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David Gretzmier
10-29-2010, 01:14 AM
was curious and was looking back on the thread "new sales 2009" and was comparing notes on last year and this year. I though I was doing better this year, but I had not really tracked it. adding it up and comparing notes-

in 2008, I had 7 brand new customers by the end of October.

2009, only 3. and only 4 new customers all the way til Nov Nov 9th when I closed 3 jobs that day to go to 7, and eventually we clawed our way to 39 new customers. I don't think I have ever closed so many jobs between Nov 9 and Dec 5.

in 2010, I am setting on 10 new customers as of today. no biggies yet, mostly just 1500-3000 stuff and 2 babies ( sub 600) in there, but looking at previous years, very glad to have all of them.

but, just so you know not everything is happy happy in dave g land...

The flip side is looking at this picture in "future rehang revenue". If you factor in the customers that I have lost up to this point, I am not yet ahead. I need to sell a few more jobs to break even, even though as of today I have only lost 7 customers. 4 of those combined were almost 12k total in rehang revenue. ouch. over a 3 year period, I seem to continue to shed high rehang dollar customers.

addictedtolandscaping
10-29-2010, 07:23 AM
No new ones yet, minus one rehang which was a nice chunk, however when comparing the revenue vs. the headaches and battle for payment, I really don;t think I am losing.

Finally starting to hear from the rehangs, (note huge sigh of relief.) First one is only 700 and change with install remove and store, but the second is 4k for install remove and store. Hoping that the add on we discussed last year will take place with this one as well.Will bring that account up to the area of 7k with everything. Now that, would be a nice start.

First round of direct mail hit early this week, second due right before thanksgiving, and then right after.

Fingers are crossed for 10-20 new ones this year.

David Gretzmier
10-29-2010, 11:22 PM
do you have any yard signs out on corners or across from exits of super nice subdivisions? I am starting to get calls on those. they work !

mcoates
10-29-2010, 11:38 PM
First year in the business!! Monday we put out 21 yard signs to test the market, out of 6 calls we got 4 sales for $3500 2 bids still pending. I'm excited to see what happens with more signs and postcards.

addictedtolandscaping
10-30-2010, 05:09 AM
Not yet. I am going to be heading out with some this weekend. It is really tough here, the area I live in, if someone approached me about hanging lights, my thought would have been are you out of your mind. However, where I am concentrating my efforts on this year, yeah, they woudl definitely consider it. I am hoping in combination of my trucks and soon my trailer, the signs, the direct mail all hitting that area, that something will pop up.

Do you have any suggestions on door hangers. I was thinking it might be a wise idea to pick up 250 or so.

hotrod1965
10-30-2010, 09:41 AM
Not yet. I am going to be heading out with some this weekend. It is really tough here, the area I live in, if someone approached me about hanging lights, my thought would have been are you out of your mind. However, where I am concentrating my efforts on this year, yeah, they woudl definitely consider it. I am hoping in combination of my trucks and soon my trailer, the signs, the direct mail all hitting that area, that something will pop up.

Do you have any suggestions on door hangers. I was thinking it might be a wise idea to pick up 250 or so.

we just ordered ours from www.adeasprinting.com

The stickit product is nice, seems like it wont blow away.

TexasFire221
10-30-2010, 05:24 PM
I have just a few add-ons so far. Only for about $1,200 or so. I have 2500 door hangers on the way and direct mailer round one out. I am in the process of getting yard signs ready for this week. Missed an appointment this morning and she was pissed. Hope she doesnt cancel, its a $4,000 rehang not to mention the lawn maintenance we will miss out on. Hopefully she will cool down. I havent been out like I should talking with businesses and giving out catalogs. I have had the biggest fall ever for the business so landscaping is talking up all my time. Next week I will get on this but probably lost my window for most of the commercial stuff. Guess we will see.

TimNNJ
11-02-2010, 01:32 PM
who do you guys use for your direct mailing?

Cajun Cleanin'
11-02-2010, 01:45 PM
Where do you store the customers lights during the year?

TexasFire221
11-02-2010, 02:05 PM
I used the program HBL offered for direct mailing. The first season I stored my lighting in a 10x10 storage room I rented for $40/month. Last season I purchased a 12X24 building with lofts. Love it.

addictedtolandscaping
11-02-2010, 05:06 PM
I also use the HBL program, first round landed last week and 5 calls already with one firm estimate for Saturday, phone tag with the rest.

I also had a storage unit last year, however, it was costing me a fortune so I am utilizing a 18x8 trailer I have right now. Looking at getting my hands on a couple retired box trailers.

David Gretzmier
11-02-2010, 11:36 PM
I have a thread on here somewhere about my new building addition with photos. I have went from storing stuff on a few shelves at a rented building about 10 years ago, then filling a 10x40 and a 10x20 mini-storage units up until buying a 9 foot sidewall 2700 sq. foot building 5 years ago, to expanding that building this year by adding a 3100 addition with a 21 foot sidewall or so.

I think I did the math on the building thread, but it seems you need 64 cubic feet of rack storage volume per customer on average, if you have mixed c-9, light link, garland, and wreath customers like I do. That may seem high, but I know it is what I use if you add it up. That does include the necessary rack space to keep a bit of new product and replacement parts on hand as well.

we do our own mailings and postcards and have gotten pretty good results so far this year as well. postcards work, but are expensive.

TheBetterDoorhanger
11-03-2010, 02:15 PM
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mcoates
11-03-2010, 09:08 PM
I used Adeas printing for my Lawn service and I plan on using y'all for the Christmas business. Great people to work with and the best price's I found !:usflag:

David Gretzmier
11-03-2010, 11:35 PM
if that is correct on the postcard stuff at 26 cent each, that is a heck of a deal. we pay 26 cents just for saturation ( the cheapest rate- walking routes ) postage and addressing on cards.

we pay 6 cents each for 6x11 cards, and then about 200 bucks to ship 10000 cards to my house. the first time I paid that I though the shipping was high, until I got 10 boxes that were about a foot square each from UPS. 10000 postcards that size are heavy and take up space.

David Gretzmier
11-03-2010, 11:40 PM
if that is correct on the 6x9 postcard stuff at 26 cent each, that is a heck of a deal. we pay 26 cents just for saturation ( the cheapest rate- walking routes ) postage and addressing on cards. Thier website lists 5000 cards for that rate includes 2 hours of graphic design work on the card and "stick it" which allows the postcard with a peel off to become a post-it. pretty great deal. at 1300 bucks, I might try it once to see the response rate.

we pay 6 cents each for 6x11 cards, and then about 200 bucks to ship 10000 cards to my house. the first time I paid that I thought the shipping was high, until I got 10 boxes that were about a foot square each from UPS. 10000 postcards that size are heavy and take up space. so really we pay 8 cents each printed and delivered. 6x9's would be closer to 7 cents shipped, but a 6x11 card is really hard to ignore in a mailbox, and is the largest card you can do on saturation mail rates.

TheBetterDoorhanger
11-04-2010, 01:59 PM
if that is correct on the 6x9 postcard stuff at 26 cent each, that is a heck of a deal. we pay 26 cents just for saturation ( the cheapest rate- walking routes ) postage and addressing on cards. Thier website lists 5000 cards for that rate includes 2 hours of graphic design work on the card and "stick it" which allows the postcard with a peel off to become a post-it. pretty great deal. at 1300 bucks, I might try it once to see the response rate.

we pay 6 cents each for 6x11 cards, and then about 200 bucks to ship 10000 cards to my house. the first time I paid that I thought the shipping was high, until I got 10 boxes that were about a foot square each from UPS. 10000 postcards that size are heavy and take up space. so really we pay 8 cents each printed and delivered. 6x9's would be closer to 7 cents shipped, but a 6x11 card is really hard to ignore in a mailbox, and is the largest card you can do on saturation mail rates.

Let me know if you need any pricing for unaddressed cards in the future ~ we also offer 5.5 x 11 cards and all of the "mailed" pricing is listed on our website. www.AdeasPrinting.com/post-cards

You can always email me directly at robin@adeasprinting.com if you like or PM me through lawnsite. Thanks! Robin

TheBetterDoorhanger
11-04-2010, 02:00 PM
I used Adeas printing for my Lawn service and I plan on using y'all for the Christmas business. Great people to work with and the best price's I found !:usflag:

Thank you for your kind words!! We appreciate your business. - Robin

David Gretzmier
11-05-2010, 11:24 PM
meeting to close #12 new client this year tomorrow morning and #13 on Sunday. season going very well so far this year.

