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View Full Version : Who else has Chirstmas lights on their mind?


TimNNJ
07-19-2012, 07:36 PM
Hey guys it's been a while. I am moving into a nice size garage with lots of room for all of my stuff...my two sheds in the backyard aren't cutting it for space..I bought a 24x12 shed last summer and filled it up this past January with Christmas stuff. Anyone doing anything yet ...getting marketing together, commercial hunting...ordering supplies?..I am looking to get a nice stock of stock materials...last year I put in two or three orders and that killed me...looking forward to having my guys a bit more trained this year..not over loading circuits and having me drive around fixing...anywho..just wanted to touch base...3 months until installs/renews?..I am looking to get last years up asap...Middle of Octoberish..cheers

turf hokie
07-20-2012, 08:02 AM
We have orders in already.

A few customers have called looking for renewals, we will have them out August 1 (hopefully)

Behind on commercial prospecting (havent actually done any) because we are busier than usual this summer (thank goodness)

Started working on ads with one of my vendors this week. Looking into EDDM more seriously for a mailing this year.

Finally getting a rain day today so I will be sitting down and looking over last years good and bad to start gearing up for this year.

national conferences are next week, unable to attend any of them, very dissapointed as I hate missing all of them. Good time to catch up with fellow decorators and see whats new and start getting into the mind set of Christmas.

I am sure others are at different stages of gearing up but this is where we usually are this time of year...

Good luck filling up the new digs....

Hansen's Lawn Care
07-22-2012, 10:46 PM
How do you guys sell hanging Christmas lights/decorations for customers? I'm in the Twin Cities, MN, and I am considering adding this service to my customers this winter season.

Do you price it by man hour + difficulty? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.

McFarland_Lawn_Care
07-23-2012, 08:21 AM
Okay, I am a newb to this side of things but have been reading a lot on here lately. At first I thought it was a service that only the elite wealthy would buy but now I think I'll give it a shot. It's true that no one wants to bother buying cords, lights, ladder and then trying to fix them all the time when they go out. I have a couple customers that I have hung THEIR lights for them in past years but I thing supplying my own would sell even better. I just joined up as an affiliate with a supply company and really looking forward to getting my feet wet this first season. The other good thing, is that our coverage area for this service could actually expand quite a ways further than our maintenance customers. I'm not expecting to make a killing, just hope to help cover costs and keep a few of my guys on longer into the winter time instead of having to lay them off after the fall. We will see.....good luck folks this year!

BeachysLawn
07-23-2012, 08:33 AM
Yes, I certainly have Christmas lights on my mind. This is our third season and I'm probably driving my wife about crazy by now just talking about it but I'm going out to Omaha this week for the convention and am super excited. Maybe I'll see some of you guys out there?

turf hokie
07-23-2012, 08:55 PM
How do you guys sell hanging Christmas lights/decorations for customers? I'm in the Twin Cities, MN, and I am considering adding this service to my customers this winter season.

Do you price it by man hour + difficulty? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.

I hate to say this, but read thru this forum, there are different ways to do this, selling vs. renting plus much more. I dont know any "real" decorating company that provides anything by the hour. We rent our material but I prefer to sell it as an all inclusive decorating service. Others on here sell, but they also give price per item or price per job similar to how we price our service.

Yes, I certainly have Christmas lights on my mind. This is our third season and I'm probably driving my wife about crazy by now just talking about it but I'm going out to Omaha this week for the convention and am super excited. Maybe I'll see some of you guys out there?

Cant make it this year, wish I could. Next year....good luck this year..

Hansen's Lawn Care
07-23-2012, 10:46 PM
I hate to say this, but read thru this forum, there are different ways to do this, selling vs. renting plus much more. I dont know any "real" decorating company that provides anything by the hour. We rent our material but I prefer to sell it as an all inclusive decorating service. Others on here sell, but they also give price per item or price per job similar to how we price our service.



Cant make it this year, wish I could. Next year....good luck this year..

Okay thanks a lot man. I'll read through the forums.

