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David Gretzmier
05-02-2009, 04:20 AM
After doing Landscape lighting stuff as part of a landscape maintenance and install business for 20 plus years now,

I've been dabbling at this thing a little more serious for a few years now, trying to build a full time landscape lighting schedule for myself and a worker from March 1 to sept 1, our essential off season for Christmas lights. We have 500,000 folks in 2 counties, and if only the top 1% get lights ( not necessarily true), that is 5000 potential customers. I have addresses of the top 1% income folks for postcarding, and that number is about right. I really only need 3 small to medium ( 16-40 fixtures) jobs a week, for 5 months, or about 23 weeks. that is only 60 jobs per year. Based on a reasonable close ratio of 30% ( but I tend to close closer to 40 ) that would mean I would need 180 bids per year to get those jobs. so given the revenue for those jobs would be in the neighborhood of 350k, is it reasonable to say that 10 percent, or 35k in marketing cost would yield you that many bids/closed jobs? is that a self sustaining machine? I probably see 40 bids per year and am closing maybe 25, but then that was last year and this year is way slower.

I have dabbled in postcards but always end up doing less because I tend to treat the profits of my Christmas light business ad the savings account that gets me to the next season, so I never risk the kind of dollars it may take ( 5k per month? 7? ) to truly get enough bids to close enough jobs and so forth.

anybody out there got a feel for where the number should be? I would rather have a business that markets more and has more sales, but I guess I am afraid to spend that first 35 grand to see what happens. any thoughts ?

The Lighting Geek
05-02-2009, 04:09 PM
I frequently chat with friends of mine in the marketing business about what you posted. Most people do not spend enough money in marketing of some fashion to keep the leads coming in. Marketing is a broad term which can include many things not always thought of as marketing. It is a fact that all of the people in my area that are in business for themselves (different trades) who have been consistent in their marketing, are the businesses doing better than most. In landscaping it is even more obvious by looking around at the home shows.

I would not hesitate in investing more in marketing, and I plan to do just that. I am marketing as much I can and will take every opportunity to do so. It has had a tremendous effect on the quality of my leads and my closing rate. ( I am getting 8 of 10 right now) I will tell you that I am almost always the highest bidder, but IMHO I bring more than just fixtures to the table. I believe the people who are looking for lighting are looking for quality, experience, professionalism, and an emotional connection to the person they are going to hire. As long it all makes sense, I have found price to be secondary. That said, my attitude towards marketing is that I am the best with out actually saying it and I assume the client is willing to pay for that.

Not knowing how each person promotes him/herself, I can only say what works for me. What I am saying in a nutshell is that it matters as much how you are marketing yourself as much as to whom.

willretire@40
05-02-2009, 05:12 PM
I do not do lighting at all. So if I wanted landscape lighting done I am not really going to price shop it that much. I would proably pick the best salesman b.c IMO most people arent real salesman. If a real salesman comes to give me an estimate He should sell me and I probaly will not get to many more estimates. That is my opinion because Lighting to me is a BIG PLEASURE. I just dont think people shop prices when it comes to something like that.

NightLightingFX
05-02-2009, 09:54 PM
I frequently chat with friends of mine in the marketing business about what you posted. Most people do not spend enough money in marketing of some fashion to keep the leads coming in.

This is a sensitive issue with me. Maybe most people do not spend enough money in marketing. However, I can assure you MOST people also are pissing money away on marketing too - I know I have. Maybe my philosophy is wrong. but if I spend $1000 on marketing I HAVE to get at least $3000 in gross revenue from that marketing campain with in a year or I can't stay in business. It doesn't make much sense to shell out $3000 and only get $2000 in gross busines. If you spend money on marketing you need to carefully project what that will do for you and if it is worth the RISK. As far as I am concerned there is a huge risk in spending money on marketing. Marketing=risk
~Ned

Eden Lights
05-02-2009, 10:14 PM
While your mileage may vary, Your numbers would be a dream come true for me. I have 5000 homes in a 40 mile radius that I might consider my target customers and I spend about 20K a year marketing to just them, the return is only about 1 job per month on average. I close well over 80% after pre qualifying over the phone. Now if I see or hear about a potential project and make a cold call or cold visit the closing rate drops to well below 50%, but that is where I get my work. Many times I will I go back and look and see that the client has been already marketed to by us, but it didn't work. With all that being said, I will be happy with 50 jobs when this 2009 year is over. Good luck and I hope you kill them.

