View Full Version : Things I am doing right now...

David Gretzmier
07-20-2009, 11:32 AM
Looking at t-shirts,sweatshirts, and work jackets for my guys. T-shirts have to be worn everyday, except really cold weather days where it is unlikely to be exposed. and over a long-sleeve t is fine for those weird weather days of 40 in the morning and 80 in the afternoon. must be tucked in. must wear belt and jeans with no holes. must wear leather work shoes. etc. Shirts must be done by Aug 15.

This year I am going with the darker ash grey, mainly for dirt and stain hiding ability. simple one color Christmas Light Install Crew on back in the largest letters that will fit. heavy weight cotton t-shirts, costwise around 3-5 bucks each for 75. 8 employees get 7 each, plus spares for when guys show up without a shirt, or when guys quit and you don't get them back. in both cases, shirt cost comes out of pay. at 10 bucks each.

looking at new yard signs, but I still have about 50 left. these are disposable, so I buy in bulk every 3 years or so. I'd like to spend no more than 3 bucks per sign, and get at least 300 for 100 per year. Signs must be done by Sept 1.

getting DVD's made from all my videos. in the past, I had a seperate dvd for each client in the work file, this year I want each crew to have just 3-5 dvd's with all the clients on them. That way when they lose a dvd, I already have a spare at the shop. believe it or not, I already have most of the videos on my computer, but making a dvd with 30-40 one to 3 minute videos is not easy or user friendly. all I want is the name of the client in alphabetical order on the DVD menu screen, and then burn it, but I have yet to find software to make it so. DVD's must be done by Sept 1.

going to convention in Omaha this week to look at new product and marketing stuff from HBL. really just for fun, but it always gets me excited for Christmas lights.

shop is pretty clean and organized, but I want to go through each file and make sure wreaths, boxes, and luminary's are where the file says they are, and get a feel for my left over inventory from last year. This has to be done by Sept 1.

design an intelligence test for new employee interviews. I am trying to only hire roofers this year, so I want to test thier IQ with a simple 20-30 question IQ test from the internet to get the brightest among them. Folks can seem smart in an interview, but I need guys that can read driving directions, figure out how to add up amps, and also be problem solvers. and that requires a minimum of 110,120 IQ. I am done with employees who cannot add. Aug 15 deadline

I am also trying to figure out a heights/ladder test for guys to make sure they are roof and ladder capable. Spt 1. deadline.

Ladders,tools and trucks for 4 crews. last year I shot for it and failed. we barely squeaked by with 3 crews. with more clients onboard this year than last, I will be ready this year. I have 5 trucks, but need to probably buy 2 more box vans for primary. don't know if I will have the cash until too late though. we'll see. need a truck or 2 bought by Nov. 1.

probably should have more on the list.

David Gretzmier
07-21-2009, 07:49 AM
Things I added to the list-

Need a commision salesperson for commercial sales. I am getting this person by the end of July. reason ? If they can be self motivated to sell 3 jobs a week, they will make a grand a week. from Aug 1-Sept 15, they could sell 18 jobs in those 6 weeks. Can it be done? Absolutely, with the right salesperson.

Looking at my closet, I need a few polo's and sweaters for myself and a salesman's uniforms. gotta get that done by Aug. 1

David Gretzmier
07-22-2009, 09:57 PM
added to list, graphics on one of the box vans purchased last year. done by Sept. 1.

website done, Sept 1

David Gretzmier
08-01-2009, 07:53 PM
checking items off-

2 sales folks hired, start monday Aug 3.
Sales and myself uniforms paid for, at local embroidery place. done by next friday, Aug 7
Graphics on box van paid for but need to design.
convention done. great time
DVD's in process, hired a company. 600 bucks, ouch.
3 work jackets came in, need to go to embroidery
worked on proposal inserts, 3 tab almost done with text.
website work next week.

David Gretzmier
08-12-2009, 01:01 AM
working on items, but seem to not be checking items off

t-shirts designed but not yet ordered. employees start aprox 34 days. gotta get that done tomorrow.

put ad date on calendar to begin interviews for first 2 guys to start. ad hits paper Aug. 29, interviews on sept 1-6, choose 5, 2nd interview is heights/strength/ladder test and roof , hire best 2. still need to design intelligence test. I have less than 20 days to get that done.

polo/sales shirts finally done. checked off. 24 shirts.