CleanCut1
07-23-2012, 11:32 PM
I've been anxiously awaiting the decorating season since the lights came down last year. I learned a lot in my first season and look forward to a great second season with more efficiency and, hopefully, not so many mistakes.

Right now I'm working on a letter for my existing customers with some discounts for early installs and friend referrals.

I'm also looking for some top quality greenery that comes in pure white LED. The Mixed Noble from Holidynamics is awesome, but it's only available in classic white. Any ideas?

nolatoolguy
07-24-2012, 12:48 AM
There on my mind.

I have had 3 very good customers(all live in the same neighborhood they seem to talk to eachother about my services) ask me about if I could hang lights to this year. They all want something basic,nothing to fancy or nothing programmed or anything.

I am probably going to do it. I am not sure how ime gonna charge or anything but thats all to be figured out.

turf hokie
07-24-2012, 09:03 PM
I've been anxiously awaiting the decorating season since the lights came down last year. I learned a lot in my first season and look forward to a great second season with more efficiency and, hopefully, not so many mistakes.

Right now I'm working on a letter for my existing customers with some discounts for early installs and friend referrals.

I'm also looking for some top quality greenery that comes in pure white LED. The Mixed Noble from Holidynamics is awesome, but it's only available in classic white. Any ideas?

The pure white is either a love it or hate it item around here. more hates than likes.....I dont have any ideas for you at this stage of the year with the pure white, I think Holidynamics is the only carrier that has that particular color especially if you want it on the greenery. I know it wont help this year, but I am sure Mike can get it special ordered for you if you do the early order program. We actually ordered some classic white items that they only stock in pure white.....

Are you sure it doesnt come in pure white? I swear I have some sticks of pure white MN garland still in the box in the warehouse...how much are you looking for?

CleanCut1
07-26-2012, 02:06 AM
You probably do have some MN in pure white. It used to only come in pure white to match the LED light links. Last season their entire inventory was sent over in classic white by mistake, so they are now only offering in classic white. It's great for coordinating with warm white C9's, but not so much for pure white C9's. I re-strung some with PW last year, but it was too time consuming.

I was surprised how many people wanted pure white here. The mix was probably about 50% warm, 40% pure and 10% multi or solid color.

I just received a sample of Sierra garland from Brite Ideas. It's nice and full and comes in every color. It's not nearly as nice as the MN, but I think I may go with it on my pure white and color jobs this year.

turf hokie
07-26-2012, 07:34 AM
Gotcha...I had the same issues with the pure white last year.

I hate mixing material from different vendors, we do because we have to but I swear the colors NEVER match quite right....

How did you get the pure white c-9's? I had to special order them this year and couldnt get them at all the last 2 years......I had to put up cool white (blue tint) to try to get close to the pure white mini's we had wrapped in the trees.....

CleanCut1
07-26-2012, 04:33 PM
Actually, the C9's I have are probably cool white. The vendor just calls them "White". I guess I used the wrong description and didn't realize there were so many versions of white LOL.

I had one case of the HBL version of pure white from early last year (before they went to the classic white) and it coordinated pretty well with the cool white C9's.

I think the sample I got from BI looks close enough to coordinate well.

David Gretzmier
07-26-2012, 10:47 PM
wecome aboard guys. our prepay/early bird letters went out July 1 and we have started filling up the calendar. we start hanging around Sept 15, so that is 50 days away for us.

we have priced out installs by the foot or item since 2000 and it has worked out well for us. Most chemical lawn companies and irrigation contractors that never work by the hour tend to be the contractors that buy the Christmas light franchises. They all advise selling by the foot or per item and they advise selling new product from the get go or renting product. They do quite well and usually can sell that division of their company for a tidy sum after a few years or more. The Christmas division finances itself and they usually take on temps as it grows and rent trucks if need be or buy more. They tend to carry insurance on the green side and the expensive insurance specified for the electrical and roof work involved on the light side.

bed maintenance care or Lawn cutting companies tend to install lights by the hour and rarely sell new product, most install customers lights. and while they cover labor and gas costs, and keep employees busy, the division tends to not have value on its own beyond the company. and the Christmas light division rarely grows beyond the available trucks and employees. It is usually not profitable without the other side of the business carrying the overhead of the trucks. most maintenance companies do not carry insurance on the green side of the company, and most do not carry lighting insurance on the other side.

reading the posts on here over the last few years is probably worth 10 grand or so in training.