NightLightingFX
05-02-2009, 10:18 PM
David,
Since Outdoor lighting is visual, I think the first thing you need to do is get a website promoting your outdoor talents. Do an e-mail newsletter and drive people to your website. If you have to do postcards (personally I hate them) but your website on them. I good website is a great way to create instant credibility.

As far as what kind of population base one needs to make a living at outdoor lighting. I think it comes down to demographics. Do the high end prospects in your area know about outdoor lighting? do they think it in fasion to have outdoor lighting? Is there enough high end prospect in your area to keep you busy.

For me I don't think my area, is big enough to keep me busy. I have found a business partner to help me continue "Night Lighting FX." I have to start working for "the man" again. And between me and my partner "Night Lighting FX" will trickle along untill we get those right jobs that help propel us more recognition and more jobs.

My marketing resources are: networking and building strong relationships with the right professionals, tricking my website out with all my best work, thinking of ways to drive traffic to my website, doing quarterly e-mail newsletters, try to write columns on outdoor lighting, I am going to get involved with a well respected university in their "Landscape Architecture" program teaching artistic outdoor lighting.
~Ned

Eden Lights
05-02-2009, 10:19 PM
I just re-read your post, If I was going to spend 35K right now I would give it to a man to go door to door for the next 6-12 months. I was almost there before the slowdown, but once I can free myself and sell full time, watch out! I wouldn't need to advertise any more so blindly.

NightLightingFX
05-02-2009, 10:30 PM
While your mileage may vary, Your numbers would be a dream come true for me. I have 5000 homes in a 40 mile radius that I might consider my target customers and I spend about 20K a year marketing to just them, the return is only about 1 job per month on average. I close well over 80% after pre qualifying over the phone. Now if I see or hear about a potential project and make a cold call or cold visit the closing rate drops to well below 50%, but that is where I get my work. Many times I will I go back and look and see that the client has been already marketed to by us, but it didn't work. With all that being said, I will be happy with 50 jobs when this 2009 year is over. Good luck and I hope you kill them.

Eddie,
How do you market?... Also we have seen pictures of your great work on the forum, but why don't you have a website? I am sure you would have a bitchin website with all of your great work. Surely if you are spending $20,000 in marketing you can afford to create a website. I am just curious on your perspective. I hope this doesn't sound like I am challenging you or any thing like that.
~Ned

David Gretzmier
05-02-2009, 10:53 PM
I'd have to agree that some marketing is a loss. back when I owned the big lawn care thing, we spent 10 grand on a full color catalog of our company with photo's, info, a basic hand out piece to give potential clients. we got about 2000 or so catalogs, and we may have closed more jobs because of it, but I don't really remember it bringing more leads or business.

we did a TV commercial that cost about 5 grand over 3 months. lots of folks said they saw it, but no real closed leads that said they saw us on TV and called.

I spent 5 grand one year for a 3 phase postcard mailing, and got no response on Christmas lights. to be fair, that was my first direct mail piece and I hired a bad company, big mistake.

The difficult thing is reaching the 1% folks. Direct mail is pretty much the main way to reach your demographic, but after that, what?

So you send out 5000 postcards monthly to my top 1%. that would cost about 3 grand a month for coated jumbos 9 using an internet one stop shop, a printer, addresser and mailer. and be about 36 grand per year. If I did it in house, I could probably cut that in half. but oh, the work. I attempted to work with the post office and enlist the help of my wife to figure out a system to use the walking route lists, print massive volumes of cards from the internet printing companies, print the addresses and postage ourselves, and lower the overall cost, but it is such an undertaking that my wife gave up.