3 tab insert in bid portfolio, text done and at graphic designer for punch. to printers next week.

photo's for graphics on boxvan at graphic designer for text and cymk format.

140 dvd videos are labeled and at video service for printing and duplicating to just 4 DVD's.

Commission sales guys are thorn in my side on other thread. hired a new guy but not started yet. part time guy, last years shop foreman, is working 68 hours at his current job and has very little time to sell. officially going to part time sales guy next week, we'll see.

getting yard signs at victory store.com, about 3.50 per 24x24 full color 2 side sign for 250. 500 is better deal, would actually save 250 bucks, but cash is always tight. not yet ordered, but I have about 50 signs and I don't hit these hard til Ocober anyway.

September 14-30 hangs are booked for a 2 man crew with me helping. October is really spotty, need to call folks who normally hang in October. I need to confirm some commercial clients and get them up in October along with some harder residentials.

I have never pushed myself this hard to be ready

08-12-2009, 09:10 PM
Hokie, Hotrod, Dave - I personally thank you all for your guidance, advice, help, suggestions. As I said, I would be compeltely and totally lost without the compassion and guidance from you guys. Hope to meet you all face to face at some point and thank you personally.

turf hokie
08-12-2009, 09:45 PM
Hokie, Hotrod, Dave - I personally thank you all for your guidance, advice, help, suggestions. As I said, I would be compeltely and totally lost without the compassion and guidance from you guys. Hope to meet you all face to face at some point and thank you personally.

No need to thank me, I truly feel that what goes around comes around. I would like to get together with you before the season starts. We are only about 1 1/2 hours away. And I am up more than halfway to you on plenty of occasions to set something up to grab a beer and chat. This way I can pick your brain on the HBL training as I have not been able to go yet. office is 845-735-2331 I will be out starting Friday for a week but will be checking messages.

AND just to P-off the non-twitter fan.

I ordered some of my marketing material last week to start envelope stuffing my lawn care customers as well as some of my friends customers.

Ordered some neat giveaways for our local Chamber of Commerce Day where we shut down the street and have vendors, games etc. to have at our booth.

I just ordered my HBL catalogs today.

Working on my pricing structure for the upcoming season today, as we got our first real decorating lead on Monday, met with him yesterday and need to meet with him again tomorrow to go over the estimate. Normally I give them the estimate at the first meeting but he wants "it all" and we are looking at a 5 figure job with special order items. I dont think he will go for everything so we will see how far he will go and how much I will deal.

Will order up shirts etc next week.

Any more complaints from the peanut gallery???? Cause we can keep twittering if you like.....

08-13-2009, 08:09 AM
OK my update now.

First round of material is in waiting to go up
Business cards are proofed and at the printers
Truck graphics are waiting for final approval - should have that today
Going to use the "old" HBL catalogs before ordering the new ones, great incentive to get the commercial clients hammered out
Hounding Mike about the apparel - much cheaper directly through HBL than I can get here
Mailers are straightened out with Mike, again much cheaper through HBL than here
Emailed studio8 about the lawn signs should be ordered this week

08-13-2009, 12:59 PM
This actually is a good thread. It's nice to see what you guys are up to right now...

I'm just starting to get my pricing together for both retail and installation. I'm not seeing to many changes on the installation side and the retail side will have lower prices.

Like Dave, I am on a quest to find that perfect sales person. Most people want me to pay them $50K a year to do hardly anything...

I also need to clean the barn out and order/find some better tool boxes to hold plugs, wire cutters, clips..etc.

I bought a ton of fliers last year, so I am good for this year. But I do need to get my summer news letter out to past clients. It's a good way to stay in touch.

turf hokie
08-13-2009, 09:58 PM
There he is, was wondering if you were sleeping hotrod.


sold the first job today good size job, 2 crews all day....gotta love internet leads!!!

08-14-2009, 02:34 PM
Not sleeping :) It's gun show season so I am spending some time at shows selling our LED flashlights and batteries.
This weekend will be nice because it's a local show so I can hand out some decorating fliers.

David Gretzmier
08-15-2009, 01:01 AM
Our website goes up in week or so, but not much on Christmas lights, mostly landscape lighting.

David Gretzmier
08-15-2009, 10:41 AM
t-shirts designed,ordered and paid for, waiting to arrive. went with "oxford grey" and red lettering on back. big "Christmas Light Install Crew" on back. great deal on ebay- color shirt, includes set up, silk screen printing and shipping, 100 shirts, 350 bucks.