David Gretzmier
11-14-2010, 12:00 AM
what a difference 8 days makes to one's perspective about the year. I have not been updating this thread for a reason, and that is I am not selling much of anything and not doing hardly any appointments at all. my last post I was going to close #12 saturday and then #13 on sunday last week. comparing year to year is driving me crazy. I did get #12, but #13 did not work out. I have probably had a dozen appointments since then, and finally closed #13 on Wednesday last week, a good one, 8k, but only a few appointments since. we put out 14 signs today, and I have 2 appointments for monday in good neighborhoods, but no appointments at the moment for tomorrow.

really weird feeling in my gut this year, because on Nov 5th compared to last year I was doing great, but now I am pretty far behind last year, mainly because last year I went on a great streak and sold jobs like crazy. but honestly, last year I had to because I had sold only 3 jobs up until the 9th of november. I thought I was really in trouble and then it hit like crazy.

so I had the same conversation with my wife that I had last year about what do we do if the flood gates don't open like they did last year.

we are booked all 3 crews with work pretty much rehang work through 2 days before Thanksgiving, and I have everyone off tomorrow to rest, except for myself and one worker who will finish up a job in the morning before church.

hoping to chime in here in a few days with great news about all the work I am closing, but since I can only conceivably promise 3-6 folks that we can get their jobs up thanksgiving, That may be all the work I can close in the next week.

addictedtolandscaping
11-14-2010, 06:36 AM
I am dealing with the exact same issues here Dave. I have done probably 10 estimates, closed 0. I have had a couple add ons, few hundred here and there. The big job I do is playing games, I dropped the paperwork off back in September, I hear from them Oct 30, and they want add on of another 28 sets. OK. So all is supposedly said and done, I had to bring an order in of supplies to have on hand, I order a case for the add on. Find out the other day that po still isn't issued. They did call and complain they didn't like the wording of the insurance cert though. They already beat me up over, ready for this $75.00. It takes me a solid week to hang this job, manpower isn't the issue it is access to the 17 trees that have to be lit. It has to be up and lift removed by December 5. I am about ready to tell them to forget it, but it is a huge chunk of what my advertising expenses are. Almost 2/3 of it.

I have a lot of tire kickers going, I got a bunch of signs done up, "Christmas Lights Installed and the phone number" probably have 8 of them out so far. They cost me another 300. This year, not any fun for me up here, started another rehang yesterday which we will finish the house this am, client is unsure if they want to do all the trees again this year or not. All in all, I am still running in the red. Second round of direct mail I believe Mike said hits this week, radio and website spots start this week. Had to stop and get a new phone last night, thank you Verizon for sending me a non functioning replacement, and saw that a shopping center I was trying to get into was being installed, wreaths and garland on lamp posts. I rally want to get in with that company, but could not figure out how to get it done. I will start working on that diligently this time starting in March, and I will not stop until I am sitting in front of someone. They own several shopping plazas here.

David Gretzmier
11-14-2010, 07:33 AM
I have always thought the commercial side of this business is where the steady succcess is, as you would think that it would be steady income, and you close those jobs in the off season. I have actively pursued it, and done a ton of it. but the more I do this, the more I realize that a large number of long term relationships with residential customers that use you for years may be more valuable in the long run than a few large commercial clients that can really hurt you when they fire you because an ownership partnership changes.

keep pressing on and work will come in. It is still going to be a good year.

addictedtolandscaping
11-14-2010, 07:38 AM
I won't give up, all in all this is to much fun, the rewards of creating something beautiful in the end is very much worth it.

Mike expressed the same to me in all honesty in one of our many many conversations, told me point blank "concentrate on the residential clients." I do see exactly where you both are coming from, that rehang even though it is a fantastic reference point during a conversation with people, the aggravation is getting old.

David Gretzmier
11-15-2010, 11:29 PM
picked up #14 today, another good one, but still way behind in new sales and new customers closed by this day last year. I need to get to around #20 or so new clients to break even on rehang dollars lost from other jobs. I am holding out hope that at some point it starts to resemble last year and kick in. I would at this poiint be happy with 30 or up. pretty sad that my goal last year was 50 new ones, , but as always, I will take what I can get. I do have 4 or 5 appointments tomorrow, and had several today. continuing to put out signs every other day. postcards should hit from this saturday to saturday of thanksgiving weekend.

addictedtolandscaping
11-16-2010, 04:29 AM
Congratulations Dave. I am still waiting on number 1, this year seems like it is going to be a complete waste of time, and especially money for me.

hotrod1965
11-16-2010, 10:40 PM
Congratulations Dave. I am still waiting on number 1, this year seems like it is going to be a complete waste of time, and especially money for me.

Hang in there... we had a slow start, but the switch is turned on now! Phone is ringing and emails are coming in now!
We just did a new job a few days again and I just now sold one to a house a few house down.

Whats killing us is the new HBL guy that is advertising $425 rooflines.... I keep bidding against him at double that!

David Gretzmier
11-16-2010, 11:17 PM
#15 today, small one ( 800 ) but nice simple c9 job on a pretty nice house. I am hoping for 3 new ones tomorrow, I did 9 bids today. The one that closed today actually walked up to the truck as I was bidding two others and bought on the spot.

yard signs are bringing me bids and jobs right now, so if you don't have any out be sure and do that over the next 2 weeks. this is getting to be impulse buy season.

I know that many of you guys are not fan's of yard signs, but I gotta tell you, I cannot fathom doing this business without them.

compare/contrast- I just spent 1000 bucks in postage and addressing to mail 4000 6x 11 postcards. I spent about 8 cents each to print those and get them shipped here from gotprint. so total cost to do one mailing- 1320 bucks. It is insane to think I would get 13 customers from that mailing, which would put it at 100 bucks per customer. likely only 5 or 6 tops. so that costs me about 250 bucks per customer !
but I spent 1000 bucks last year on 250 yard signs, I put out about 50-75 last year as they came fairly late and I am going to put out every last one of the ones left in the next 3 weeks. I am betting that I will generate more customers from signs than postcards, and at half the cost.

addictedtolandscaping
11-17-2010, 07:14 AM
Radio commercials started this am, actually heard on on the website stream. I must say that was different. Trying to establish credibility and back up the post cards arriving this week.

addictedtolandscaping
11-17-2010, 07:18 AM
The sad part of the roof guy, he is making money too. The cost of the C-9 bulbs and cords, he covers everything for 1000 lf in one sale. there is not one bit of discussion in the HBL training, or atleast there wasn't last year when I was there. Alot of concentration on Light Links, very minimal if any on C-9 and no discussion on roofs. My goal when I started this endeavor was to eventually make good money, not crush other guys by under cutting prices to a ridiculous point. Wonder what he is gonna do when he has to start running service calls.

David Gretzmier
11-17-2010, 10:34 PM
#16 and 17 today, one good one and another small one, but good neighborhood and hope it will lead to more jobs in that neighborhood. but I will take just about anything at this point. speaking of, The 425 per roofline reminded me about another thread where we discussed doing tons of homes in the right neighborhoods at around 400-500 per home could be profitable if enough volume was there. you would have to do multiple jobs a day to make it worthwile.

I would think that you could not make much driving around, but then, if you could do 4 per day with 2 guys I could maybe see it. it would have to be smaller jobs, 120-170 feet, and pretty easy pitches. and no other items, like garland, wreaths, mini's. not my cup of tea, but given the choice, better than nothing.

addictedtolandscaping
11-18-2010, 06:23 PM
Two more estimates sent out today, keeping the margin at a minimum and then offering a 200 discount, and then offering three different payment options :much much more than expected, way to expensive." Got to wonder why even try anymore.

addictedtolandscaping
11-18-2010, 07:28 PM
So as usual, another fantastic waste of a day with wild goose chases. 10k in advertising, another 1000 in fuel not to even try to calculate time, thinking very firmly that this year is it. I will continue to service the people that have come on board, but that's it no more money for advertising etc. Can not see the sense in consistently throwing time and money at something that here just does not seem to work. I read each day about you guys closing sales and I think it's wonderful, for some reason, they all want it for nothing here. I want to thank everyone that has offered advice, suggestions etc through my journey. I do have to say though, at this point it is damn near heart breaking. Sucks to dump your heart and soul into something to end up falling flat on your face.

hotrod1965
11-18-2010, 09:27 PM
Sent out estimates? Have you tried doing them right on the spot?
Posted via Mobile Device

David Gretzmier
11-18-2010, 11:21 PM
I hate leaving or emailing bids. I have done a couple of dozen and closed maybe one. I need to meet the customer and get to know them and have them get to know and trust me. I do bids on the spot.

I did the slaes thread last year to kind of track my sales and see how everyone else is doing, and then I look back and have been comparing last year to this year and will do the same next year. I never meant for this thread to become some sort of "rubbing it in" kind of thing. sorry.

#18 and 19 today. 1k ones, from yard signs and truck graphics.

the best time of year to close jobs is coming up. and the best marketing tool for this time of year is yard signs, large, easy to read, colorful and most important, in the right location. If you are limited on the number of signs you have, I would encourage you to put them out on friday afternoon around 4pm and then pull them back up monday morning around 6:30-7 before the sign police pull them. and then put them out again at wed at 4pm and pull them back up monday morning after thanksgiving at 6:30 am or so. and the friday after that. You have got to put them up across the street from where folks leaving the most expensive subdivisions will see them when they stop at the front gate. I put them across the street and they work.

we will close 10 jobs off the signs we put out this year at least.

addictedtolandscaping
11-19-2010, 03:09 AM
Yup but they all want to see it in the damn design software.

Dave I don't see it like a rub it in situation, not at all. Truthfully, I am just sick and tired of wasting time and money. What I have wrapped up in the advertising alone I could have paid for almost an extra year on my dump truck. Then just in the "need to have on hand product" I brought in, there was 2 more payments. That makes money. I figure by the time all is said and done, end up up with about 2.5 hours wrapped up in each estimate for the sake of round numbers, drive there, spend time with the person, show them the product, get pictures, drive back, do the design(s) - three of them low medium high end. Even going with financing option, opened a merchant account for credit cards, and doing a discount right off the bat, no sales. Margin starts at 45% - then take 15% off that for shipping, then have been offering $200 discount. HBL estimating software used, not going with full install presets. All said and done, profit is minimal. Just a waste for me. The way it is going, I am already about 14k in the red this year.

How sad is this, 310 am and I am so bothered by all this I can't even sleep. Pathetic

turf hokie
11-19-2010, 07:10 AM
I so want to help. I hate that you are not doing well.