But again, who is dropping this kind of money? I spend heavy on yellow pages because I track the leads from it on Christmas Lights, and that 10 grand over 3 different books is worth it. I'm paying a company to develop a website for me, and that is about 1200 bucks this year. I had some really nice bid folders made up last year, another 2 grand ( but then i swapped that work for lights.) That was marketing, our close ratio went up last year to 50% on Christmas, but was it because of the full color folders?

I really wish we had a nite time decor or lighthouse, or some landscape lighting franchise person here to tell me what to spend and what to expect. Or I just need the testicular marketing fortitude to just commit to 3 grand per month in postcards and do it for 12 months starting now and see what happens. pretty gutsy move for a guy with very little work on the board, but what else do you do?

NightLightingFX
05-02-2009, 11:05 PM
David,
I have to challenge you. If you want to get to the next level of outdoor lighting why don't you get a website? With today's technology it seems like having all your marketing info at a fingers touch away is much more efficient than printing stuff up and snail mail. Maybe post cards work, but you have to mix thing up. You also need to stay on top of the most current technology, IMHO
~Ned

David Gretzmier
05-02-2009, 11:22 PM
I wholeheartedly agree on the website thing. I have hired a marketing company to do a simple but professional one for me, and we'll see how that works out.

NightLightingFX
05-02-2009, 11:31 PM
I wholeheartedly agree on the website thing. I have hired a marketing company to do a simple but professional one for me, and we'll see how that works out.

KISS, Don't spent a small fortune on a website. Start out with one page with a couple of pics on it. Then as you get more ideas, more pics, more things to promote start adding more pages to your website. It just seems in this day and age if you don't have a website you are missing out on an opportunity to establish yourself as a serious professional in your field.
~Ned

Lite4
05-02-2009, 11:34 PM
We are currently running a 3way attack on our marketing. We are doing 70,000 pieces in a local magazine. between 25-35 thousand pieces of direct mail 6x9 postcards and we are doing 70,000 pieces with RSVP this month too. We have been averaging 6-8 leads a week. We are targeting for 48k in gross sales per month, so far we are on track with one month down. It is a large financial commitment every month to get these leads generated but is paying off so far.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-02-2009, 11:45 PM
Re: websites. I firmly believe that if you are going to do something then you should do it to the best of your ability. What you spend on your website will directly reflect in the quality of that presence and its functionality.

Ned says to not spend a fortune on a website. I say why not? Once published it is an enduring public statement that reflects the quality, professionalism and even ethics of your business. Maintenance and updates need not be frequent and are generally very inexpensive. So, I say, blow your budget on the website! Hire a professional web developer to research, build, edit, publish and host your site. It will not be 'cheap' to do, but what good things are cheap?

www.integralighting.com

NightLightingFX
05-02-2009, 11:57 PM
Re: websites. I firmly believe that if you are going to do something then you should do it to the best of your ability. What you spend on your website will directly reflect in the quality of that presence and its functionality.

Ned says to not spend a fortune on a website. I say why not? Once published it is an enduring public statement that reflects the quality, professionalism and even ethics of your business. Maintenance and updates need not be frequent and are generally very inexpensive. So, I say, blow your budget on the website! Hire a professional web developer to research, build, edit, publish and host your site. It will not be 'cheap' to do, but what good things are cheap?

www.integralighting.com

I don't disagree with James. If you have the money put it toward your website. If you don't have the money. Start out small and make sure what you do, LOOKS GOOD! I am very proud of my website, it didn't cost me a fortune. I started off with just one page and grew from there.

Doing a website is an art just like what we do. You need to find someone who takes that approach.
~Ned

NightLightingFX
05-03-2009, 12:08 AM
In regards to a website, whether you spend a lot or not I think the biggest factor to have a good website is that you personally MUST have A LOT of pride in your website. If you aren't involved in making it look right then it is going to look generic. Make sure you hire a web guy who takes an artistic approach but also lets you make your input.

