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how much population and years to be full time?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by David Gretzmier, May 2, 2009.

  1. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 805

    I know everyones market and niche is different, but be careful. If your competitors are taking your business then I say go for it, if you have the cash, no loans. I have talked to several reps and everybody is down some, so if nobody is looking at all that marketing will it pay? It's kinda like the investment market, when do start buying back in? I don't think it's quite time yet.
  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    Just did some research on 30,000 saturation mailing, and man, yeah, 10 grand is the price, but for that you get to pick carrier routes, and you get printed addressed and mailed with names an 11x17 ( yee hah, how many photo's can I fit on THAT ) 4 color 2 sided folded piece ( gotta get down to no larger than 6x11 ) for 30 cents a piece, or 9900 with all setup and purchase of list etc. not too bad at all.

    For an area of 500,000 folks like mine spread over 2 counties, I'd definetely consider than a once a year thing to hit all those other houses I miss at the top 1% thing. at the top, what 6% or so, but the negative fact that these carrier walking routes will hit many apartments that are close to nice neighborhoods, etc.

    just curious how the 30k number compares to firefly's population. Indianapolis is how many millions? a couple in the metro area ? you should be able to hit those walking route codes pretty close to the nicer homes, and therefore hit most of your top 1 and 2%.

    I'm interested to see how that pans out if you hit that kind of marketing for 6 months straight.
  3. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,186

    The last estimates I have heard from 2 media buyers we use are 1.9 million from one and the other says closer to 2.7 million in our area. We are using one major media firm who is designing and managing all of our marketing. Last month we spent about 10k in marketing which is way less than if we tried to do it all ourselves and buy the media. This firm buys so much media for so many different companies that they are able to pass on some great savings to us and allow us to a whole lot more than we would be able to on our own.
  4. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    10k is a heck of a deal for all you are getting.

    I have been emailing back and forth with a friend of mine who owns a lighthouse franchise. he has said that 10% marketing cost at 50kplus per month is about right if you want to keep the leads coming in his market. he has many lights only competitors, and so he must market quite a bit to keep it rolling. he actually hand delivers 1000-1500 6x9 cards in about 10 hours per week to really saturate those neighborhoods he has done a job in or near. This along with mailing is his main approach to bringing in leads, and therefore jobs coming in. his market is about triple the size of mine ( well, lookee there, we are 110th largest metropolitan areas. cool. )

    of course the dream is to develop such a reputation that referrals eventually lower marketing cost. To me the reality is I have an abundance of folks who work for me during Christmas and I hate to see great guys who move on to work for other people. I would not be opposed to 2 crews on this gig, as we do 4 crews for Christmas already. so perhaps keeping a steady marketing going would be a good idea even when the referrals start pouring ( and they come in now, some. )
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    I have no desire to have to do 2-3 jobs per week to keep my business rolling. If I stay smaller have less stress then I can do quite well on a fraction of that. It takes away from the values I have built my company on which is the personalized service and quality control.

    I just bid against 4 others for a sub division entrance. I was the highest in price but I was also the only one willing to hand install everything and not just send a crew out to do it. They know they are getting something special. The homes inside range from 400k to 4.5m

    For you guys doing that kind of volume what kind of percentage are you seeing in your pocket at the end of the day ?

    To each his own I guess.
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    To each his own indeed!

    Perhaps I am just lucky, or perhaps my 'novel' marketing/networking efforts are just that much more effective than traditional nuts and bolts advertising, I am not sure which.

    Last year I spent less than 1% of my revenue on traditional advertising & marketing and I spent 5% of revenue on "being remarkable". The result was our best year ever, a fully booked installation season, and the ability to hire on more staff for this year.

    I stand by my advice to you all: No matter where you operate, no matter what your market, target and service the top 2 to 5 percent of that market. Don't expect to reach them with advertising because that simply will not work. You have to be more innovative and novel than that. Remember; someone has to be the best in their market, so why not you?

    Off to see the show at Lightfair! Have a great day.
  7. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    2-3 average jobs per week for me is not even full time with one helper. my average job is around 20 fixtures, can be fully installed in a long day, and tweaked in one hour in the evening. So I expect to be hands on, installing until we exceed 5 jobs average per week. I will just backlog at first.
  8. TXNSLighting

    TXNSLighting LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 6,463

    I would like to be installing around 2 jobs per week. Our average around here is usually 30-50 fixtures. That would really set me up to where i could still be somewhat small, and not have a huge crew of people. I want to remain on all the installs, so that way it gives that personal feel to the clients. Im hoping all this will happen by year 4. Im in year 2 now. So it is very possible.

    I also want to limit the marketing. Im still working on accomplishing the advice James has givin me, but it has proved trickier tan i anticipated. I hope to have it somewhat figured out by the end of this year. Which i should. Im getting more and more confidence as im doing more demos and networking with more people. Hopefully by year 4 i wont be doing demos! I will be doing live walk throughs of past installs by then.
  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    james has defeinetely made a name for himself up north through his work and marketing methods. i'd like to say he is just the only lighting guy up in canada disney world of multi million homes, but then, we have tons of multi-million homes here too, and I am the only outdoor lighting specialist as of now. He's just been at it over a decade.

    I guess I am just frustrated because of the success of the Christmas light side, I continually forget that it has grown at least in this area over a decade or so. And yet I desire to POOF have a similar size landscape lighting business in 20% of that time. And of course, with minimal advertising.

    I got a soft committment on a lighting job this morning, but I never really count it til I get the 1/2 down. I have got to get a marketing plan together and stop waiting for the phone to ring.
  10. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    Thought I'd resurrrect this thread a month later to see if Tim wants to chime in on how many leads,demo's and closed jobs are coming from the pretty massive advertising campaign he's got going. i am also curious where the best leads and closed jobs are coming from, magazine, postcard, etc.

    I am also finally getting some marketing out there, we'l be doing 10,000 brochures mailed out over the next 3 months to see if anyone calls in.

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