the gauge.

Yeh i get to fill up my diesel for 70 now! Its exciting.

Mike M
10-16-2008, 11:24 PM
There is an erie atmosphere everywhere I go. People are watching CNBC, the same way everyone watched CNN for days/weeks after 911.

I have an uneasy feeling about this.

TXNSLighting
10-16-2008, 11:33 PM
I have a very big uneasy feeling all the time now!

Pro-Scapes
10-17-2008, 12:37 AM
So the prodical son returns!

Sorry to hear so many guys are getting out of business. I have been pretty steady latley with a mixture of a couple of installs and alot of service work for systems put in by hacks. I think I dug up the worlds largest lollipop wired job this past week. Gotta love guys who use wire nuts and electrical tape for connections!

Hope you guys keep your heads up. It will get better after elections and some stability comes around. One thing I like to do when I get slow is contact all the clients in my quickbooks and check in on them.

David Gretzmier
10-17-2008, 07:41 AM
We have not had any landscape light work for quite some time, but then we have been hanging Christmas lights for a month. we've picked up 5 new christmas light clients to date, and 1 new building from a current client. Given we only lost 4 Christmas light clients last year out of 140 or so, and normally lose 5-10%, I expect to lose more this year just given statistics, even if the economy was good.

Christmas light wise, we are ahead of 2006 and 2007. I am advertising/postcarding more than ever, and plan to continue to do so to keep me ahead of the other guys out there who see this as a way to make a buck. Also, All bids we do this year and all invoices come in new marketing materials that look really nice and let folks know loud and clear we are moving in the landscape light direction. Hopefully over the next 4 months of constant Christmas light work we can arrange 2 months of landscape light work 2 guys in March and April. If so, with belt tightening, and part time landscape maintenance/lighting, I should be able to financially get through 2009 til next Christmas light season.

I know every news story in america says the economy is dark and doom, but I closed 2 new $2000 plus jobs in the past 2 days for Christmas Lights. Last week I closed a $20,000 large scale commercial Christmas light job. Try to remember we serve the top 1%, typically working wealthy. Those folks are still drawing a paycheck that is healthy and many will still spend money. 2 folks last week wanted landscape light bids for the spring and want to do it.

I know it is hard to postcard when money is not coming in, but this is the time of year it starts getting dark earlier and folks want landscape lighting. Get 5000 jumbo full color both side post cards printed at gotprint.com and hand deliver them. 200 bucks buys you color/UV coated both sides, park and wear out a pair of 60 buck shoes. If that feels dirty to you, wait til you see the jobs that are out there- working a factory folding boxes, extruding plastic decking, etc, at 8 bucks an hour. If you are bold, do the neighborhoods in or near a house you have already lighted, and ring the doorbell at each house and speak to them about visiting each house in the area to let folks know you did that house and you are available for work. sound desparate? if you have nothing elase to do, I promise you this- you WILL do 3 bids a day if you ring doorbells. you may close one.

If you spend 8 hours a day walking the right neighborhoods, you should pick up a job every other day. Heck- work a full time job if you have to, but spend 2 hours a day after work hitting those neighborhoods. do a lighting job every other saturday. when the economy turns around, or people feel more confident, they will have your postcard on the fridge.

I will not give up landscape lighting without a fight. Waiting for the phone to ring without doing anything would drive me crazy.

worx
10-17-2008, 08:39 AM
Great advice David, this will definitely be a turning point in many folks lives.

TPnTX
10-17-2008, 09:41 AM
somebody please hit the re-set button.

My schedule got so slammed with various jobs landscape, some big fence installs(love/hate thing) our commercial/resi lawn maintenance and recently a huge tree trim job.

What I'm trying to say is that my schedule is what has kept me from throttling up on the lighting side. I thought I would end up regretting that but as it turns out it's kept my business going. Someone is looking out for me. Once again diversity saving my ass.


Good luck to everyone.

Eden Lights
10-18-2008, 12:28 AM
Man, hasn't it been crazy the last 30 days. I have been doing anything and everything to get what every lighting business has tumbled by. (Except demos, sorry Joey) We made a investment in some nice direct mail for Oct, but I think name awareness is all we are going to get out of it for now? I am not going down without fight, I have been doing some sparky work, plumbing, home maintenance, and etc. to help improve cash flow for now. My company is very lean and mean, but I am working on drawing a line in the sand of how far i will go into the red. Then I will decide at that point to leave the biz forever or try to find supplemental income? I have not been to this site in a long time because I didn't want to talk about it and i knew I would. I have been catching some nice Stripers even though I havn't fished in over 5 years or anything else for that matter.