Couple of things, hand written estimate on the spot will get you sales, a blank piece of paper and a quick hand sketch of the house etc to show them what you are proposing, a portfolio with as many local pictures as you can.

Why do they even know about the design software, screw that, I have done 2 estimates using the design software in 6 years of doing lights, waste of time. There is no time for spending 2-3 hours on each estimate. I put no more than 1 hour on average into each estimate with drive time.

Too late this year, but the chamber mailers are not working, look for a Smart Shopper or Clipper type magazine. I use them to keep the name out there, locally they go to 100,000 homes and it will cost under 2k to run a full color, COVER page. Direct mailers are a waste up in this area as well, I just learned that the hard way.

I have to run and get the crews going..

Call me or PM me maybe I can help further?

Bryan

Birchwood
11-19-2010, 07:28 AM
Same here, I have a hand written proposal in the back of a packet, explaining us and our products, 30 min tops. 10-15 discuss options and their thoughts, show product. 10 min to write up quote, and break everything apart, roof, garlands and wreaths, trees, and that becomes my low, medium and high, they can add it up themselves. A second trip for $500 or your too high, is too much of a waste. I will know that in 5 min or the follow up call the following week.

David Gretzmier
11-19-2010, 11:58 PM
not to hammer this nail too deep, but I too don't use the software because of time. I will be honest, deep down I know I would sell more work per job if I did do the software, but I would have time to do far less bids and so I think I would sell less overall. and even though I used to show and tell the light link story at every bid, I have pretty much accepted the fact that 90% of the folks want c-9s, garland, wreaths, and minis. so i bring those to show folks and we use the best.

please- I would be interested in your results next year if you just invested $1200 in 250 24x24 full color 2 sided yard signs and paid an honest part time high school guy 2 hours a day to make sure they were in place every day from Oct 10 through Dec 10. don't do radio, newsletters, postcards, or anything else. just do that.

David Gretzmier
11-19-2010, 11:59 PM
got #20 today and got a 1k add on.

addictedtolandscaping
11-20-2010, 05:18 AM
I got to agree with you guys completely. I love the software, I really do, but it is killing me in time. The direct mail is getting leads, just not closing. As much as I want to say to he** with it all, four more estimates lined up between today and Tuesday. I tried something new last night, told one lady point blank her first year is a sizable investment, then after that she has just installation, removal, and storage. I really hammered that home, she still wanted an appointment. Mentioned she wants some lights, wreaths on all her windows. Sounds pretty simple, I will show her the LL in the catalog, but thats going to be it.

I have some blank proposals I am putting in my truck this am, no more computer printed crap. If they go with it, I will put a printed one together when I get back home and email it to them so it is broken out.

I'll try to give you a call later Bryan.

Dave: been putting signs out, I will try to get one of the proofs up on here later if I can still see straight when I get back.

Thanks guys!!!

turf hokie
11-20-2010, 06:55 AM
No problem Dennis, if you get voicemail, leave a msg, I will call back asap.

To David's point, I dont even bring samples or catalogs with me to the door anymore. Just a pen, biz card, portfolio, estimate sheets and blank sheets to draw on. I leave the sample bag in the car just in case. Never brought links to an estimate, to damn bulky, if it doesn't fit into a duffle bag to carry, it doesnt go with me....

I have one pic of blizzard light links in the portfolio, buried, just in case someone "wants something different than the neigbor" the first sell is always c-9 as it is less costly for everyone I have never walked thru a door trying to sell links, I know Mike doesnt want to here that, but we still sell them anyway...Yet we still sell 4-5 customers on links a year...

BTW by sell I mean rent, we have never sold and will never sell...

addictedtolandscaping
11-20-2010, 07:43 AM
That is exactly what my thoughts were this am, pardon me, but scr*w the LL. I am going to tell them point blank, we can do something that can not be replicated unless they come from me, but it is going to cost about 2x the amount.

C-9's really aren;t covered in the training, it really drive home the LL. THey definitely are nice, unique, hold up fairly well except for one house I do that half of them blew off the damn thing again already. But C-9 is where I am headed now. I got 2k lf of cord, 3k bulbs, clear, opaque and clear colored, if HBL is out, I know that I can get them from other distributors, pay a little more, but I know I can get em. I am going to use LL as the high estimate, c-9 as the low, and then as a middle, they can use the add on(s).

I have tried being nice, bending over backwards, got no where. I am starting to see why Christmas Decor got so large and popular. I actually put a call into Texas the other day. Must be something to there plan to have franchises nationwide.

addictedtolandscaping
11-20-2010, 07:44 AM
That is exactly what my thoughts were this am, pardon me, but scr*w the LL. I am going to tell them point blank, we can do something that can not be replicated unless they come from me, but it is going to cost about 2x the amount.

C-9's really aren;t covered in the training, it really drive home the LL. THey definitely are nice, unique, hold up fairly well except for one house I do that half of them blew off the damn thing again already. But C-9 is where I am headed now. I got 2k lf of cord, 3k bulbs, clear, opaque and clear colored, if HBL is out, I know that I can get them from other distributors, pay a little more, but I know I can get em. I am going to use LL as the high estimate, c-9 as the low, and then as a middle, they can use the add on(s).

I have tried being nice, bending over backwards, got no where. I am starting to see why Christmas Decor got so large and popular. I actually put a call into Texas the other day. Must be something to there plan to have franchises nationwide.

Every sign I have is going out this coming weekend. All or nothing go for broke.

hotrod1965
11-20-2010, 09:39 AM
No problem Dennis, if you get voicemail, leave a msg, I will call back asap.

To David's point, I dont even bring samples or catalogs with me to the door anymore. Just a pen, biz card, portfolio, estimate sheets and blank sheets to draw on. I leave the sample bag in the car just in case. Never brought links to an estimate, to damn bulky, if it doesn't fit into a duffle bag to carry, it doesnt go with me....

I have one pic of blizzard light links in the portfolio, buried, just in case someone "wants something different than the neigbor" the first sell is always c-9 as it is less costly for everyone I have never walked thru a door trying to sell links, I know Mike doesnt want to here that, but we still sell them anyway...Yet we still sell 4-5 customers on links a year...

BTW by sell I mean rent, we have never sold and will never sell...


I do it just like this. (except I dont offer light links, just C9's and mini, and icicle lights every now and then)

Our biggest hurdle has always been showing customers the value of choosing us over the low ballers. Now, we have a point by point sheet we use that goes over why we are the top tier option, and also some awards and recognitions..etc.
Then we go over the project and do the bid right on the spot.

Just because you know you are the best, doesn't mean everyone else does. You have to work on your sales pitch, practice, practice practice!

addictedtolandscaping
11-20-2010, 09:23 PM
Finally, let me rephrase that FINALLY got the first one today. I completely disregarded the LL and stuck with C-9. Going to be doing about 110LF clear C-9, and 24 sets or so of blue mini, will look something like the picture that Brite Lights has.

Bryan, Dave, HotRod, thanks for the encouragement, this has been one heck of a learning curve this year. For now one, LL will sit in the background so to speak, will be first weapon chosen for a completely non replicable presentation or an upgrade.

Got another going on, they want price emailed to them, scheduled appointment and then spent 5 minutes told me what they wanted, handed me a business card and left. 4 48" mixed noble with bow, 8 noel battery operated LED with bow, all mounted over windows, 4 lamp post wrapped will also be mixed noble, pillars at front door and then swag across the top of door way. .3

Next one scheduled for Monday. Nightmare in front of me tomorrow, resetting first job from last year, used alot of LED mini snowflakes, and so far 4 do not work at all. What a nightmare this is gonna be. used them like ornaments in trees, one of them being a 35' high blue spruce. No fun gonna come of this.

seolatlanta
11-20-2010, 09:37 PM
Hey addictedtolandscaping,

I dont post much on this forum , but I do lurk every now and again. I wanted to say to you that your desperation is coming through to me as I read your posts. I have sold Christmas lights for the past 5 years at least. I have a system that works great and it was taught to me by the former largest and most successful Christmas Decor lighting biz in the country and at one time it was here in Atlanta.

You have to make it fun , to me to get somebody to spend $10k on holiday lighting is absolutely as fun as it gets. But people do it every year. Christmas lighting is an emotional purchase.People either want it or they dont. If you get a guy or gal who is picking you apart on BS linear footage or how many lights are in a tree , 90% of the time that is not your customer. The people that want to buy have a number in their heads and they want you to show them how to get to it.

I take sometimes at least an hour and here is the key> Dont skip any steps.!
I meet with the homeowner , do all my measurements , do all the addition and figuring up, and go over it with them , and give them a line item by line item menu for them to choose from.Doing all the measurements shows them that you are taking your time and it establishes trust. That is the key. You are prying the wallet open and it is fun!! Walk them through it and then go back to the top and start asking them what they want as you go through it again. " Now I measured 165 feet of C-9's and that is an option. Or you can have icicles but they are more. I think we should start out with the C-9's , i think it will fit your architecture better. Dont you? "

You are the expert , even if you arent one, yet. And the more successful seasons you have , it all builds on each other.

I can only do about 7 calls a day max on my system and I have had days where I closed 6 of 7. Thats a lot of walking and a lot of talking. It can be done. If you want more info , then PM me.

If you are not having success right now , then you need to change something. But also its early yet, I have sold jobs on December 14th!! There is plenty of time to make up $14k. 4 jobs sold and you are golden so dont give up. Hold your prices to make sure you make your money back , go flyer some neighborhoods of nice homes , call everybody you know , cold call big churches and nice office buildings and businesses. It is not even Thanksgiving yet.

