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worx
01-05-2009, 09:33 AM
Anyone made plans for any changes in the way you will do business this year, versus years in the past? Marketing, products, installation methods, business models......?

Lite4
01-05-2009, 10:48 AM
Linking up with a company with deep pockets and developing this business with them.

TXNSLighting
01-05-2009, 02:42 PM
Linking up with a company with deep pockets and developing this business with them.

Theres a good idea.

TXNSLighting
01-05-2009, 02:43 PM
Smarter advertising for me. Of course finding new ways to make installs better and quicker. Just the usual. Nows the time to hit it! Get yourself in front of people and market market market!!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-05-2009, 03:08 PM
You guys in the sunny south have is soooo easy! LOL Give me a 12 month a year market to operate in and look out!! :)

I have picked up a couple of interior jobs that will keep me busy, plus introducing a new Bi-Pin LED Lamp to the market, plus doing a number of commercial property lighting audits, toss in a nice vacation to the islands and before you know it, it will be April again. Then it is SERVICE SERVICE SERVICE for about a month to 6 weeks, followed by 4 major installations that are already sold. All is good.

TXNSLighting
01-05-2009, 03:44 PM
You guys in the sunny south have is soooo easy! LOL Give me a 12 month a year market to operate in and look out!! :)

I have picked up a couple of interior jobs that will keep me busy, plus introducing a new Bi-Pin LED Lamp to the market, plus doing a number of commercial property lighting audits, toss in a nice vacation to the islands and before you know it, it will be April again. Then it is SERVICE SERVICE SERVICE for about a month to 6 weeks, followed by 4 major installations that are already sold. All is good.

I have been waiting for a Bi-Pin LED!!! I need info on this!

Chris J
01-05-2009, 05:48 PM
You guys in the sunny south have is soooo easy! LOL Give me a 12 month a year market to operate in and look out!! :)

Whatever pal! What makes you think you are so much different than every other contractor, in every other trade, in this market. You are the one who has it easy; but then again, that's assuming you are telling the truth (which I doubt). If so, more power to ya. Enjoy it while you can, and pile up a huge bank account in the event Canada experiences what we are going through someday. Until then, feel blessed you are NOT here!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-05-2009, 09:47 PM
Canada is experiencing what you are going through Chris, only we didn't allow our finance industry to run quite so loosy goosy as your Fed. Admin. did down there. The recession is not limited to the USA. It is now a Global reality. I haven't seen a major new foundation get started around here in a few months. 2009 is going to be a challenging year for contracting. I am lucky to have a broader base then just contracting and fully expect to be relying on that to keep sales on par this coming year.

My comment on a 12 month a year market in which to operate a lighting contracting business wasn't aimed at you... it was just a light hearted attempt to get you guys down there to appreciate how nice you actually have it.... as in your wonderful climate that allows you the chance to work all year round, selling to permanent residents.

Want a challenge Chris? C'mon up here and try selling seven figures of outdoor lighting systems to a recreational market that is only in attendence from May 20th to Sept 10th or so, mostly weekends. Then you have install those sales in an environment that only allows you to do so from Mid April to Early December (at best... Nov 14th this year) It isn't for the weak of heart I can assure you. 80 to 100 hour weeks from May to September is pretty common for me.

Mike M
01-05-2009, 10:50 PM
The whole world is an awesome place. Especially America. We'll take this hit on the chin, and learn from it. And it won't be the first time. Being a superpower is a tough job.

Chris J
01-05-2009, 11:02 PM
I don't feel the need to compete with your circumstances my friend. I deal with the hand that I am delt, and I'm comfortable with the task that I have at hand. As far as you're 80-100 hours per week? I have to assume you are not talking truth once again. No one of "serious" business prowess would have the time that you do in the constant contribution of meaningless content to multiple forums. You have much too much time on your hands, and you prove this during the summer months as well. You may con other folks, but not us rednex. You are either not telling the truth (which I believe is so) or you are someone who likes to rub our nose into the crap that this economy is in. Either way, I don't appreciate it one bit, nor do I think any of our contributors like it. I'll consider this conversation over as I never intended on starting an exchange with you in the first place.
Have a Great Day!

paradisescaper
01-05-2009, 11:31 PM
i dont think your a liar that website is amazing. how many employees do u have? do u work in the feild?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-06-2009, 12:15 AM
Thanks Matt. Yes I work extensively in the field as well as the office, the truck, the shop and even in the house! I have two full time installers helping me during the outdoor lighting season which has been a blessing. I thought that bringing on the labour would free up some of my time, instead the business grew and expanded into other areas and the hours keep piling up. I wouldnt do it if I didn't love it!

Find your passion and sucess will come.

LightYourNight
01-06-2009, 01:33 AM
You are either not telling the truth (which I believe is so) or you are someone who likes to rub our nose into the crap that this economy is in. Either way, I don't appreciate it one bit, nor do I think any of our contributors like it. I'll consider this conversation over as I never intended on starting an exchange with you in the first place.
Have a Great Day!

Seriously he was just making an observation. Why are you calling him a liar? I want to read about lighting issues not you starting an argument about nothing. Im in Michigan and wont be able to install for another 3-4 months. Thats sucks... You Are Lucky... Be Happy

irrig8r
01-06-2009, 02:30 AM
It's funny Chris.... the most astoundingly "meaningless content" I ever read on this part of Lawnsite (never mind the irrigation forum) is when a few wingnuts like you or (in the past and elsewhere too) Mike G. or Sean C. start attacking James and calling him a liar.

