place for free training matterial

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by lawnguy423, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. lawnguy423

    lawnguy423 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    OK I know that people that either do their own or just go online to check things out come on this site so not expecting people to post right on this post ways how we are able to make more profit for less or easier work. But I have very limited budget to start this year and could use all the help I could get. Spent hours reading posts from years ago (wife didn't like all that time spent on my phone reading, hehe). Lots of great general and spicific information.

    What I am hoping to get someone or more than one person willing to talk me through starting a business in this field. I would even like to be able to have any kind of ebook or file that could help me out in any way.

    Thanks to everyone that has posted on here. Been a lot of great reading.
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  2. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    I started pushing holiday lighting last season and feel my results were great for my first year. Definitely did alot better than I thought I would when I first started researching it. For me the biggest things for my success where aligning with a couple of distributors (even though I only ended up buying from one last season), and marketing, marketing, and more marketing. The larger guys know have an idea of what they will use for materials each year and can bring in everything early to garentee the supply and save on costs. Being new I had to order materials as I got the signed contracts back, I definitely could have saved some money had I placed an early order and gotten in a few pallets by truck freight rather than all the individual ups shipments and a couple small truck freight orders (artificial trees/wreaths). The other big problem was that I would talk to a customer about one set of lights, then I would get the contract back 2 weeks later only to have to tell them the distributor had sold out of that light. By marketing earlier in the season, I should have more contracts back early enough to place some larger bulk orders for cheaper shipment and in some cases bulk savings on the product. I'll also do some large bulk ordering of things like c7 and c9's and mini lights that if I don't end up using this season, I know will get used the fallowing. Hope my insight helps a little
  3. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    if you are just getting started a good place to start is a phone call to Mike Marlow over at holidynamics ( HD ). He owned his own install company before he started working there, and is honest about the business. they offer training classes free ( last time I checked) at omaha, nebraska. they also have Christmas photos, text, marketing materials, uniforms, bid forms, etc available for you to start things off.

    They sell product and I buy a lot from them, but I also buy from other vendors as well. but none of my other vendors really have anything that helps me sell or trains me or my guyus to install their product.

    I think once you start doing bids you will be more confident and are way more likely to close more jobs and price them properly if you allign yourself with someone who can help.

    It is true that just about anyone can buy a 1000 ft spool of c-9's and start clipping them up.

    But I find that retaining customers over the long haul takes a more decorating mindset using things that make your homes look better-such as lit mixed and lit garland, nice foliage lit wreaths, mini-lights placed properly in trees or shrubs, light links and maybe stake lights and lit displays in key locations from time to time as well. you need a distributor like HD to make that happen.

    you can get items from Christmas Decor and Brite Ideas as well, and they are excellent companies. but both of them cost a bit more to get into. I'd check them out as well, but I would call Mike first.
  4. lawnguy423

    lawnguy423 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I already called Mike and talked to him. I am going to sign up with them as soon as I have the money for it. Things are very tight right now cause I am out of work due to medical. Once I get it he said there is a pack that he will send out to me. I have read just about all the threads on this part of the fourm, looking for more that I could read. And I do look forward to working with Mike, he is very nice and helpful. Just like you have said for years.
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  5. addictedtolandscaping

    addictedtolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 569

    In my opinion, there is not enough that can be said about Mike, there just isn't.

    When I started about 4 years ago, I called the big three, Christmas Decor, Brite Ideas and at the time HBL now Holidynamics. Mike called me back almost immediately. Over the next few weeks, if I didn't have him on the phone at minimum of 30 hours, it wasn't one minute. When I went to Omaha that year and was finally able to put a face with the name and voice, it was like I had known him for years. to this day, even with everything that they had going on last year, I can still reach out to hm and he will get back to me within a reasonable amount of time.

    As for the training. the class that HBL or HD puts on is definitely packed with info. You start out with the typical meet and greet, then diner the first night - we flew in from NY. The next day the classes start. The info, my goodness. They will cover everything from product familiarization and repair right through marketing. There is a field portion hands on where you will go out and actually do estimates on homes that are lit and unlit. Chad will give examples and show you how to wrap bushes, hints at getting power where needed etc. When we were there, God was it hot. We were still out there though, getting it done. I for one, couldn't get the estimating figured out to save my life, I was so disgusted at one point, I started to feel like I had wasted my time and money. Mike was right there with the encouragement though. I finally figured it out. The packet Mike mentioned will have alot of info in it. It will also have cheat sheets for installation, amperage draw, general rules of thumbs etc.

    The class I went through for me, didn't really get into the marketing all that well. But truth be told, I have always had a difficult time with marketing. I am struggling with it today still. The biggest bang for the buck and you have seen it probably 100 times if you have read the previous posts, lawn signs. Dave preaches them, and they work!! I have also done the chamber of commerce, direct mail, radio, flyer inserts, my trucks are lettered - with the exception of the bucket truck which WILL one way or the other happen this year, the one trailer I use is lettered etc.

    The most important aspect of this business, you do not want to be the guy who hangs lights. DO NOT use Walmart type stuff. You have to separate yourself from the guys who do that. You will need to get aligned with suppliers, HD, CD, BI, Holiday Light Source etc. You need to know that when you run into a situation that one supplier is out of xyz product, you can match it with another one. There are some things that are proprietary, light links, and mixed noble foliage are a couple examples and they are HD exclusively.

    Tools and equipment, I could go on and on. A few ladders some wire cutters will get you started. Get an appliance amp meter, this will allow you to ensure you are not over drawing the circuit.

    In short, to actually run this type of business, and do it professionally, you have to spend time. There is alot that goes into it, the background, researching new product, planning, training etc. With reading and rereading these posts you will gain more and more information each time. Then routinely check this site. As you can see, it dies down right after the season with the exception of a few posts here and there. The end of July it will start to pick up. Last season it was a little quiet so to speak compared to years before, but the info offered is second to none.

    Best of luck!!!
  6. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,009

    I filled out the new paper work for Holidynamics. Does anyone know the scoop yet on why Holidynamics was created? I wasn't sure if they were trying to create a new image and killing the HBL name or what was going on. Partner issues splitting up the company?

    Years ago here in Austin (also Dallas, Houston, & SA) Sungrow's owners got in a tiff and they split off the maintenance into Sunterra and one of the owners left to run it. After three years the no compete ran out and Sungrow too a big bite out of Sunterra's customer base.
  7. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,009

    The mini 8mm LED test lights strands and C7 lights Bastion sent me have 1500 hours on them so far and are running strong. I also have some test lights from Holiday Creations running. The Holiday Creations stuff is mostly high dollar commercial material. They have a $200K Christmas tree!
  8. addictedtolandscaping

    addictedtolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 569

    Good to hear that Bastion is holding up really well. I was not crazy at all about how the resistors/rectifiers were set up at all, glad to hear my impression may have been wrong.

    I have a set of Christmas Creations running doing the same thing, I used a bunch of their blue m5 conicals last year and had awesome remarks and NO issues.
  9. HBL Sales Manager

    HBL Sales Manager LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Thanks David and Dennis for the comments. I can only post a little bit due to my non-sponsorship to this page.

    It's appreciated comments like your that keep me doing what I do.

    Mike Marlow

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