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View Full Version : Where are your jobs coming from?


David Gretzmier
04-12-2010, 09:37 AM
I'd like everyone to make a special effort over the next month to ask thier new customers how they came to be customers in the first place. Was it a referral? was it web? a postcard, sign, or saw your graphics on truck?

lets everyone post here and see what advertising or word of mouth is truly bringing you the leads and the closed jobs in 2010.

I will offer up my last two jobs over the last 2 weeks closed, both $5000 plus jobs. Both are complete redo's. So these folks are predisposed to wanting landscape ligting, and wanting it done better. One, after her husband spent 3 years doing and redoing Lowe's type lighting decided she needed a pro type system. She found me in the yellow pages, saw my website in the ad, and then decided to call me after seeing the photo's and info on the website. the Second was a single mom, had pro trans and fixtures, landscaper installed and wired wrong, and never maintained for 3 years and it is now trash. she searched on google for landscape lighting and her town, got me on google maps, clicked on website, and then went to the yellow pages to see if I was "legit".

The first is complete and is adding 5 more lights, pushing that job above 6k. the 2nd begins going in today.

where are your spring jobs coming from and what are they briefly?

Mayor_tx
04-12-2010, 10:51 AM
75% word of mouth
20% mailers
5% google,truck/trailer,ITEX

irrig8r
04-12-2010, 12:12 PM
#1 is "add-on" customers, in that lighting is something I do as well as irrigation, and if I'm there doing irrigation service or repairs and notice their lighting system is old or broken, I bring it up and sometimes they'll go for an immediate repair/ re-lamp/ fixture repair, and other times they'll go for complete redo, sometimes months later...

Some of those are referrals from past and repeat customers. Some are referrals from landscapers, gardeners, pool service and lawn care companies. No fees, but I refer work to them too.

Some are referrals from distributors, with whom I have a reputation for problem solving and quality work.

Some want both services at once. These usually find me via Google or Yahoo. (No, I don't use adwords, but I've had a small presence on the web for a long time.)

No yellow pages and no newspaper advertising, though both helped me to build up my customer base years ago when I was getting started.

Tim R.
04-12-2010, 06:41 PM
90% from home show leads, 10% from referalls. We just dropped RSVP this week and have solo direct mailers going out in 2 weeks. We already have 4 leads from RSVP but have not met with them yet.
This is one of the best springs that I can remember, we are rockin and rollin.

kansashoosier
04-12-2010, 09:21 PM
90% from home show leads, 10% from referalls. We just dropped RSVP this week and have solo direct mailers going out in 2 weeks. We already have 4 leads from RSVP but have not met with them yet.
This is one of the best springs that I can remember, we are rockin and rollin.

So you've gone from failing at your own business, to failing at someone else's business who had a monster advertising budget to working for a Nitelites wannabe franchise with crap product. You may want to think about another career.

extlights
04-12-2010, 10:13 PM
In one location is been mainly referrals, in our new 2nd location we used RSVP and have gotten a real good response so far. I have 7 appointments from that already...hopefully the phone will keep ringing.

David Gretzmier
04-12-2010, 10:44 PM
Guys- I appreciate the responses. ( well, except kansashoosiers guy- really showing your maturity there. ) what I would like you to do over the next 30 days is use this thread as a tracking device. Rather than posting percentages and maybe what you have tracked in the past, please post specific leads coming in and closed job numbers. I am really looking for where all these spring jobs come from. I understand many of you do not want to post what your sales numbers are, but that is also helpful as we find out where the smaller or bigger sales are coming from.

I have never tried RSVP, but it sounds like that makes the phone ring. I know it is the bundles of postcards, but any idea on cost of that stuff?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-12-2010, 10:57 PM
In the last week sold 4 new installations:

1 - Builder Referral
1 - Client Referral
1 - Complimentary Trade Referral
1 - Google Search

Smallest of those was $15K

extlights
04-13-2010, 01:33 AM
You would have to call your local rsvp guy, but for us it's something like $2500-$3000 so it's pretty reasonable. We've actually done the solo larger postcards (6x9 I think) and for some reason we didn't do as well with those. I will say though that we still get calls from people who got the rsvp card 2 years ago and just hung on to it until they were ready.

We never do mailers in the summer, but with the response we're getting with this Spring one we will most likely do the Fall mailer.

Tim R.
04-13-2010, 07:05 AM
So you've gone from failing at your own business, to failing at someone else's business who had a monster advertising budget to working for a Nitelites wannabe franchise with crap product. You may want to think about another career.