David Gretzmier
11-21-2010, 12:10 AM
So glad you closed a job ! awesome dude, keep it rolling. I would not throw out the LL alltogether, but I do have a light link, garland, and a 4 foot noble wreath in the back of the truck. I start the conversation with what is your dream on decorating this home, and some folks need ideas, so I go to -do they want something different? or do they want something similar to what most folks do? light links are for 2 types of folks- the mentioned folks who want something different, and folks who want perfect icicles. everybody else wants c-9s.

closed 5 jobs today !, never done that before, but one was with a postdated deposit check, so I am not counting that til it clears. so I am at 24. funny thing, now I am 8 days ahead of when I hit 24 last year, so now I am already worried about closing this many jobs next year. go figure.

having postcards hit on wednesday /thursday this week was perfect. set a bunch of appointments, and closed 2 good size jobs ( 2.5k and 3.5 k) from postcards that I spent about 1300 on, so I covered the cost of the mailing, but makes the 5k job from service magic seem like a deal for the 100 or so I have spent in crummy leads for the past week. had one smaller 670 ( yellow pages) and one decent 1500 that I forgaot to ask where he found out about us.

and the arkansas razorbacks won in double overtime at mississippi state taking the hogs to 9-2 ! and my 3 crews finished all scheduled work today except one tough job that will get finished up tomorrow.

3 appointments tomorrow, and a couple scheduled for monday as well.

overall, an extremely great day !

David Gretzmier
11-22-2010, 07:28 AM
did 4 appointments yesterday, and although I got a confirmation on one, no checks. so no new jobs. did sell a couple of add ons. I have something working on a POA subdivision deal that I will share at some point if it works or not. have a few appointments today and one tomorrow.

Don M.
11-22-2010, 10:29 AM
We have a nice job to hang tomorrow. Seems like this weekend really blew up. We got 8 calls wanting estimates. And one called early this morning. Seems like the next two weeks will be crazy.

addictedtolandscaping
11-22-2010, 09:13 PM
Have officially closed 2 this year, one was an upgrade to LL, not alot made on it, but the exposure in the 500k plus neighborhood will help. Rehangs is what I am concentrating on, am ok with not making alot the first year, it is the repeat that has most of my interest. Average on the rehangs if 700-1000. Not to bad when considerring that all the work - measuring etc is done in year one, all yo ugot to do is show up put it back up, and you already know where the quirks are so it goes alot easier.

In the midst of doing one now that has turned into a nightmare. 11 of the LED snow flakes that I got last year s.t.b. Called 4 times today, and can;t seem to get an idea of how and what happens. My client is blowing my phone up on an hourly basis. The tough part, client is essentially doubling the mini;s from last year, had it figured for 8 hours again for the rehang, now am at 8, large blue spruce is only half done, rain here, got a solid 8 left on it, then have to come back when I finally know where the snowflakes are going to be at. LED's, were displayed for 30 day, and died. Something smells bad about LED's to me now.

britelights
11-22-2010, 10:39 PM
Ok David...I counted and we're at 17 new customers. :dancing: We're pleased with that. And we always have alot of add-ons from existing customers and we still see a very high renewal rate. We're both dead tired but we'll get thru it -- we survive every year.

I have gotten a TON of compliments on our new postcard design. A couple people called just to say how much they liked the postcard - lol. I've also received alot of compliments on the new business card design.

I will tell you though -- I still haven't put out the "bandit signs." I just can't bring myself to do it -- I'm afraid of all the price-shopper calls and people wanting a whole house done for $300. And also -- since we're trying to deal with our new building and moving everything out of our existing office warehouse at the same time we're in the crazy season -- I'm scared of the results :). This season reminds me of the season after Hurricane Ike!

Dennis -- congrats on the sales the last couple days. My heart also goes out to you -- it makes me want to fly to New York and spend a week selling with you :). We have learned so much over the years...and it was only last year that we really started to see the difference on C-9s vs. lightlinks and realized how many jobs we were giving up because we only wanted to do lightlinks. We do alot of C-9s now -- and I try to get lightlinks in there on the peaks...or at least starbursts on stakes -- some kind of product to help differentiate them from their neighbors.

TexasFire221
11-23-2010, 06:37 PM
I branched out in west Texas this year and am getting great results. I just cant get people to go with the light links. There is a Christmas Decor person in the area and has been for years and people cant get away from the C-9's. I sent out post cards and do have a few yard signs out and am getting at least 5 calls a day from that area. My sales guy over there did a $9,000 C-9 proposal last night but I cant even get them to look at the light links. As far as my area I cover now I am getting zero leads. I have signs out, sent out post cards, chamber, but just cant seem to get any bites. did have a guy call me yesterday, lives in a $500,000 neighbor and wanted his very large oak tree decorated for $40.00. Yes $40.00 I didnt leave out a 0! I am hoping after thanksgiving we will start closing some jobs. As of right now we have closed 5. Im not too happy about that.

hotrod1965
11-23-2010, 07:12 PM
Have officially closed 2 this year, one was an upgrade to LL, not alot made on it, but the exposure in the 500k plus neighborhood will help. Rehangs is what I am concentrating on, am ok with not making alot the first year, it is the repeat that has most of my interest. Average on the rehangs if 700-1000. Not to bad when considerring that all the work - measuring etc is done in year one, all yo ugot to do is show up put it back up, and you already know where the quirks are so it goes alot easier.

In the midst of doing one now that has turned into a nightmare. 11 of the LED snow flakes that I got last year s.t.b. Called 4 times today, and can;t seem to get an idea of how and what happens. My client is blowing my phone up on an hourly basis. The tough part, client is essentially doubling the mini;s from last year, had it figured for 8 hours again for the rehang, now am at 8, large blue spruce is only half done, rain here, got a solid 8 left on it, then have to come back when I finally know where the snowflakes are going to be at. LED's, were displayed for 30 day, and died. Something smells bad about LED's to me now.

Its all about the quality of the LEDs you use... we fail 1% year to year.....

addictedtolandscaping
11-23-2010, 09:29 PM
I can tell you that it was the only LED product I brought in, Mike has the Chinese factory sending me the wire harness to get everything squared up, but once and only once will that ever happen. To bad too, they really set the tree off nice. I finished it today, added 1200 more mini's hung the snow flakes with the galvanized wire I use for wreaths, got windy as could be as I ws tightening everything else, looks awesome. The wind swaying the tree makes it look like it is glistening, then the snow flakes swing with it, I am happy with it.

Texasfire, I was going through the same issue. losing my pants trying to sell light links. However, I wasn't looking at 9k projects. I worked to cost out and the client actually can have the same design except use c-9's and they save roughly 1k. People love the light links, they are a unique and beautiful product, but expensive. People here are few and far between that are willing to spend the money for them. I started pushing c-9's instead, and low and behold started closing jobs. I don;t know what Mike did with the direct mail this year, but I know that the last one hasn't landed yet, and my phone is still ringing. I am not getting anything off my signs, but the direct mail is working. I managed to get myself into some high end neighborhoods, 500k plus and though I am not making a killing up front, I have picked up 1400 a year in the two rehangs though. It took until last Friday for me to close a project, I looked at more work than i care to mention, and essentially got the door slammed in my face.

I spoke with a gentleman from LPG, he was telling me about their product, am waiting to get the email from him to look at it and see what is what with pricing. I just bought 2k c-9 clear incandescent from Holiday Light Source, and though I think I got a decent price, they just finished a blowout at .09 per bulb. I haven't been a fan of LED as we can't fix them, but after this experience, and I must emphasize, Mike has and continues to do everything he can possibly do to help me get this squared up, but it only takes one lesson to remember what you can go through. No more LED for me.

hotrod1965
11-23-2010, 10:50 PM
yeah, but on the flip side, I watched one of my guys spend 1.5 hours fixing a bunch of incandescent strands for a customer on Sunday. (it was a favor...)

My repair rate per customer is typically 0.1. Meaning one out of ten customers actually will see us between install and removal... That's a pretty darn good sales pitch for LED if you ask me!

Anyway... Stay focused on the C9 pitch. Easier product to sell, easier product to work with!



I can tell you that it was the only LED product I brought in, Mike has the Chinese factory sending me the wire harness to get everything squared up, but once and only once will that ever happen. To bad too, they really set the tree off nice. I finished it today, added 1200 more mini's hung the snow flakes with the galvanized wire I use for wreaths, got windy as could be as I ws tightening everything else, looks awesome. The wind swaying the tree makes it look like it is glistening, then the snow flakes swing with it, I am happy with it.

Texasfire, I was going through the same issue. losing my pants trying to sell light links. However, I wasn't looking at 9k projects. I worked to cost out and the client actually can have the same design except use c-9's and they save roughly 1k. People love the light links, they are a unique and beautiful product, but expensive. People here are few and far between that are willing to spend the money for them. I started pushing c-9's instead, and low and behold started closing jobs. I don;t know what Mike did with the direct mail this year, but I know that the last one hasn't landed yet, and my phone is still ringing. I am not getting anything off my signs, but the direct mail is working. I managed to get myself into some high end neighborhoods, 500k plus and though I am not making a killing up front, I have picked up 1400 a year in the two rehangs though. It took until last Friday for me to close a project, I looked at more work than i care to mention, and essentially got the door slammed in my face.

