takedown info

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by David Gretzmier, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    On takedowns, I am already thinking of the boxes for storage to purchase, 3 inch Tapeguns and tape, yellow plastic tags for the c-9 lights and wreaths. we get most of our stuff from ULINE.

    we need to build about 40 spools for the additional c-9 jobs we did this year, along with some shelving and reorganizing of our current storage system.

    I will begin filming jobs tomorrow under a new video system. In the past, I used a mini-dvd camera to film each job and it put it on a single mini-dvd. the install crew would then play that dvd for instructions on how to put up the job. This year I will be filming using a hard drive video camera, film all of the new jobs and the jobs that have add-ons, and probably another 20-40 old jobs, just to start replacing the individual mini-dvd's we currently use with a single 5 inch dvd that will hold aprox 50-60 jobs.

    eventually we will have all of our jobs on a set of 3-4 DVDs that we can burn anytime from the computer. We had about a dozen mini-dvd's get scratched this year and were unplayable. This way if the 2008 dvd gets scratched we can burn a new one.

    I also went ahead and purchased a used 16 foot boxvan to add to the fleet, I figure we can really use it during takedowns. 16 foot is probably a little big for install, but the 14 footer we have has a big limitation. To carry a 32 foot extension ladder you have to leave the access door open between the cab and the box. I know I need a ladder rack system for the boxvans for a 40 foot ladder, but I have not figured it out yet.
     
  2. shade tree landscaping

    shade tree landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 915

    I just take a pic of the house before take downs, bring the pic and a sharpie to the house, number each part of the lites, mark the picture with number and bag/box it all up. Has worked great for me so far. Alot cheaper and easier than buying a video camera
     
  3. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    we did photo's and sharpies when we only had about 20 jobs or so and I could be at all installs to answer questions. They were helpful to me when I put it back up. when you have crews that do install, photo's don't work for me, as they rarely contain all the info the guys need to do install. I spent 500 bucks or so on the camera, and it saves me at least ten times that per year on labor. Since I have multiple crews, I can't be there at the start of every job. The video allows my voice to be there and show them where all the stuff was on the house last year.

    In about 2-3 minutes I can zoom in and show where all plugs, outlets, cords go, what size wreath, how much garland and which bushes got mini-lights.
    I also talk about info you tend to forget-which outlet is good or bad, gates, locks, dogs, special customer issues, etc. It is a perfect thing to do when install is done and Christmas is not yet here.
     
  4. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    Checking off the list-

    picked up the boxvan from indiana this weekend and brought it home tonight. long trip but an awesome deal and very good box van. can't wait to put graphics on it. needs a tire, a latch for the access door between the cab and the box, and a good wash, but otherwise perfect. stereo is shocking great factory job.

    got about 60 videos done and will film as many old jobs as I can before takedown. I am trying to get all jobs re-filmed this year and launch the 4-6 dvd set instead of a hybrid system like I previously planned. with 100 videos to go, I may not make it.

    Ordered 3, 3 inch tape guns and am switching to yellow paper tags instead of plastic. plastic tags are 40 cents each now ( was 20 or so last year), and paper is about 6. since we go through 5 hundred per year or so, and we rarely get these wet, I hope this is a good call. was able to go with a larger tag to provide more detail when we label c-9 strands.

    1/3 the way done on spools. will finish before christmas day.

    I need to hire someone next year for billing and collections. I can barely keep up with it with my wife's part time help and she hates to call and ask for money or knock on folks door. i am determined to hire this out next year.
     
  5. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    spools done, tags and tape guns working well, got 110 videos done and 50 more to do.

    got 22 jobs down in 4 days, will try to get 138 jobs down in 13 working days when we go to 3 crews full time on friday.
     
  6. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    When your done.. bundle up and come up here!
     
  7. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    Sounds like you have things VERY well thought through. That's smart with the video camera.

    I only do a few houses, besides going clark griswold on my own place, and just got the others all taken down today. Glad to have good weather! Also glad to make it back in one piece. 10 months before I have to start on lights again!
     
  8. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    111 jobs to go, 30 videos to do. working all crews tomorrow since we were off Jan. 1, but off on Sunday. with great weather next week, may get done by friday next week if all crews work all 5 days and click along as they have been. This would be the earliest we have been done with takedowns ever, except maybe 2001 when I only had 12 customers in Northwest Arkansas.

    Ordered a new building last week, having it built instead of building it myself, smaller than I wanted but probably doubling my current cubic footage. hopefully this will buy me 4-5 years worth of customers space. This will be 2000 square feet from 13 feet on the sides to 17 feet tall at the peak. mark my words, I will regret not building this thing taller and bigger, but it is the biggest i can afford right now. at 12 grand built on my existing pad, not too bad. In case anyone wonders, that is 6 bucks per square foot built or aprox. 50 cents a CUBIC foot built, which actually is more important to me.

    of course, I hoped that 900 square feet ( but only 8 feet tall ) added last year would buy me a couple of years. I gobbled that up in a year. I also am carrying over about 450 square feet in just inventory space, which I have never done before either.
     
  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    89 jobs to go as of this morning. 9 more videos to do. guys lost a 400 buck little giant ladder on Sat, made them go out and find it and luckily we did. Had a complaint yesterday that was a first time ever. we took down a job on Sat, jan. 3rd, and they complained we took it down too early. They had company and wanted them to enjoy it through the 5th. This is in a neighbordhhod that HAS to be down by Jan. 11th per POA rules. Tried to apologize, but may lose him next year. That'd be wonderfully ironic- losing a customer from taking town lights too soon after the 1st.

    Scheduling takedowns has got to be given higher priority once installs are done next year. All customers will be called starting the 10th of December or so. waiting til the 20th most folks are gone on vacation. apparently, 4 categories: take down before Christmas ( yeah, we had a couple of those) , take down between Christmas and new year's day, and takedown after jan 2, and THEN folks who need it later than that.
     
  10. M&N Maintenance

    M&N Maintenance LawnSite Member
    Posts: 53

    David I think it is great that you are that organized. Will be doing the pictures this year hopefully it will work for me.
    Start my take downs today.
     

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