You truly are the village idiot here and clearly have no idea about the facts. You can have a monster advertising budget, but if the ownership won't listen to sound advice about how to effectively market and set up a lighting company, well what can you do. It's not my money and I dont' control what the money gets spent on. When the intent is to market and run like a plumbing service company, well, it just isn't going to work.

Why don't you come out of the shadows and tell us who you really are and what company you are with instead of cowardly hiding behind some weak screen name? It's pretty easy to speculate and throw out baseless accusations when you can hide in a corner.

worx
04-13-2010, 08:25 AM
Tim I sent you a PM

S&MLL
04-13-2010, 12:48 PM
isnt he an ec by the name of scott landen or something? ..... Look up the lic. for the state

seolatlanta
04-13-2010, 11:16 PM
Tim I also sent you a PM.

David Gretzmier
04-18-2010, 09:34 AM
updates-

ok- got 1 job yesterday, 5-6k, from a bid I did back in december. I got them from a yard sign placed near a main road. they hired me for a very small $300 Christmsas light job, but were very interested back then in landscaphad me bid that at the time as well. They wanted to do it back in Feb but were financially unable to do so, and now they can.

did a very promising bid yesterday as well for a 7k job from a yard sign that is currently in place on an install completed last week.

They may seem cheesy and unprofessional ( Hey ! hot tub for $1999 ) but yard signs work ! ours are full color, 24x24 2 sided, with "lanscape lighting installed", phone # and web site on one side and Christmas lights installed on the other. I spent 1k on 250 signs last year, or 4 bucks each. I still have over 200 left .

David Gretzmier
04-20-2010, 02:32 AM
closed a small wedding job today- friend that I went on a couple of mission trips with. 1k plus lift expenses. Guess that is a referral .

David Gretzmier
04-24-2010, 12:50 PM
add on anther 3 lights today from the job gotten and done and reported a few weeks ago. 1200 bucks, and originally came from yellow pages that directed her to the website and then she called. yesterday, 2 lights add on to a job that I originally got from a yard sign 3 years ago- 600 bucks and done during a yearly rebulb maintenance.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-24-2010, 04:07 PM
David. You might want to re-consider posting each and every sale that you make here. It isn't like other's are following your lead, nor do I suspect that anyone will. Ultimately, who really cares what anyone else is selling out there. We all run different businesses in different markets so there is not real comparison that is worthwhile.

David Gretzmier
04-24-2010, 11:30 PM
not just for me, but for others I was trying to track where sales dollars and leads are coming from in a 30 day period all over the country in different markets. I have done the same over on the Christmas light side as well in that season. I cannot control if folks do not want to join in, but I can control if I myself at least can follow through with the initial premise and publish the results at the end of the 30 day period.

The idea is to see what marketing dollars are actually bringing sales dollars in the spring. It may be different that the fall/winter season, or summer. Spring is the time many of us have the most work, so I thought folks would want to take this ride with me to see what is working for them and track it. it seems that is not the case.

my results probably only make sense to other folks who are in a market of about a half million folks.

I am sorry if this thread bugs you.

But the only way to know If yellow pages, website, postcards, door hangers, radio or whatever marketing works in lighting is if we share that info and more importantly share the important info, which is sales dollars and how much you spent to get those sales.

The folks that are keeping quiet are just giving power to folks that sell advertising that this or that will work. when in fact, if we would just communicate with each other better, we would know what works by tracking it and telling each other.

ELumin8
04-26-2010, 04:22 PM
I have not advertised for over 15+/- years. All my Lscape Ltg work is done with existing relationships that consist of 3 executive home builders, 1-architect, and 1-Lscape designer, my crews are busy all year round.

David Gretzmier
04-27-2010, 01:26 AM
ah yes, the gravy train that comes from excellent work over time. I think that is an awesome business to be in ! but I notice that Coke and Nike still runs ads even though I'd buy them anyway. I think that some degree of advertising should be going on all the time. If you have been doing this 15 years, in 15 more you may want to sell your firm. for me, if and when it comes time for me to sell, I want to have a brand folks have heard of and has value to buyer.

David Gretzmier
05-04-2010, 01:25 AM
fun weekend.

closed jobs- 4 lights added on to the yard sign job I completed last week-900. 1 light added to a job from yellow pages/website-224.

bids- 1 bid from a business card handed out at a garage sale, 1 bid from a Christmas light client that I got from doing the Christmas lights across the street, so truck graphics. 1 bid from BNI, business network meetings I go to every week.

