Going on my 3rd year in Christmas Lights need to step up to the next level!

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by umpire, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. umpire

    umpire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    I have been just kind of spinning my wheels so far with the lighting business.I want to step it up to the next level and start making some real money! So far have about 15-20 customers that I have got from the last 2 yrs. Last year was not that great even though I added a few things to look more proffesional such as work shirts with name embroided, Car magnets that actually looked like crap (thanks to vista prints) A website, and a new company logo and new business cards, also purchased the holiday soft light designer. I didnt send out any flyers or mailers and I know thats real important to target upper income households. The problem is it seems like I am putting alot of money in and not making the profits that I should. I am obviously doing something wrong.I am still using big box lights because to be honest the people I am getting as customers dont want to spend huge money. I do have a 3 hundred dollar min and I think I might hike that up. I want to step this up! What can I do!!!! Thanks
  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    Ok, want to be successful? after reading all the threads and posts on the Christmas section of lawnsite for the past 3 years, then...

    according to wikipedia, cumming, georgia only has around 4000 folks, but your entire county has around 100,000 folks. Your target market for postcards should be the 1000 top housholds in your county, or the top 1%. you need to dedicate yourself to around 400-500 bucks a month, for the next 4 months on sending postcards to the top 1000 homes in your county. get on the internet and shop around for a service that will print, find the high value homes and top wage earners and mail your cards for you. I have used quantumdigital.com with good success. There are others out there, but on average, expect to spend about 45-60 cents per card printed, addressed, mailed.

    Your cards need to include quotes from your current Christmas customers talking about how great you are at Christmas lights, and have a nice picture of a home with lights on the front.

    If you do 4 different card mailings of 1000 each in the beginning of August, September, October, and November, you should get about 100 bids, and you should close 25-40 of those if you convince them you are worth your prices.

    This will not work if you wait until October or November. They need to see your name at least 2-3 times before they think you are legit. many folks need 6-12 times before they will call and ask for a bid.
  3. addictedtolandscaping

    addictedtolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 569

    By no means do I want to sound like an expert or anything of the sort, but I have been bugging Dave, HotRod, TurfHokie about this stuff since April. We just recently purchase a distributorship/dealership which ever the term maybe from Holiday Bright Lights. There were several aspects that brought us to this decision. A gigantic portion of this decision was the professional aspect of it, Dave and other spoke very highly in our conversations of the material Holiday Bright Lights offers, and truly we were able to stop at another manufacturers show room in Omaha when we were there, and I honestly think that comparing the two lines of products though very similar are different as night and day. I truly think that you will be surprised what is available and at what costs, and the presentation is remarkably different, much cleaner and neater.

    First and foremost, I am the type of person that will only do things if I am doing them right, and the information and training that is offered through their packages is outstanding, we actually just got back from the June Training Class about two weeks ago. This class incorporated everything you need to know to get going, from general background on lighting to marketing, - which there is now a program that they are facilitating that will complete the direct mailers for much less than I can get them done here in NY.

    After bugging the guys for suggestions, and information over and over and finally making a decision then reading and rereading these post - which i get something from each time I read them, I truly believe that once things start moving forward, we will be in a position not only to get ourselves established, but also make a fair amount of money. It is true that direct mail gets expensive, but in the grand scheme of it and to quote an old saying, you have to spend it to make it. It is difficult for me to justify spending thousands of dollars sending out more mail when truly this year was the first time that we did it with the landscaping end of our business, and got burnt extremely bad, but I believe as Dave mentioned, this is a different type of business, and if you think about it, people will read the mailers even this time of year thinking to themselves, Gd it is July and people are sending me mail about Christmas lights already - or something like that. Atleast it gets the idea moving in their head.
  4. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,753

    We are going into our 5th season of lighting and still find most people are shocked when they realize that it is not cheap to do and more so that even with the prices that you need to charge to make money that we will be booked solid from Halloween thru the middle of December. It is not easy, being on a roof is dangerous, the material is not cheap. And additionally we are a DECORATING SERVICE, not just a company that slings lights, those guys come and go.

    I find every year people think they can wait until Thanksgiving week, call us, get an estimate and have the lights installed the same week. We get there quickly, but not that quickly. So start marketing now so that you are not overwhelmed in November and December trying to get to appointments.

    But back to your question. David is right, start marketing ASAP. We usually run magazine ads in July, September, November. We start door hangars late September. We have not done direct mail but will probably begin doing that late August. It is IMPERATIVE that you hit them multiple times. I like to hit them different ways. I have timed direct mail pieces to hit the same time as a magazine cover. That way they get the magazine, see our cover ad and then see a postcard in the next day or two. That way they begin to recognize the name.

    The only reason that we have not direct mailed more is that we are in a small, densely populated area and have found that qualified homeowners in our area number somewhere between 20-25,000. Gets pricey when you start looking at that many pieces, we have tried to narrow it down to specific towns.

    Read the posts in this secion, David, HotRod and myself have given more information than I would like to admit to.

    Good luck.
  5. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    Great info all around. Hokie- checked out your website and looked at the gallery. One of your photo's has either snowfalke links or linkables. I thought you were a decor guy?
  6. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,753

    I am a Christmas Decor but........look at the gallery on the CDI home page and just look carefully............

    Call me if you get a chance, would love to talk to you as we gear up for the season.

  7. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    looked at the portfolio page on both residential and cammercial, did not see any links or linkables.
  8. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,753

    Looks like they pulled a bunch of pics when they revamped the site. There were examples of commercial and residential a couple of weeks ago.

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