Separate names with a comma.
Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .
Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by BenRossen, Nov 24, 2008.
Read these forums. There is a ton of info on here... Far more than what is in this $67 book.
addictedtolandscaping- Again, check out the big 3. you won't regret it. Holiday Bright Lights has a guy in New York that does very well with lights. I think he runs 5-6 crews.
David Thank you
I have been researching to beat the band so to speak. I got a small package from Bright Ideas last week, also had sent a request for info from Christmas Decor, haven;t heard anything other than they were going to forward my info to a local distributor, that was over a week ago. I also sent a request to Holiday Bright Lights. Mike replied to my email within 24 hours, not once but twice. I actually had a chance to give him a call last week, and we chatted for about an hour. He answered so many of my questions, and without hesitation. In one of his initial emails, he mentioned sending me a 08 catalogue as the 09 was not finished yet, I was looking for it, and actually called to ask if I was doing something wrong in my attmpts to view their website, next thing I know I am talking to Mike. In our conversation, I mentioned that I hadn;t recieved the catalogue as of yet, he told me honestly that he hadn;t had a chance to send it, due to being very busy. That worked for me, he was honest. Instead of getting told "you should have recieved it by now," he told me the truth, I respect that immensely. I got it last night when I got home, and am going to get into it today.
Needless to say as of right now, I am leaning very hard towards Holiday Bright Lights. Our conversation went on for about 1.5 hours until I had to say thank you and end it due to being dispatched for an alarm (I was at work at the ambulance). I was so impressed with our conversation, when I got home the next day I searched "Christmas Creations" on this site and bam there he was. It was just as satisfying to see his posts and read them as it was to speak to him, it further locked me into the knowledge of dealing with someone that believes in integrity being the bottom line. Even some of the things he mentioned on the phone were right there on the posts.
I was going to try to go out to a training class in June, but found out my eldest son is going to have to have surgery when school gets out for a issue with his knee, so I am thinking I am going to have to put it off until July. Honestly, I can not wait to get the training. The only struggle I have going on in my head now is the level at which to join. The $1500 option gets you trained and marketing but essentially that is it. 3500 gets you all the training marketing and and product for 2 houses then there is the 5000 and honestly I haven;t read through the paperwork as of yet that Mike sent me, but I am sure that it is more product. Money in my area is really tight this year, and I am still not totally convinced it will fly, but the mind set I have for working in this area is foolishly limited, that is a personal issue I am dealing with overcoming. When I talked to Mike he suggested the 1500 for the information, the 3500 getting you the ability to start moving forward he mentioned there were other levels, but did not really go into that as I think he understood I was concerned about the start up expenses. I appreciate that as well. Do any of you guys involved have any suggestions on what level to enter at??
I am going to reach out to him again tomorrow hopefully, and gain more information. Even at the end of our conversation, he offered to spend more time with me as I believes he fully understands my concerns and isn't trying to persuade me one way or the other, just offer his knowledge to assist me in making an informed decision. I can't say how much I appreciate that as well.
Since you were so kind in offering advice for a newbie, I just wanted to give some feedback on how the research end is going and ask if any one and further suggestions, reading etc. I think this will be a fantastic add on and further stabilize my business once thigns get rolling, as y'all can see, excited is probably an understatement.
Thanks again for the help and encouragement.
I will jump in real quick, I am not sure about your call with Christmas Decor, but there are no "local distributors" it is a franchise system. So I am not sure what is going on.
If you call Christmas Decor again ask for Greg or Glenn. They will be more than willing to help you just as Mike has. Just so you can get a feel for the differences between Bright Lights and Christmas Decor.
Where in NY are you? I think you mentioned the Albany area?
Give me a call if you want to talk, I can offer some information that I prefer not to post on here in regards to the "big 3" as David put it.
Just click on the lawn care link and my phone # is there.
I agree you should research all your options to make a well informed decision.
