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Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by Thisjm, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. Thisjm

    Thisjm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    I am installing a highly visible demo project next week and we got our first call today!

    Getting my company launched later than I had hoped due to a totaled truck and a few other things but it is now or never so here we go! I just want to focus on getting my feet wet this season and get in the groove of doing a good job. I am practicing my approach for turning biz away so as to not overextend out of the gate. Of course planning to re-approach those leads for next season.

    So here is the house. She thought maybe $500 but admittedly doesn't know what to expect. I threw out a typical budget of $850 - $2,000. The house is 40 minutes away so would need to be marked up for travel some. They probably won't bite anything this season and its further than I want to go anyway but I do want to give her a design idea and budget to think about for next season.

    The pricing approach I am starting with is selling the product + labor for install & removal + storage.

    Since I still know nothing but this is the size home (and up) I want to work up to and build a brand around would you guys chime in on thoughts of estimating it and the logistics of it? (photo provided by customer)

    Wonder how off I am,

    I'm guessing 175-200' of empty socket cord to do the roofline and peaks? And

    Maybe 60' to wrap the poles in garland?

    60" wreath over the door?

    Can you tell what difficulties this type of roof may bring? (so much to learn about flashing, coping, other trade terms I have yet to familiarize with, and clips trial & error etc!)

    Any thoughts on rough estimates from photos or google earth photos?

    As always, thanks!


  2. OP

    Thisjm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    To elaborate a bit: I wouldn't bid an install like this from afar. Instead I hope to learn to get a good grasp of SOW and budget range then would take a design deposit on that to make the trip to get better measurements, work the sale and finalize a design for the final proposal.
  3. OP

    Thisjm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    Got a lead on this 40' spruce from a winery for lighting in warm white and a star atop. Threw out a rough estimate of $5,000 with $3,000 for the rehang. That is about 1000 C9s sold with 2' (maybe 18") spacing, installed, removed and stored. Guessing about two days to install with a boom truck and a little less to remove in January. Not sure about a star yet but will investigate further if they bite.

    photo (11).jpg
  4. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    Why retro fit C9's? That's the most expensive way you could go. Unless they specifically want C9's.

    I'd go with m5 100 count warm whites. It's like 1/3 the cost of going with retro fits. Throw like 48 sets of 100 counts up there. Retail them the lights for $1000, figure out your labor costs, charge them that..etc. I think $2k is where you should be on this, rehang for $1000. With a boom truck and two guys, this is like 2 hours to install, and 1.5 to pull down. You only need the boom for the last 10 feet of height and the star. The rest will go by quicker with poles.
  5. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    Ultimately it comes down to what the customer wants. If they want the roofline done, than do it. If they want wreaths, then do it....etc. You'll learn over time what will look good, and what will look poorly, and you can give some guidance to your customs. But, I will say 9/10 times, your customer is already going to have it figured out.

    On this house, I'd do C9 with 12 inch spacing for the roofline. if you have 200 feet, you'll want to be in the range of $6-8 a foot. If you are going to sell them instead of renting, you'll be $8-10 a foot the first year. I'd think real hard about the buy vs rent model though. IF you are in it for the long haul, and plan on buying commercial grade lights, renting will make you more over the long haul.
    For the wreath, you'll have to measure. a 60" may look way to huge, or it may be the right size. I think it will be too big, it basically will be twice as wide as the front door. a 48" or maybe even a 36" might look better. I like to buy blank wreaths and put the lights on them. That way I know everything matches.

    Looks like a 32ft ladder will be required. Just be careful around the windows. No one likes a ladder dropped through their window.
  6. OP

    Thisjm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    Thanks for your input! I like the idea of going with minis instead. My strategy is a lot of market testing this year so I was curious about the response. I do think that with the size of the tree and the addition of a star (next year) that the C9s or G30s would look great and it could be a nice way to kick off my tree guys.

    I've learned to go in bigger and work backwards while selling luxury tech and it worked well. I spoke to her today about doing WAC and your estimates were helpful. If she bites (est. $2200/$1200) it will be great. If not I have a solid lead to follow up on for next year! A bite would be great though, I need pics for my website!
  7. OP

    Thisjm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    So today I have been crazed trying to get more ducks in a row. I had a huge omission in my pre-launch plan which was to get my state sales tax certificate! Yeesh, I don't know how I missed it but had to scramble today to get that under way. Should be alright thankfully.

    Now trying to figure out the best way to combat wind on my gazebo install. Hanging 10 12" ornaments between arches and above the doorway but it is right on a lake front and upstate NY winter winds don't play! May have to 86 them come install time next week.
  8. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,080

    Tall houses with steep roofs are a pain plus no gutters. I would factor in $3 a foot for install and $3 to take it down and no less. I had a tall house two years back that took me way longer then I had planned on. I have turned away some difficult houses because there was no way I could charge enough to make it worth my while.
  9. BeachysLawn

    BeachysLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 271

    Probably 90% of what we do around here is on homes exactly like what is pictured above. And you are right, they are a pain in the butt.

    But if I didn't take jobs like that I wouldn't have any work. The homes that can be reached from a 18' Little Giant are few and far between.
  10. OP

    Thisjm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    Thanks for the replies. I have been super busy setting up the business strategy and management side and working on my big debut install on Main St. I know I haven't got a big biz going yet but am trying to plan, plan, plan in hopes of avoiding failure due to overextending or costly administrative and logistics mistakes.

    Spec/village sponsorship project is coming along well and I am pleased with the results thus far there has already been much learned. Here is what's happened:

    Ordered nine 22' Mixed Country Wreaths and six matching 9' x 12" from Vickerman along with bows, and a dozen large ornaments plus matching lights for a christmas tree. The greenery is beautiful and I am very pleased with the look and quality.

    As I was pre-fluffing out the garlands I notice that five of the six are pure white instead of warm white (which isn't even an option for ordering.) They are out of the garlands so they send me lights to restring them. A few days and too much wasted time later, I had a sore neck and a good method down for restringing.

    I go to fluff that sixth garland after wrapping with the last restring and realize that the warm whites I just put on are not the same color. They match the lights Im using on the tree but not the one garland and nine wreaths. Ugh! Lesson one - compare warm whites even if you buy them from the same company specifically for them to match.

    No time so I have to make the five garland stretch, ditch the sixth and hope that it isn't so noticeable that the wreaths are different. Very frustrating and I am still waiting on an answer from the company about what they will do to make this right. HUGE waste of time. Also, if you have any of this stuff you may have a pure white creeper in there so look for it.

    Lesson 2: Have more clips. I didn't have enough All in Ones and they were snapping when I was putting the C9s/G30s on. It was cold but they did seem very brittle. Anyone? I had to run to the Home Depot and was able to modify an all purpose clip that actually worked better on the cedar shingles because they had more give.

    Question: If an inline plug seems to be bad (or a c9/c7 socket,) can you a. remove and replace with another right in the same spot and/or b. remove and replace a bit further down the line leaving the tiny holes in the wire's insulation from the first plug?

    Now I have to figure our how to make these big 12" ornaments all hang at the same length with ribbon and bows. Its trickier than I thought this part would be. Had to spray them (antique gold finish) with a UV coating and fill a bit with sand to weigh them down as the install is right on the lake front where it gets very windy. may have to secure with fishing line too.

    Time to work on new estimates too: garlands, topiaries, teardrops, wreaths, and window candles. A 30" tree. Any thoughts on the tension garland hangers for around the door? Anyone use them?

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