Dave your statement, "We will see how it works out." Gives me the impression you won't have a very good website. You are an outdoor lighting guy, I am assuming you have some artistic talent or you wouldn't be in the business. Take that artistic ability and put that talent into making a website you are proud off. If you take a half a$$ attitude you are going to pi$$ more money away.
~Ned

The Lighting Geek
05-03-2009, 12:13 AM
I would agree with investing in a website. The best campaign is to keep your ads simple and direct everything to your website. You can change your info, pictures, etc. quickly on the website but literature cost s more to change. Keep your message short and to the point and send them to your website is the best. You cannot spend enough on a website if done properly by a professional. I am currently redesigning my website with a company that specializes in website design.

David Gretzmier
05-03-2009, 12:44 AM
double post

Eden Lights
05-03-2009, 01:08 AM
Eddie,
How do you market?... Also we have seen pictures of your great work on the forum, but why don't you have a website? I am sure you would have a bitchin website with all of your great work. Surely if you are spending $20,000 in marketing you can afford to create a website. I am just curious on your perspective. I hope this doesn't sound like I am challenging you or any thing like that.
~Ned

Lazy, I spent 5K on a website almost 24 months ago and they still want about 50 more pictures before rolling it out. You know how much time it takes to get 50 great shots! Lazy is all that I can say.

David Gretzmier
05-03-2009, 01:29 AM
basically I am paying a marketing company who has a website developer on staff. aprox 4 pages to start, and the idea is to make this look as good as any landscape light franchise out there. we email attatchments back and forth. I have already creatively adjusted the header and menu options and filled out some biography questions. My goal is to make it a great website, but I cannot create from scratch, but I do well at changing stuff I don't like. That is the process that seems to work with me and the web designer.

BUT- I'm not so sure that a 30,000 buck website will develop the same leads as firefly mentioned above. That may be the best yet info I have seen on how much do you have to spend to generate enough leads to "get there"

6-8 leads per week is leading to 48k in sales per month, or roughly 12k per week. in my market that is 2.5 average jobs per week, and this is the kind of volume I want to do at the bottom end.


My estimate of what it would cost me to put those kind of pieces out-

30,000 pieces of direct mail has got to be at the saturation rate on postal route codes to be even remotely affordable. picking and choosing addresses and printing, postage, addressing, etc, would put that cost at close to 45-50 cents per item. $12-15000 bucks. you can print them at that volume at around 4 cents each, or 1200 bucks, but the postage can't get much lower than 18 at the saturation rate, and you still gotta pay someone to print addresses in order. maybe 7500-9000 on the bottom end.

70,000 pieces of full cover pamphlets will cost you a nickel each, or 4x6 color postcards can be printed for 2 cents each , $1400 and then you gotta pay a magazine to put them in, maybe , 2 grand, 5 grand? I'll guess 4500 total for that.

I think RSVP is pretty cheap, but you still gotta print the postcards, so I'll say $3000

so a 15-19000 monthly local media buy to get 6-8 leads per week, generating 12k/week 48k per month, in starting up a landscape light division in an established electrical contracting firm is a pretty good indicator what you need to spend for what I want to achieve. whoo boy.

and yes, I know, this is probably one of those snowballs that rolls down a mountain. that media buy should bear fruit the next 3-4 months, and even more so when you get to "touch " people the 2nd, 5th, and 10th time. it will essentially do 2 things at that volume- it will create demand for the service, and keep folks who want the service before you ever mailed them from picking up the yellow pages and calling someone else. they will just call the number on the card they got last week.

my gut tells me this kind of volume advertising should be generating crazy volume leads in a few months.

Eden Lights
05-03-2009, 01:43 AM
I know everyones market and niche is different, but be careful. If your competitors are taking your business then I say go for it, if you have the cash, no loans. I have talked to several reps and everybody is down some, so if nobody is looking at all that marketing will it pay? It's kinda like the investment market, when do start buying back in? I don't think it's quite time yet.