WTF is that all about? You're not competing in the same market. Why do you even care? Why do you let it get under your skin?

Just get over it and don't waste the bandwidth...

Oh and BTW, Happy New Year :jester:

Chris J
01-06-2009, 08:26 AM
As I said, this conversation is not happening with me. You guys can chose to believe this nonsense, but I for one do not.
Funny how you group the most reputable, and proven lighting designers in the country as "wing nuts." That is humorous.

irrig8r
01-06-2009, 10:50 AM
It's not their/ your skills or talents as designers or installers that I'm calling into question Chris.

It's only their/ your attitude and behavior when expressed through words on message boards like these.... that's all.


http://content.answers.com/main/content/img/McGrawHill/atchitecture/f1075-02.png

Pro-Scapes
01-07-2009, 10:42 AM
Gregg I am curious. What is your obsession with bringing up Mike G and other boards and such. If you notice and read back he was provoked each and every time he posted in a negative manner. I really see no reason for you to keep bringing his and others names up in an insulting manner. Especially since they are not here to defend themselves.

With this obsession you have going on maybe its time to write a biography.

Now on to 2009... I see it being a tad slower with the middle class clients who want 12-40 lights but I dont see a change in the upper crust where projects will still be 50 plus fixtures. We have an install to finish this week and 3 more to design which are already a go as we have performed work for them in the past. I am not worried about this year.

irrig8r
01-07-2009, 11:41 AM
Gregg I am curious. What is your obsession with bringing up Mike G and other boards and such. If you notice and read back he was provoked each and every time he posted in a negative manner. I really see no reason for you to keep bringing his and others names up in an insulting manner. Especially since they are not here to defend themselves.


No obsession on my part Billly. Just responding to Chris making yet another attack. Just like the-one-whose-name-I-will-no-longer-mention, I just call 'em as I see 'em.

It's not like I'm calling them the Axis Of Evil or anything.... I'm just saying they don't know how to get along on message boards. Maybe "wingnut" was a little extreme? I just meant they attack from the fringes, without warning or cause.

And the only obsession I've noticed is with the ones who keep attacking James. Maybe they're just anti-Canadian or something. I can't find a rational explanation.

BTW, you and I both know its their own fault that they're "not here to defend themselves."

NiteTymeIlluminations
01-07-2009, 01:24 PM
100 hour weeks...yeah...that's 7 14 hour days...and thats all summer...hmmm...no days off, 7 days a week and no holidays...where would you have time to spend time with family, eat and sleep and spend all this time on the forum here selling nightscaping and led lamps. Unless you are counting playing on the firum work and driving a remote control boat work and whatever else he lets us all know about....hmmm...I'm looking for a real special place to take my family does anyone know a real nice place to go??? I've been here and here and here and I'm looking for something extra special...blah blah blah....I have to agree with Chris even though I know he's just poking fun to cause a raucous.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-07-2009, 01:57 PM
Usually I like to take Sundays off if I can. 6 x 16 hour days is not uncommon for me during the summer. Sometimes I actually will put in 4 x 20 hour days giving me long weekends to spend as I choose. Try it for yourself sometime... do a 6 x 16 hour work week and see how much you get done!

I know I am a workaholic and I know I survive on very little sleep which is probably not good in the long term... but it is what it is. Don't believe me? I don't really give a darn. The results speak for themselves, life is good, business is good, my family is happy, healthy, loving and thriving... Thanks for your concern. :)

irrig8r
01-07-2009, 04:01 PM
Interesting new avatar James. Are you testing any yet?

Chris J
01-07-2009, 06:50 PM
You guys in the sunny south have is soooo easy! LOL Give me a 12 month a year market to operate in and look out!!


Umm, I attacked who for no reason with no provocation? As if all contractors in the ENTIRE South can't do something that he's insinuating he could? Like you said Gregg, I just call em as I see um.

And just for giggles, this excerpt from a colleague who reads this forum also:

"7 figures he’s claiming? I just read it again. That’s a min of 1 million dollars from May 20th to Sept 10th he’s claiming in sales. That’s 3 months. 350K avg sales per month? between him and 1 helper installing April to Dec and this yr Nov?

What a ******* liar this guy is. Installing April to December that’s 9 months divided by 1 million that’s over 110K of lighting a month or 27.5K per week. Bull****. With all the time he spends on the bds. What a dreamer."

And all this doing installations where most fixtures are not ground mounted, or the typical mount, (requiring more install time); Running 2 or 3 other businesses, and yapping away more than any other on multiple boards. Hell, he even won an award recently for the most posts on another board!

It doesn't bother me when someone is successful. What bothers me is when someone acts like something that are not. No one would even know who he was if it weren't for his constant self promotion and endless contributions to forums.
Oh, and he was bitching last year about the cost to attend the conference in AZ!

:usflag: :laugh:

irrig8r
01-07-2009, 09:52 PM
I'm going to back out of this one.... but that colleague of yours sounds obsessed.

:)

Mike M
01-07-2009, 10:10 PM
Gregg;

I was offended by the you-lucky-guys-in-the-south comment, too.

The economy here is worse than many people realize.

The true successful abilities of people like Chris and Billy are obvious during times like this, when they can continue their operations while many cannot.

Mark B
01-07-2009, 10:30 PM
wow what a thread. Anyone want a #9????