I remember when a garage sounded like a ton of storage space :)

I think I figured out one time in my new building post a couple years back what an average customer requires in terms of warehouse cubic footage, including some office, bathroom, all aisles and new product and spare part storage. you just need to ask yourself how many customers you think you will end up with and then build the cheapest building for that number. while I love my new barn, I am pretty sure my next building will be metal.

McFarland_Lawn_Care
07-27-2012, 09:37 AM
This will be my first year in lighting. We do mostly maintenance along with a growing chemical apps service and several other landscaping services. I have full insurance and will add the further coverage for light installation. I have setup with a franchise company but you guys are saying to start another company with it's own name just for Christmas lighting, is that right? I'm new so bear with me. Been reading a lot on here lately and determined to do it all right, from the beginning. Also, maybe my kit will explain more when it gets here, but say I'm selling by the foot, how do I measure the roofline etc for the estimate? (I mean without getting a ladder and climbing up there and doing it all that way) I was thinking a laser distance finder and a little geometry would work? Or maybe you mostly eye-ball it and give a rough estimate with room for error?

CleanCut1
07-27-2012, 02:19 PM
David and Hokie are the experienced pros on here and they may give you better advice, but here's my two cents from a whopping one season's experience:

The decision to set up a separate company is really dependent on you and your circumstances. I can say if you listen to what David and others say about running the decorating side as a professional business, not just a way to keep your guys busy in the off season, you will find that Christmas decorating can be very profitable and can stand alone as a business.

Of course every area is different, but I was absolutely blown away and unprepared for the amount of potential customers out there. I invested a lot into making my business look extremely professional. I was very afraid I was going to lose my butt. When the phone started ringing off the hook about ten days before Thanksgiving, I found out real quick that I was not going to lose and that I was totally unprepared for the volume. So, my advice is to invest up front as necessary to give the look of a top notch professional company: professionally printed literature; logo shirts and jackets; lettering on your truck or trailer; nice yard signs, etc. And have a back up plan in case business in your area is really good.

I also had difficulty at first accepting that people really will pay what I consider big money for Christmas lights. As a result, I sold a few early jobs way too cheap. Don't sell your business short. The right customers will pay top dollar to a professional company.

Drive around in the upscale neighborhoods in your area with an eye on how you would go about installing lights on the houses. In my area, about 80% of the upscale houses have ridiculous roof pitches and roof lines that are so cut up they are inaccessible by ladder. We rented a 60 ft. towable lift and were able to decorate homes that other companies turned down. We picked up a good bit of business by adverting this. On a 30 day rental, the price wasn't bad and we passed it on to the customer with a Difficult Roof fee.

As far as measuring roof lines, I used a good measuring wheel (one with a big wheel). For gables, dormers and other difficult areas I would take a good guess or run my wheel out at an angle away from the house to roughly match the angle and distance of the gable. It's not perfect, but I usually came within 3 ft. + or - on the total. After doing a few, you can pretty much look at a gable and know the distance. In the heat of the season, there isn't time to go the effort of getting up there to get exact measurements.

addictedtolandscaping
07-27-2012, 06:18 PM
There are many different suppliers you can deal with. Training wise, Holidynamics puts on an awesome seminar. I as well wish I could have attended the convention this year, but priorities dictated other wise.

As Dave mentioned, read this forum actually a few times, the information is without question in abundance. This thread will really start to pick up speed as we start getting closer to the season, and the information that gets shared is second to none.