I spoke with a gentleman from LPG, he was telling me about their product, am waiting to get the email from him to look at it and see what is what with pricing. I just bought 2k c-9 clear incandescent from Holiday Light Source, and though I think I got a decent price, they just finished a blowout at .09 per bulb. I haven't been a fan of LED as we can't fix them, but after this experience, and I must emphasize, Mike has and continues to do everything he can possibly do to help me get this squared up, but it only takes one lesson to remember what you can go through. No more LED for me.

britelights
11-23-2010, 11:32 PM
hotrod --- when you say a 1% fail rate on LEDs -- is that just on the LED c-9s and LED minis? Where do you buy yours?

We've had trouble with LED light links and starbursts -- and that's embarassing trying to explain to your customer when you worked so hard on the front end promoting the LED product. And it's frustrating because you can't repair them.

TexasFire --- where are you located?

David Gretzmier
11-24-2010, 01:06 AM
I would say we average 1 repair per customer per year. while we have many customers that seem to work perfect, we have several that seem particularly problem prone. 2-4 c-9's also seem to unscrew themselves about 1/8 of a turn on every 3rd c-9 job we do. That never happened until copper prices went crazy about 6 years back and the 1/10 of a gram of copper that used to be in every c-9 socket apparently had to be shrunk down to 1/25 of a gram to save 70 cents worth of copper per 1000 foot spool.

I would love a .1 per customer repair rate. I would only have 20 service calls per year on 200 customers ! but we had probably 10 today alone on turn-ons, gfci's and bulb fixes. I did 4 this evening by myself. 5 repairs scheduled tomorrow. With the massive plug in turn on thursday evening, friday will easily be 15-20 fixes. frustrating thing is, I did some of these installs and I KNOW all the bulbs were lit and no brighties, yet I turned one on today after 3 weeks of dust/rain and 3 bulbs are out.

closed number 25 (1k) and my number 26 possible's check clears friday. did another ton of bids today, 2 landscape light bid and 6 christmas. closed another landscape light job to do when we finish installs.

1200 add on today as well.

hotrod1965
11-24-2010, 08:05 AM
hotrod --- when you say a 1% fail rate on LEDs -- is that just on the LED c-9s and LED minis? Where do you buy yours?

We've had trouble with LED light links and starbursts -- and that's embarassing trying to explain to your customer when you worked so hard on the front end promoting the LED product. And it's frustrating because you can't repair them.

TexasFire --- where are you located?

I dont do links...ect. Tried to sell them a few years back, but no takers...

We actually import our own strands of lights. We bring in enough to support our installs and our retail business. We do some wholesale as well, and will continue to grow that side.

TexasFire221
11-24-2010, 07:16 PM
We are near Austin.






hotrod --- when you say a 1% fail rate on LEDs -- is that just on the LED c-9s and LED minis? Where do you buy yours?

We've had trouble with LED light links and starbursts -- and that's embarassing trying to explain to your customer when you worked so hard on the front end promoting the LED product. And it's frustrating because you can't repair them.

TexasFire --- where are you located?

TexasFire221
11-24-2010, 07:23 PM
Next year I will take a different approach for the season. I have sold some nice Light Link jobs my first season but last season and this season is a bust. I have done tons and tons of estimates in $500,000 sub divisions and they say no I dont like those light links, we want C-9's. They have a nice budget to work with but dont want them. I am seriously thinking about pushing the C-9's more than the light links. Plus the last two years I havent been to happy with the light links. I have opened boxed with broken welds, rust, bulbs out. Maybe this happens to everyone Im not sure but its frustrating to say the least.

addictedtolandscaping
11-24-2010, 08:09 PM
I have been running into the same aspect with the light links as far as customers not buying. Once I started with the c-9's things changed.

I haven;t had the issues withthe damaged product, but I tell people point blank, that unless they want something completely different, w can build you a beautiful and elegant display with the c-9.

britelights
11-25-2010, 12:38 PM
I have truly taken a different approach with light links this year. When I go to a new appointment -- I always hand them a catalog to browse while I'm measuring. The catalog is beautiful and impressive and there's alot of displays and foliage in there as well. Plus -- it makes you look professional - how many other Christmas light companies are handing them a 100+ page catalog like that?? I have my printed Retail Price Sheet that I put inside the front cover - and I always leave the catalog with them.

But I also have my binder with me of houses we do locally...and there's a C9 house on the first page. I start out discussing C9s -- I then tell them if they're looking for something different and unique we can discuss light links -- but they are quite a bit more expensive the first year. I have some people that call us specifically because they want something different --- and that's great. But I now start off with C9s -- I have never done that before -- in fact we used to refuse to do C9 jobs. Man I missed out on alot of work.

With light links -- we haven't experienced broken welds and rust...except maybe 1 or 2 isolated links. But my main issue with the light link is if it goes out -- the whole link (or half if it's an ice flurry) goes out. Why can't just 1 bulb go out???

David Gretzmier
11-25-2010, 05:46 PM
Funny how HBL's business with me actually started with a broken link Scott sent me. It broke at the ratchet rivet during shipping, and since then they have modified the design to put the ratchet on a stem and the top is fully welded. I have had some rust show up at welds, and especially notable on the starburst centers where the hollow 1/4" rods are welded to the hinges. I have rewelded about a dozen starbursts and probably a hundred links over the past 5-6 years, but we are talking out of thousands of pieces. I don't like it, but I also remember when Brite Ideas started moving welding to china in 2002 and fully sold all chinese stuff in 2003. on Brite Ideas stuff, You have to bend all the links rather than ratchet, and I broke hundreds per season. I have mentioned this here before, but I will never forget breaking 35-40 links to put up a 44 link job. Once the ratchet links were available from HBL, it was a no-brainer to see they would break way less. but yes, when you try to bend them around corners on the older design with the ratchet on top, they will break. it takes 5 minutes to weld them back. HBL does cover this under thier warranty, but who has the time to deal with shipping and keeping up with it?

But the true tale is In 2001 and 2002 when Brite Ideas did the welding locally in Omaha,Nebraska. I broke 2 or 3 out of probably 1000 pieces bought those 2seasons. not to sound like an old timer, but those were the good old days.

to be clear, I am not bashing HBL here. When you talk to Mike, you get the sense they are continuing to try to fix the things that don't work. The catalog sells jobs and upsells customers period. The personalized light pole sign, 3d star, shooting star tail, along with the noble garland and wreath foliage are big sellers for us. Even when folks get c-9s, they usually get wreaths, garland, starbursts, bows, etc. all HBL items.

britelights
11-25-2010, 09:00 PM
Local welding in Omaha....I remember those days! I was brand new to Brite Ideas and I saw the manufacturing area and met a couple of the people actually welding...man that seems like so long ago. And the quality --- it was awesome. Man those were the days :).

As far as HBL and the catalog and upsells --- I TOTALLY agree. Their mixed noble foliage can't be beat -- I sell alot of the mixed noble garland. I am very picky about my foliage and the mixed noble always impresses customers.

David Gretzmier
11-26-2010, 12:14 AM
#26 closed and have contract signed on 27 and 28, need check to clear tomorrow on 27 and need to pick up check on 28 tomorrow. lots of fixes and turn ons tomorrow. but funny thing is, most of these fixes are self imposed. when driving by jobs I am seeing bulbs out, yet customers have not called. so I head them off at the pass before they call. been working some crazy late nights and have seen a lot of my jobs at night for the first time.

honestly, only about 12-14 selling days left. last year I closed my last job on the 8th of december I think. in the past I have closed one or 2 around the 10th.

but a more telling statistic is I closed 12 jobs after Thanksgiving last year. don't know if I will pull that off again this year, but it is the time of year that jobs seem to close easier.

Hope everyone had a happy thanksgiving today and have work and bids to do and great weather to do it.

addictedtolandscaping
11-26-2010, 05:44 AM
Great Dave, congratulations!! I am still back on number 1, have had about 4k in add ons, but can;t seem to get passed that. About 10 estimates done since then, spoke with one lady yesterday, she said she couldn't read the email and truthfully we were out doing a rehang, so I wasn't able to tell her what the pricing was. That would be a nice job, 4 cases MN 48" 2 cases Mn garland and about 12 or so bows. I do have three or four calls to try to return today again, and an estimate scheduled for Monday. Mike said the final direct mailer is supposed to land or has just landed. I am thinking I want to try something different next year as far as that goes.

I did get confirmation on the big job I had last year, going to start that one tomorrow if all the paperwork is in order at their main office, we have about 4 days or nice weather coming up, lots of rain seems to be the pattern going on right now, pouring out currently.

I have about 12 or so lawn signs left, thinking I am headed out to put the remainder out, will have to get them picked up Sunday or they will disappear as the rest have. There are some still floating around, but not generating any calls from them. I have two bids to put together this am, one is rehang my decor (action lighting products) but it is a situation where I will not have to warranty anything so put it up get paid, take it down get paid, they store it. Sooner or later they will convert and it is my understanding the guy that used to do it had several homes in the neighborhood like that. I did get some calls from the tree we finished up the other day, hoping to get those. I did manage to get myself into some neighborhoods I really didn't know about this year, so part of me is expecting to do more there next year. I did find a roof guy, normally a roofer, these new houses around here are about 30' high and a 8 on 12 pitch. Nothing to tie off to so it may prove really interesting.

If I remember correctly last year you said that the 10th is pretty much it, so I haven't given up yet, still got some time. I wish I had expressed my thoughts about the links vs. c-9 to you guys earlier, the advice (as usual) worked and got a new job, and into a new neighborhood. I read somewhere that it takes three to four years to really get a hang of this. Last two seasons have been a real learning curve, but the hard lessons are the ones that stick with you.

