Greenery and misc.

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by cmturner, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. cmturner

    cmturner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    I know the rent vs sell concepts have been dicussed many times but what I didn't see any discussion on anything other than lights. What do you rental guys do as far as your greenery and stuff like that. Just still working out little ideas and thoughts. Thanks.
  2. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    Renting is renting and selling is selling. Dont mix the two concepts, you will be in for a tough road.
  3. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    Agreed! If you are going to rent them the display, then just rent the whole thing to them.
  4. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    ah Renting problems, this is why I sell.

    c-9's, cords, metal displays, they are all rebuildable. you can put in new bulbs, new strands of mini's, and cords just seem to last forever. The thing about renting wreaths,garland, mini-lights, they have to be replaced regularly. Greenery fades and sheds, it is usually done and must be replaced after 5-7 seasons. and it is fairly difficult to restring lights on wreaths and garland. mini-lights, including LED's just burn out or the wires pull out after awhile.
  5. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    That's why you plan for these things and figure it in to your rental price if you are going to go that route.

    I've seen two real advantages in renting.

    1. Customer retention. No one goes and finds the lawn guy to put up the commercial lights they bought from you last year, for half the price. (We get this call all the time, people leaving thier last company looking for a better deal)
    2. I never have to ask/worry about replacments. We just do it. No arguments on if we broke something or why didn't it last for 20 years...etc.

    There are down sides as well, just as there are up sides to selling. The bottom line is that you just need to plan, and stick to your plan.

  6. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    Ok, might as well beat this dead horse again.

    advantages of selling:

    1. customer retention. we sell , and have retained 90% or more of last years customers every year for 9 seasons in our area. several years we have lost less than 5% of customers. Once people buy from me in year 1, I typically am less cost than a renter in years 2 to when ever. Therefore, it costs folks more to go to renter after buying from me. No one rents most of the product I sell because it is expensive for a business to buy, so the 2 renters in my area are primarily c-9 and mini-light guys.
    2. you have no worries about expensive unique items. When a customer wants a 3d steel frame angel, You make a fair profit the first year. If the customer goes south next year, you are not stuck with an item you now need to rent to someone else for that asset to make money for you. Even though I sell, I have had customers just give me product when they move. I still have 75% of it just laying around because I can't get rid of it. I cannot imagine what renters do.
    3. so far, many customers understand that items wear out and need replacement and they pay for that, not me.
    4. for me, my business is growing too fast to capitalize vehicle and building assets if I rent. I need the profit that comes from selling product to be able to afford to grow the business. Once I lose as many customers a year that I gain, renting will sound like a better idea to me when I don't have to spend cash on storage and truck fleet every year.
    5. I truly believe that customers tend to try to take better care of product that they have ownership in. when they know it costs them service calls to replace burned out bulbs after a few years, they tend to not leave them on all night and all day long.
    6. also, since I sell, the more complicated items, such as starbursts, the light links, 3-d items, wreaths garland, etc, while a lawn guy might be able to put them up, he has no training or access to parts to fix this product. I find that nearly all of the customers who no longer use me have no decorations on thier house, even though they may have them in thier basement. c-9s, the mainstay of renters here, however, anyone can buy those clips and bulbs at wal-mart. c-9 LED bulbs are the exception to this rule.

    I'm fair, so I'll list the disadvantages of selling:

    1. Insurance issues. trying to insure product that you store but do not own is very hard to explain and get coverage for. My customer's homeowners insurance policy actually covers thier stuff, but I still try to "co-insure" it
    2- balance sheet/asset accumulation. as a renting business grows, so should it's c-9 strand inventory. since the good stuff lasts 20 years plus, to a bank, that business get's better with age. since I don't own those assets, mine does not.
    3. once you reach a certain stable size, say a renting company that does 500k per year in lighting verses a selling/rehang company that does 500k per year, The renting company should in theory make more profit that the same size install/rehang company. since we all price stuff different, the revenue point is different for every company, but I would guess the annual revenue number where renting is better profit wise is somewhere between 250k and 400k in renting revenue.
    4. you have very little use for used stuff. You'd rather sell new product and have to fix it less.
    5. renters by nature ( exceptions are noted) do not rent 3-d sculptures and custom pieces, therefore need less storage space per customer.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2009
  7. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    I will add one thing, if I were using incandescent lighting, I would be selling it! Like Dave pointed out, it matters what you are selling/renting on which route you want to take.

    I couldn't give away light links and 3D stars here, so I'm using a lot of LED C9 and LED M5 and 5mm.

    There are actually several things you can do with your lights and such once people fire you or move away that will put money in your pocket. Oddly, there is a market out there for used lights, especially LED's since they have a longer life. There is also value in the metals in your light strands and wireframes. If we lose a customer, we sell it or scrap it! This also helps keep old lights out of the landfills.

    As far as vehicle growth and storage growth, I am of no help! I live in GM country, the land of $200 per month trucks. I also have storage on my property and room to build more. So that's cheap as well.

    It really just comes down to planning for all you new guys!
  8. cmturner

    cmturner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    Sorry guys, didn't mean to reopen the entire debate.*trucewhiteflag*

    I just hadn't seen anything a about the greenery and other misc items being rented. I am thinking for my area I am going to be doing alot of incandescent vs LED so on that note I think I am going to be going towards selling. Thanks guys for the food for thought.

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