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  #61  
Old 12-13-2012, 11:35 AM
PlantscapeSolutions's Avatar
PlantscapeSolutions PlantscapeSolutions is online now
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Buda,Texas
Posts: 2,547
Mike, on another topic has any consideration been given into trying to make the HD website more of a sales driver? If you Google holiday lite installers you will see Decor is near the top of the list. I can't even find the HD site no matter how many pages deep I go.

I would think members would be willing to pay a fee for leads just like we do with HomeAdviser.com. With Home Adviser they don't have a photo gallery or any expertise but they still manage to create leads. I realize they have much deeper pockets. I know HBL helped get a deal going with Home Adviser back when it was Service Magic.

Maybe Home Adviser could even partner with the an improved HD website in some sort of partnership. All I know is that in four years I think I've had one person contact me though the old HBL site. Not exactly creating earth shattering traffic. Just seems like the HD site is kind of out there in space and nobody has a clue it's even there when they search for holiday lite installers.
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Market- Austin Texas Area
Employees- 3
Sales $300K+

Services-AutoCAD Landscape Design & Install, Maintenance, Landscape Lighting, HD Holiday Lighting, Masonry (Stone, Block, Brick, and Stucco), & Arborist Work

Accreditations & Memberships- BBB, TNLA, TPCL 611373, & Class 1 Nurserymen.

Market Niche- High end residential.

-http://plantscapesolutions.net/
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  #62  
Old 12-13-2012, 02:12 PM
MMarlow MMarlow is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Posts: 9
SEO and Website development is always a hot topic, we are currenty reviewing new options for our website. We would like to offer up such options for everyone. I will keep you in the loop on possible trends, we are always looking to improve the viewing of each location.

With Service Magic, they approached me three years ago. I told them to submit a deal for the HBL members, they came back with a waiver fee to get started...not what I wanted to roll out to everyone. So I told them to pound sand...I want a reduction in fees for leads but they didn't budge. The crazy thing is they solicted everyone saying we authorized a deal, which was total BS.

As for CDI, the dues they receive from franchisees creates a marketing job and capital to spend on adware and SEO coverage where the normal company isn't ready to shell out $250 to $1000 each month...especially when it is a seasonal industry. I have the know how to get it started, just need to see a demand before I put new research into a feasible plan that everyone benefits.
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Holiday Lighting is an Art between Chaos and Bliss!

Happy Holidays,

Mike Marlow
Holidynamics.com

Last edited by MMarlow; 12-13-2012 at 02:13 PM. Reason: finish sentence
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  #63  
Old 12-13-2012, 02:39 PM
PlantscapeSolutions's Avatar
PlantscapeSolutions PlantscapeSolutions is online now
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Buda,Texas
Posts: 2,547
Mike, At 400 active member if you charged $20 a month year round to be listed on the site as a member it would give you $96,000 to play with. I guess the other way to do it would be to pay per lead where the more the site delivers the more people would pay. The leads might make you some money as well but I guess it leaves you rolling the dice on the initial investment.
__________________
Market- Austin Texas Area
Employees- 3
Sales $300K+

Services-AutoCAD Landscape Design & Install, Maintenance, Landscape Lighting, HD Holiday Lighting, Masonry (Stone, Block, Brick, and Stucco), & Arborist Work

Accreditations & Memberships- BBB, TNLA, TPCL 611373, & Class 1 Nurserymen.

Market Niche- High end residential.

-http://plantscapesolutions.net/
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  #64  
Old 12-13-2012, 07:49 PM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Fayetteville,AR
Posts: 3,654
I always go through my service magic, now home advisor leads and add up the sales, and then look at the lead fees. In the past I tended to get 20-30 leads and closed 5-8. I closed 5 jobs this year off 15 leads. less leads than has come in and less jobs. but I paid around 300 bucks and closed $9300 in work. I am way happy with that. many also contacted me directly, so maybe I woul have gotten 2-3 jobs any way, but the botom line is 10% of my new jobs this year came from home advisor. for 300 bucks, I will take that. put another way, I will write a check today for 10 times that if I can have 10 times the sales. in a heartbeat.

by the way mike, $3500 worth of HYDY product in 2 hours? I am guessing if you eliminate drive time, loading and unloading truck time, taking ladders out and clean up time, and maybe opening all the box time ? I am thinking of my 2 best guys opening all boxes, clipping and hanging 20-30 links, running the cords, and then doing the ground work you mentioned, opening boxes on starbursts, hanging and running those cords, the trees and ground stakes, etc, set timer or timers, clean up all the trash- boxes, bags of clips and bulbs, and tags, load ladders up and drive to next job. gotta get rid or store those boxes at some point. And we are assuming every item works right out of the box and no magic box time. no straightening bulbs time. seriously mike, This is me you are talking to, and I can't see it. I have done this job 10 times 10, and $3500 HYDY job is about 20-30 man hours of labor from the time the boxes arrive from shipper and you touch it for the first time to the time the guys are back at shop and shop guys have stored away the last box after takedown. profitable? yes. 2 hours? not quite.

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  #65  
Old 12-13-2012, 11:47 PM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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Location: Fayetteville,AR
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closed 51 yesterday and 52 today. cannot believe I am still selling. crazy.
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  #66  
Old 12-14-2012, 11:35 AM
MMarlow MMarlow is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Posts: 9
David,

I don't understand your math, but I was talking about actual time on the job. 10 minute drive each way and it wasn't the only job the crew did that day, so putting up the ladders, clean up and handling of the boxes are part of each day. 2 man crew.

Power wasn't an issue, miminal cords and roof access where the Light Links were going. Simple job...I could have done it by myself in less than 3 hours. Including drive time.