David Gretzmier
01-08-2009, 02:56 AM
I think the original intent of this thread was to talk about 2009. I plan to market my lighting side more, try to cross sell landscape lighting to my Christmas customers more and the folks I did bids for Christmas lighting more.

Also I am trying very diligently to work with the post office to get postcards mailed by carrier route, by getting them printed in bulk numbers at gotprint.com ( 5000 ) and then I print the address and postage on my printer. theoretically this will mean I can postcard for about 1/3-1/4 of the cost I am currently paying. we'll see.

Guys, try to remember-

While we cannot choose what others say, we can choose what we say, and Mike G many times made poor choices. The biggest gamble folks make on this site is what they type, and as Mike g used his own name as his sign in he finally realized ( After I pointed it out to him) his customers and potential customers could google and read everything he had written on lawnsite. Since many of his posts do not paint him in a very professional light, he quit posting.

As far as truth or lies, everyone here know's what they can do sales wise daily, weekly, monthly in this business. I know a guy who does over 7 figures with 2 guys doing all the install work in chicago. he only sells and demo's. and they do get quite a bit of nasty weather from November thru feb. With higher prices 7 figures could be doable in a shorter season.

Mike M
01-08-2009, 03:17 AM
Well, the last time I mentioned business climate I get jumped on, so let's just say I'm taking Sleepy's advice for the first half of 2009, and probably a bit more extreme than he meant.

Mark B
01-08-2009, 08:46 AM
Hey Mike M you know how they are around here. I'm just glad I have a PT job right now. My phone has NOT rang in weeks. I did find me a PT maintenace job that is a good job.

I also agree with what David said as well.

We all know that James and Chris are best buds, they enjoy stirring the pot, or smoking it :drinkup::drinkup::drinkup::drinkup: I'm teasing so don't jump on me. It just sounds good.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-08-2009, 09:11 AM
Interesting new avatar James. Are you testing any yet?

Yes I have a few of these new lamps here under various tests. So far the results are really encouraging. The light is truly warm white at around 2800K or so, like a xenon lamp and the output is just slightly less then an 18W xenon lamp. Most remarkable is the relatively cool temperatures that the chipset is operating at: 30- 40 degrees C! Nice and cool and below max temp spec. for the LEDs

Regards.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-08-2009, 09:28 AM
[QUOTE=Chris J;2684328]As if all contractors in the ENTIRE South can't do something that he's insinuating he could? This was NOT my point at all... as I have already clarified, my comment was in regards to the favourable environmental conditions that you guys in the south get to operate in! As in your climate and weather. How many times does a guy have to explain what he said?

And just for giggles, this excerpt from a colleague who reads this forum also:

7 figures heís claiming? I just read it again. Thatís a min of 1 million dollars from May 20th to Sept 10th heís claiming in sales. Thatís 3 months. 350K avg sales per month? between him and 1 helper installing April to Dec and this yr Nov? Ya, so? His point is?? and to be clear I have 2 full time installers. They are so much more then "helpers". My lead man is quite capable of handling all facets of large technical installations.

What a ******* liar this guy is. Installing April to December thatís 9 months divided by 1 million thatís over 110K of lighting a month or 27.5K per week. Bull****. With all the time he spends on the bds. What a dreamer." Thankfully I am not dreaming, just working very hard and being blessed with some of the most amazing clients and properties around. Please say Hi :waving: to your colleague for me!

And all this doing installations where most fixtures are not ground mounted, or the typical mount, (requiring more install time); Running 2 or 3 other businesses, and yapping away more than any other on multiple boards. Hell, he even won an award recently for the most posts on another board! Posting doesnt take all that long really... a few mins here and there out of my day, but thanks for all your concern about my time management. Seems to be pretty much figured out from my end. :)

It doesn't bother me when someone is successful. What bothers me is when someone acts like something that are not. What is bothering me more and more is (what seems to be) your obsession for insulting me and trying to figure out my operations. Please refrain from the name calling Chris, it only makes you look bad in the end.[QUOTE]

Oh, and I almost forgot... Have a Great day! :canadaflag:

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-08-2009, 09:33 AM
Gregg;

I was offended by the you-lucky-guys-in-the-south comment, too.

The economy here is worse than many people realize.

The true successful abilities of people like Chris and Billy are obvious during times like this, when they can continue their operations while many cannot.

Mike, for the 3rd and last time... I was not implying anything about the economy or the talent of any 'Southern Contractors' when I made my comment. I was simply referring to the favourable climate (as in weather) that you guys enjoy compared to here in the north. Can you see that now?

Thanks.

irrig8r
01-08-2009, 12:48 PM
Thanks David for trying to get us back on track.

I have two service calls booked for tomorrow, one mostly troubleshooting and planning upgrades to a 10 y.o. system, the other a regular customer who has had some of her lighting mysteriously stop working (I'm thinking just a tripped GFI.)

Both have been patient with me as my thumb has been healing from surgery involving removal of a large benign tumor.... The end of my thumb was seriously about the size of a large apricot. It looked like "frankenthumb" three weeks ago. Today it looks like a contour map with various layers of skin shedding, and instead of 4 times normal size it's down to 1.5 and shrinking...

So, I've mostly been spending time with bookkeeping, plans, reading and playing. You don't realize how much you use thumb until you can't. Zippers have been a challenge. Tying shoes too. Still getting used to nerves regrowing and some numb areas and other areas hot and cold sensitive. The pain was mostly bearable. Used only 6 of the prescribed 40 Vicodin, then switched to occasional Advil for most of a week.

