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  #31  
Old 07-31-2012, 11:01 AM
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CleanCut1 CleanCut1 is offline
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Location: Village Mills, Texas
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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.
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  #32  
Old 07-31-2012, 11:56 AM
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TheBetterDoorhanger TheBetterDoorhanger is offline
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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!
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  #33  
Old 08-01-2012, 07:04 AM
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turf hokie turf hokie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Gretzmier View Post
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
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  #34  
Old 08-01-2012, 06:44 PM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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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.
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  #35  
Old 08-01-2012, 09:00 PM
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turf hokie turf hokie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Gretzmier View Post
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......
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  #36  
Old 08-03-2012, 12:06 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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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.
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  #37  
Old 08-04-2012, 12:54 PM
TimNNJ TimNNJ is offline
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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...
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  #38  
Old 08-04-2012, 06:57 PM
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turf hokie turf hokie is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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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....
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  #39  
Old 08-15-2012, 11:52 PM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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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.
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  #40  
Old 08-24-2012, 06:59 AM
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McFarland_Lawn_Care McFarland_Lawn_Care is offline
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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.
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