David Gretzmier
05-03-2009, 02:00 AM
Just did some research on 30,000 saturation mailing, and man, yeah, 10 grand is the price, but for that you get to pick carrier routes, and you get printed addressed and mailed with names an 11x17 ( yee hah, how many photo's can I fit on THAT ) 4 color 2 sided folded piece ( gotta get down to no larger than 6x11 ) for 30 cents a piece, or 9900 with all setup and purchase of list etc. not too bad at all.

For an area of 500,000 folks like mine spread over 2 counties, I'd definetely consider than a once a year thing to hit all those other houses I miss at the top 1% thing. at the top, what 6% or so, but the negative fact that these carrier walking routes will hit many apartments that are close to nice neighborhoods, etc.

just curious how the 30k number compares to firefly's population. Indianapolis is how many millions? a couple in the metro area ? you should be able to hit those walking route codes pretty close to the nicer homes, and therefore hit most of your top 1 and 2%.

I'm interested to see how that pans out if you hit that kind of marketing for 6 months straight.

Lite4
05-03-2009, 04:25 PM
Dave,
The last estimates I have heard from 2 media buyers we use are 1.9 million from one and the other says closer to 2.7 million in our area. We are using one major media firm who is designing and managing all of our marketing. Last month we spent about 10k in marketing which is way less than if we tried to do it all ourselves and buy the media. This firm buys so much media for so many different companies that they are able to pass on some great savings to us and allow us to a whole lot more than we would be able to on our own.

David Gretzmier
05-05-2009, 01:07 AM
10k is a heck of a deal for all you are getting.

I have been emailing back and forth with a friend of mine who owns a lighthouse franchise. he has said that 10% marketing cost at 50kplus per month is about right if you want to keep the leads coming in his market. he has many lights only competitors, and so he must market quite a bit to keep it rolling. he actually hand delivers 1000-1500 6x9 cards in about 10 hours per week to really saturate those neighborhoods he has done a job in or near. This along with mailing is his main approach to bringing in leads, and therefore jobs coming in. his market is about triple the size of mine ( well, lookee there, we are 110th largest metropolitan areas. cool. )

of course the dream is to develop such a reputation that referrals eventually lower marketing cost. To me the reality is I have an abundance of folks who work for me during Christmas and I hate to see great guys who move on to work for other people. I would not be opposed to 2 crews on this gig, as we do 4 crews for Christmas already. so perhaps keeping a steady marketing going would be a good idea even when the referrals start pouring ( and they come in now, some. )

Pro-Scapes
05-05-2009, 07:57 AM
I have no desire to have to do 2-3 jobs per week to keep my business rolling. If I stay smaller have less stress then I can do quite well on a fraction of that. It takes away from the values I have built my company on which is the personalized service and quality control.

I just bid against 4 others for a sub division entrance. I was the highest in price but I was also the only one willing to hand install everything and not just send a crew out to do it. They know they are getting something special. The homes inside range from 400k to 4.5m

For you guys doing that kind of volume what kind of percentage are you seeing in your pocket at the end of the day ?

To each his own I guess.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-05-2009, 08:58 AM
To each his own indeed!

Perhaps I am just lucky, or perhaps my 'novel' marketing/networking efforts are just that much more effective than traditional nuts and bolts advertising, I am not sure which.

Last year I spent less than 1% of my revenue on traditional advertising & marketing and I spent 5% of revenue on "being remarkable". The result was our best year ever, a fully booked installation season, and the ability to hire on more staff for this year.

I stand by my advice to you all: No matter where you operate, no matter what your market, target and service the top 2 to 5 percent of that market. Don't expect to reach them with advertising because that simply will not work. You have to be more innovative and novel than that. Remember; someone has to be the best in their market, so why not you?

Off to see the show at Lightfair! Have a great day.

David Gretzmier
05-05-2009, 11:38 AM
2-3 average jobs per week for me is not even full time with one helper. my average job is around 20 fixtures, can be fully installed in a long day, and tweaked in one hour in the evening. So I expect to be hands on, installing until we exceed 5 jobs average per week. I will just backlog at first.