Just started using pen and pencil again this week. Being a two fingered typist meant it didn't effect my keyboard skills. :)

Mark B
01-08-2009, 02:01 PM
I'm in NC, it didn't offend me at all. I'm not that sensitive at all. I think it is there are bored and a little ill since the phones havn't been ringing. Some of you need to take my advice and have a few cold ones or burn one so you can relax. *trucewhiteflag*

Chris J
01-08-2009, 06:21 PM
Believe me, I'm not wound up at all. My words sometimes (ok, usually) come across as being very agitated, but I'm really just laughing while I interact with some of these clowns. Call it a somewhat sick form of entertainment for me, if you will. And to the above reply James, I told you a few pages back that I was through with this exchange. If it hadn't been for your buddies chiming in, I wouldn't have taken it any further. Thanks Dave (fatherly figure) and others.
You guys really don't seem to get it about me: :hammerhead: I really don't care what you think of me, as you are all just faceless screen names filled with a bunch of hot air. Some of you I have met, and most of those I call friends now. I think 99% of those who have met me understand what I'm trying to say. There is the occasional JA that I meet and still can't get along with, but that's just human nature. The rest of you can just go fly a kite as far as I'm concerned. OK, off to start the grill for the Florida-OK game/party tonight. Wish you all could be here.........NOT! :canadaflag:

JoeyD
01-08-2009, 06:57 PM
lol........I got to root for Billys cousin tonight! Go Sooners!

Mark B
01-08-2009, 07:07 PM
When are we meeting to have a team building kite flying session????

Chris J
01-08-2009, 07:40 PM
Oh crap! I forgot that Billy's cousin won the award! Sorry Billy, your cousin is fixin to get hurt tonight! Give my regards to your family............

klkanders
01-10-2009, 01:18 AM
I am tired of winter already. Between pushing snow I have been changing internet providers, getting rid of land lines, updating computers and software and attending a few expos and seminars. I just found out about a new distributor in town that has been here since late fall. They hadn't advertised much yet but will do a few shows and have a seminar on Vista coming up in a month or so. I will probably attend and see what new competition I might have.

Keith

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-10-2009, 08:39 AM
Tired of winter you say?? Me too! It is freaking Ccccold here today. -32 C. Oh well, will make the vacation feel that much better! 3 Weeks and counting!

eskerlite
01-10-2009, 02:23 PM
Greg, Have You met James before? Just wondering.
Sean C.

irrig8r
01-10-2009, 03:33 PM
Greg, Have You met James before? Just wondering.
Sean C.

Yes Sean. Palm Springs three years ago at an event hosted by Bill Locklin. Have you?

Mike M
01-11-2009, 02:26 AM
Tired of winter you say?? Me too! It is freaking Ccccold here today. -32 C. Oh well, will make the vacation feel that much better! 3 Weeks and counting!

What a cry baby! You guys down in Canada have it easy.

-50 to -35 this whole last week. The planes don't fly in -50 and I was almost stuck in Kotzebue, AK.

Pics are on the Kobuk river in Shungnak where I am working through May. Tracks I found today include snowshoe hare, fox, ptarmigan, and a freaking moose.

irrig8r
01-11-2009, 03:01 AM
Mike .... I don't know what to say. Thanks for the email. Going to the Arctic Circle in January.

That's one ballsy long distance move man... you mentioned salmon and sheefish? What about Dolly Varden?

You ever read that book Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer?

David Gretzmier
01-11-2009, 03:04 AM
Ha, You think -50 is cold ? why me and steve fosset took the x rocket to mars a few years back. -400 on the dark side buddy. and that is without the wind chill...

irrig8r
01-11-2009, 03:10 AM
I was looking for info on sheefish per your email. Sounds like they get to be good size.

http://www.fishalaskamagazine.com/fish/sheefish.htm

Lite4
01-11-2009, 11:12 AM
Whoa, that looks mighty chilly bud!

Mike M
01-11-2009, 12:45 PM
Ha, You think -50 is cold ? why me and steve fosset took the x rocket to mars a few years back. -400 on the dark side buddy. and that is without the wind chill...

David, that's so funny, because as soon as you try to complain some dude goes on about being in the Barrow school and dealing with polar bears.

This sounds unlikely, but I don't get cold. The air is dry, the snow is clean, and I wear the Carhartt double-lined "arctic" bib and a Goretex Parka for a wind break. This place is awesome.

Gregg, Dolly Varden, salmon when they are running, whitefish, etc., but I can't get through the ice now, it's several feet thick and none of the locals will deal with it. Why should they? There are herds of caribou that winter in the region and the limit is 5 a day, no closed season. Guys run trap lines, too. I may get out some time to join on a hunt, or pick up a shotgun for small game. You need a snowmobile to get the caribou.

Tim, this is how I imagine Idaho. :laugh: Bring your helicopter, there are no roads.

If anyone is looking for work and can find openings anywhere in AK, I say go for it. You dress right and you're not cold. Wonderland for outdoor people. The school district told me they are no longer having difficulty filling jobs like they used too, people like me are falling back on teaching jobs because of the, dare I say it, business climate. I may be able to beef up my service side of landscaping this year, I have a guy available to start up for me in April. My lighting phone line is open, I have someone to cover service calls, and I already have one job booked for May. I assume it'll be slow moving for me in lighting in 2009, I'll just get my income elsewhere.

AK if you have a sense of humor and an open mind.

