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  #1  
Old 09-27-2011, 08:51 PM
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GreenI.A. GreenI.A. is offline
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ChristmasLightLeads.com

Hey guys, what do any of you guys know about this advertiser on here ChristmasLightLeads.com? Have they been around for a while or are they new? The site is new and says coming October 2011, which makes them look new but they have a customer testimonial on the site so I'm not to sure what to think. There is no information on the enrollment fee only the $15/$25 per lead cost. They do say that there is a 100% refund of the enrollment fee with 30 days if not satisfied.

Does anyone have any experience with them?
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  #2  
Old 09-27-2011, 11:30 PM
Christmas Light Leads Christmas Light Leads is offline
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Some background on ChristmasLightLeads.com

Green Industry Associates -
Thanks for asking about Christmas Light Leads. I'm the founder of this site and wanted to be as transparent as possible about this new service.

5 years ago I started helping local holiday lighting companies in Texas (mainly landscapers, roofers, irrigators and the like) obtain clients looking for local holiday lighting installers (my specialty is online marketing).

I realized there were a ton of 'marketing' or 'lead generation' companies promising the moon only to cause frustration and things getting expensive quickly (I won't get started on Service Magic).

So I decided to focus on a niche, holiday lighting, to match holiday lighting companies get leads. The $15 per residential and $25 per commercial lead I think is a fair and inexpensive marketing cost per acquisition - say you close one 1 out of 4 (modest closing rate, most of our installers in years past was around 30-50%), the out-of-pocket is $60-$100. Often times these leads turn out to be well over $1,000 (varies across the country, average installation in Texas was $1100).

Also, the 'coming soon' page is our pre-launch. The full site will be in operation in October 2011. The testimony is a real one from the previous company I owned in Texas, and I'll be happy to put you in touch with Mr. Daly who can share his experience with you.

So to sum it up, I'm an online marketing nerd trying to find "a better way" to connect holiday lighting companies to clients needing those types of services (as you know, timing is everything in this industry)... and this is our first year to launch Christmas Light Leads, so I would love your feedback, suggestions (whether good or bad).

We have some cool functionality built in where you set a weekly budget so you don't overspend, online Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to keep track of all your leads/customers/estimates and even export them to a spreadsheet.

Oh, and the enrollment fee is normally $99 before 10/31 and $199 after 10/31, plus we take time to verify insurance coverage. However, those who sign up on our waiting list through September 2011 we waive the enrollment fee, so no cost to get started (and we throw in the first lead for free so you can get the hang of things).

Tory Smith
Founder
ChristmasLightLeads.com
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  #3  
Old 09-28-2011, 12:21 AM
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GreenI.A. GreenI.A. is offline
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How does it work if another contractor is also signed up in the same cities/towns I service?
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  #4  
Old 09-28-2011, 12:32 AM
Christmas Light Leads Christmas Light Leads is offline
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Holiday Lighting Competition

So you get to pick and choose your zip codes in your service territory and yes, you will eventually have competition (of course, those who are early adopters will have less competition). But you're totally right: there may be others who choose the same zip codes as you.

As a service to the homeowners (or businesses) looking for local lighting companies, we ask upfront how many estimates they'd like to get. They typically will want 2-3 estimates to make sure they're getting a fair/reasonable price.

So if they ask for only 2 estimates, we only send the lead to 2 holiday lighting companies, so your odds are obviously 50/50 at that point, maybe better if the other guy fails to respond in a timely manner (which does happen quite often).

So even if we had say 10 companies in your area all signed up (extreme example), and the customer only asks for 2 estimates - then we only send that lead to 2 holiday lighting companies (those two are based off a random algorithm, we do not give preferential treatment to any one company). Again, this keeps your odds of closing the deal within reason.

Tory Smith
Founder
ChristmasLightLeads.com
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  #5  
Old 09-28-2011, 12:41 AM
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GreenI.A. GreenI.A. is offline
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sounds good, right now I do not see a reason not to give it a try this year. I look forward to giving you guys try this year.
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  #6  
Old 09-28-2011, 09:18 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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I hope it works out. I know that service magic has done well for us in lead generation. many people do not like it, but my experience is about 75% of the leads that come from service magic at least buy from someone. I drive by all the bids I do not get to see. I close anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 of the leads I get from service magic.