I'm not sure where you are getting 20-30 hours, are you talking 20-30 hours per job or for 10 jobs? Either way, thanks for the comment.
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Holiday Lighting is an Art between Chaos and Bliss!

Happy Holidays,

Mike Marlow
Holidynamics.com
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  #67  
Old 12-15-2012, 12:25 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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Location: Fayetteville,AR
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mike, I know you meant jobsite time. I always feel that is the tip of the iceberg. Old Reed the dewalt guy used to tell me 2 hour install stories, Scott tells it too, and in 12 years, I have never done it. not throwing rocks there, but I am not lazy or slow, and I had the best fastest roof guy for several years that ran circles around several guys I did training with in Omaha. here's the math on my 20-30 man hours- someone gets paid at every step. start the clock.

receive call from lead, answer questions and set appointment. drive and meet with lead to sell job. talk, measure, write bid, close them then or come back and close at a later date and get check for 1/2. salesman may note special needs or outlet issues, like maybe there is not an outlet at a commercial location, and notes whether you need a 40' ladder, harness, etc. then drive to bank to deposit check or hand check off to secretary for her to log in computer and then she deposits, or hands it off to another secretary that drives and deposits. give her yellow and/or pink copy of proposal/contract. client keeps top white copy. when check clears, someone orders 3500 in product from HYDY. internet or phone. secretary creates 2 files: one for administrative for billing and cost items that has all dollar amounts on them, with pink or yellow copy, one work file for install purposes only that only has items to install and where to put them on the building or in the yard/beds. makes sure instructions are on what goes where on house, prints off driving directions to property. few days later, boxes from HYDY arrive. shop foreman checks against pending installs, matches and labels boxes with client name with marker and puts all on seperate pallet with cords, timers, etc. shop foreman or install manager schedules install. on day of install boxes, cords, etc are loaded onto service boxvan, with perhaps existing ladders already in truck and all other boxes for jobs that day.

keeping up? maybe the owner does all this. but I am betting Scott does none of this, much like I only do the sales step here and ordering product. but moving on...how many man hours are we at now?

the install crew comes in, ( ahh, here we go..) they get the file, may or may not check to make sure they have all the inventory for all jobs and tools and clips and cords they need. maybe they do have several jobs that day including the 3500, and they have a route to follow. maybe someone wrote out an order, maybe they just wing it. they drive to job a, or b, or c from shop ( and of course they never stop along the way for bathroom, cigarettes, food) and it is only 10 minutes from where ever. they then unload the boxes they need, and set up ladder or ladders, open all the boxes, open the boxes in the boxes, take off twist ties, cut off ( they wont tear off) all those dang white tags and shiny silver tags on every plug, plug in and check all the lights to make sure they work or maybe they wait, and not check anything, straighten all bulbs on frames, open all the light clip bags ( there would be, what 20? 30 bags ?) and sort what they need, be it s-clips or gable clips or some of both. maybe they put them in their pocket or maybe use a fanny pack. maybe they pre-clip the links or maybe they clip as they go. maybe it is not too cold and they don't break any. maybe no bulb clips were damaged from shipping and you don't have to use the extras you get. then you run up your first cord and you hang and plug in links together. if it is LED, then you can link lots together and minimal cords. if not, then you need a cord back to your original plug every 7-10 links.
move ladder as you go, or work from the roof and other guy throws you links and or cords.

get all links up, binder clip cords on roof and tuck in cords around gutter drops, then run cord from outlet to ground stuff and assemble. pound in stakes, run cords to all items, test, arrange and hide and straighten wavy cords best you can. set timer and clean up the boxes. for the record, there is alot of them. clean up all the little tags that were cut off of each ext cord and each link or other corded item. pick up any clips dropped or broken, put away any unused clips, bulbs, bags in bins in truck or van and then drive to next job. and if anyone asks you about lights while on jobsite, hand out cards or flyers. and oh yeah, one of the crew fills out paperwork on how long it took to drive there, install, and drive back. and someone else should probably check that they actually do that. and tell the truth. if you install gps trackers on all the trucks, and you know whuch truck was used for install, you can check pretty easy.

adding up more, you still need to maintain the job and fix anything that goes wrong ( and we average 2 service calls per client per season ) and you also have to drive back, take down the job, label and tape the storage boxes, drive back to shop, ( remember, no one ever stops at the convienance store around here on the clock. no way. ) someone unloads ( whoops, and that person probably also loaded the empty boxes for you to go take it down) and someone uses a cherry picker to store them in pallet rack/warehouse and log the location in either admin or work file, and someones bills and/or collects from customer and send thank you note. further, someone needs to look over this whole job and add up all the many hours spent doing this job start to finish and how much profit was actually made. This total should be in the admin file. you should also do this every year on the rehang to check profitablilty. I also film every job while installed to descibe what item goes where, how we corded it, how they liked the timer set, and what pitfalls like dogs, bad outlets to avoid. and any time items get added to jobs over the years, you refilm and update all files.

it took an hour plus just to type this. it only seems like 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there on many steps. but on this job, like most $3500 jobs, The owner paid 20-30 man hours to someone. it may say "4 man hours" or 2 hours x 2 guys install/ jobsite time in the work file. I know my best fastest guys would take well over double that to install that much new product. maybe triple. rehang could well be much faster as all the tags removed, all the cords you need, and it is boxed far more efficiently. but depending on who and how it was taken down, magic box time and replacing/straightening bulb clip goes up.

This is a profitable business, but that payroll expense should get costed to the jobs based on how many actual hours it takes. put another way, most of my 2 man crews get paid for 40-50 hours a week. they can put up about 1 big job per day or 2 smaller mediumish jobs a day. so out of 80-100 man hours, I have to account for all that on each job they did. as well as all the secretary, sales, shop foremen and helper time.
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