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  #1  
Old 01-03-2013, 10:24 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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And Takedow begins in earnest...

We took 8 jobs down last week right after Christmas, but most of my clients don't want it taken down until Jan. 2 or later. so the big rush is on. since my guys were off Monday and Tuesday this week, we are going to run 10 days in a row so everyone can get 40 hours or so in this week thru sunday, and then the next 5 days will let guys get 40 hours for the following week. I hope at the end of 10 days we are somewhere around 2/3 done. but won't know til we get there.

Trying a new takedown method this year. instead of sending 2 guys with each truck and giving each crew 3-5 jobs a day, I am running with all the crews together and all guys attack a house and get it down very quickly. so far it seems it keeps everyone's pace high and motivation high since we seem to get a ton of work done really fast. but I think we are getting the same work done. But it makes the larger jobs seem easier when you get them done with 7 guys in 45 minutes to an hour rather than 2 guys for 3 hours. smaller jobs get done in 15 -20 minutes. also I am having all guys put up jobs in the racks this year rather than having the shop foreman have to put up all 4 trucks.

was 17 degrees when we started yesterday and 13 degrees today. should warm up to 39 though. at least it is sunny and no wind. Got 16 down yesterday. so at 24 down total.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:06 AM
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Sprinkler Buddy Sprinkler Buddy is offline
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Ouch, that's COLD! I bet your guys really like working together on the bigger jobs when it's that cold. If nothing else, it'll keep the moral high.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:28 PM
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Birchwood Birchwood is offline
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We started take downs today. We use the same approach 4 guys including myself. 9 jobs down today, its nice to be gone in 30 mins.

Is anyone calling customers to schedule take downs or just go for it. I don't want to call 80 people and also don't want to bounce around. I had one woman upset when she got home and saw here lights were gone. And 2 asked to be up another week.

I think we have 8 working days before the weather turns for the worst with a couple freezing rain and snow events in the forecast.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:32 PM
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Birchwood Birchwood is offline
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Scratch that just checked the forecast 5 days till 3 days of ice/rain.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:32 AM
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addictedtolandscaping addictedtolandscaping is offline
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Starting either tis weekend or Monday. Has been brutally cold here, couple of large ones to get down first, but the area is really nasty with the wind. Some of the projects are going to be the end of next week, we got about 18" of snow here right after Christmas, then it turned into the artic. Not at all interested in walking roofs or trying to manipulate a ladder on ice.
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  #6  
Old 01-04-2013, 07:51 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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18 down yesterday, 42 down. yesterday's included a very large job. 13 degrees when we started, but warmed up to 39. strangely, around 26 degrees at 10:30 or so, with 2 pairs long johns, jeans, and t shirt, 2 long sleeve t's top with no coat, and felt ok. I think once the first level of frostbite kills those weak nerve endings near the skin you do start to get used to this. I always forget that. also, if you stay busy carrying wreaths and boxes, then with little or low wind that temp is ok to work. at 34 or so with activity, I went to one long sleeve t. added back the 2nd t around 4:30 once temp creeped back to 29 and we were wrapping up last takedowns and headed to shop.

The all together method of 7 guys attacking jobs is working well for morale and seems to be ok for getting work done. while it seems to be overkill for jobs with only c9's up top, but it is funny, immediately 2 guys grab painter poles and start pulling down lights, 2 guys grab ladders for cords on gutters, and 2 guys grab spool and spooler, and I am already writing tags for c-9s as soon as I get out. I throw out cord box, bundle cords, we all pick up clips and in 10 minutes we are done and on to the next one. will keep you posted, but so far I like this method if you have lots of jobs in close proximity.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:57 PM
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Birchwood Birchwood is offline
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Tags for lights