I like this place. I didn't see any niche/dedicated lighting businesses in Anchorage (some brief searches), but I'm two flights away from that market. They also have lawns, and snow removal businesses.

If I can work the school year, and run my landscaping business by phone and laptop until summer, book my lighting installs in summer, things could be good. What sucks is not being with my family, but if things get worse in the lower 48, they could come up here. My wife is getting a run-around at a place that "hired" her. I think they are having a hiring freeze.

I share this stuff for guys like me whose growing businesses are too young to handle this kick in the teeth, and need to supplement income from other opportunities. We've got kids to raise and bills to pay.

I will tell you what I'm thinking: I am dismissing the mid-range income lighting jobs, and keeping my eyes on high end work. Maintaining my rates and quality, and not wasting money and time on sporadic small crap. As long as I don't need 100% of my income from lighting, I can get more selective and build my reputation slowly with high end jobs. I'll spend "down time" calling on builders and contractors, positioning yourself for a few good jobs here and there with my eyes on the future. My ideas are built on the repetitive advice given here by experienced installers.

That's my business plan for 2009.

Hey, If I was Tim, I would combine my pilot license with lighting and get all those fancy properties in the mountains around Anchorage, the Mat-Su valley, and everywhere AK. No roads, no competition. Maybe work as a commercial pilot, too. I just don't know how the job market is for that, but I did read about 10 deadly crashes, annually. Yeah, I imagine that would open up some pilot jobs each year.

Mike M
01-11-2009, 01:03 PM
You ever read that book Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer?

I watched the movie on DVD--it was awesome. But I think that guy had a death wish.

klkanders
01-11-2009, 03:52 PM
I watched the movie on DVD--it was awesome. But I think that guy had a death wish.

That was a great movie! He worked near here for awhile on his journey.

Mike those are great pictures! What age and subjects do you teach?
My mother was a teacher her whole life. You have to love the job because the pay isn't the best. Our state always ranked near the bottom for teacher pay.
Good Luck to you and take some more pictures if you go on a hunt!

Take Care!
Keith

Lite4
01-11-2009, 04:53 PM
Great pics Mike.
I am very happy that things are working out for you. It sucks that you have to be away from the family but we all do what we have to do to get through this. Your wife and children are lucky to have someone who is willing to go to the ends of the earth for them, "literally". Keep sending us pics. Take care and stay bundled up!

Tim

Mark B
01-12-2009, 10:26 PM
Mike that is what I'm talking about. That is one helluva idea. I guess your wife is back in SC? Enjoy your time there.

Mike M
01-12-2009, 10:57 PM
Keith,

Special education K-12.

I will be heading out with a high school kid this weekend for snowshoe hares, and maybe the ptarmigans (birds).

At some point I'd like to get out with someone for caribou. Now, those would be good pics.

I just got a call for an estimate, my wife is going to qualify them and play up the "he's booking demo's in May, and has some work already lined up. Would you like me to schedule you in?" etc...

I'll let you know how that goes over. Kelly will be pushing the "it's worth waiting for" stuff. :)

NightLightingFX
01-14-2009, 06:47 PM
Mike,
I am glad things are working out for you.
~Ned

NightLightingFX
01-14-2009, 07:16 PM
What I have been doing for 2009.
1) I have been redoing and making a much better business plan and I am working with my local SCORE counselor to ensure I have a quality business plan. The way I see it, if business isn't going good turn to your business plan. If you have a crappy business plan, then that is probably why business isn't good. I also just resently read "The E Myth," a lot of good info to add into my business plan.
2) I am going to create an e-mail seasonal newsletter to send out to my customers and other professionals that I network with. I think an e-mail newsletter is a great way to show pics of my work, an to promote my business without a lot of cost. Lets face it snail mail gets expensive FAST.
3) I was talking with a very successful colleague in DC. He shared with me that they spend very little money on marketing, but they REALLY hit the complementary professionals hard. His attitude is that these complementary professionals such as Architects, Custom Homebuilders, Landscapers are his customers vs. the home owners. So in a nutshell he doesn't do any marketing to homeowners, but puts all the efforts into the professionals. That is what I am going to work on this year. In the past have taken a relaxed attitude when it comes to networking with other professionals because I get blown off a lot. My attitude has changed now. I consider these professionals my customers and I am going to sell them on my talents. I believe this is the way to go. And on a small scale I have seen this work, All the great jobs I have gotten this year were from professionals I had networked with - These referrals were EASY sells also.
~Ned

Lite4
01-14-2009, 07:45 PM
Sounds like a good plan Ned.

David Gretzmier
01-15-2009, 01:42 AM
I am going to a breakfast next tuesday for a "referral" network event. basically there is this club, 29 guys in my area that all own businesses, and they currently have no Landscape Light/Christmas light guy. painters, lawyers, Plumbers, electricians, bug guys, mower guys, tree service, heating/cooling guys etc. The first meeting is free and then you have to pay a membership fee.

They track all referrals at each weekly meeting and referrals that turn into sales. basically you agree to refer all work to them and they agree to refer all work to you. I'm not much of a club guy, but I am intrgued enough to get a free breakfast. I'll let you know how it pans out.

Chris J
01-19-2009, 05:46 PM
David, is that BNI?

irrig8r
01-19-2009, 08:36 PM
I am going to a breakfast next tuesday for a "referral" network event. basically there is this club, 29 guys in my area that all own businesses, and they currently have no Landscape Light/Christmas light guy. painters, lawyers, Plumbers, electricians, bug guys, mower guys, tree service, heating/cooling guys etc. The first meeting is free and then you have to pay a membership fee.