08-15-2009, 01:54 PM
Hey Dave:

can you send me the item number, that is fantastic.

Got word from design8 in Omaha, proofs are all set, both trucks the graphics are less than 1500. $9 a sf, a little pricey, but about what it would be here, however, much more productive. Still waiting for the company I used to deal with here to get back to me again. The deisnger said it would be Monday, i assumed last Monday, foolish me didn;t pay close enough attention, she never specified what year.


08-15-2009, 01:57 PM
t-shirts designed,ordered and paid for, waiting to arrive. went with "oxford grey" and red lettering on back. big "Christmas Light Install Crew" on back. great deal on ebay- color shirt, includes set up, silk screen printing and shipping, 100 shirts, 350 bucks.

What store on eBay?

David Gretzmier
08-21-2009, 08:07 PM
do a search for custom t-shirts on ebay, and put in 100 in your search. it'll show up.

08-21-2009, 08:18 PM
Great thanks Dave.

The shirts from HBL are going to be ordered the beginning of Sept. which I understand gets a better discount so they can pass the pricing along. I just want to get this scratched off the list as well. I figure if we start wearing them now, it will spark questions and then out go the cards, meeting gets scheduled, out go the catalogs and in comes the sale, at least it sounds good.

The cards are done and received, the HBL cards any how. scratch form list

Ordered the yard signs through the HBL August special when I spoke to Mike today. scratch from list

The graphics are going to be shipped form Design8 the beginning of next week, and will be contacting sign a rama (recommended installer here for 3M) to schedule trucks, then the marketing should be set. scratch from list

Direct mailer will go out through HBL October, and November. scratch from list

Old catalogs in stock, and soon as we get burning through the old ones, will order the new ones, amazing difference, definitely want to have them for residential calls.

Work order and inventory template downloaded and will be printed next week.

Still feeling like there are thousands of things to get accomplished.

David Gretzmier
08-23-2009, 05:30 PM
Yeah, I have thousands of things to do as well, but Iam more prepared this year than ever.

I am preparing to do my Christmas Light Olympics on Oct. 24 and 25. It will be a 4 station interview process for installers. One station each for:carrying a 4 foot wreath up a 36 foot ladders ( timed ) gathering 4 flags on a shingled roof, installing a 15 foot section of c-9's on that roof, and a 10 foot section of c-9's on that 36 foot ladder. also a written application and a timed intelligence test on adding amps and following driving directions. Last year I had over 90 guys call for a job on one ad for installers, everyone that wants a job will have to show up on a Saturday or sunday and go though this series of tasks, along with bringing references with phone numbers and passing the written stuff. I am done with hiring guys who say they can handle heights, lift 50 pounds and add up amps, they now have to prove it before I will hire them. we'll see if it leads to better employees.

08-26-2009, 12:37 PM
He guys the website for our holiday lighting is up and running.


let me know what you guys think

David Gretzmier
08-27-2009, 10:52 PM
Website looks awesome. I love the photo scroller. It kills me you are brand new at this and your website is way cooler than mine. how much did it cost you in design and then how much monthly to host?

08-28-2009, 07:21 AM
Truthfully a friend of mine built it, didn't charge me anything. All I have into it is the time to write up the info on the pages, and the cost of the domain name.

I have just about liked the marketing requirements,

Website is up
Graphics are coming
Cards are on hand
Mailers are set
Signs are ordered
Work orders are a the printers being touched up
Shirts will be ordered today
Meeting with Chamber of Commerce moved to Monday, bringing the catalog and think am going to do a flier in the monthly newsletter - don;t know weither to use the standard form letter HBL has or just get 3000 of the fliers printed and stuffed in.

With a little luck, we should be in good shape. I wold like to get more product in stock as well, and get my house done up. All is going well so far I think.

THanks for the compliments on the site Dave. It really means a lot to me, everyone who has seen it has had nothing but good things to say so far, sent it out to Mike and he told the rest of the staff about it, first email I got was from Stacy, then Mike and Scott. It is really encouraging to get the positive feedback from people that have been and are successful.

David Gretzmier
08-28-2009, 10:14 AM
I think you got an awesome deal on your website. I hired a local web company, spent 1200 bucks, and am currently on the hook for 30 bucks a month for hosting, and it won't work on my or my wife's computer. Yours has way more photos and is very clean and well laid out. It will get you jobs, no doubt. mine is more geared toward landscape ligting, and I see the value in yours to get me Christmas light jobs. I may call your friend.