So it has value for me. But I wish they would be more discriminating who they list on their site as a contractor. They do make sure my liability insurance is up to date, but they need to include workman's comp. Also, In my state You are required to have a contractors liscense to do any job for anyone over $2000 as of this year. You have to pass a test, pay a fee, etc, and I wish they would check for that as well. Having 3 customers as 3 legit references would also help weed out the contractor herd as well. Photo's of work, website links, etc. all these things help consumers make better decisions and eliminate contractors who are not really in this as a business.

The whole idea for lead generating sites is to provide a service to both contractor and homeowner, and in service magic's case the idea seems more about lead generation fees trumps vetting the contractors as good installers.

All these things would add value to the homeowner side as well, since they are thinking that using a referral site gets them a good contractor.

Since there is a sign up fee, it would seem that the site is getting compensated for setting up a new contractor, so would it be possible to include some of these items to bring more value to the service? It would be a way to make it a more valuable service than service magic.
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  #7  
Old 09-28-2011, 10:05 AM
Christmas Light Leads Christmas Light Leads is offline
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Thanks David,
I agree with all your points, and good to know that other states have stricter controls on the holiday lighting industry once the size of job meets a certain threshold.

And you're very correct about providing the homeowner a reliable service where they can get a reputable contractor - it's a win all the way around (similar to Angie's List concept, but where homeowner is not paying a fee to have access to a reputable contractor).

The intent of CLL is not to sign up every Tom, Dick, and Hairy. We are selective on who we partner with and try to reduce (or prevent altogether) the number of shady contractors from signing up (I've dealt enough with less-than-honest contractors). This makes things smoother for both the homeowner, us, and the reputable contractors who are bonded, insured, and take pride in what they do (it's expensive to handle customer complaint calls!).

Tory Smith
Founder
ChristmasLightLeads.com
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  #8  
Old 09-28-2011, 10:06 AM
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GreenI.A. GreenI.A. is offline
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Dave makes a great point, it would be nice if the site could set standards to allow professional companies while keeping out every Tom Dick and Harry with a ladder and a case of walmart lights.

Christmas Light Leads - I know you said you confirm insurance, how far do you guys check? Do you just accept insurance paperwork? do you confirm with the carrier that the policy is active and covers holiday lighting? This alone should cut out alot of the riff-raff.

Dave one thing I do is every customer I meet with gets a tri-fold I had printed up, it basically goes over our services offered but a majority of it explains the importance of insurance and the legality issues the property owner could face for hiring a contractor without it. It walks the customer through how to check that the company in registered with the state, carries the proper insurance, and how to check for proper licensing as well. I also made sure to include sites that have court cases in which homeowners lost big $$$$ due to law suits from injured contractors or damage caused by contractors. It really catches the property owners attention and since I started handing them out I have been closing alot more contracts, I still lose to many but at least I'm losing them to legit companies.
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Why do people not respect us as they do other tradesmen? Because every Tom, Dick, and Harry doesn't think he can be a plumber or electrician!
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  #9  
Old 09-28-2011, 10:11 AM
Christmas Light Leads Christmas Light Leads is offline
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@ GreenIndustry - yes, we verify they possess an active general liability policy and request they email/fax a copy of their insurance certificate. We haven't gone as far to ensure it covers 'holiday lighting', but that's a good idea which I'll take that down as an action item... If I recall, the proper endorsement for that is "electrical apparatus" - can you verify what the exact insurance endorsement requirement would be to cover seasonal lighting (outdoor and indoor)? I think this also gives us a better opportunity to educate those who are running legit lighting businesses but aren't aware of the necessary coverages.

Thanks,
Tory Smith
ChristmasLightLeads.com
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  #10  
Old 09-28-2011, 10:13 PM
TimNNJ TimNNJ is offline
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Cool..so far my leads have come from Service magic...4 I think so far..2 have yet to call back..2 have proposals...
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