On a different note, seems HBL has a new design for the shingle clips for LL, instead of just being a hook, they now have a clip now comes back up to the main body, but it is to wide to fit the link. I will take the time to cut it down if it saves me having to constantly run to rehang LL again. 5 times I have been to one house this year, so far.

Got some paperwork to finish. Good luck all, hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

hotrod1965
11-26-2010, 10:00 AM
Keep working it!

I'm only on #7 this year. Kinda been a slow year... But the phone is still ringing!

David Gretzmier
11-27-2010, 01:22 AM
check cleared on 27, and old #28 with signed contract called and cancelled this morning. gotta admit, she told me she did not have enough money for the deposit and I gotta respect that. I did close 2 out of 3 today on appointments, 2 small ones, 500 and 800, but those are still #28 and #29.

I am going to call Dec 10th the official last day of the selling season, although I have sold a few jobs after that in the past. so the countdown begins. counting tomorrow the 27th, we officially have 14 selling days left.

l

addictedtolandscaping
11-27-2010, 05:53 AM
Nothing yesterday at all. However did get everything squared up with rehang and add on to the big job from last year, 5600 this year, so that is a bit of a relief, now to just get it completed before the weather switches. Long range weather is calling first decent storm for next Sunday, so thinking things will either get crazy or hit a complete stop.

I did line up a screaming deal on a bucket truck though, 36' 6" reach, plus my height so I will be at 42', on board generator, tons of cabinet spaces, ladder rack, enough room to put enough material in for any install, so seems like a great fit. It will be nice to have anything I can need right there and not run back and forth losing time. It will be used primarily for lighting, on the road in October, off in February. I did get some repairs made to the main pickup as well, light sets arrived from China to repair the snow flakes, so as my son put it, rather productive day. Job I finished last week had a lead go bonkers, so fixing that was how the day started. I gotta say I loved the feeling I got when after only being on the site 10 minutes, we had the entire display lit again, and a very relieved and satisfied client.

Did return the calls from Wednesday night again, still nothing there. Order is due at Fed Ex Tuesday, hoping to sell a couple more as I am almost out of Garland again, and do not wan tot bring in just garland. That is three cases this year, I believe the wreaths on the order coming in are gone as well. The greenery does much better than I expected, have a project I looked at that is two cases alone, would be nice to get a hold of that as the whole project is all greenery and bows, 4 cases MN 48" and then the above mentioned garland. A couple prospects are out of town yet, so fingers are crossed there. My new approach is obviously the C-9's and am aiming at the rehangs, not the upfront profit. Trying to ensure that the regular cash flow each year is what increases, looking at sale profit as extra cash so to speak.

I couldn't keep the battery operated noel LED in stock last year, haven't sold one of them yet, full case came in on first load and still unopened. I do have a couple calls on the tree we did last week, with referrals from the repair client yesterday, hoping that pops. Spoke with a lady last night, sounds like my website may have gotten the first one, and I know the area is a good place to be.

Still one rehang yet to hear back from, he will get another email from me, never answers his phone as he is a very busy attorney, and if I don't hear from him his wreaths are coming out of the trailer, tired of trying to get around them.

Start the new clients form this year next week when the order arrives, if I have it planned out right, should just about be done with big job, I will leave part of it if need be in order to get these new clients set up. If all goes right, I think I can have them done in a day. I have to have the big one done by next Sunday, and we have two days of rain this week and snow the end of the week looking at the weather. A little snow maybe a good thing, get people in the Christmas mood.

David Gretzmier
11-28-2010, 10:40 PM
addicted- keep pushing. you will sell stuff. just so you know bad things happen to me too-

lost #29 today, they called and cancelled and asked that I tear up the check.
but I may end up doing some landscape lighting for them in the spring. we'll see.

That makes 2 deals this year that have fallen through, and I have another landscape light deal working that sounded like it was falling through today. lots of wishy washy buyers remorse stuff going on right now.

but good news too, closed the new #29 today. several appointments tomorrow. 12 selling days left.

addictedtolandscaping
11-29-2010, 07:48 AM
Just got number 3. Amazing what having the third option of c-9's does, so wish I did this back the beginning of the season!!!! It's not a real big one, 1400 none the less. Lots of lanscapers series and c-9 with a 48" mn wreath. None the less, great neighborhood to get into.

Dave, Bryan, HotRod and everyone else, thanks for the continued support. Got the big wreath up yesterday, but naturally cars parked in the way so only one of the 17 trees done so far. Nasty heavy rain due Tuesday and Wednesday, so off I go. Everyone have a great day!!

Birchwood
11-29-2010, 06:44 PM
Got what I believe are #28 and #29 today, would need to go through papers to make sure, did 9 quotes today, telling folks we cant get there until dec 10th seams to be a real killer.

addictedtolandscaping
11-29-2010, 06:50 PM
Tough part now seems to find the installation time. I am booked through this week, gotta finish the big project, then three new ones, and hopefully something else comes up, got a few testing the hook so to speak. 2 more estimates tomorrow, hoping that I get all the above, and 3or 4 more, atleast then I will have hit my minimum goal for this year. Hoping next year is better, I know it will be with my new approach with the c-9's.

Once I get this big project out of the way, I will be able to pick up some momentum. WHo knows, maybe even get my house done.

TexasFire221
11-30-2010, 12:17 AM
I need two 12" starburst. Can any of you HBL guys help me out. Anyone have two they can let go of.
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addictedtolandscaping
11-30-2010, 06:00 AM
I will check and see if I have 12" I know I have 18 and 24.

TexasFire221
11-30-2010, 07:37 AM
Ok I'll call you in just a bit. What about a section of glistening pine garland. I need one section. Anyone have any of that?
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David Gretzmier
12-01-2010, 12:10 AM
I've got 2 12 inch starbursts I can sell you. pm me with your address and you can pay me on paypal.

past 2 days have been very long, start at 7 and have done nothing but work til almost 11pm past 2 days. very tired, but pushing through. closed #30, 31, 32, past 2 days. 2 of them are 1k, and one is 4.5k. I have some small rental jobs that have closed as well, but I am saving those for the end when I tell you guys about it.

TimNNJ
12-01-2010, 09:23 PM
Hey I am testing the waters this year around here...just booked a commercial place..his house...and 3 others right now...and meeting w/ someone with a 10000sqft place...I can see this going well next year when I can really market myself...good stuff...sounds like you guys are killing it..

David Gretzmier
12-02-2010, 12:08 AM
#33 today, very good big one, hope she does not get buyers remorse. got that vibe, but going tomorrow morning to start doing it, so hopefully not. body is really starting to run down. I have 6 appointments tomorrow. but really just booked a day out or so. wish I could sell enough to be 2 or 3 days out and have time to plan the days better for 3 crews. but I know the end is coming. in a week or so the phone will only ring with repairs and we will be doing some landscape lighting work. I am thrilled to have kept 3 crews busy this wek through thursaday, and really I have work for some of them friday already.

addictedtolandscaping
12-02-2010, 05:32 AM
Dave you are really an inspiration. I honestly look forward to your posts, I love reading what you and Bryan accomplish, makes me realize that things will get going eventually. In no means do I want to be as busy as you are, I can't imagine how you guys do it. 33 this year with basically 2 weeks to go, thinking you are gonna hit 50 again or get super close!!

David Gretzmier
12-02-2010, 11:34 PM
don't get too inspired! #33 wrote a $6200 check, signed a contract, then cancelled the next morning after the truck was loaded for the job. I felt worse than if they had never signed on. so old 33 out, and did sell #33 and #34 today, smaller jobs, but keeps the guys paid and busy tomorrow along with their repair stops. Have 4 appointments tomorrow, so hopefully will close 2 more.

gotta get signs out tomorrow, this is really the last big weekend. I am so tired and just need to push through the next 5 days and the phone and appointments should pretty much stop.

addictedtolandscaping
12-03-2010, 05:04 AM
WOw, 6200.00 you mentioned you thought she may have some buyers remorse. Sorry to hear that, but happy to see not only did you replace that one, but added more. I am seeing first hand what you told me about with the big jobs, with the time I have wrapped up in this one right now, I could have had all my scheduled residential done, Not that there are alot of them, but none the less, money in the hand is better than money in February.

I do have numbers 4,5 and 6 pretty firmly on the hook, one of them I am rally just about going to cover my costs, however it is going to give me a strong presence in a 650k neighborhood, and one of her coworkers who "his house is just awesome" is extremely interested, and that will give me a presence in that neighborhood. Number 6 is a lady who called and wants to know if I can do a tree for around 1k, evergreen with c-9's, I believe it is definitely doable. It is amazing how once the 1st hit, people get down to business. I also am going to get the rest of the signs out i have this weekend as well, #'s 4,5,6 all came from the signs, I have a install scheduled in the neighborhood of 4, she told number 5, and 6 is from a sign in the neighborhood of the house I have to keep resetting the light links after the wind takes them off. Signs are huge, for 300.00 I have essentially gained 2000 in rehangs. Can't beat that roi with a stick!

I am starting to believe that i have found a way to generate income above and beyond snow plowing, and it may just replace that. Also, I believe a great basis for really putting the landscape lighting side of the business a foot forward. I intend to really look firmly at that once all the removals are completed.

