Taking the lighting business full tilt

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by addictedtolandscaping, May 17, 2009.

  1. addictedtolandscaping

    addictedtolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 569

    Hi guys been a bit since I popped in here, reading and rereading the entire thread, just finished number 4, but I seem to pick something up each and every time I got through it. I have gone over everything that Mike has sent me from HBL numerous times as well, got a close friend talking to the BOD at the country club he belongs to, trying to get my direct mail rep to understand where I am here, I want to have all of this ready to hit the ground running when we come back. However;

    I had an epiphany a few weeks ago, have any of you guys given the idea of taking the holiday lighting full tilt; meaning going after event lighting and such. I was actually meeting with my graphic artist the other day as we are trying to come up with a logo that is not only particular to lighting, but for the time being will incorporate my landscaping business logo as this will be a service added to eliminate me from having to obtain separate insurance (per the agent) and tax numbers and such right away. Also by being recognized under it's own identity with just being done by the landscaping business will give me the ability to break it out down the road, if you guys think I am off here please let me know. with the idea of event services, I have decided to refer to the lighting as "Celebration Lighting by Loiselle Associates" for the time being.

    I find that I am all fired up, but am running into times where I feel like I am spinning my wheels and getting no where as I don't want to start pushing the lighting to much until after we come back from the training seminar for a couple reasons, I truly want to know what I am talking about, and I don't want to create any bad habits so to speak by not doing something the "right way," not to mention actually getting my hands on the products itself. Dave, I know you are a fan of the HBL products, would you suggest purchasing the sales kit they have assembled for showing to potential customers? It seems a bit in the high end of things, but if it is worth it, then so be it. I was also considering as I have read others have done with purchasing some of the big box store items and having them to compare to. Unfortunately the plane tickets are booked, the hotel reservations are made, so I really can't do to much more until we get the training accomplished, I don't think any how. I am planning on writing a summary and description of the lighting to be added to my website, so maybe that would start increasing exposure or at least the idea of it.

    Any how, if you guys could give me your thoughts on the event lighting idea that would be fantastic.

    Thanks for all of your time and patience.
     
  2. TexasFire221

    TexasFire221 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 479

    I want to comment on the HBL questions. This will be my second year in holiday lighting. Last fall I booked my tickets and hotels in Omaha and made the journy from Texas. I had no idea where to even begin until I met with Mike and Scott. They got me pushed in the right direction. I got started really really late. I ordered 500 trifolds and just sent them out to high-end neighborhoods. My first year with very little marketing and a late start I got 7 jobs. While I was in Omaha last year they showed us a demo of the sales kit that was going out this year. I think it will be key in landing sales. The customer get get a picture of what a light link will look like and its all in a handy case. I am working on this years direct mailer and hope to get tons of business this season. Best of luck to ya!
     
  3. addictedtolandscaping

    addictedtolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 569

    Hello and thanks so much for the reply.

    I have to say that the reason I ended up going with HBL was reading the site, seeing how strongly Dave feels about HBl and knowing that it is a professional opinion. I actually contacted the three companies, HBL, Christmas Decor and Bright Ideas. Unfortunately, I had a bit of sticker shock to Bright Ideas and Christmas Decor, and the big turn off outside of price for me was the Franchise fee. I have read and reread this forum and will continue to do so, each time I get something new out of it, and I consistently note that Dave states very clearly that the Christmas Decor training is outstanding.