8 days left on this thread and I'll tally it up.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-04-2010, 08:37 AM
Fun weekend.

Designed and quoted a $126,000 re-do installation.
Sold 2 new 3 zone systems in the upper $30K range.
Lined up 3 new sales calls for this coming weekend.
Lined up 7 more service calls for this week.
Installation crew will finish 4th install of season (we are 4 full weeks ahead of most years thanks to fantastic weather here)

Source of all this new work = 100% Referrals

David Gretzmier
05-04-2010, 11:12 PM
james, 3 zones, is that 3 trans? you're having an awesome month !

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-04-2010, 11:23 PM
Yes, I call a 'zone' of lighting that which can be powered up by a single transformer. Most properties break down into natural zones. i.e. Driveway/Entry, Back Deck, Waterfront.

The big one is 12 zones. Over 300 Hadco BL616 bullet uplights, powered by acme transformers are in there now. Total dog's breakfast and not worth trying to fix it. I so hate seeing tons of good money wasted in that way. Hopefully the clients have had enough of it and will let me make it beautiful for them.

Pretty much a standard month for us here, only difference is that we are a full 4 weeks ahead of normal season. I usually don't get to start installations until mid-May. We go pretty hard here as we only have 5 good months to do installations most years. You have to make hay when the sun shines!

Pro-Scapes
05-04-2010, 11:35 PM
Yes, I call a 'zone' of lighting that which can be powered up by a single transformer. Most properties break down into natural zones. i.e. Driveway/Entry, Back Deck, Waterfront.

The big one is 12 zones. Over 300 Hadco BL616 bullet uplights, powered by acme transformers are in there now. Total dog's breakfast and not worth trying to fix it. I so hate seeing tons of good money wasted in that way. Hopefully the clients have had enough of it and will let me make it beautiful for them.

Pretty much a standard month for us here, only difference is that we are a full 4 weeks ahead of normal season. I usually don't get to start installations until mid-May. We go pretty hard here as we only have 5 good months to do installations most years. You have to make hay when the sun shines!

And you still have time to reply to almost all the threads within 30 minutes :) someone ate their wheaties.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-04-2010, 11:46 PM
Just a good multi-tasker Billy. It is nothing to have lawnsite on in the background as I work on quotes, designs, books, etc. And I have to say, getting a Blackberry was one of the best things (for my biz) that I have done in years. I don't know why I didn't get one sooner. It really has changed the way I work and free's up a ton of time each day. Time I now get to spend with the kids before bed, instead of stuck in the office doing my email every night. Having two full time installation tech's is also good!

Make it a great day.

S&MLL
05-04-2010, 11:48 PM
And you still have time to reply to almost all the threads within 30 minutes :) someone ate their wheaties.


Hahaha I agree. You post alot for being so busy James. But hey once you are at that level Im sure you spend more time in the office then the job site.

James what is your go to fixture. In terms of standard uplight.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-05-2010, 12:00 AM
Hahaha I agree. You post alot for being so busy James. But hey once you are at that level Im sure you spend more time in the office then the job site.

James what is your go to fixture. In terms of standard uplight.

Today my guys were on the installation site and I knocked off 3 service calls, got home in time for dinner, hung out with the kids a bit, and will be here in the office until 2-3am or so. Pretty typical for "the season".

As for bullet uplights. I just started using a lot of CopperMoon CM115's. However... just today I began to re-evaluate that decision. I am not too sure that the fixture lens/bezel design is very good. The disc that holds the lens into the shroud appears to be pressure fit and sealed with silicone. And that same disc seems a bit too large for the job and cuts down the aperture of the lens. ( I use LED MR16 lamps pretty much exclusively) Finally, the water drainage off that lens fitting, when the fixture is aimed straight up, is really poor which makes me think that the silicone will fail over time.

So, I might just go back to the Vista GR-2116-CSN fixture that I used a ton of last season. Auroralight makes a wickedly good bullet, but it is a bit pricey here. I save those for the spec. grade jobs.

(Also, for those of you who use stock plastic stakes, the CopperMoon plastic stake is just plain junk. I see their fixtures lying on the ground quite a bit and it is always due to the threaded collar of the plastic stake being either stripped or broken. Vista and Auroralight make the best plastic stakes I have seen)

David Gretzmier
05-05-2010, 09:35 AM
James- I would share your concerns about the coppermoon stuff with Joy Shumate. She seemed willing to listen, and the feel I got from them in general is they are constantly trying to improve the product.

seolatlanta
05-05-2010, 09:46 AM
Yes I would second that. They want the products they put out to be as good as possible and still be economically feasible.