They track all referrals at each weekly meeting and referrals that turn into sales. basically you agree to refer all work to them and they agree to refer all work to you. I'm not much of a club guy, but I am intrgued enough to get a free breakfast. I'll let you know how it pans out.

There was something that I almost got involved in here a few years back that was bigger in the Sacramento area called "Dial One". It was before the days of the internet.

It didn't last more than a couple years. The fee structure made it feel like your business became part of a franchise chain. Same logos for all signs and business trucks, etc.

Basically they took a monthly cut of your revenue and did "Dial One" TV and radio ads. The numbers didn't make sense to me. It also felt like I'd be giving up too much control.

Mike M
01-19-2009, 11:18 PM
Gregg, I can't imagine you without an internet.

Do you remember those bulletin boards you could dial into if you had the phone number? LOL. And monochrome monitors, learning dumb stuff in Basic, and thinking life got really sweet with word processing and spell check.

You would always ask people what their baud rate was. I had a 40 meg hard drive.

irrig8r
01-19-2009, 11:28 PM
Gregg, I can't imagine you without an internet.

Do you remember those bulletin boards you could dial into if you had the phone number? LOL. And monochrome monitors, learning dumb stuff in Basic, and thinking life got really sweet with word processing and spell check.

You would always ask people what their baud rate was. I had a 40 meg hard drive.

Me too! My first computer was a Mac Centris. I spent some time on local BBS's like Livewire and Virtual Valley and the W.E.L.L.... where I got to chat with David Crosby about songwriting (he said he doesn't read music, and neither does Jackson Browne)

Of course, my first cell phone (1987) was an over the shoulder bag (for a heavy lead acid battery) made by OKI... Which cost me around $700, and cost .35/ min. to use...

I kinda miss the sound of dial-up modems... I was thinking it would make a cool ring tone for my phone if I could find a sound file...

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-19-2009, 11:35 PM
Mike my first PC was an IBM XT Clone. I remember it well... mostly because it cost me $2200 in 1986!!!!

MS Basic Bios
Intel 8088 cpu running at an impressive 4.77 Mhz!
8087 Math Co Processor on board
640K Ram
40 Meg H-Drive
2X 3.5" Floppy Drives (360K)
CGA 640x200 Graphics - 16 "Colours"
13" Monochromatic (Green) monitor
9 Pin Dot Matrix Printer.

I had the most powerful comp in the fraternity house!

Mike M
01-19-2009, 11:51 PM
I learned how to program in basic using cassettes with a Radioshack TRS-80. I borrowed it from my friend in 1982.

My freshman year in college I used a typewriter. Oh my God, how old am I? It was an issue in college if you used a dot matrix printer.

First PC: 8088 processor?, 2nd was a 286, the third was for my video biz, an Amiga 2000, then a, crap, can't remember, windows 95 system, then a Dell, now my MacBook. I hate computers now. They suck. I don't want to spend anymore time dealing with compatibility issues, drivers, and aftermarket peripherals.

I'm going Amish, like my home-state brethren in PA. If they come up with a wooden internet, I'll convert.

Up here in AK, I have no cell, no landline (I use the one at school), and no TV. No car or truck. I wish I had a rifle, I would stop buying food via airfreight.

Brainstorm for this thread topic, if anyone is reading my rambling; what do you think about a fly-in lighting biz? I could hook up with a direct mail company for a list, and just add a surcharge for a two-way bush flight.

What's a thousand bucks if someone is getting a nice system? I would have to educate the client on bulb replacements and maintenance.

Work days are 24 hours in summer. LOL. Great for work addicts.

Mike M
01-19-2009, 11:57 PM
James, that was it, the XT. I couldn't remember. That's funny, I had the same thing. I don't think I bought my first software until many years later. LOL.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-20-2009, 12:26 AM
what do you think about a fly-in lighting biz?

Not such a hairbrained Idea actually. We have contemplated getting an amphib. Cesna here for the biz. I spend WAY too much time driving around the big 3 lakes up here... hours and hours of unecessary driving. After taking a trip in a 4 seater Cesna a few years ago it made me appreciate how efficient it would be to switch to a airplane. Some sites that take me 1.5 hrs to drive to are reachable in 10 mins by air.

The only real hiccup is getting the darned licensce to fly it... they seem really sticky about this!

Chris J
01-20-2009, 12:33 AM
You guys are a trip, and you obviously have good memories. I bought this computer less than 3 years ago, and I couldn't tell you what it is; much less the first one I had way back when.
Flying to the job site is not far fetched as long as your charging the appropriate consultation fee.

Mike M
01-20-2009, 03:00 AM
Yeah, no more free demo's, that's for flippin sure.

James, getting the pilot license could be a fun hobby for you. Just be careful if you get close to US borders, I think we shoot down Canadians, not sure. It might just be French Canadians. :gunsfirin: :canadaflag: :franceflag: Not really, I don't think our gov has any more money for bullets.

Chris, back then, a pc was a big deal. Now, I have no idea what processor I have, memory, speed, whatever. Just the operating system (Mac OS vs. Windows or Vista). When I go Amish, I'll be content with my kitchen table, my wood stove, and my candle-powered illumination business.

David Gretzmier
01-20-2009, 06:08 AM
Chris- yes, I think it is BNI, I'll know in a few hours, I went to bed early last night, now I woke up at 3 am and I can't sleep.