TXNSLighting
05-05-2009, 11:21 PM
I would like to be installing around 2 jobs per week. Our average around here is usually 30-50 fixtures. That would really set me up to where i could still be somewhat small, and not have a huge crew of people. I want to remain on all the installs, so that way it gives that personal feel to the clients. Im hoping all this will happen by year 4. Im in year 2 now. So it is very possible.

I also want to limit the marketing. Im still working on accomplishing the advice James has givin me, but it has proved trickier tan i anticipated. I hope to have it somewhat figured out by the end of this year. Which i should. Im getting more and more confidence as im doing more demos and networking with more people. Hopefully by year 4 i wont be doing demos! I will be doing live walk throughs of past installs by then.

David Gretzmier
05-05-2009, 11:47 PM
james has defeinetely made a name for himself up north through his work and marketing methods. i'd like to say he is just the only lighting guy up in canada disney world of multi million homes, but then, we have tons of multi-million homes here too, and I am the only outdoor lighting specialist as of now. He's just been at it over a decade.

I guess I am just frustrated because of the success of the Christmas light side, I continually forget that it has grown at least in this area over a decade or so. And yet I desire to POOF have a similar size landscape lighting business in 20% of that time. And of course, with minimal advertising.

I got a soft committment on a lighting job this morning, but I never really count it til I get the 1/2 down. I have got to get a marketing plan together and stop waiting for the phone to ring.

David Gretzmier
06-11-2009, 02:56 AM
Thought I'd resurrrect this thread a month later to see if Tim wants to chime in on how many leads,demo's and closed jobs are coming from the pretty massive advertising campaign he's got going. i am also curious where the best leads and closed jobs are coming from, magazine, postcard, etc.

I am also finally getting some marketing out there, we'l be doing 10,000 brochures mailed out over the next 3 months to see if anyone calls in.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-11-2009, 03:09 AM
We are fully booked into August and I just hired another full time installer who starts this coming Monday. We are starting a $90K, 13 zone job on Mon. So far this year I have not done any traditional marketing or advertising and we are getting about 1 solid lead every week, so things are pretty good.

Not sure what next year will bring us though as there are zero home starts in my market this year. But there still is a lot of opportunity to return to some old clients and update / expand upon their systems.

Lite4
06-11-2009, 10:59 AM
Thought I'd resurrrect this thread a month later to see if Tim wants to chime in on how many leads,demo's and closed jobs are coming from the pretty massive advertising campaign he's got going. i am also curious where the best leads and closed jobs are coming from, magazine, postcard, etc. I am also finally getting some marketing out there, we'l be doing 10,000 brochures mailed out over the next 3 months to see if anyone calls in.Hey Dave,* We have found most of our leads are resulting from direct mail 1st and our magazine article second. Almost the same amount of leads from both.* We only got around 15 leads in April which is below what we were hoping for.* I will have to look at May but we were around the same, maybe a little more.* The quality of customer is about the same from either campaign as they are hitting the same population area and reinforcing each other.* I am expecting the call volume to pick up a bit more as we have finally started getting some better weather and gotten out of the ark. Firefly is a new company in the area, so it is not totally unexpected to have a slow ramp up.* We have been making our customers very happy so I am sure our referral network will start growing and begin to help.* We are all selling a luxury item and as we are all aware the phone is not ringing as often for our services, but when they do we really have to go out of our way to really be remarkable to our clients.* One very important thing that is becoming extraordinarily clear to me.* When we have an overload of leads it is very difficult to spend the time necessary with the client to build the necessary repore and confidence needed to close many sales when you have to run off to another appointment.* We have made it a point now to only schedule one appointment per evening and everyone gets a demo that evening and proposal on the spot asking for the sale.* I know the opinions on here are mixed about the use of demos, but I am here to tell you.* Nearly every one I demo,** I CLOSE!!* The reason I do it is not even because it shows them what it will look like; that is just a side benefit.* The main reason is, it gives me an excuse to spend even more TIME with that potential client making a friend and building more trust and repore.* My goal at the end of the night is for that client to be at the point where they wouldn't even consider wanting to use anyone else for their needs.