As far as setting up a seperate company, I set up a division of that way when I feel it is secure enough, I will break it away to it's own entity. I wish I could say I have had an over abundance of customers, but that is not the case. For this area I am in, it has been difficult to establish, but it is growing. Unlike alot of people I tend to do much more commercial that residential. I also happen to prefer the commercial over rsidential as well at this point. We ae going to market to a totally different area this year, actually a different state. Hopefully that will improve the #'s. To set yourself up right, it will be an large investment, but iut is just that, an investment. The first year I spent about $25k and broke even. The second year, I spent 15K and again covered my expenses and started feeling some profit. The third year, I spent roughly 10k and no residential growth at all, however got a nice commercial project from a referral. I am at he point currently where I make about 30k just in reinstalls and storage. That is the biggest part of this business, you get paid to put them up, take them down and maintain them. After the first year, it is all money in the bank.

Insurance wise, i carry an electrical policy for just the lighting, God forbid there ends up a fire, it is an easy target with lighting. Spend the $25 or $30 on an amp meter, and know what you are drawing. Mine goes with me on each and every project, no question.

whiffyspark
07-27-2012, 07:02 PM
When is a good time to start advertising ?
Posted via Mobile Device

addictedtolandscaping
07-27-2012, 07:07 PM
Now is the time to be talking to commercial clients. I did the chambers of commerce the first year, that is whee I secured alot of my clients. The second year it was a bust, so I jumped ship. I usually take part in the Holidynamics direct mail program and am anticipating doing so again this year. I don't have much time to invest into developing my own mailers etc.

Lawn signs are huge as Dave has pointed out numerous times. Get them made up, they are cheap. Start putting them out around Halloween etc.

David Gretzmier
07-28-2012, 02:09 AM
a few thoughts and tips-

I use a measuring wheel along with some geometry. while gutters are simply walking, when I measure a peak I double back based on my estimate of pitch. a low pitch is the length of the base plus maybe 25%, as the pitch gets steeper I double back 50% or double it comepletly. watch out for cutbacks, as you will use the wire to keep the power continuous. also I try to do all those shelves that appear at the bottom of many peaks. watch for gutter covers, sometimes make installing c-9s or links REALLY hard. charge for them

we have 2 climbing harneses and 5/8 climbing rope on all trucks for master/slave set up or anchor man and slave. that tends to take care of most lift needs on a roof. but a towable boom sounds nice.

we continue to outgrow out marketing. every year I do up one or two trucks with graphics and I buy one or two trucks. I use full heavy printed tarps from ebay rather than vinyl graphics locally. they are much cheaper and can be moved to other trucks if need be.

looking ( and sounding) like a pro is absolutely crucial in all areas- bid form, packet, brochure, website, truck you do bid in. if you are asking folks for 1000's and sometimes 10's of 1000's of dollars. look like you deserve it.

drive around or pay one of your help to drive around every night or every other night to all jobs and fix bulbs or reset gfcis. while install crews can do this during the day, your install crews need to be installing. I make a list of all addresses, give them a 100 buck gps, a couple of ladders, a case of mized bulbs and a magic box, a few strands of mini-lights, some 14guage galv. wire and fuses, a few misc ext cords and a few timers. and they are set for 98% of repairs.

RonWin
07-28-2012, 11:04 PM
Ok not gonna lie, i stumbled upon this forum while just trying to read up on some lawncare literature. I must say I am completely impressed with the idea of selling lights/setup and breakdown of holiday supplies just guess im a day late and a dollar short. In order to offer these types of holiday decor im guessing that you dont need to be an electritian however what type of decor do you guys offer? I would think that buying lights at homedepot would be amateur to you guys but, for fun lets say i did go that route. Would i be renting these lights out to them, so as to continue putting them up each year, or selling them and installing/breakdown outright? 100 white lights at the bigbox improvement store runs around 20 bucks (says 24ft), how much upsell and labor installation ? I guess ill stop right there, anyone able to enlighten me?

