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  #81  
Old 11-26-2013, 11:24 PM
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CleanCut1 CleanCut1 is offline
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Location: Village Mills, Texas
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#16 and 17 today. Both small C9 jobs.

The rain has finally stopped! The forecast is clear and cold through the weekend. Time to get to work. We have a 500+ bulb C9, garland and wreath job in the morning. And, maybe, get my house decorated tomorrow night.
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  #82  
Old 11-27-2013, 01:52 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Fayetteville,AR
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34,35. postcard, referral. clicking along. some energy is back, and going to bed before midnight tonight.

I have one that said I could pick up a check tomorrow, but we will see. it is amazing that I only have one appointment for the entire thanksgiving weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday as of now. postcards going out tomorrow. but everyone already has 2 from me this month. not sure that'll be much of a boost.

and well, Stacey of britelites, I have shown you how to do it :-)

but I understand, it's a shame you guys don't have a big population center like I have here in Arkansas. Houston, pshh. small town folks.

finally breathing after today and feel like maybe we can squeeze some stuff in. feel like if we have a good day tomorrow I can maybe add a job or two for thanksgiving weekend. but we are officially booking Tuesday dec 2, so really just 6 days out. not too bad. I even squeezed a couple of baby jobs in to the before Thanksgiving slot for tomorrow. If I could meet with enough people I could probably book the week after thanksgiving.

I changed one of my marketing strategies this year at a risk, and so far it has been a blessing. I removed one of my favorite "it works" methods. since we are running ahead in sales and new customers of any year, it appears I do not miss it. and my close ratio is up in spite of a retail cost bump across the board. so I am doing less appointments, closing more jobs. so I have a bit more time for fixes and helping employees.

what did I do? no signs. not in yards we have done, not at stop signs, etc. and I flat out close jobs using signs. I have tracked it. but man, did I do a crazy number of appointments. 7-8 per day average for 2-3 weeks. the close ratio on signs is way lower than postcards, referrals, or truck graphics. but the jobs are there. It just appears that the jobs that were there also tended to find my way through postcards. which, granted is a way more expensive marketing method. 25 signs can cost you 200-300 bucks and last years if you grab them before the city crew does. a single postcard can cost you that in 5000 print quantity.

but what was nice is what I spent on printing and postage I got back in time. although I still worked a ton, it was more on fixes and less on appointments. so my existing customers love me responding to a bulb out service call in 19 minutes.
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  #83  
Old 11-27-2013, 07:52 AM
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turf hokie turf hokie is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Metro NY
Posts: 2,675
Have not been on for a while. A little frustrated this year.

Not only did I have a lot of competition pop up but even worse my marketing company screwed me. I will never use them again. I placed my order for postcards lady week of October to go out on November 18. After a lot of nonsense and slow response by them. I finally got a proof on November 14 and it was wrong. I asked for the same card as I did last year except they send me my lawn care postcard but changed the contact info to the Christmas company. Serious? Who was the genius that thought that was what I wanted. It took them days to fix and then told me it would be 10 days from the approval of proof to mailing.....holy crap. Over a month ? To get postcards?

So I went to another company last minute and just picked up the cards yesterday. Which means I will not have postcards out and in mailboxes until Monday/Tuesday.

The only advertising I have out right now is one print ad, trucks and tons of lawn signs.

The lack of postcards is extremely noticeable.

I now for the 1 st time ever will have negative customer growth from one year to the next going into December.

The odd part about it is even tho I have less customers than last year right now, my dollars are the same as last year! Which means if I get one last small push I can still hit my goal for the year.

If I can get 10 more average sales I will hit my sales goal.

I have closed 18

Ps. Have not lost a day to weather all year until today. Expecting upwards of 3 inches today. But plenty of days of high winds. We actually had links come off a roof due to 50+ mph wind gusts.
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  #84  
Old 11-27-2013, 12:03 PM
britelights britelights is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Seabrook, TX
Posts: 91
Dave -- haha very funny . I meant -- I don't know how you do it energy-wise. You have done an excellent job in showing us how to add that many new customers...but man -- your energy level blows me away. I see your posts at 1:00am and I know you're back up and at it by 7am. By 10:30pm - my eyes are tired, my head hurts, and I just can't work on the paperwork anymore. I must be getting old . And -- I know you guys have more weather issues than we do...we have never had this much rain during install season...I know we're spoiled here with our warm temperatures...we just didn't know exactly how spoiled! This morning was 33 degrees -- BRRRRRRR!! But thankfully the sun is out -- it's supposed to hit 50 today - and we are excited!! Praying for at least a week of good weather so hopefully we can try to catch up.
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  #85  
Old 11-27-2013, 09:45 PM
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addictedtolandscaping addictedtolandscaping is online now
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Would love 33. Yesterday after plowing did 2 should say 1.5 as the first one the truck decided to slide down the driveway and I figured that was a sign not to go up in the air with that or on ladder. Today, rain all morning - got drenched, then the sleet and freezing rain kicked in, then snow. Finished #2 and had to go out and salt.
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  #86  
Old 11-27-2013, 10:14 PM
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turf hokie turf hokie is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Metro NY
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23. 2 former customers resigned. 3 referrals.

Got 6 web leads today. Hopefully a couple of those pan out.

