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View Full Version : newb : A few quick Questions


lazerPA
10-30-2009, 06:48 PM
DO you buy the lights, put them up, then come take them down and keep the lights? Or does the customer keep them for you to come back next year?

As far as charging. Do you charge hourly? Maybe by the foot?

Any basic start up tips would be nice. Just thinking about getting into it next year.. possibly practice on a few family members houses.

-thanks in advance for any help.

hotrod1965
10-30-2009, 10:44 PM
It's all answered here in the threads! There are many great ideas on how to set up your business and such.... It's a great read for someone starting out!

David Gretzmier
10-30-2009, 11:25 PM
i concur, read all of the last two years worth of threads. lots of info there, but when you are done you will have way more knowledge than the nearest competitor.

PressureWashE
10-31-2009, 12:40 AM
Ill humor him, I charge by the foot. Different style lights = different price per foot. I put them up, Maintain them through the season, And take them down. If they want me to store them, It 100 fee, Good thing about storing them, You are almost certain to do their lights again the next year..

My best advice to you, Find out how long it take you, and price per foot accordingly, And get insurance...

lazerPA
10-31-2009, 03:23 PM
Thanks guys I do appreciate it. Ill flip back far and read all I can.

Seasons Greetings

addictedtolandscaping
11-01-2009, 05:28 AM
Hello Lazer

I can tell you as the guys mentioned, the information here is no less than priceless. This is my first year, I read a post back in March or April, asked the guys their position on things, and took off reading like Wild Fire. I feel it is safe to say that to be effective, you will need to align yourself with one of the big three, I may be wrong with that statement, but it is the way that it appeared to me, and I ended up doing just that with Holiday Bright Lights. For me a lot of the situation was start up costs etc. I thought I found the cheaper way in, but I still have 20K invested ow with all said and done, and didn't letter my trailer, and I have yet to get any signed contracts. For me, I am the only one in my area, the closest guy to me is about 2 hours away, the market hasn't been tapped, but on the same note, hasn't been created either. I am confident once things get going, I will do well.

I am starting to ramble now, as the guys mentioned, read read and re read. Then once you have done that, stay up to speed on the posts, and when you have a question that you haven;t seen the answer for, ask. The guys on here are more than friendly and more than helpful.

Good Luck

Dennis

onebreezer
11-15-2009, 10:06 AM
I am just starting out. I have mailed out 5000 post cards twice and got six qualified calls, one nice sale, and one small sale. Poor response.

turf hokie
11-15-2009, 05:21 PM
I am just starting out. I have mailed out 5000 post cards twice and got six qualified calls, one nice sale, and one small sale. Poor response.

What did the cards look like? When did you mail them? What do you consider to be qualified? Nice Sale? Small Sale?

All of the above are very subjective and need to be quantified.

How many calls/leads did the mailer generate?

Did you do anything else besides mailers to get your name out?
If you are just starting; mailers will not do as much, you need to qualify you business as experienced and knowledgeable. Get the name out in bulk before you drill down with mailers.

More info is needed to help out.

onebreezer
11-15-2009, 06:25 PM
I had HBL do the mailer. Five thousand has gone out twice to the same addresses and a third is due. Oct 19, Nov 9,and Nov 18 for the third one. They go to the top 1% of income. Over $100,000. They are small post cards, multi color, glossy, with pic of decorated house, my website address and phone number. A total of 15,000 pc. I have done a little radio on a news local business talk station. Upper income males listen. Business ouner. I have put out a few three color coroplast signs, 18x25 with professional logo, phone number, and web page address. I did my own mailer too. I did an individual computerized design on 100 gated community homes and included a letter of intro. It went on fine stock white paper with red trim. Hand addressed. Evan used a Christmas stamp. I sent them out around Oct 16.

I have gotten a total of 20 calls. A third from the hood. So a portion on the direct mail was not qualified. A third was gereral questions. And six good calls. Of the six good calls I have sold a $5400 and $1500 and have one apt left. All of the six good ones were upper income homes $300,000 plus.

David Gretzmier
11-15-2009, 11:59 PM
I have tried the small postcards and had zero response using the income mailer approach. there are some lists out there that really target spenders rather than earners.

what I do is this, For about the same money to pay HBL, quantum digital, or other direct mail demographic companies, to mail 5000 cards, I bought a 700 buck digital SLR canon XSI, Took some of my own photo's with a tri-pod, then designed my own cards with quotes from customers about how much they love the product and service, for 6 cents each for 1000 got 6 inch by 11 inch cards ( the largest postcard to qualify for the cheap saturation postcard rate), printed them at gotprint.com, and then saturation ( walking order) mailed them to the highest home value rural routes from melissadata.com through a local mailing company that addressed and took them to the post office for 27.5 cents each.

we have closed 8800 so far in sales from mailing out about 4300.
direct costs to mail were about 250 bucks for the 4300 cards and around 1000 for mailing/addressing cost. so 1250/8800
is about 14%, but I think I will get a few more off of that. I only mailed cards one time, but did two batches to different routes.

when you look at a photo of a house with starburst lightlinks on it at 6 inches by 11 versus 4x6, it really makes a huge difference. figure 24 square inches versus 66. also on the back, I have room for probably 12 quotes from my customers about how they love me and the service. both the 4x6 and the 6x11 cost the same to mail saturation rates, and at 6 cents each printed for 10000 and up is cheaper, it is a no brainer for me which card to use.

onebreezer
11-16-2009, 08:21 AM
David,

Thank you for the reply. I trusted them to put together a program that would work. They assured me that it would. I use news talk radio for my topdressing business and it works GREAT. A thousand dollars brings me 5000. Now I have spent 5000 and made around 3000 in profit. And the season to late. I trusted them enough to use up my entire budget. I need to sell off that adv budget to have what I need to adv for spring topdressing. I bought a hundred yard signs and we'll go ahead and put them out.

ed

addictedtolandscaping
11-16-2009, 08:29 AM
I was in the same boat. When I climbed on I planned on only spending about 5k total including the membership fee. 20k later now, but I lettered my trucks, did the direct mail to 350k value and above, did chamber mailings,got business cards, got contracts made up, got the yard signs, apparel etc. I even made a facebook page as well as a website. - www.celebrationlighting.com. I am getting several calls, but only closed three so far, two from the mailer, the big one I have coming came from the chamber mailer. I am in a position where i have to create a market as there is no other professional here whatsoever. Next week starts the big push from my understanding. Good luck!!

David Gretzmier
11-16-2009, 10:21 PM
The yard signs are big lead and bid getters, but I only close 1 out of 4 of those. so you have to get good at doing 5 plus bids a day. I really have not gotten much resonse off of them this year, but yes, it seems that this week, next week and the following week are pretty much the season.

onebreezer
11-17-2009, 07:46 AM
We are going to put out about a dozen or so signs a week most of those on Fridays. I know that layers of adv works best. I spent too much of my budget on my mailer.