Last year I got tired of rewriting the tag, because the paper ones would only last 2 years. So I got a roll of white duct tap and would write the discription on it and fold it over the cord and attach it to itself.
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  #8  
Old 01-04-2013, 11:33 PM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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18 more down today. at 60 down as well. while the 15-17 foot box van is our ideal install truck for 2-3 guys for a day, the ideal takedown truck for us is probably those 4 door FSR Isuzu moving trucks with a 26 foot box on it. you put in 4-5 guys, fill with several little giant ladders, 1 40 and one 32 foot ladder, empty boxes, spools, tape guns, markers, yellow tags, and don't come back until you are full. I can totally see us running 2-3 of those in a few years. would make fuel expense sense too. we are running 3 14-16 ft box vans and gas runs 100-150 per day on those when you do takedowns. depending on wreaths and displays you can only fit about 6 in each. If we could fit 18 jobs in a 26' diesel moving van that would probably 1/2 the cost of 3 gas boxvans. at a 20 working day takedown season, that would save you 1000-1500 bucks in fuel. would take a while to pay for itself. renting one though might make sense, depending on the cost. not sure if I have seen a 4 door moving van for rent tho.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:18 PM
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PlantscapeSolutions PlantscapeSolutions is online now
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Has anyone come up with a custom method for rolling up C7/C9 stuff? I'm working on a way to build my own spools with PVC and plywood end plates. I want to make a simple stand the spools can drop into while you roll them up. You would think someone would have a commercially available tool for this already.
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  #10  
Old 01-07-2013, 12:56 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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This is one of my Christmas Consulting things but I will share it since I am in a good mood- Got to Lowes, get a sheet of 3/4" mdf plywood and have then cut into 8 2x2 sqares, 5 pound box of 2 1/2" screws, 1 pound box of 3 1/2 screws, gallon of tightbond 3 glue. box of a few 12" lazy susan ball bearings over by the drawer slides, a magnetic Phillips drill bit, 1 pound box of 1 1/4" screws, small box of 100 5/8" screws, and as many 8 foot 2x4's as you want as spools. 1/8" and 1/2" drill bit. you need a circular saw and drill. have lowes cut each of your 2x4x8 into 5 equal pieces. it is usually free to have them cut stuff. we also use rough cut oak from a local sawmill but they are heavier
and inconsistent on the widths and depths.

you need to learn to cut a 3 1/2" half depth notch in the middle of 80% your little 2x4 pieces. set your depth at 3/4", make the two end cuts, and then max out your depth on your circular saw by drop or plunge cutting from each side. the 3 1/2 middle section should plop out. by putting two pieces together you make the x's for each end of your spool. we predrill with 1/8" bit and glue the x's together and glue to the center spindle with 3 1/2 screws. if you don't pre drill it will split the wood about every 3-4 times and makes you mad you wasted your time making the pieces.

For the spinner, we use the 2x2 squares and cut off the corners with circ. saw to make an octagon shape to cut off weight and it spins a bit easier. you will just have to learn how to build a lazy susan, the bearings come with instructions, but needless to say it goes between 2 sheets of octagon plywood, The easy part is you put it centered on one sheet with 5/8" screws and the hard part is you drill a 1/2 inch hole through the hole provided on the lazy susan to put the screws through that piece and rotate to put screws in the other side. I can't explain it other than read the instructions and drawings that come with the lazy susans. it makes sense once you build two or three. we build 8 at a time and yes, we break 3-4 per season.

you place the x spool on the plywood and use 30 or so 2 1/2 inch screws 1/4" away from the edge of the x on the bottom all the way around the x. don't go too deep, too close to the sppol or too far away, you need to be able to put on and off any spool you build inside the open x the screws makes. the screw heads will keep the spool on as you spin the lazy susan. we now double the base for more weight and stability and use glue and 1 1/4" screws for that.

while this sounds like a lot of work and money, my shop foreman and a part time helper built 80 of these spools and 8 spooler this year, with mostly scrap pieces from our fence and a table and circular saw in 2 days with about 250 bucks in bearings, plywood screws and glue. I spent probably 400 bucks in bearings, labor, plywood, and screws, so around 2-3 bucks a spool and 25 bucks each for 8 spoolers.

The first spool and spooler takes you the longest, but once you do one the next ten are way easier.
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