McFarland_Lawn_Care
07-29-2012, 09:18 AM
I'm new too, bud; but come on...think it through. How can anyone tell you how much to charge to put up a string of lights from home depot??? Do we know your market? or your business expenses? Or where you are installing them? (on a deck or 3 stories up). If you are going that route, I would just charge your labor rate and add the cost of materials with a little markup. Personally, I would say do it big and professionally or wait until you are ready to invest in it.

addictedtolandscaping
07-29-2012, 09:59 AM
OK, first and foremost, if you are gonna use the walmart/home depot lights, don't bother. The quality is night and day. You are comparing a Cadillac to an Escort like that. Not to mention you will most likely be chasing all over the place trying to find the cause of your lights being out etc. The 24 foot price may sound like a great deal, but the old addage of you get what you pay for really comes into play here. For example, you get c-9's for a roof line, 100 foot long. Now you go get 4 walmart/home depot stringers, not only did it just cost you $80 plus tax, fuel to get there, time labor so call it $100. You now have to worry about the 6 different plugs for moisture access, you are also shot 4 feet on your customers display. Imagine charging some one say $350 for installation, removal, storage - which sounds like good $m but a display that is 4 feet short. Not to mention you are going to need clips, leads, a timer etc. This is NOT a business to start with that mind set. Myself, I am going to get say $750 for the same job, my display is going to go the full 100' be very neat, and most of all, make the full run, bulb to be found every 12" beginning to end. Now take into consideration the service call. What is labor going to cost to go to the customers home, figure out what the issue is, including access the roof, diagnose the issue, then go get what you need to repair it, return, again access the roof, fix the problem and hope it doesn't happen again the rest of the season.

If you are really going to do this, at minimum read this forum through several times, then look at the companies such as Holidynamics, CDI, Brite Ideas etc and figure out who you believe has the better value for hat you are going to do. You need the right training, the right product. A nice living or end of the year bonus can be made with offering this service, but it is just like building a house so to speak. If you build a beautiful home on a not so good foundation, you are going to end up with a not so good house when all is said and done. Remember, one pissed off client will wipe out 10 happy ones.

RonWin
07-29-2012, 10:30 AM
So the c9 1000' is 317 from christmas light ect, what type of extension cords should i be running that would be able to sustain the snow/ice/cold? They say you can cut these up without destroying them? I understand i am completely naive but im just trying to ask the right questions and get the correct information that i need in order to try to offer this holiday decor service like you guys. I know that i may not be the best right away and i understand that i want to do a great job that will may the customer happy I just need to figure out what i need in order to achieve that.

addictedtolandscaping
07-29-2012, 10:47 AM
What you need the most is information. The info in this thread of unbelievable. There are discussions of every topic you could think of.

As far as being able to cut them, absolutely. You cut to the length you need, put on a gilbert plug and you have a "custom set." But that is just the beginning. You have to understand amp load, voltage drop etc. There are endless companies you can buy from. I can honestly say, I don;t recall getting anything from Christmas Lights Etc. There are products that are unique to companies such as Holidynamics with their light links - really cool, the mixed noble garland etc. Light Links are really cool, but do not do well here in my market.

I am not going to pitch one company to you either way, but it would benefit you to contact the (are we still referring to them as the big 2). I am affiliated with Holidynamics. If you contact them, you are going to want to talk with Mike Marlow. (You can search Holiday Bright Lights as well and you will see an abundance of info on this thread. It is the same company, they just under went some reorganizing and part of that was a name change.) They also offer some great training. However, if you are more into the C-9's as I am, they are not really big into them. They offer more of a specialized line, ie light links and such. check their website out you will see what I mean.

CDI (Christmas Decor Inc) is more the c-9 company. They offer some really great colors, including LED, and from what I have read here, some of the best training available, but they are a full franchise and expensive to become part of.

Brite Ideas, well, I will just say that when I was at their show room back in 2009, I was not impressed and will leave it at that.

I also deal with Christmas Designers Inc. I like the response I have gotten from them with situations, and I like their products. They also offer a book on starting a Christmas Lighting Business, $200.00.

As I mentioned, lots of info here, and most likely enough to answer all of your current questions, and in the mean time, create many many more. I would also suggest looking for threads that Dave G and TurfHokie have either started or chimed in on.