David Gretzmier
12-04-2010, 12:06 AM
glad to hear things are doing better ! closed 35,36,37 today. closed 3 out of 4 appointments. one appointment tomorrow. really, really dragging. starting to forget repairs and missed one or 2 today. after appointment, gotta rest tomorrow and regroup my body.

addictedtolandscaping
12-04-2010, 05:58 AM
I am understanding how you feel, been doing 4am-10pm with paperwork and all last 12 days, really starting to feel it.

Have three of them to get done by Monday, and of course, the large project I have wants to take some lights off one spot and move them to another, the old adage of a bad penny comes right to mind. Did manage to get a big part of my sisters house done last night, my son was walking the roof faster than I could get the lift moved, so I gave up on that. He had the LL and starbursts up when I got home to pick him up too, so that takes a load off my mind, and made the wife happy. Fortunately she understands.

Did get number 4 to bite, she is looking for a tree that wasn't in the proposal, thinking I am going to do it pro-bono as she is already telling people about us and have been playing phone tag with one of her co workers whom she informs me has an amazing house. I figure for 100 of what it may cost me, and her telling people about us, sounds like pocket change in the long run. Another estimate scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. messages left with 3 other people.

My objective, even though I am not making what I could be up front, I am gaining the rehangs. I would rather give a little in the beginning, unbeknown to them of course, and have that guaranteed income in the long run.

hotrod1965
12-04-2010, 05:48 PM
Got up to #12 today. Which I fell better since we like to close 12-15 new a year.

David Gretzmier
12-04-2010, 09:11 PM
#38 today, my only appointment, and it was a good one, 3400. no appointments scheduled for tomorrow, sunday, but I am hopeful a few more jobs will dribble in over the next 5 days. but the phone has been pretty quiet new lead wise for the past 2 days. really have not booked an appointment since thursday eve. but oh, the fixes. I have done 3-4 per day myself, and have been sending guys to fix 5-6 per day as lights have come on. many are call ins and many are self imposed with me driving around at night seeing bulbs out and links/sections out. timers going out and various cord issues.

we put out more signs today and will be trying to run out of signs by the 10th or so. I have a really cool sign idea for next year !

addictedtolandscaping
12-05-2010, 05:33 AM
Ended up sliding behind the eight ball again. Had two guys that were supposed to start yesterday, both roof guys. Long and short of it, no call no show with one, the other had excuses, but no show. Ended up only getting one done yesterday, had 2 scheduled, so number 2 today, and today's gets moved to tomorrow; another estimate tonight, couple more calls to make. Looks like it will be safe to say added 5 this year. Brings me to only 12, but it is 12 more than I had last year. I can see where next year is going to really fire up. My son lost count at 12 cars that were stopping to look at the house we were at last night as we were finishing up. Neighbors house gets done on Tuesday. Took a ride through the neighborhood, all pretty grand houses with no roof work. So figuring I will hit the total of 20 next year any how.

Gonna try to post some pics from this week in a minute or so, that may not go so well.

David Gretzmier
12-05-2010, 07:03 PM
it sounds like you are starting out just like my brother did in his market, and he is in his 5th year now and has around 60 customers for just him and his daughter. he closed 14 new customers this year and it was all he could do to keep up with it.

sold a 800 add on today, but no appointments scheduled at this point. have work for monday and tuesday, but really only fixes after that.

addictedtolandscaping
12-06-2010, 05:12 AM
Seems like manpower is going to end up being an issue. I went through he same thing last year too, I was finishing up a house i built, the season kicked in three guys unreliable, then this year tried a salesman = that didn't come close to working out, looks like a good thing in retrospect. I almost lost number 4 as a result of unreliability of people, but will do it myself today, then try to get to an appointment tonight, another install tomorrow.

The phone has pretty much stopped for me as well. Last Friday was a big push with the phone, now settling down. Looking back at it, I got a lot done for 1 guy in the past couple weeks. The tough part is the rehangs wait until the last minute, then have to hop around trying to get to everything. I guess people continue the path of procrastination regardless. All my renewals were in their hands by September 15, believe it or not, I still have one that hasn't confirmed.

Looked over inventory yesterday a little, I am in pretty good shape. Still have a case of 48 mn, case of bows, 4 case icicle ll, 2 cases clear ls series mini's, full case of red and green mini's plenty of c-9, plenty of clips - shingle, parapit, all in one, case of mn garland, case of 32' noel battery operated - I couldn't keep them last year, this year, haven't been able to get rid of one.

Have two wreaths going up tomorrow, one as an add on from install yesterday, one part of install tomorrow, one today, so that will leave me one. A couple hundred more feet of clear c-9, probably case and a half of clear ls, so I think forecasting supplies has worked well. All in all, after the massive amount of disappointments I started out with, looking back not to bad I guess. Now just have to push through and finish it up.

Already had a lady ask about landscape lighting, so things will definitely get better.

David Gretzmier
12-06-2010, 11:08 PM
had 2 appointments today and neither closed. but after my final run of 4 out of my last 5 appointments closing, I was due for some no's. finished up the last of the new and rehangs today, and doing some free stuff and my house tomorrow, along with a few fixes. today was actually 3 crews all day, and tomorrow is one crew only. gonna gear up to do a few landscape light jobs and landscape glass bed, and then need to film jobs before takedown starts. gotta shift gears back to working on the shop as well, try to finish up some things on sides and doors.

still hoping to close a few more jobs, and maybe one or 2 more may come in, but really only 3 days left to sell.

britelights
12-06-2010, 11:17 PM
We're at 22 new customers right now with a couple more that may close tomorrow. Last week was very very tough...the long hours are definitely taking a toll. This week will be only 1 crew, but we have installs every day. We'll be working on a boat tomorrow for the Boat Parade -- first time to do that. Should be interesting!

addictedtolandscaping
12-07-2010, 07:25 AM
I ahve one maybe two more left as of right now; the one I did yesterday, about half way through it finally occurred to me to place a sign out front, atleast it was before dark when I lit it up and finished off, the amount of people that were stopping and looking was amazing, couple cars I saw turned around, came back and wrote the number down, so hoping to grab a couple more.

Truth be told I am looking forward to things settling a little, it is really cold up here, and the wind has just been mean. Highs have been in the low 20's with 30 mph winds, makes it really tough on roofs.

I have an idea of getting one of the road construction signs made up except where it would say men working, it will say holiday decorators at work or something like that, have to get some winter jackets made up, and of course the bucket truck has to be lettered. Another thought especially with the on board generator, stringing some c-9s and who knows, a wreath or some LL on the side of the bucket truck when we are working. All stuff to tackle after this season.

Some advertising I found effective, no idea what Mike and HBL did with the direct mail this year, but it has been good, radio a little pricey but credibility added, however wrong audience captured, Chamber of Commerce, total waste of money, yard signs, huge ROI, 18 signs 18x24 with Christmas Lights Installed and phone number cost $300.00 at least one project generated at $1600.00 so incredible ROI there. Have another I am working on that came from the radio, I can see it most likely happening so that will make the radio a break even situation.

Though I haven't made what I did last year, I got into some great neighborhoods, and now the work is being seen, I think that is a key issue. The days have been long all week, working until 8/9pm on installs and the weather has been a bear. Worn out isn't close to being precise. Managed to screw up my knee some how, that ends up being a monster usually by the end of the day. Each roof guy I have hired has been a no show, so I end up doing it, and due to the knee issue, it is costing time, but at least they are getting put up. Accu-weather is calling for a BIG snow storm up here this weekend, so really pushing hard to finish up.

addictedtolandscaping
12-07-2010, 07:26 AM
I ahve one maybe two more left as of right now; the one I did yesterday, about half way through it finally occurred to me to place a sign out front, atleast it was before dark when I lit it up and finished off, the amount of people that were stopping and looking was amazing, couple cars I saw turned around, came back and wrote the number down, so hoping to grab a couple more.

Truth be told I am looking forward to things settling a little, it is really cold up here, and the wind has just been mean. Highs have been in the low 20's with 30 mph winds, makes it really tough on roofs.

I have an idea of getting one of the road construction signs made up except where it would say men working, it will say holiday decorators at work or something like that, have to get some winter jackets made up, and of course the bucket truck has to be lettered. Another thought especially with the on board generator, stringing some c-9s and who knows, a wreath or some LL on the side of the bucket truck when we are working. All stuff to tackle after this season.

Some advertising I found effective, no idea what Mike and HBL did with the direct mail this year, but it has been good, radio a little pricey but credibility added, however wrong audience captured, Chamber of Commerce, total waste of money, yard signs, huge ROI, 18 signs 18x24 with Christmas Lights Installed and phone number cost $300.00 at least one project generated at $1600.00 so incredible ROI there. Thank you for that repeated advice Dave! Door hangers will also occur next year. May have found a possible salesman, ran into a friend of mine who sold house before the market crashed here 4 years ago, he could sell an Eskimo an ice cube. It is really tough having to do all the appointments as well as installs, pick up product etc. especially when I can not seem to find dependable people. I know I have lost two this year because I could not make the appointments due to roof guys not showing up. Have another I am working on that came from the radio, I can see it most likely happening so that will make the radio a break even situation.

Though I haven't made what I did last year, I got into some great neighborhoods, and now the work is being seen, I think that is a key issue. The days have been long all week, working until 8/9pm on installs and the weather has been a bear. Worn out isn't close to being precise. Managed to screw up my knee some how, that ends up being a monster usually by the end of the day. Each roof guy I have hired has been a no show, so I end up doing it, and due to the knee issue, it is costing time, but at least they are getting put up. Accu-weather is calling for a BIG snow storm up here this weekend, so really pushing hard to finish up. Bryan they say you got a bunch of ice coming down there, HotRod, you're supposed to get buried too. Be careful my friends!