Mark B
10-18-2008, 08:47 AM
Atleast you are having some good eating with those Stripers. I'm sure the fishing is helping you relax. That is what key west is going to do for me.

Mike M
10-18-2008, 11:33 AM
I am working on drawing a line in the sand of how far i will go into the red. Then I will decide at that point to leave the biz forever or try to find supplemental income?

Amen to that. Thank you for your honesty, Eddie. I had been doing the monthly poll because there has been writing on the wall and I want to know what is really happening to the experienced, well-established lighting professionals.

I drew my line in the sand with this last post card, and I'm trying to solve the income thing. Around here, many people are fighting over stupid jobs, and even the stupid jobs are being scaled back.

Wanna scare the crap out of yourself? Start reading books that explain the great depression. It wasn't the stock market, it was the chain reaction of home foreclosures and banks not getting their money back because of devaluations of those homes. Sound familiar? Many other similarities.

Even if all we experience is a mild recession, industries like lighting could be leveled for some time.

You can hang tough and spend money marketing and fight all you want, but at some point you need to "respond" to what is happening before it's too late and you have to "react" to what "happened."

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-18-2008, 12:01 PM
Use what you know to your advantage. There are still opportunities in the lighting industry for growth out there and they reside in relatively new, unexplored niches.

What are the areas that most property owners, either residential or commercial are going to be examining very closely over the next 1, 3, 5 years? Lowering operating expenses, improving efficiency, and taking advantage of 'greening initiatives' and other such capital improvement programs. Think about it... there are opportunities out there for savvy, dynamic, and adaptable people. Use what you have learned about lighting, what you know about systems, to your advantage.

Have a great day.

Mike M
10-18-2008, 05:52 PM
What are the areas that most property owners, either residential or commercial are going to be examining very closely over the next 1, 3, 5 years?

Like reducing staff and eliminating various expenditures altogether?

One could fork over some venture capital and speculate LED retro's or or new installs, but that could be a costly dice throw. If lighting is down, lighting is down. I don't think LED will save us right now any more than liquid natural gas fuel could save auto sales, or any more than "green homes" could solve the housing slump.

I think the real question in this post is "Is there really a lighting slump? If so, what do we do?

Should we look toward other green industry services? Should we get jobs (ACK!) and keep our lighting business lines open for side jobs?

I plan to hunker down, continue to offer lighting, but increase my landscaping service this spring significantly, and maybe get a job until then. I'll be here, near term or long term, when the market comes back.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-18-2008, 06:16 PM
Mike, if you owned a 50 Storey office tower, and you were shown an opportunity that would cut your electrical bills by 30% or more (we are talking about tens of thousands of dollars per month saved), an opportunity that would see returns on your investment in under 2 years, would you not be interested in that? How about cutting a homeowners electrical bill by 20% per month? Think someone might be interested in that?

Don't be so short sighted about what opportunities lie out there in the lighting industry. Take what you know, what you have learned and use it to your advantage.

Pro-Scapes
10-18-2008, 06:40 PM
We have seen more than a few clients drag their feet when it comes to getting things underway. We have been doing well enough latley with our diverse business to be considering the purchase of a new home with larger shop space.

There has been some great change in our area and the guys who focused thier service on new construction are feeling it. With Gas coming back down to the 2.39 range its really helped.

Running your company lean certainly helps out in tougher times but I see us doing several more lighting installs still this year. Keep in contact with your current clientel and ensure they are still happy or perhaps they need a few things. I cant even count how many times I asked a client who installed or performed a certain feature of a property and they could not rememeber. I can promise you that all of them rememeber who installed the lighting tho!

David Gretzmier
10-18-2008, 11:33 PM
There are still people out there who will have work done. people will still draw a paycheck. doctors, Lawyers, vice presidents of companies. grocery store owners. You will have to work harder to find them. How many folks on this board are willing to walk and go door to door in the nice neighborhoods? anyone? To feed my family I will.

The Christmas light postcards I sent out 2 weeks ago are getting me calls. I have closed more Christmas Jobs to date than 2006 or 2007. When I closed a job a few days ago a lady across the street came and got me for a bid. And she wants landscape lights in the spring. Get out there and find the jobs and stop waiting for them to come to you. Get your marketing materials printed and pound the pavement if this is important to you.

Call every previous job you have done and ask if they are happy and if they need anything, and ask if they know of anyone that needs work done. Waiting drives me nuts !

Mike M
10-19-2008, 07:52 AM
This reminds me of the hurricane threads. It's goofy to panic every time one shows up on radar, but it's wise to have a good plan and be prepared ahead of time, just in case.