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  #1  
Old 11-11-2012, 02:11 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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new sales 2012

It seems I start this thread later each year. But I confess I have at least looked back over the last few years I have done this and am always happy to have the info available. So I am sitting at 9 new customers at this point, and I am fairly happy with that. ahead of last year, and behind 2 years ago, I think. I have had 3 landscape light jobs come in as well that we will do when install stops, and I am hoping for a few more of those. Think I may try to extend the fence a bit on the side during the installs done takedowns not started break around Christmas. But hey, forget about what I will do when the install season is over, how about me talking about how are things going now?

we had 78 to put up as of this morning, and that includes some easy things, like add a wreath or garland to a job already put up. but it also includes some jobs that 2 guys can't do even in a 12 hour plus long day. but running 4 crews with good weather we should get most things done and still have work to do thanksgiving weekend. my goal of course is to sell enough from here to thanksgiving day to keep the guys busy.

I have to say that having a competitor that constantly steals signs or city maintenance crews that seem to pick them up within hours of putting them out has really reduced my call volume, but not really sales. until he figures out a way to steal our postcards from the mailman marketing will still bring me sales. I may sound bitter, but really, doesn't everyone need a competitor that charges 1/3 of what you do?

But even with Him and Christmas Decor, along with probably a dozen other phantom competitors that seem to appear out of nowhere, we still are doing ok. Honestly, If I started this thing today I am not so sure if I could make a go of it. but having 4 trucks out there in neighorhoods daily gives you a ton of visability that brings jobs to you. I had always hoped that as we get bigger this thing would self sustain itself, and it would if there was not so much competition. so we continue to put out signs, postcard, and google adwords.

feel free to chime in here guys and let everyone know how well the selling is going in your area. or gripe about your competition's bidding habits.

Hope everyone has a great year!
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:24 AM
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CleanCut1 CleanCut1 is online now
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I have five new sales this season, including my first commercial account.

I have another small commercial and a large muninciple building complex in the works. I hope to finalize those this week.

Other than all the money it is costing me to replace the HBL LED junk I bought last year, it is starting off to be great season.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:59 AM
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turf hokie turf hokie is offline
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Ok, let's see how we do this year.

33 installed so far. A mixed bag as far as size of jobs. But not bad considering we have lost several days due to hurricanes and nor'easters....

6 new sales, 2 smaller commercials out of the 6. But got both to commit to multi year deals. Not bad considering the weather and I pushed off my advertising, my ads start landing this week.

Creeping up on 60% renewals, it's slow with all the damage still being cleaned up, some still without power...

Finally bit the bullet and brought in a dedicated warehouse tech. He spent the whole week repairing material and probably has the better part of next week before he finishes, so that leaves the pulling and prepping of jobs to myself and my manager for now. Not ideal but it hasn't hurt us.

Competition remains the same so far, 2 brite ideas, 1 hbl, 1 local guy that uses box store material and mini lights on roof lines, a few guys that hang a job here or there but no real competition out of this group.

Good luck to all.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:10 PM
britelights britelights is offline
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Dave!!!! Been waiting for this thread !!! Glad to hear you're doing well. We're at 8 new jobs, including 1 large municipality job that I started working on in fall 2011. Round of postcards going out this week...we're late on those because we were debating whether or not to mail any postcards this year. Had some change-up in our main crew - slowed things down a little. But we have 2 full-time crews running and we feel a little more comfortable about all the renewals that have to be up before Thanksgiving. And yes...Carlos is still on that main crew -- not sure if I'll ever get him off a crew - LOL.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:46 PM
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Hi David, hang in there with the phantom competitors. 10 or 15 years ago there were only a handful of us doing installations in South Florida. Now days everyone with a pickup truck and a ladder seems to think they can go out and make it big in the Christmas business. They go in and bid at half of what we can do it for. But within a year or two, they are no where to be found. Stay true to your business and keep plugging away.

We also find that focusing more on commercial jobs rather than residential really narrows down the playing field. Businesses want someone with a long term track record. Plus we've found that when dealing with commercial properties, our returning customer base is about 90%. It's a pain in the butt to get the larger commercial jobs, but the payout is much better. Good luck this season!
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:54 AM
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Was wondering where you had been Dave.

Me, status quo. Once again wasted more money with Holidynamics direct mail, so far in the past 2 years, $7k and finally a phone call - "my daughter hasn't lived here for 3 years, she moved to Colorado. Please remove her from you mailing list."