I have been using a lot of Coppermoon lately and I havent had any problems with anything. I really like the CM 125 , it is a really good fixture for me.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-05-2010, 06:21 PM
Thanks, I have communicated directly with Doug about these issues in the past. Was sort of hoping they would sort them out by now. I just sent him a long email with some ideas.

emby
05-05-2010, 11:00 PM
Today my guys were on the installation site and I knocked off 3 service calls, got home in time for dinner, hung out with the kids a bit, and will be here in the office until 2-3am or so. Pretty typical for "the season".

As for bullet uplights. I just started using a lot of CopperMoon CM115's. However... just today I began to re-evaluate that decision. I am not too sure that the fixture lens/bezel design is very good. The disc that holds the lens into the shroud appears to be pressure fit and sealed with silicone. And that same disc seems a bit too large for the job and cuts down the aperture of the lens. ( I use LED MR16 lamps pretty much exclusively) Finally, the water drainage off that lens fitting, when the fixture is aimed straight up, is really poor which makes me think that the silicone will fail over time.

So, I might just go back to the Vista GR-2116-CSN fixture that I used a ton of last season. Auroralight makes a wickedly good bullet, but it is a bit pricey here. I save those for the spec. grade jobs.

(Also, for those of you who use stock plastic stakes, the CopperMoon plastic stake is just plain junk. I see their fixtures lying on the ground quite a bit and it is always due to the threaded collar of the plastic stake being either stripped or broken. Vista and Auroralight make the best plastic stakes I have seen)

Hey James,
I know you are really busy but I do have to ask. Knowing that you have done your research why are Vista and the Aurora stakes so robust? I have noticed that Coppermoon has two different stakes. One wider for the path lights and the smaller diameter ones for the bullets. I have installed the wider stakes with the bullets and did find that the threads were loose when attaching the bullet fixture. I replaced the stake with the smaller diameter stake and presto snug as a bug. Let me know your thoughts and experiences.
Thanks

Ken

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-05-2010, 11:12 PM
Hey Ken. Not being a plastics engineer I cannot tell you for certain but the composition of the Vista and Auroralight stakes is much different from that of most others. For one thing they are much heavier and have a lot more strength and toughness to them. I really don't use a lot of the included plastic stakes as they are all too short in my opinion. I have noticed that there are two different stakes from Coppermoon, but I don't use either of them as they are just to light and flimsy. (I have a couple of huge boxes of these at my shop... probably going into the recycling bin soon) I just picked up a couple of service jobs, installed by others, and a bunch of the CM bullets and floods were lying on the ground and the stakes were stripped of threads. This should be an easy fix for them.

David Gretzmier
05-06-2010, 01:23 AM
james- this might be a canada plastic-cold weather issue, but you are right about the plastic, I have noticed that some stakes look shiny and seem to hold up really well, like FX, and some seem more flat-paint looking, almost bead or sand blasted appeearance. but I really have very little stake thread failure except maybe occaisional on 36" tall tulip lights with extensions, and all the rest seem human caused by kicking over the light. I would guess plastic is more brittle in colder temps, and you do have quite a bit of snow coming off the roof.

Pro-Scapes
05-07-2010, 06:57 PM
Change to brass stakes. It has really made my installations that much more solid. Its a great sales point too. NO PLASTICS.

Some say they are overkill in some applications but I was sick of service calls for lights broken by landscapers or painters.

David Gretzmier
05-08-2010, 04:16 AM
all my brass bullet lights come with brass stakes. but my paths come with plastic. I really have no service issues with good plastic stakes.

David Gretzmier
05-10-2010, 11:28 AM
about a day or two away from totalling where everything came from in the last 30 days. closed a job last night, a nightscaping add on/redo, $4300, bid was from a Christmas light client that got me through truck graphics while we worked across the street.