David Gretzmier
12-07-2010, 11:18 PM
I have a couple of appointments tomorrow, one is promising. gonna go ahead and add the 4 rental customers I have been holding back on until now, and tell you what went down with that. so as of today I am officially at 42 new customers for the year.

I started a new thread to share that deal.

David Gretzmier
12-08-2010, 10:51 PM
#43 today. good small job ( 1200 ) using inventory I already have. first new job closed since Saturday afternoon 5 days ago. did a couple more bids today, one fairly promising appointment that I think will buy something tomorrow. phone has been pretty quiet except the "bulb out" calls and various timer issues.

weather has been very good to us so far, with a lack of rain popping GFCI's. some rain may hit saturday, but the 7 days after that all have less than 20% chance of rain. I would really love a christmas season without rain. I would estimate each rain storm generates at least 25 service calls that cost me 250-350 to send guys to fix.

addictedtolandscaping
12-09-2010, 05:24 AM
Congrats Dave, if I remember right, you are right on track with last years numbers.

I have a couple rehangs that have finally called, but the phone stopped here also. I would love to get a couple more houses, I have plenty of C-9 in stock, a case of MN 48" case of MN garland etc. I have come to the conclusion that it is pretty much done this year. Didn;t do anywhere near where I hoped, but added more to the client list so I would have to say that makes it a good year. I did manage to crush my ladder yesterday, what an expensive lesson!! 32' fiberglass, junk now. The worse part is I need it for most of the houses we are doing now. I have been giving thought to replacing it with aluminum, all the homes we are dealing with have underground power, and the fiberglass is SOOOO heavy, also thinking of going to a 40' if I do go aluminum. The important thing is it was a ladder and not the guy I ha with me.

I also learned an expensive lesson yesterday with the project we finished up as well, I had under estimated the trees and in all honesty, the roof has 101 c-9 and the trees (between the two of them, have almost 500). It did turn out just absolutely gorgeous though!! Essentially, that house ended up at my cost, but the work is being seen, cars are stopping, my sign is out front, and her phone is ringing asking about us. So all in all I think it will be positive next season. I have everything split into two circuits, still pulling 12.8 and am thinking I want to split the tree onto a third, going to put a call out to Mike today and ask him about that, I am a bit concerned about it. One tree with 175' and 500 mini on one circuit, another tree with 101 on roof, 275 in tree, 500 mini and a 48" mn on another. Already mentioned LED to her for next year. Remaining signs are gonna go out this weekend, and hope for the best. Next week will be picture week.

David Gretzmier
12-09-2010, 11:32 PM
ah, 500 incan c9's in trees is always quite the sight. My goal has always been doing a tree with 1000 plus incan c-9s on 18-24 inch spacing someday. I did do a 1200 c7 led tree this year, 40 footer, but led's are too directional so just not the same.

#44 today, garland and wreaths, another 12-1300. one appointment tomorrow sounds good as well.

as far as tracking last year, as of today we are ahead in customer numbers by 8 ( had 36 new last year), and probably 10k ahead in total new sales to new customers and new add-ons to old. very good year. as far as total new sales dollars though, still only 3rd best. have not checked this, but pretty sure it is 1st in added rehang dollars because this year is almost all c-9 customers rather than links or any large yard art 3d display items.

i will be looking at my close ratio stuff in the next few days.

Tq23
12-10-2010, 08:31 PM
David

I was wondering if you had your average sale broken down into what kind of advertising got that job? For example the avg sale that was generated by yard signs is$$$, the avg sale from referrals is $$$ and so on.. Thanks David, reading what you put on here has really helped me with this aspect of the business.

David Gretzmier
12-11-2010, 12:37 AM
#45 and 46 today. both good ones, lots of foliage from the container I got from HBL.

I do my best to track all leads and then look back at the numbers. I am always especially keying in on leads and closed jobs per postcard mailings and yellow pages because those two are big dollar volume cash outlays an a per year basis. but I do not track an average sale per closed job source. I do track the number of new customers from a certain different sources.

good example is the 1300 or so I spent on addressing, printing and postage of 4000 postcards sent back around thanksgiving. I got 4 jobs off that of around 10k total. but 2 were 3000+ and 2 were less than 2k. you could say an average of 2.5k, but not really. That 10k represents about 4k in rehangs, and odds are they will all be back next year. while I love the fact I got 4 customers, and I got the 10k, I spent 1300 BUCKS to make 10k. it only makes financial sense to do that if you know the rehangs are there next year and you spread that investment over the two year revenue coming in. anything over 10% to bring in sales is too much.

flip side- #45 and 46 totaled 6k plus, one was from a referral who won't take a commission, and one was from truck graphics that last year cost me about 900. that 900 ( along with other truck graphics dollars ) has sent me tons of leads and closed jobs. way better ROI.

backhalfeds10
12-12-2010, 11:31 PM
So i am new to this Christmas lights gig. Been mowing for years starting my own business this year. So question how do you guys bid these commercial Christmas light gigs. Do you charge by the foot or what

turf hokie
12-13-2010, 07:38 AM
So i am new to this Christmas lights gig. Been mowing for years starting my own business this year. So question how do you guys bid these commercial Christmas light gigs. Do you charge by the foot or what

All that information is here, just do a search. It is not buried too deeply or too long ago.
Some items are bid by foot, by bulb, by piece. Depends on what aspect you are looking at.

I will suggest that you NOT look into the commercial market for at least the first year or two. Get your feet wet first, you can lose your butt in the commercial market if you dont know what you are getting into....

TexasFire221
12-13-2010, 07:53 PM
well havent really sat down to finger throught the stacks and stacks of paper on my desk but I think we are at 12 new jobs this season with about $3,000 in add ons. I started marketing to a town out west that generated 7 of the new jobs. Had tons and tons of calls from there (about 5 a day) but had a hard time closing. After the first few proposals with light links not going good we started really pushing the C-9s instead of LL and started closing jobs immediatly. Still had tons of price shoppers and was losing jobs to guys charging $2.00 a foot or $18 per strand to hang. I dropped my per foot down a bit just to close some jobs and did ok. I already have a few of the customers wanting to add on next season so will do very well there next year.

addictedtolandscaping
12-14-2010, 09:20 AM
Congragulations!!

I found the exact same situation here. Once I set the light links aside so to speak, things took off, actually put up about 1000 lf of c-9. I believe that is going to be my big push. I still offer the light links by all means, but when people tell me they don't need something that is completely different, I tell them, "ok then I can save you alot of money." I still show them in the catalog just in case, but have become a true fan of c-9.

toddfetters
12-15-2010, 04:50 PM
I like the info on yard signs. It is amazing how many people don't use them and they are really cheap to buy. I have gotten away from them but I need to go back to the basics. I've used http://www.yardsignsorlando.com/
before and they were pretty good. I think I paid less than $5 each with stakes.

If you are getting a good deal on them, let me know as I will be ordering some more the first of the year. FYI-those were the coroplast ones so they last quite a long time.

David Gretzmier
12-16-2010, 12:36 AM
#47 today. feels like the last one. still working pretty much full days keeping a carpenter busy finishing up pallet racks, building spools, and then going into my shop doors.

I am officially spent. although I took a day off sunday after working 42 days straight, I need another few. I just can't really think completetly straight or physically do what I need to do to start preparing the warehouse for takedowns. Christmas day is 9 days away, and then takedowns start. crazy.

addictedtolandscaping
12-16-2010, 06:16 AM
Haven't done anything since Saturday. I am a bit disappointed, but on the same note relieved if that makes any sense. This season so far really took a lot out of me, HOWEVER, I believe I did discover quite a few answers.

Dave I think somewhere in one of your posts you mentioned it takes a couple years to really learn this business, with what I experienced this year, what an understatement (not any derogatory implication headed your way whatsoever, please do not see it that way.) The learning curve is tremendous. I do believe that I am better armed so to speak for next season now though. I discovered ALOT as for where to commit advertising $, that c-9 are a current product, not a has been and of course there is the man power issue, and getting paid as usual. For all the people just getting in or looking at it, ROI on c-9 is fantastic comparatively, and you can create a beautiful and elegant presentation with them.

I thought I had a fair handle on things last year, it seemed as though it was easier. WOW, did I learn alot!!!!!

Birchwood
12-17-2010, 09:01 AM
#47 today. feels like the last one. still working pretty much full days keeping a carpenter busy finishing up pallet racks, building spools, and then going into my shop doors.

I am officially spent. although I took a day off sunday after working 42 days straight, I need another few. I just can't really think completetly straight or physically do what I need to do to start preparing the warehouse for takedowns. Christmas day is 9 days away, and then takedowns start. crazy.

Dave, what do you build spools for, extension cords perhaps?

David Gretzmier
12-18-2010, 12:55 AM
I put c-9's on spools. take an 8 foot 2x4 and cut it into 5 equal pieces. dado 3/4 of an inch in the middle of 4 of them, so putting them together they make 2 x's or crosses. the 5th is the spindle and glue and screw together. you now have a very sturdy spool that can hold about 300 feet of c-9s with all in one clips attatched. with practice you can spin or wind it with a toss of your hands, as well as unwind it. If wound tight, They stack fairly nicely 3 tall before getting tipsy.

addictedtolandscaping
12-25-2010, 02:00 PM
Merry Christmas all!!

Scored a final one on the 23rd, then increased with an add on yesterday that finished up at 1530. Go figure, we had less than 9 hours left and I hit one, WOW.