08-28-2009, 04:28 PM
The Chamber of Commerce mailer is awesome. Last year was my first year in business and 90% of my business came from the mailer. This year I have 3 McDonalds to do from the mailer. Definatly use the flyers! For the mailer I actually printed them from my home computer and they stuff and mail out. Its a must do.

Dave, I remember you talking about the BNI Network. Did you ever get any Holiday Lighting jobs from them? I am working with the director to get a group going in my area.

David Gretzmier
08-28-2009, 08:55 PM
from BNI I have gotten about 14 grand in work since joining in march, about 9 of that has been landscape lighting which I love. I will let you know on holiday lighting, I have gotten 1 referral on selling an artificial tree so far this year. I will pay around 900 for all the breakfasts and membership stuff, so at least I made that back in profits so far this year after 6 months in.

08-29-2009, 08:22 AM
TExas Thank you. I am up in the air as to creating my own flier or to use the HBL one, but I am definitely going to do something. Truthfully, I am a little concerned about it taking off so hard that I end up having to turn business away. I suddenly have finally realized that it will work, and there will be business, and a lot of it.

Dave again thanks so much for the kudos on the site, the fact that you like it means a lot to me. Did you put you site addy up, I know you mentioned it was going to be up and running, but I think i may have missed it, would love to see how someone I believe to be an expert does designs. IF you didn;t would you mind. Thanks

08-29-2009, 04:18 PM
Your website will do you well. We get a lot of calls and emails from ours. I need to spend a little more time on it to polish it up for this season. www.holidaylightexpress.com

David Gretzmier
08-31-2009, 11:55 AM
Christmas website looks good, the led link to the website to buy product looks very professionally done. I'd really only add a few more Christmas photo's to the gallery and maybe tweak the fonts on the Christmas site. it is nice and clear.

08-31-2009, 10:12 PM
It happened today, got the first contact and request for a quote. I had a guy follow me to my excavation site, we chatted about snow plowing, i gave him one of my landscaping and lighting cards, also a catalog as he got excited when he saw the Christmas Lighting, got a message on the machine from him that he wants me to look at a project.

So here we go, off and running.

Amazingly, trucks are done yet, lawn signs aren't done yet, apparel isn't done yet, and here i was in the middle of building a septic field and bam now we are running with the lighting. God am I excited!!

turf hokie
09-08-2009, 07:45 AM
Well, been on on estimate so far(web lead) which are generally good ones. Seemed excited. Went over what he wanted. A lot of specialty stuff. So I set a follow-up appointment so I could check on availability. Met with him, scaled back, agreed on price, set install and take down dates. Supposed to pick up a check on the following Monday, call to confirm, never calls back, call again, no return phone call. Frustrating start to the season.

Ordered more marketing material last night.
Finalized ads in local magazines.
Did an interview with local magazine to come out first week of October.

And the biggie, our renewals will go in the mail today. We wait until Labor day so everyone is out of summer vacation mode.

I thought we were ahead of the game but apparently David is way ahead of us.

All the websites look really, really good. makes me want to add more pages to mine.

As far as BNI, I was not a fan of the one I was in. I only chased my tail on referrals, not one sale, for either business. It all seemed to forced to me, like people gave your name just because they were in a group with you and not because the person actually was interested in your services.

David Gretzmier
09-08-2009, 08:58 AM
I would agree with that, I have had good luck with my BNI group because it is a good group. I'd keep looking for another. I got another 700 bucks in work last week from BNI. They say that your numbers will double to quadruple after 3 years in BNI, as everyone in the group will then know you, trust you, and know exactly what it is you do.

It may appear that I am on the ball, but I feel hopelessly behind. examples-

Uniforms got lost in the UPS mail, so not here yet. Insurance claim pending, and will have to reprint shirts.

1 employee from last year that was to start next monday went in for a job interview for another job last week. he may not be available to me.

postcards are not done for my 3 mailers, 3-tab flyers are not done for this years bids, and although I have some yard signs, I have not ordered more.

Almost all of my trucks need work done- Graphics are still not finished, bumper needs to be replaced, repairs need to be done, etc.

I feel like a loser, I had 7 months to get this junk done and the season starts in 6 days.