RonWin
07-29-2012, 12:12 PM
I think that the most difficult part for me starting out (obviously the lack of knowledge) would be understanding voltage and how much draw the lighting takes from it. amp load, voltage drop is foreign to me. Another challenge would be actually installing them @ 2nd stories and such. This book you speak of, is it worth the investment? Will it be able to get someone from no-nohow to get up an go ability? As far as franchising /w lighting companies am far from that and not sure if thats really what i would be going for. I guess i had the idea that if i could attain a certain degree of knowledge that i would offer holiday decor (with a limited selection) to customers who express interest.

addictedtolandscaping
07-29-2012, 06:32 PM
The book I really can to speak of, I just know of it's availability. I went to the HBL training, and truthfully, I dropped $25k all in all the first year. That includes all the supplies, the flights to and from Nebraska, hotel etc. Of course all my trucks are lettered, I have an array of ladders, and the necessary small hand tools. As I mentioned, there s alot involve din doing this the right way. It is not just a couple months of attention, I generally finish up my removals and storage the end of January, beginning of February, and Then by March am already looking at the next season.

CleanCut1
07-29-2012, 07:56 PM
If you just want to test the waters a bit without a lot of investment, you might try installing customer's lights for a season. There are plenty of people looking for someone to hang their lights. I turned down a ton of calls asking for that last season.

You will have very little investment and no long term obligation. If you like the business, do it right the next season, if not, just don't offer the service again.

I would stay away from selling discount store lights.

Whatever you do, definitely take time and go back several years and read the threads on this forum. Several years back there was a guy named DeepGreen I think who asked a ton of good questions. David, Hotrod and Hokie patiently gave a ton of great answers. Definitely find those threads.

TheBetterDoorhanger
07-30-2012, 02:27 PM
If anyone is interested in doing any print advertising, check out A'Deas Printing (www.adeasprinting.com) We have different innovative ideas for Advertising and are pretty competitive on pricing. We have specials right now on our door hangers and even some direct mailing. We have designers on staff that can help with designing your piece that will look professional and still eye catching. If you want any pricing or have any questions let me know! My name is Glenda and you can reach me at 1-866-778-4254 or shoot me an email any time at glenda@adeasprinting.com

McFarland_Lawn_Care
07-31-2012, 10:53 AM
I'm pretty excited about offering this new service, but a little nervous that it may be hard to drum up jobs. I'm gonna hit the Chamber of Commerce members hard, do signs, and an insert in small local newspapers.

CleanCut1
07-31-2012, 12:01 PM
I was very nervous when I started last year too. I had a little business trickling in during the first part of November, but not enough. Then, about 10to 15 days before Thanksgiving the flood gates opened and I couldn't answer all the calls. I mean one day no calls and the next day my phone won't stop ringing. This went on through the first week of December.

This is what I did for advertising: I ran a cool radio add with a contest/promotion. I did one direct mail out targeting home values of 300k plus. I did door hangers in upscale neighborhoods and all around the homes I decorated. I had tri fold flyers made with residential on one side and comercial on the other (I didn't have time to distribute). I put up yards signs at the homes I decorated (if the customer agreed) and at entrances to upscale neighborhoods. I ran an add on a local website. I had lettering on my truck. I had logo shirts, hoodies and caps for me and my guys.

I tracked the source of every call and sale. Without a doubt the most effective advertising was lawn signs. The least effective (and most expensive) was the radio add, although I'm sure it helped with brand recognition. So, whatever you do, definitely make lawn signs a big part of the plan if your local ordinances allow.

This season, I plan to limit my focus to door hangers, yard signs and customer referrals. I'm also going to beef up the lettering on my trailer and vehicles.

By the way, I used Adeas Printing for my direct mail outs, door hangers and flyers and they did a great job.

TheBetterDoorhanger
07-31-2012, 12:56 PM
Thanks CleanCut1 for the nice words! I did want to add that we are now selling Yard signs as well.. Our pricing is on our website now as well. www.AdeasPrinting.com
Again let me know if anyone has any questions or need any pricing!
Good Luck on the upcoming seasons!

turf hokie
08-01-2012, 08:04 AM
we continue to outgrow out marketing. every year I do up one or two trucks with graphics and I buy one or two trucks. I use full heavy printed tarps from ebay rather than vinyl graphics locally. they are much cheaper and can be moved to other trucks if need be.