You guys kill me, my first computer was a good old commodore 64, unless you count the pong and then atari 2600 setup I had before that for the TV. I set up the first commodore PET computer ( kind of an XT clone, but no hard drive, dual 5 1/4's ) at my Junior high school after they heard I set up the middle school one. get this- no computers at the High school, and at the University of Akansas, back in '89 we had windows 2.0, no internet on 99% of computers and one black and white laser printer ( good old HP III's, a tank ) per room of 30 computers.

The internet was starting over at the mainframe of Bell Engineering center, where it was one of the 20 mainframe hubs ( it had, as I recall, about 16-20 gigabytes of storage in a room the size of a house) around the country that was "interconnected" by t1 lines allowing a sharing of information. within a month of my first year there in the Computer Science Engineering Dept, a guy pulled me aside to a internet hub monitor and showed me how you could view racy pictures stored in the "interconnected". ah, the true purpose of the internet had begun- file sharing, college style.

And yeah, if you do the research, Al Gore wrote and sponsored the bill that funded the expansion of the internet from there.

As far as the computer I use now, I actually don't know what processor it has, It is some dual or quad core mobile something or other, but I know it has Ram and hard drive space in terms of multiple gigs rather than the good old fashioned megs. I bought this laptop 6 months ago, and I am now seeing computers at Sam's club with terabyte drives. does someone need 1000 gigs? If you had asked me If there was any way I could fill up a 200 gig hard drive, I would have laughed at you a year ago. And yet, as I started storing all the videos from my 160 Christmas light customers, I started gobbling up the gigs.

as an aside, you can now buy 16 gigs on a micro sd card for your cellphone or camera that is the size of your pinky nail. I wonder how much storage the old room at the college the size of a house has now? 6 jillion gigs?

klkanders
01-20-2009, 10:32 AM
Ah the memories.......David do you still have your pong or Atari units? :)
We could get a tournament going!

Keith

David Gretzmier
01-20-2009, 05:50 PM
Also an update to my 2009- went to the BNI meeting this morning and it looks to be absolutely worth it. aprox 300 bucks per year plus you pay 10 bucks a week to cover the cost of all you can eat breakfast. I witnessed 30 plus referrals spread around the table just from this week. from bankers, tree guys, mortgage brokers, real estate agents, etc. So an 850 dollar investment per year gets you into a club where you are the only outdoor light guy, further I will be the only landscaper, so other things I like- water features, retaining walls, can come in if no lighting jobs.
0
They essentially require attendance, and pretty much require you to actively refer work to members within the group. They track all sales referred to each other, and this group referred almost 1 million in sales to each other in 2008 when the group grew from 15 members to 29. I'll be number 30. I spent over ten times that amount on yellow pages last year, so it is a no brainer.

I also met with my 1st of 3 yellow pages rep to set up a tracking number to see how many folks actually call from thier book. At 2-4 grand for each book, I have to start justifying the cost.

worx
01-20-2009, 06:47 PM
Hey David I was asked to attend a BNI meeting earlier this year and have yet to do so. I may get in touch w/ my contact and see if the opportunity is still available and check things out for myself.

Has anyone else had the opportunity to work with a BNI group?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-20-2009, 07:13 PM
I can see one hiccup in this whole arranged refferal network... you are expected to refer your respected and valued clients to other trades based solely upon your involvement in the BNI group! Who is to say that the EC or the Carpenter etc involved in that group is worthy of the reference?

I have a very strict policy of only referring my clients to other trades who I have extensive knowledge of, and whom I have worked alongside on multiple jobs sucessfully. The simple act of offering a client a referral is not all that simple if things don't work out. The bad experience will reflect poorly on you and and can cost you dearly.

Be careful who you associate with... their work (work that you have no control of) can take you down along with them.

worx
01-20-2009, 07:44 PM
I looked into our local chapter with some of those same questions in mind. Just by looking over there site I can see they have a committee that qualifies each member through references. Not that it's fool proof but perhaps handled in the right manner could produce some leads and might even point you in the direction of even better contract partners.

irrig8r
01-20-2009, 08:25 PM
I looked into our local chapter with some of those same questions in mind. Just by looking over there site I can see they have a committee that qualifies each member through references. Not that it's fool proof but perhaps handled in the right manner could produce some leads and might even point you in the direction of even better contract partners.

I had the same questions about Dial One (it's still going in Sacramento).. I already have a lot of friends in business and we refer work back and forth already: landscape maint. guys, a pool guy, tree guys, a lawn spray guy, etc.

I just can't see paying for it when typically (seasonally) I get more referrals than I can handle.

David Gretzmier
01-20-2009, 10:30 PM
Yes, you run the risk of referring anyone can reflect badly on you, and you are not forced to refer. they have rules for what happens to members that do bad work or overcharge, and basically you can lose membership if you have more than 3 complaints in a year. They track what referrals you get and give, and you must attend all weekly meetings, or send someone that works for you in your place.

The whole thing is set up to have all members out there listening to their clients for their needs, and being ready to send you work because they want you to do the same.

Like I said before, these guys referred each other 900 g's worth of work last year among a membership that went from 15 folks to 30 over 2008. even if you average out that to 30k per member, that is some awesome referral network.

also there were ideas floating around for marketing, management, small business stuff, local great deals, etc. I probably will at least cover the fees just on education and opportunities.

worx
01-21-2009, 09:55 AM
Hopefully I will learn alittle more today, find out which local businesses are involved, and how long they have been established, along with the amount of referrals produced.