    When I talked to Mike on the phone the first time, I think remembering the conversation he was checking for the seriousness in my quest to gain information and move forward, and the honesty and integrity he met me with on the phone was bar none, his willingness and encouragement - not the salesman type but actual experience cinched it for me. when I was on the fence at the last minute, I called him again and he spent another couple hours with me answering question after question and when it came time to discuss the costs involved, he actually recommended the mid range program for me and we worked out a payment plan as I suddenly had some unexpected expenses come up. I don;t think it was a week nad I recieved the first shipment from HBL, which I could not wait to tear into, I have played with the design software several times, and am starting to get a good feel for it, I am so excited about this that I even bought a new laptop to run the software efficiently and be able to bring it to customers and create designs with them right there, then on the back side of it, I know that there is a program that enables you to create a contract and retrieve signatures right then and there while they are still all fired up about the design and at the heart of the excitement. I figure that it will enable me to process contracts and orders much quicker than the old style I was using, and see it as a wise business advance or upgrade. I have noted each time I have read the descriptions of the items guys bring with them and that is what got me interested in the sales kit - thanks you for reaffirming that.

    Dave and Bryan have been very kind and helpful with suggestions of equipment and offering advice, there aren't words that can describe how heartfelt I am with the assistance that guys that are successful even on the smaller side of this service have been. It is kind of strange to be one of the guys asking for advice, U am accustomed to being one of the veterans so to speak with landscaping, but I want to do this the right way and only the right way.

    I can not thank you enough for the insight, encouragement and experience that you have shared with me. I hope to some day be able to do the same for others. As I mentioned before in an earlier post, this site is fantastic, so much information, and the people that are willing to help you get the information and offer advice there just aren't words. Thanks again.
     
  4. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    To answer your event lighting question.... yes you can easily spin off on this. I've done a few jobs, but I don't activiley go after them. The hard part will be competing with the tent people who just sell packages that include all the lighting... etc. You may be wise to see if any of those companies would want to team up with you. Also would be in your best interest to contact wedding planners and party planners..etc.
     
  5. addictedtolandscaping

    addictedtolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 569

    Thanks alot for the feedback. I was considering doing exactly as you mentioned here with the event and wedding planners as well as the rental companies. My thought process also included the banquet halls, country clubs etc. I think I could make the lighting a full time business once I am able to get a market established or get involved in the one that may already be in place - but I can not find any evidence of. My thoughts were along the idea of LED's with dimmers and such, create a shadow effect as well as direct lighting.
     
  6. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    Thanks for all the compliments. honesty will get you everywhere.

    we've done a few weddings and had tons of calls for events, but you have to completely reshape your charges from Christmas lights to get those jobs. most folks just are not willing to go more than a few hundred bucks for wedding lighting, and they want spectacular for that price, and that includes set up and take down. I'd love to do more, but the dollars folks are willing to pay just don't justify the hours spent doing the jobs. Perhaps in large cities of 1 million or more there are larger events that will pay in the 500 and up range for a days work for 2 guys, but around here it is rare.
     
  7. TexasFire221

    TexasFire221 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 479

    Hey David, do you have any pictures of the weddings. I have one to do in October for a buddy and would like to see your set up.

    Thanks
     
  8. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    I'd agree you have to find the higher end weddings to make it worth it. Weddings can also be stressful as well, so you really have to make sure the juice is worth the squeeze.
     
  9. addictedtolandscaping

    addictedtolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 569

    I love the juice and squeeze cliche. I am just considering trying to figure out a way to increase market exposure and gain residual income so to speak. I definitely do not want to count on it as a primary or sole source, but the idea of some LEDs with dimmers etc, seemed to make it plausible. I really appreciate the feed back you and Dave have provided me all the way through this venture. I actually fly out to Nebraska on the 24th for the training, a very good thing as I feel like I am just spinning my wheels right now, but just stepped into a 5 house subdivision I have all the work on except pouring the foundations and setting the mods, so at least the site development is taking off, gets my mind off trying to figure out how to do the lighting until I at least have some actually training.


    Thanks again guys, I will try to make some updates as tings start to take shape.
     
  10. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    We don't really have a setup for weddings, as they all want mini-lights everywhere. in trees, in bushes, an arbors, inside, etc. I have bid probably a dozen of these and done a few. They all seemed shocked by the price. On rehang, I get 12.50-15.00 per 100 lights at christmas time, and wedding folks always want 1000's of lights. We make it look beautiful, but even wealthy folks don't seem to like the price.
     

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