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  #11  
Old 08-16-2013, 09:05 PM
hotrod1965 hotrod1965 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimNNJ View Post
Do all you guys use proposal forms/hand written forms or email proposals?..what works best for you?. I usually email everything so it's all in one place?..how do you break down your estimates?...I want to stream line it this year..it's getting to the point that I need one system so that everything is consistent like everything else we do..what are your systems ?
I'd hand write them on a carbon copy on the spot. You'll increase your chance of closing the deal right then,vs having another guy bid the job the next day, customer emailing your quote to a competitor to match/beat....
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  #12  
Old 08-17-2013, 01:03 PM
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turf hokie turf hokie is offline
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Tim,

Hand written carbon copy is how I do it. I have not gotten to the point of IPad and email on the spot like some other guys. Whatever you do, you will need to get them a quote on the spot, you dont want to open the door for a competitor and the season is too short to have to write it up and send it after the initial meeting. The more time you take in trying to close the deal the less likely you will get the job.

Most of my sales are closed at the inital meeting, if they dont sign up on the spot, I feel the odds go down dramatically of getting them to do the work.
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  #13  
Old 08-18-2013, 01:15 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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Location: Fayetteville,AR
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our systems have taken the last 10 years to perfect. getting all the bid forms, post cards, internal forms, advertising, sales folders and literature within, trucks, uniforms, to all look like a franchise has been tough. but I will gladly hold everything up , to any Christmas light company out there, franchise or not, and it blows everyone away.

that being said, I do all bids right there, one visit, hand written on a pre-printed full color, 3 part carbon form. the top has spaces and notations for all client info- address, directions, phone numbers, date, etc. I have columns and boxes for c-9's, links, wreaths , and garland, etc, and I fill in the blanks on how many, how many feet, how much per item, etc. I also have a blank space for handwriting various instructions for the crews and internal staff. the bottom has fine print on insurance, warranties, storage and cancellation policies, etc.

I tried the photo and computer approach and could not do it quickly enough to keep up with my appointment schedule.
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  #14  
Old 10-04-2013, 08:20 AM
TimNNJ TimNNJ is offline
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For one thing I know my postcards blow anything that has been in this area away. Last year there were only a few competitors out there..but we shall see what this season brings. We are still working on all of our systems but I feel we have a good base structure with lots of room to improve. Our service is right I on believe and our customers are happy. I hope to get a few more systems in place this season.
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  #15  
Old 10-05-2013, 12:18 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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Improvements are always good. I look at the postcards I did 10 years ago and I don't show consulting clients those. cheesy fuzzy photos. not good use of color or geometry on the back. etc. The main goal is to have your sales packet be amazing, as you tend to meet with one spouse and the other just sees the packet to help decide whether to spend money. so a color folder, color info cut tabs with photos of houses and close ups of the lights/foliage you use need to sell that you are the pro. it all needs to go together. but it costs money to hire a good graphic designer. we have spread out the cost over a decade and it finally looks really good.

to be fair, Christmas décor in my area has really nice sales literature and cards, so I push myself to have a nicer presentation literature than them. and I do. but they tend to be 10-30% cheaper than me, so this is probably a no win. but I usually beat the guy with the yellow legal pad or general bid forms all the day long that is half or less my bid. So what you give the client matters.

been hanging rehangs 3 weeks now, sold quite a few add ons, some new Christmas customers, and still selling landscape lighting installs. sold two of those this week. but running out of time on those. from now on out, Going to line up landscape work for December 10-24, but the push for Christmas 2013 sales really starts next week. will order 10k post cards Monday, for 1st mailing going out Oct. 15ish.
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  #16  
Old 10-08-2013, 08:58 PM
hotrod1965 hotrod1965 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Gretzmier View Post

to be fair, Christmas décor in my area has really nice sales literature and cards, so I push myself to have a nicer presentation literature than them. and I do. but they tend to be 10-30% cheaper than me, so this is probably a no win. but I usually beat the guy with the yellow legal pad or general bid forms all the day long that is half or less my bid. So what you give the client matters.
This is the best advise anyone can give. If you want to know how commercial installers get jobs that actually pay the bills....
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  #17  
Old 10-11-2013, 12:25 AM
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PlantscapeSolutions PlantscapeSolutions is online now
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I think this year will go over well. I finally stole one of my customers biz away from Decor and bid her friends house who is also a Decor client. Just sold 80 Starlight Spheres today to a new client from last year. I shook Dara & Vickerman down and got an even better deal then I expected. Dara really came through.

My Starlight customer told me he had boxes of Starlights to hang last year. I told him I would hand his Starlights but he would have to buy new light strands from me for his tree's. His Starlights were packed away the day I bid the job and I thought it was about a dozen units.

We showed up to do the install and what I thought was a dozen units was a dozen cases of units. It was more like 72 Starlights not 12. I told his wife the $195 labor bid was out the door and the only way we could do such difficult to bid job was by the hour at $65 per man hour. The $195 labor ended up being $725. They had just finished a landscape make over of the yard with another company that was at least $150K so this was just a drop in the bucket.

Their lighting guy from the previous year had flaked out. I suspect he also underbid the job and didn't come back in January to take the stuff down. Do any of you guys have any off the wall clients you bill by the hour? I have a Griswold client who spent almost $3000 on labor for home display last year.
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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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  #18  
Old 10-15-2013, 10:08 AM
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turf hokie turf hokie is offline
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Tire kickers are out already! Usually this time of year you get the planners and serious about Christmas decorations calls. Not sure what's in the air but it seems like people are calling earlier for quotes this year but so far not a lot of appointments once they get an idea of the cost.

Quite a few up sells on existing clients. One nice new commercial job.

Finalizing our ad campaign and just about ready to get going!
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  #19  
Old 10-15-2013, 10:54 AM
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PlantscapeSolutions PlantscapeSolutions is online now
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I second the tire kickers. I had a person call who saw the Holiday Lighting info on our trailer wrap. I have not heard a peep back since sending her an estimate. Luckily, it was a Google Street View and Google Earth Pro generated estimate so I didn't waste time running out to her house. If it had been a higher end home I would have run out to do a bid on site but it was a home in the $300K range and I could just tell it was more of a fishing expedition type client then a serious one.

I picked up house number two who was a long time Decor customer yesterday. Decor only rents the lights here which allows me to easily show high end clients we are a better deal if you think long term and look at the numbers over the next 3-5 years.

Last year I darn near had a Groupon deal on material prices to help pick up some market share but stuck to my guns on the install/removal to make long term money. This year the margins are up and the give away deals are over.

I have an estimate from the largest player in town and I was surprised at how high their prices were. I had thought they were cheaper but their sales people may be zip code pricing and I saw a high estimate. It showed a 36" wreath at $249 (purposely bloated price) and the discounted buy now price at $199.
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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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  #20  
Old 10-15-2013, 10:59 PM
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turf hokie turf hokie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantscapeSolutions View Post

I picked up house number two who was a long time Decor customer yesterday. Decor only rents the lights here which allows me to easily show high end clients we are a better deal if you think long term and look at the numbers over the next 3-5 years.
.
That doesn't sound right........
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