David Gretzmier
01-21-2009, 03:02 PM
I really don't need BNI for Christmas Lights, it is only for landscape lighting and other landscape projects.

NightLightingFX
01-22-2009, 11:20 PM
I just put together one of those "Snapfish" photo books to use as a sales tools when I approach professionals I want to team up with. I recieved it today it turned out GREAT! With this photo book in hand I am going to blow away some people. I was afraid some of the pictures would be too dark and etc. They do a great job making sure the pictures look right. It only cost me $34 total for 20 pages. I finished putting it together on Sunday and I got it today. It is a great deal, if any of you guys were like my putting it off cause you weren't sure how the pics would be. Just suck it up and do it. I don't think you will regret it.
~Ned

klkanders
01-27-2009, 08:32 PM
Hopefully I will learn alittle more today, find out which local businesses are involved, and how long they have been established, along with the amount of referrals produced.

Steve,
How did this turn out for you?

Thanks,
Keith

Mike M
01-27-2009, 09:25 PM
I just put together one of those "Snapfish" photo books to use as a sales tools when I approach professionals I want to team up with. I recieved it today it turned out GREAT! With this photo book in hand I am going to blow away some people. I was afraid some of the pictures would be too dark and etc. They do a great job making sure the pictures look right. It only cost me $34 total for 20 pages. I finished putting it together on Sunday and I got it today. It is a great deal, if any of you guys were like my putting it off cause you weren't sure how the pics would be. Just suck it up and do it. I don't think you will regret it.
~Ned

Ned, great idea, thanks for sharing this.

Did you include any daytime install shots? Joey mentioned once including "trick work" or advanced skills in action. I also thought of showing some simple things like the transformer mounted. For some stupid reason, people are always impressed with the transformer mounted with conduit going to the ground. Funny. What a goofy thing.

Anyways, I know the key is the illumination effects, but the other stuff helps portray the professionalism and specialty.

With a book, I could have my wife visit people briefly with it, while I am out of the area, to help book demo's for the summer.

The book would also be a great ice breaker for contractors/referral sources.

NightLightingFX
01-28-2009, 01:46 PM
Yesterday I was beating the streets with my snapfish book. I had a GREAT meeting with a pool guy I have crossed paths with a couple of times. After he saw my book he and his office manager we GEEKED out of their mind about how my talents can help ehance what they are doing. They want a book for their show room, so I will get one made up for them.
~Ned

NightLightingFX
01-28-2009, 01:59 PM
Ned, great idea, thanks for sharing this.

Did you include any daytime install shots? Joey mentioned once including "trick work" or advanced skills in action. I also thought of showing some simple things like the transformer mounted. For some stupid reason, people are always impressed with the transformer mounted with conduit going to the ground. Funny. What a goofy thing.

Anyways, I know the key is the illumination effects, but the other stuff helps portray the professionalism and specialty.

With a book, I could have my wife visit people briefly with it, while I am out of the area, to help book demo's for the summer.

The book would also be a great ice breaker for contractors/referral sources.

Only night time shots. My personal opinion, I am only going to show them pictures of finished work. Only stuff that will excite them - Sell the sizzle not the steak. I am not going to waste a page on how-to's and boring stuff. When I talk to people I have a "feature - benefit" theme I aways use. I incorporated it in my book along with pictures.
~Ned

JoeyD
01-28-2009, 02:17 PM
I see nothing wrong with showing how you cut concrete to seal and hide wire or recessed a light in. Showing how you ran wire up to a 3rd story and mounted a fixture on a gutter bracket to highlight a dormer. Follow it up with a nighttime shot of what you accomplished.

When showing a few of these "trick" install techniques it can only help in building confidence with the homeowner that you know what your doing far outside the realm of pushing lights into the dirt. It could be the difference in setting yourself a part from your competition. Plus its cool to have for your own reference.

You do want to "sell the sizzle" but sometimes people want to know what cut of the beef their getting and how its prepared! Homeowners are becoming more savvy to lighting these days. You want to have an arsenal to rely upon for all things that may come up during the sales process. You may not need everything on every sale but you want to be able to combat those rebuttals or a visual to back up your response to a question.

I know lots of contractors that do hardscapes and or interior remodeling. They always document before, during, and after with photos of their projects and use all of those photos on new potential clients to show how they transformed those projects. It does work.

NightLightingFX
02-11-2009, 07:44 PM
I guess this is a good thread to mention this re: marketing

FYI, I was able to get a comp. ad in a local Home & Lifestyle magazine that was included in the newspaper. I did some work for a guy at the newspaper last spring, we bartered services. I think he had some extra add space and he was thinking of me. He told me I had a credit of $400, exacually what the add cost. Anyways I got a free add. And it has been working pretty good.

The first day the magazine came out I got a call for a consultation - It is a solid lead I am confident that will convert into an installation. I have had a couple other people mention they say my add, and I have heard through the grapevine of someone who wants me to do some work for them this spring.

Just thought I would share this marketing idea.
~Ned

klkanders
02-11-2009, 09:06 PM
I think that is a great idea Ned. I am currently looking into doing something similar with a magazine tied in with our local Home Builders Association. They also accept articles as well.

Ned check your PM.

Keith

NightLightingFX
02-11-2009, 09:35 PM
The HB gig sound real good. I would try to jump on that with an article on how outdoor lighting will enhance homes.