.

Not sure if you went over this before, and I cant find what you are talking about on ebay or by searching here.

Where are you finding the tarps on ebay?

How are you attaching the tarps to the truck?

Thanks
Bryan

David Gretzmier
08-01-2012, 07:44 PM
If you look under banner on ebay you will find several companies that sell them. cost wise, even with my labor, it is easily 1/4 or less the cost of vinyl wrap installed.

I may have let the company I use slip at some point, but that is one of those consulting secrets now. but I am pretty sure I talked about this on lawnsite somewhere.

I do go with a heavier weight banner, 20 ounce material as it will be on the trucks and not just hanging on a building.

I get pockets sewn in on all 4 sides, and how I mount to truck it is kind of a secret as well, but I will give you a hint, you need to be able to tighten it in 2 directions. the tighter the banner is installed without wrinkles, the better it looks.

I have my local marketing company that designs my website and postcards draw it up in vector format at 300dpi, when you do a banner 84x180 for a boxvan, you need a very clean non-pixelized print. you really need a great photo from a 12-18 megapixel camera with no noise, and even then my marketing folks interpolate the image to get rid of pixelization.

I have one on a boxvan that is 3 years old that has probably 2 years left on it, and changing it out takes 2 guys about 5 hours once you have the hardware on the van. The first time took 2 guys 2 days. but we got quicker each one we did.

turf hokie
08-01-2012, 10:00 PM
If you look under banner on ebay you will find several companies that sell them. cost wise, even with my labor, it is easily 1/4 or less the cost of vinyl wrap installed.

I may have let the company I use slip at some point, but that is one of those consulting secrets now. but I am pretty sure I talked about this on lawnsite somewhere.

Hmmmm, I believe I had mentioned on here a while ago how you were too quick to give up vendors....now I cant get one out of you, I guess it serves me right.....

I do go with a heavier weight banner, 20 ounce material as it will be on the trucks and not just hanging on a building.

makes sense...

I get pockets sewn in on all 4 sides, and how I mount to truck it is kind of a secret as well, but I will give you a hint, you need to be able to tighten it in 2 directions. the tighter the banner is installed without wrinkles, the better it looks.

I know what you are talking about, I have a good idea on how to do it, just looking for someone that had done it before to take away some learning curve....

I have my local marketing company that designs my website and postcards draw it up in vector format at 300dpi, when you do a banner 84x180 for a boxvan, you need a very clean non-pixelized print. you really need a great photo from a 12-18 megapixel camera with no noise, and even then my marketing folks interpolate the image to get rid of pixelization.

I dont bother with the pictures, I like it simple, just the logo with a phone number...nothing like a 4x8 or 5x10 logo and ph # on it to keep it simple for those driving by at 30 mph, no clutter....

I have one on a boxvan that is 3 years old that has probably 2 years left on it, and changing it out takes 2 guys about 5 hours once you have the hardware on the van. The first time took 2 guys 2 days. but we got quicker each one we did.

if that is the case on the time to install, I will just stick with the way I do mine now, I change out my signs spring and fall (lawn service and christmas) I have had one sign on my truck for 8 seasons and it doesnt show any signs of needing replacement, (hint, it isnt vinyl) it takes 2 guys about 30 minutes, to take 2 signs down, clean, store and put up 2 new signs....



Boy oh boy, you sure did get secretive when you found value in the contacts and vendors you have....I have been saying that all along. Too many lurkers here and guys that would never think to be in the decorating business getting what took us years to find in an instant, good for you......

David Gretzmier
08-03-2012, 01:06 AM
not too secretive. And there are tons of ways to do signs on trucks and tons of folks who print banners. but I am finding I need to give some value to my consulting clients that I don't give away for free.

I will tell you though, having the photo on the boxvans at that size, gets us work. I have an older enclosed trailer rig that has no photo, but has nice 3m vinyl graphics and phone numer,but no callers mention it anymore. but they mention the picture of the houses.

