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Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by hotrod1965, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    For fun, you should search the current craigslist ads in your area. It's getting pretty crazy around here! It's almost to the point where people are willing to pay their customers to put up their lights:)
     
  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    It is not just craigslist. I bid against my local Christmas Decor guy this last weekend. to install, takedown, and store LED c-9s across a very tall ( over 40 foot ladder ) , steep, and difficult home, aprox 200 feet, 2.50 per foot. I am and have been at 6.50 first year/3.25 2nd year per foot for old style bulbs for several years now, and I close 30-40 jobs per year for that. He has been around for several years, and has always bid around 4-4.50 per foot for every year "rental" until this year. I have watched over a dozen Christmas guys go out of business at 3 bucks per foot and under over the last 10 years or so. While I think dropping insurance, workman's comp and an owner/helper situation is possible at those lower numbers, you cannot grow or sell your business at those rates.

    What confuses me is this guy has a successful Lawn spraying business and he knows what his guys can generate per day spraying. why give away or make less doing Christmas Lights? He has done research in the past having my self and another Christmas Light installer here do bids for his house. He knows what we charge and could charge just slightly less if he feels the need to be the price leader. He closes work at his old rates just because folks don't want to pay the purchase price for me and he is less, though more in the 2nd year.
     
  3. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,743

    I am surprised at the CD franchise. I drop prices to $4 if it is big enough but you cant make money at less than that.

    But....I do have a local guy putting up mini's on roof lines and lowes garland on bannisters, he also drapes icicle lights in trees....I dont know how he makes money because when I run into him he is usually 1/4 my price.

    Last year he did 125 ft C-9, 18' garland, 200 c-7 (tree) and put out the H/O deer etc for $400 and unless the H/O was full of crap that included take down too. It looked bad but who knows if the H/O was happy with that price.

    Good luck all.
     
  4. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    That's simple. He has about $100 into materials because he bought all low grade stuff. Took the guy maybe 10 hours total, so he made $30 per hour. Maybe $20-25 with cords and such. But he doesn't have any overhead. No insurance, no marketing, no building costs, no warranty or repair costs..etc. He has truck and ladder costs, but doesn't include them because he doesn't know any better....

    I think there will be an up swing in low ballers this year. A lot of lawn type guys had tough years and need to try and make up some money. Sadly, most people dont understand the difference. They just see that they can get a roofline for $200 from one guy and I charge $500 for the same thing.

     
  5. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    I am enjoying people complaining that last year they hired some fly by night company that never fixed anything and never came back to take down the lights...etc.

    So I quote them, and they turn around and hire another cheap fly by night company. TWO different times this year! It just makes me laugh sometimes!
     
  6. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    The cheapies are everywhere, and they poison folks pretty permanant. once a person has paid 300-500 bucks to get their whole house done, they are not going to go to 1500 or 2000, no matter what. I have converted exactly one person from a cheapie to real pricing. It just blew me away that someone that paid 20 grand for a Christmas Decor franchise and they were low balling. I can stomach 4 bucks a foot on rental on big jobs. I would see that on commercial work or 1000 bulbs plus but 2.50? :hammerhead:

    Think of the cost of an LED c-9 bulb, good c-9 socket wire, clip, and cords timers and add it up in your head. I know some guys use 15 inch spacing, and that saves you a bulb every 4 feet, but still, how in the world can you install and takedown the first year and make anything? You have got to be losing decent money after labor. and more so if you carry insurance and the overhead on the truck .

    I can also handle the home depot and lowes guys. they will go out of business when the bulbs start burning out next year or the following.

    The good news is if CD in my area gets eough of these clients they will absolutely be quitting the Christmas Light business in a few years.
     
  7. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  8. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,743

    That is what they charge for the drive over, lights are extra....
     
  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    It cost me 5 cents a foot to read thier ad...
     
  10. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    I should have them come do my house... it would only cost me $10!
     

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