Needless to say, a little more than disgusted to say the least. Was considering buying the book that Christmas Designers has, but the girl I talked to when I placed my order than is coming in - that;'s a whole separate experience that I am not going to go into here but would be = to speaking with Scott directly as Holidynamics told me she would make sure Jason called me about it. So 2 weeks later and no call.

Summary, I am confident to say that this will be that last year. All done wit throwing $ out the window each year.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:01 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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good to hear from all of you. Sorry to hear about everything going on with sandy storm recovery. my prayers are with you. Brite Lites- I think yo may remember I went from a crazy insane schedule of me and a guy to 2 crews without me on them from one season to the next. 2 years later 3 crews and 2 years after that 4. I think you guys are in a different situation than me, as my wife does the 4 kids plus some secretary work. You guys are more both full time in the field, so Carlos can easily stay on the crews.

We are doing more postcards in November this year, trying weekly, mainly because of flat out not preparing properly and kind of an experiment too. we did mail some landscape light cards out earlier inJuly and August with Christmas info on the back, and had some Landscape cards in the spring. but I have not closed any sales yet this year that mentioned those.

addicted, my direct mail is pretty simple and complex at the same time. it is fairly complex to take a great night time Christmas light photo and design the text, graphics back of a postcard. It is simple but kinda expensive, maybe 300 bucks per postcard design, to get them printed if you have a marketing company take your photo and text and create the files for you. just don't lose the files. As you can see above, my direct mail has been a work in progress like all my other marketing efforts. I still am trying to do better at it in the off months. but once you have several postcards done and printed, The easy part is finding the walking code for the neighborhoods you want to saturate with EDDM postage at the post office. a bit more complex is signing up and getting a pass word, filling out the forms, etc.

many places online do this all for you at around 27 cents and up per 6 1/2 by 11 postcard printed and mailed. but that is around 5000-10000 volumes, and I tend to only want to mail 2500 per time or so. I like to buy my cards from gotprint.com for around 8 cents each for a 8 1/2 x 11, and it costs about 15 cents each to mail.

we mail to highest value homes and tend to get a few good sales off of each mailing.

Done a few bids this weekend, 3 appointments scheduled tomorrow.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:32 PM
TexasFire221 TexasFire221 is offline
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Only had one call so far from the direct mailers and she won't answer the phone or return an email. I'm going to write her off. Have a appointment scheduled for Wednesday on a very large home a few houses down from another job we do. She saw the lawn signs in the area and called. So far I've had a total of 9 leads. Received a no on 7 and we will see how the next 2 go. Received an email earlier and she told me what she was willing to pay before I even talked to her about anything. Sure hope it picks up soon.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:07 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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huh, odd, I posted here on this thread late yesterday and it is gone now. maybe it never got here. got #10 and 11 yesterday and #12 today. good sales. crossed a good threshold today, hoping to continue the movement on sales and continue with good weather. booking monday after Thanksgiving now, so some folks who might buy for a lighting job for family coming on thanksgiving may be buying from someone else. I started saying "Nov. 26" instead of "The monday after Thanksgiving."

had 6 appointments today, one big add on and 1 sale. but I am due some serious no's, I am way ahead on my close ratio on bids done verses closed jobs.

It always amazes me that closing jobs and getting jobs up helps feed my ego, and then customers call and have bulbs out, bow for wreaths missing, sections of wreath out, etc brings me back down. And the real volume of complaints don't start until next week when everyone starts turning the lights on. Always bugs me when we do a job, everything works and all is lit, then 3 weeks later you turn it on and 3 bulbs are out and the wreath won't work. when you KNOW it all worked 3 weeks ago, and it has not been on, that drives me crazy.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:15 PM
TexasFire221 TexasFire221 is offline
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Have my first 3 estimates Friday from the direct mail. They sound promising so we will see how they go. And of course they are at the very far side of my target area but ill take what I can get at this point. Have been getting leads like crazy from christmaslightleads but am done chasing them. If they would ever email me back I would cancel that service. Received 3 leads today from them in about 10 minutes but they are all bargain shoppers. I've chased a few of them and I am done. I get so angry when people don't have the respect to call me back and just say no thanks. I had 3 appointments earlier in the week and they wouldn't return a call or a email. Glad I called to confirm before I spent my time driving out there. I am also done pushing light links. I'm sure I said this last season also but my market just cannot handle it all all. I sent direct mail to probably 20 zip codes and I only had 1500 homes that met the criteria I set. Just not tons of money within my service area. I've scared off too many customers the last two years I just can't do it anymore. We will see how Friday goes.
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