TimNNJ
08-04-2012, 01:54 PM
Wow..so I guess I am not the only one bitting at the bit to get things rolling. I think I am going to send out my re-hang letters 9/1..so we can get those up in Oct...Get some marketing out in Oct and Nov..I made up 100 signs last year and I had a great response( a reporter for a big paper in the area saw it and called..did an interview and took some pictures..had a nice write up..it was me and a Christmas decor guy about a 30 mins south of me..)...also with an 8.5x11 postcard I had tons of calls..I would say this is my second real season..the first I just got my toes wet with things just to try it out...read these post..they are great...

turf hokie
08-04-2012, 07:57 PM
nope, tis the season.....already...

I have had a few calls already from existing customers wanting to make sure they could request specific install dates....

We should have all of our renewals out Monday...then I will work on letters to customers that stopped service last year and see if we can get them back, and then letters to customers we did estimates to but didnt use us to see if maybe we fit their budget this year...

Meeting with my town chamber on Monday to go over the plan for decorations this year and working on another town that got to us too late last year and we could not get a bid together in time....really frustrated me on that one....gave use less than 24 hours to put together...they do it in house and dont want to do it any more....but couldnt find anyone to do it and got us too late....

looked at a sprinter van today to possibly use for a smaller 2 man install/service crew...I think it might be a good fit for this type of work....

David Gretzmier
08-16-2012, 12:52 AM
I want a sprinter as well, one of the older diesel ones, they get great gas mileage ( I have heard from 20 to 32 mpg). but it appears too small for all day takedowns and larger installs. the largest super high roof and longest body is almost big enough for all day of smaller takedowns. For landscape lighting and installs they would be perfect.

McFarland_Lawn_Care
08-24-2012, 07:59 AM
Okay, so I'm a rookie to this side of the business and I'm sure a lot of you guys have already thought of this but I thought I would share it anyways. I am going to market specifically to Modular House businesses. You know the kind, where they sell prefab houses and have like 10-20 models on the lot? It makes sense that anyone looking to purchase a home around the holidays would love it that much more if it was all decorated and felt "homey". Plus the business owner has much more important things to do instead of running around putting up lights on all his little houses and then taking them down and storing them and everything. I would be a pretty good gig to land like 10 houses all at one spot. Just an idea. Good luck.

GreenI.A.
08-26-2012, 02:21 AM
Okay, so I'm a rookie to this side of the business and I'm sure a lot of you guys have already thought of this but I thought I would share it anyways. I am going to market specifically to Modular House businesses. You know the kind, where they sell prefab houses and have like 10-20 models on the lot? It makes sense that anyone looking to purchase a home around the holidays would love it that much more if it was all decorated and felt "homey". Plus the business owner has much more important things to do instead of running around putting up lights on all his little houses and then taking them down and storing them and everything. I would be a pretty good gig to land like 10 houses all at one spot. Just an idea. Good luck.

I did somewhat similar marketing with spec homes last winter. Installed holiday lighting at the show home the build first at each new development site. We got a few jobs off of it, but not as many as i had thought we would. We have had much better luck using the same strategy for landscape lighting

Christmas Light Leads
09-29-2012, 10:54 AM
I did somewhat similar marketing with spec homes last winter. Installed holiday lighting at the show home the build first at each new development site. We got a few jobs off of it, but not as many as i had thought we would. We have had much better luck using the same strategy for landscape lighting

Same kind of strategy as going after HOAs - those can be a gold mine for knocking out a lot of business in a short amount of time (and saving on gas too). Offer a discount on the first house (or on the entryway of that neighborhood), and tell them if they refer others, then for every referral that does business with you, you'll give them a $50 cash referral fee or maybe even add some more decor to their existing job as a "thank you". The power of referral is huge and time is not on your side, so any time saving tricks like this could boost your profits for the season.

I recently wrapped up my 2012 edition of Growing Your Christmas Lighting Business which has other tips and tricks in there. I'm offering it free to Lawnsite members this season, if interested check out www.christmaslightsbook.com (http://www.christmaslightsbook.com).

Good luck this season,
Tory Smith
ChristmasLightLeads.com