Josh Mintern should be your contact person at Brite Ideas. He's a great guy. I've posted about Christmas Decor and Brite Ideas before, read back at some of my posts. I had the chance to buy the existing Christmas Decor "Franchise" for my area back in 2000, researched it heavily, and nearly bought it. I also own a Brite Ideas "distributorship" since 2000 or so, and been a "Member" of Holiday Bright Lights since it's beginning 4-5 years ago. If money is tight at the 1500 or 5000 level, again, I can't see how Christmas Decor or Brite Ideas can fit into that level.
the other 2, they are good at what they do, but you will pay more at either to get access to product and training. Christmas Decor has the most limited product line but hands down the best training, but you pay big bucks ( my area was 20k plus 9 years ago, no product and you pay extra for training every time. ) and you are protected territory wise by virtue of population. but you pay a percentage of sales for life. Brite ideas has a much more diverse product line, less dollars to get in ( I paid 20k but got a very nice enclosed trailer and about 5-8k worth of product. They have cheaper options ) good but limited training. again, somewhat limited protected territory ( less than Christmas decor) , but no percentage of sales paid back to the home office.
I compete with another Brite Ideas guy, 2 Christmas Decor guys, 2 other Holiday Bright Lights guys, ( which by the way, offers no protected territory) and the few other guys that just buy from walmart and the internet. When I walk up to a perspective client, the only way I win that bid is with the best sales literature, best products and the most experience. The best garland, Wreaths, and light links, and sales material out there right now is HBL. Were that to change, I would have to change.
If you have no competition, then you can choose and spend whatever. I no longer have the luxury of choice. My market forces me to sell the best to stay alive.
I agree David entirely on his assessment, we were crusing until this past season. 2 brite ideas, 2 holiday bright lights and about 10 locals all decided to start doing lights. At least brite ideas and bright lights know how to price.
I have spoken with Josh as well, very helpful, but we went another direction when we got into lights originally. I spoke to Josh in his first year with Brite Ideas so that may have had some bearing on my decision.
We have dealt with both of their material as well. All 3 have their good points and bad points.
But if start up cost is a major concern, that will pretty much determine the direction you will end up going. I believe bright lights has the lowest entry fee so to speak. All give different start up packages as well. I do know that Christmas Decor territory price will vary with its size. I dont know the smallest territory but I believe it would be competetive with some of the other guys packages.
We actually run an area that is twice the size of our "protected" area due to other areas being "unprotected" we share an unprotected area with another franchise and so far it has worked out to both our benefits.
I understand and appreciate your information dramatically. I am concerned about the investment, especially since I know nothing about doing this sort of service, I am in a good location I believe, just outside of Albany, with Saratoga about 35 minutes or so away. Another interesting aspect I was playing with is Bennington, that is about 20 minutes away, then there is the areas between Albany and saratoga - Clifton park, Bethlehem etc. I know that once you cross the river up here, you enter a whole nother world. The package I entered in was 3500 and they are working me in on a payment plan.
I have played with the idea for several years, and in the course of reorganizing, I figured now was an ideal time to give it a go. Hopefully all will work out, I really like the idea of having another aspect of the business to create smiles.
Good luck, again if you need any help, give me a call 845-735-2331
You should be fine. There is a Christmas decor that services parts of that area, but I know he cannot get to everything. And Holiday Bright lights offers a different line and many time the customers want one or the other.
There is plenty of work out there just dont sell yourself short with the pricing.
One question I have, my father has asked me to address as to whom is responding to this thread, landscapers whom have bought a system and are using it, or salespeople....he said that it is most likely sales people, not trying to step on anyone's toes, just asking an honest question. Because no one has addressed the fact of how it works and how do you get clients, and what type of training is it to be worth 3500 or 5000 dollars, thats alot, even by University standards. Just asking for some clarification. thanks
I would have to say both, but the majority being contractors. I myself own a full service landscape company and just bought a system. I will be receiving the training to install, repair/replace, market etc.
It is pretty clear by reading through the threads that most are contractors. This thread a lot of the guys whom have had success in selling their services have responded to assist me in obtaining information. Essentially this entire site is posted on by contractors helping other contractors. You will on occasion get replies from company reps and they will state whom they are and with whom they are affiliated.