David Gretzmier
05-12-2010, 12:07 AM
woo. long post-

so... if I added everything right, last 30 days new lighting and add on lighting installs only, ( no rebulb/maintenance bucks in here, or any other landscape sales) looked through my bid sheets and I missed a couple of bids I did and some that have not yet closed ( and may not)

5300 website then yellow pages +1200

6200 yellow pages then website +224+800

5400 yard signs +600 +900

1000 referral + 90 ( closed but not done )

4375 truck graphics ( closed but not yet done )

5600 long term client that is remodeling back yard ( closed but not yet done) but originally a maintenance referral client from a landscaper 12 years ago.


total new light sales closed and or installed, 4/12-5/12 - $30,789, 8 seperate job sites,

jobs bid but not closed-

7k job from yard sign at an above job

3k referral from handy man service at BNI

1k job from business card at garage sale

11k not closed on 3 bids.


percentages- close ratio, 8/11 bids, 72%

percentage sales from:

yellow pages first 7224/$30789 = 23.4%

web first 6500/$30789 = 21.1%

yard signs 6900/30789 = 22.4%

truck graphics 4375/30789 = 14.2%

referrals 6690/30789 = 21.7%



So, what did I learn in this month?

#1, just reading your comments, my business is obviously different than yours, and maybe this exercise was only beneficial to me. however, given that this thread has 1400 plus views as of today at 10:30pm, you guys are at least curious to look at the thread and see how this month fleshed out.

#2 I was shocked that my close ratio was so high. In Christmas lights, I meet with probably 100-120 folks and close 35-40 every year for the last 5 years. so more like 35-40% which every sales book tells you is normal or slightly high. I have talked to others that have 80% close ratio on landscape lights, so maybe not so crazy.

#3 I cannot believe the numbers are so evenly distributed. I expected one to really stand out and tell me to invest more marketing dollars in it.

#4 I am not postcarding right now ( few thousand 6x11's going out in 2 weeks tho), so not surprising there are no leads or jobs from postcards. but i did 4-5 mailings last year of 3-5 thousand cards each on Christmas and Landscape lighting. so NO residual effect on sales the next spring. you'd think one person would have saved a card and called in the spring.
#5, not bragging, but this was a record breaking month for us in landscape lighting. I had no idea we'd do this well. I will scream like a school girl if we do this in may.

#6 "add-ons" or lights added to jobs once they start, or to existing jobs, represented 3700 bucks of my total sales, or 12% of total sales. suggesting more lights once the jobs start or later on down the line can really make a difference. makes real sense to invest the extra bucks on larger trans and leave room to upgrade.

#7 in order, of expense dollars spent to get jobs, ranked lowest to highest- referrals, yard signs, web site, truck graphics, yellow pages.

#8 in order of sales dollars attributed this month, ranked lowest to highest- truck graphics, web site, referrals, yard signs, yellow pages.

which means, that yellow pages costs me the most and still gives me the most sales this month. and the web site sales would not have happened without the addition of the yellow pages to back it up. or so the client said.

#9- I had no sales from BNI ( my network group) this month even though I had about 23k in sales from them last year overall. I pay about a grand per year to be in that, and you would think more than one bid would have happened in the spring.

enough for now. moving on.

onebreezer
11-18-2010, 11:41 AM
David,

Been trying to find your post on how much u charge per foot for light strings at the gutter line of a two story house. Was it $8 per foot and $4 for the rehang? Including timers ext cord storage etc.

ed

JimLewis
11-18-2010, 01:29 PM
I haven't read the other replies yet. I'll try to at night when I have more time. I'm out working now. But I saw this thread and wanted to respond.

We get the majority of our lighting jobs because we've already been called to do the landscaping/hardscaping work at the property. And lighting was just one of the things they wanted done. Often, the project might entail a water feature, paver patio, seat walls, new trees, etc. So while they're splurging they figure they might as well do lighting as well. That's probably 70% of our new lighting work.

Another 20% comes from internet marketing, website, Google, etc. We do come up #1 for the search phrase "landscape lighting Portland Oregon" and several related phrases. And we're on page one of Google for most other similar worded phrases like "outdoor lighting Portland Oregon". But honestly, I haven't got that nearly as dialed in as I do for other items like landscaping and pavers and so forth. I'm going to work on that more this winter. I do all my own SEO stuff and have had amazing success with that. Being #1 on Google really pays off. But you gotta be #1 for all sorts of different key word possibilities. And that's the tricky part. I haven't worked at the lighting part too much so we don't get as many calls as we could be. So maybe 20% comes from people just looking on the internet for a local lighting guy.

Another 10% comes from referral.

David Gretzmier
11-18-2010, 11:32 PM
that question is really for over in the firewood/seasonal lighting side, but I am at 6.50 per foot for c-9s to sell, install/takedown/store, and 3.25 labor next year to install/takedown/store. includes all ext. cords, timers, etc.