Lite4
06-11-2009, 11:05 AM
We are fully booked into August and I just hired another full time installer who starts this coming Monday. We are starting a $90K, 13 zone job on Mon. So far this year I have not done any traditional marketing or advertising and we are getting about 1 solid lead every week, so things are pretty good.

Not sure what next year will bring us though as there are zero home starts in my market this year. But there still is a lot of opportunity to return to some old clients and update / expand upon their systems.

There is nothing better than a good referral.

David Gretzmier
06-11-2009, 07:37 PM
I agree on doing a demo for everyone, I've got one scheduled for tonight. It has been so long since my last one, I am not sure where my demo kit is ! I understand that leads are slow coming for a new brand.

You might try and get on servicemagic.com. the leads cost about 20 bucks apiece. I got quite a few leads that were not low voltage lighting, but then you could forward those to your other electrical divisions and still make money off them. I am thinking that in your market of 2 million plus that you would see 2 or 3 leads per week from them

I really mean this in a nice way, but do you feel you are getting enough leads from the amount of money spent? Phrased another way, I am going to spend around a grand per month over the next 3 months, and that is really hard for me to do, and if I only get 1.5 leads per 1000 bucks spent, I would need to close every lead just to break even for the profit to cover the cost of advertising.

Lite4
06-12-2009, 09:10 AM
I agree on doing a demo for everyone, I've got one scheduled for tonight. It has been so long since my last one, I am not sure where my demo kit is ! I understand that leads are slow coming for a new brand.

You might try and get on servicemagic.com. the leads cost about 20 bucks apiece. I got quite a few leads that were not low voltage lighting, but then you could forward those to your other electrical divisions and still make money off them. I am thinking that in your market of 2 million plus that you would see 2 or 3 leads per week from them

I really mean this in a nice way, but do you feel you are getting enough leads from the amount of money spent? Phrased another way, I am going to spend around a grand per month over the next 3 months, and that is really hard for me to do, and if I only get 1.5 leads per 1000 bucks spent, I would need to close every lead just to break even for the profit to cover the cost of advertising.

I guess if you were closing every lead and the average ticket was say 5k + it is justifiable. I am somewhat disapointed at the number of leads generated currently in relation to what we are investing. It isn't just us though. I am sure anyone on here will testify to the fact that regardless of what advertising media is going out, the volume of calls is way down from years past. This is the main reason we are spending so much time with each client so we can increase our chances of converting them to a customer.

David Gretzmier
06-12-2009, 11:27 AM
I agree somewhat. the importance is the 5k plus. My average install this year is around that, but I don't have a bigger one ( 10-12k plus ) yet this year to bump up the average like in years past. It just saddens me that it takes a grand to make 5 or 6. I would be way happier with a 10% advertising cost than 20%. and this is money spent on top of an already good reputation, and other advertising in place by way of yellow pages, truck graphics and signs, and yard signs.

my call volume is down some, but I have gotten a referral boost from my BNI network group, that 500 bucks spent has resulted in over 7 grand in work in my first 3 months of membership from march thru june, 2.5 grand of it lighting. you might check out a successful BNI group in your city, one with at least 25 members and see if there is an opening for the outdoor lighting spot. there is usually a landscaper and he will have to give up that category. I am the landscaper in my group, so I have gotten all the lighting plus the grunt work.

Lite4
06-12-2009, 11:53 AM
Yeah, it sucks that we have to put so much more money out for advertising but we still have to get in front of the people. Me especially starting from scratch in a new market. I hoping by next year I will be getting a bit more referrals.

I joined a network group a couple of months ago. I have gotten a few leads that I am still trying to get closed. I joined it because of the landscaper that is in the group. He is one of the premier ones in our area and does some incredible work. He does his own lighting on small projects and hires another lighting guy for his bigger projects. I have been feeding him a few leads and am hoping to pick up his work.