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Old 10-25-2013, 12:54 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is online now
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Location: Fayetteville,AR
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2013 gie expo

thought I'd do a quick report from Louisville on a few Christmas things I saw.

I met with the guys that run village lighting and came away impressed. the 2 different garland hangers in person are pretty impressive, and I plan to use them here and there, and will offer it as an option to eliminate some fasteners at the top, but I am still thinking you need to hold the middle of the sides and bottom without letting the garland flapping in the wind. The suspended led's do look good, although still twice as bright as viewed from tip as the side. the color changing bulbs were nice, though it does take a good 15-20 seconds to change color. would need to be put on a dark house, and the bulbs are not syced with each other. would be a neat 5-10 bulb addition to a small tree filled with mini lights. I liked the wreath hanger and will offer that to my customers.

I looked at the Christmas Décor display and it was very nice, though I am surprised that their booth compared to thier company was kinda small, though a "double" ( maybe 16' wide and 10 ft deep ) and that the product they had displayed was a large LED g50 ball tree. They also had nitetime decor banners there. I have talked to them before, but since I already have 2 Christmas décor guys within 50 miles of me, I am just competition for their guys. gotta hand it to them tho, their marketing stuff is slick. and I covet their training videos.

I met with a company that will remain nameless, but they were basically one of those regional distributors that sells a various amount of landscape supply stuff from different manufacturors. I think I was talking to their executive vp of marketing. he was showing me their Christmas product they had on display. he was asking me where I bought my stuff, how they sold this to landscapers for off season, etc. and I asked him what size spool his cc9's came in. he said they were in 25 foot boxes, so they fit all houses. I asked him, not too politely, did he have any idea how a professional installs c9's on any residential house or commercial building. he said yes, they use these clips-pointing to a parapet clip. at this point It amazes me that a guy can stand there in a suit and tie and have only 20 products around him, at a trade show with 50,000 people who can buy his products, yet have no clue what the market uses or needs with his particular product. I asked him how many boxes of 25 c9's he sold last year, and he said, oh, in the 1000's. I thought to myself, yep, they would need to sell at least 25-50 1000' spools in their 7 state area to cover that many feet. I asked a few questions about whether his mini lights were rectified, and he did not know. and I walked away. you can't fix stupid.

I plan to buy the gps system I saw that will allow me to track 5 trucks a every two minutes. it shows who it is, how many minutes they were at each address, the speed they went, etc. can view on smart phone. no more guessing on man hour minutes. now if only I had a beacon motorized camera mounted on each truck with a cell phone connection so I could watch them. but that is the future. for now, for around 1200 per year plus secretary time, I can finally know how long my guys take a break and how long the jobs take, no matter what they write on the forms.

I had a good time talking to other companies about landscape lights, as we do a bit of that in the rest of the year, and had fun looking at things that are new. found a cool battery pump sprayer for fence and deck stain that fits right on a 5 gallon bucket. saw the new Europe dodge ram diesel van, the replacement since they no longer sell the sprinter, that is very fuel efficient and very nice. saw a glow in the dark additive to concrete sealer you can use on pathways, driveways, etc. but must get full sun during the day and glows in 3 different colors for 3-5 hours after dark. not sure if I recommend that on the full driveway of a 5 mil home. but it was cool. maybe a team logo. saw a dust free gas powered diamond concrete saw. nice timber frame pergola. electric wheelbarrow. miss kansas, on and on. shows are cool.

it also is interesting how many folks want you to sell their products, even when they don't really relate to your business. I had an offer of a dealership to sell pellet smokers. pergola installer/seller with website leads. even invest capital in new products to become an owner in a manufacturing business. wow.

but they also inspire me to get out and grow and enhance my business. make it better. add pieces and have fun.

tomorrow is another show day, then heading home Saturday morning.
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:34 AM
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JB1 JB1 is online now
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Location: From the hills of beautiful Southern Indiana
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I am going to come today for a little while to check things out.
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:08 PM
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PlantscapeSolutions PlantscapeSolutions is offline
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Location: Buda,Texas
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I would check out Realtrack GPS as well. I only pay about $18 a month per vehicle with no contract. If you park a few vehicles during the slow season you can turn it off and save money. I'm surprised you don't already use GPS. The module you will have to buy costs $180 but they have had deals from time to time. If your going to GPS many trucks I would try to get a better deal on the modules.

If you want to have a clue what types of things have gone on in the past don't tell you guys you have added GPS at first. Even good workers get complacent and start to take advantage of the company. I didn't tell my guys for a month and sure enough there was some stuff going on with lunch breaks that was increasing the OT numbers. Realtrack is the least expensive GPS you can buy and the install time is only about 30 minutes. You just have to wire up an always hot wire and one that is only hot when the ignition is keyed.

One of my clients added them to his fleet of furniture delivery trucks and he loves it. Once guys know the GPS is there it helps keep then honest. It could easily pay for it's self and save you a few grand a year. The prices different companies charge for GPS varies quite a bit with Realtrack being the best deal. Other companies often charge 50-100% more and then they want you to sign a contract where you are stuck with them for a year if you realize you paid too much a week later.
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Market- Austin Texas Area
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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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