Service calls started coming in with the wind and rain.
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  #87  
Old 11-28-2013, 07:40 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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Location: Fayetteville,AR
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36, 37 postcard, referral. yesterday sales. today is Thanksgiving. Happy thanksgiving everyone! I too have fallen off the wagon on postcards. but it is all my fault. although I have several backup plans, they all failed. I usually do one last push of postcards on Monday Tuesday before thanksgiving and they arrive in mailboxes the Friday, Saturday or monday after the Thanksgiving weekend. my secretary sprained her ankle this week, I was loaded with appointments, my wife tore a muscle in her back, and my daughter is booked with her girl doing mini lights every day she is off from school this week. so there was no one to drive them to the post office. had I known they would not go out, I would've adjusted my schedule, but the phone tends to take over my life as the put out fires guy, and postcards are not a fire thing.

had a good day of install yesterday, the phones quieted down about 7, so I was wrapping up my selling/turn on/fix it schedule around 8. Had checked on my last crew still out, they did a great job on the install and were just done as I pulled up. Gave them high fives and asked them to grab the 20 boxes of stuff at my house a few blocks over, and head to shop. and driving home I thought, we are caught up with almost all fixes, and 2 install jobs ahead on our promises to customers. and then of course, the text comes in from that crew and their engine had blown. luckily they made it to a 24 hour gas station and parked properly way off to the side. So I drive them to the shop, they pick up another box truck, they head back to gas station and load up stuff in truck and head back to the shop. at least I got to head home after dropping them at shop and got home at 9:30. they had to so I gave them 2 20's for their very long day, but now of course I have to buy another box van.

I always buy the newest year model I can find with 150k or less on the odometer. I am migrating towards 16-18 footers, and the extra long tall sprinters, they are out there, but way harder to find and they cost 2-4 grand more, but 14 foot box vans, 10 years old, 150k or less and running fine, are everywhere on the internet, ebay, truck trader for 6k and less. the yellow Penske trucks tend to be a 150k or less, few years younger and cleaner. but harder to find. I had planned on buying a really large 26 foot box van, around 6k for takedowns and one large 5 man crew, and still will. luckily we do have a backup box van, and honestly at this point we are only running 3 install crews, a one man fix it crew, and a 2 girl SUV mini light, stake light, garland crew. which, having a girl detail crew is awesome by the way. the guys just don't do mini lights well. I found a great 45 foot ladder sign truck with a big gas lincoln welder, and sky hook rated at 1000lbs, only 100k on the truck, automatic and 1997. 5k. just 45 minutes away. and with the several 12 foot wreaths I did this year plus 2 houses that now exceed 40 foot ladder territory on wreaths, I really need that. and I wish I had another mid size sprinter van for the girls. That would be 10k. but I can only buy so many vehicles a year with Christmas profits.
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  #88  
Old 11-29-2013, 11:06 PM
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PlantscapeSolutions PlantscapeSolutions is offline
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Buda,Texas
Posts: 2,653
After a cold spat we are warming up here. Last night I had frost forming on the trucks as I hooked up some trailers. Over night the wind went from the north to the south and the temps jumped 10 degrees over night. Today I think we hit 70F. The forecast is about 75F until Thursday.

I need to get a bunch of pictures in the next few weeks for my new website. I did my most of big Griswold installation today and will finish in the morning. The yard violates all the rules but the customer gets what he wants.
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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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  #89  
Old 11-30-2013, 12:45 AM
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greenbaylawns greenbaylawns is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Bellevue, NE
Posts: 556
Quote:
Originally Posted by britelights View Post
Dave I don't know how you do it! We're at 22 new customers. And this RAIN is killing us!!! It has been horrible weather since last Friday. We also made the mistake of being too easy on our guys the 1st two weeks of November. But we usually never have this kind of weather 'til late December / January. My 1st available install date is now Dec 12th...allowing time to catch up from the rain...so that is affecting sales. And customers that were promised before Thanksgiving are going to be upset...phone calls are starting to come in. UGH!!! Not fun!!

I don't know how he does it either! 30, 40 to 50 new installs each year for how ever many years. Must have hundreds of installs.
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  #90  
Old 12-01-2013, 01:22 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Fayetteville,AR
Posts: 3,656
so Friday I netted zero. had a cancelation of 36, then sold another. today sold 38,39. referral, web search. this time last year went on a tear and sold like 8 in 2 days. so now I am a few behind.

but after the 30th I do tend to sell another 10ish , but this year is unlike any year I remember. way fewer appointments. I have raised prices, my close rate is higher, The total new sales dollars is higher, and I have not put out signs. so I don't have 5-8 bids per day like the past few years sitting around on folks desks waiting for them to make a decision. That is what happened last year and previous years when I would close 4-5 in a day. I have no appointments scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, I only did 2 appointments today. On Thanksgiving weekend that is an insanely low number. not having a postcard hit the week of or during thanksgiving weekend was a colosial mistake. I will pay for that. but I am going to go ahead and put some signs out tomorrow and the next few days in areas near my nice neighborhoods we are already in. just trying to pick up a few of the late bloomers. going to set my goal as 11 over the next 10 days so I can be at 50. less than last year, but it has a nice ring to it. we do have some postcards that will hit next 5-6 days, so hopefully that will help.

And yes, the business has grown over the last 13 years. but the tough pill to swallow is looking at my file of inactives. as you increase the total number of customers, you lose more numerically . we did pretty good this year, lost about 10, so we kept about 96% of customers. but we had several years there in the recession that we lost not only 15-20, but some chunky sales dollars rehangs as well. Having megan call folks once per week over the next 3 weeks goes a long way toward showing you care and takes care of giving guys work once install is done, plus takes care of any add ons folks want to help upsell.
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