probably 13-15 selling days left.

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by David Gretzmier, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    Wondering how everyone else is doing compared to last year. I will be counting up my cancellations tonight, as it has to be around 10-20 this year on rehangs. surprising is that many were long term customers, 3, 4, 6 years loyal. they are not hiring someone else, just not doing lights at all. Last year, only one rehang cancellation. I'll give this years count in a later post.

    Looking over last years date book, I closed 17 new jobs between Nov. 23 and Dec 8th. We ended with 40 total for the year. We are at 25 new customers this year, so we are slightly ahead of last year as of this date. Dollar wise, about the same average sale per clint. after tomorrow though, new client wise, we are even and then the next day, behind.

    I am wondering if the different Thanksgiving date plays into it, as it was Nov 22 last year, and all those sales were after thanksgiving. This year, at Nov. 27th, I wonder if 17 jobs closed after thanksgiving is possible. I am hoping the next 3 days lead to 3-5 closes, and perhaps after Thanksgiving another 7-12. I have put out more signs, done more cards, but had less vehicles on the road this year with signage. vehicle signage works, but had 3 vehicles break down this year, 2 of which had full graphics, and using now using backups with no signage. Next year, more graphics, more trucks.

    Trying like heck to get all work done by sunday/monday after thanksgiving to have room on schedule to add those new jobs coming.

    what's everyone else experiencing compared to last year or other years?
  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    just counted, 16 cancellations for this year, and probably expecting 1-2 more. Except for 2007, I have always had 5-10% of my customers cancel. giving we only had one cancellation last year, I expected a 10-15% drop off this year. we were at 140 properties at the beginning of the season, so 10% would be 14, and 15% would be 21. so 17-18 is right in the middle. Given the daily bad news about the economy, I would have expected cancellations to be higher than the good years. That is not turning out to be the case.

    Given I have added 25 to losing 17-18 this year, To truly grow this company I am still shooting for at least 10 more new customers this year, and any more would be awesome. I'd really like to have 160 plus properties going into 2009.

    something I'd also like to add this year, i have done far less bids but my close ratio has been way higher. I have done exactly 50 bids as of today and closed 25. I had to do close to 120 bids last year to close 40. everything I've read about closing jobs indicates my prices are too low, but I admit I like doing less bids.
  3. Tq23

    Tq23 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    First, I would like to thank you for all the information that I have learned from you in your posts, but I was wondering a little about your background.

    How long have you been hanging lights?

    How many lighting crews?

    How many men per crew?

    How early do you start hanging to complete 140 a year?

    Do customers have an issue with hanging lights early?

    Once again thanks for the wealth of knowledge you leave for all of us trying to learn about this area of revenue.
  4. csl

    csl LawnSite Member
    Messages: 235

    i had a lady who was very insistant that we hang her lights before everyone gets here for thanksgiving. so we decided we would work sunday to get it done (hate that). she calls me saturday to cancel. thanks a lot. i dont care so much about the cancel as i do the short notice and me juggling family life to get this done for her.
  5. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    I think I've answered most of the questions in other threads, but I'll let new folks know-

    I've been hanging lights for 8 years professionally since buying a Brite Ideas Franchise. I also hung quite a few c-9's over in my home town from the age of 13-20.

    We have 3 2-3 man lighting crews, a shop foreman, a full time/part time secretary ( my wife) and of course me, I do sales and repairs. I had planned on 4 crews this year, but was unable to swing it. it will be a have to next year.

    we start hanging with 2 guys on September 15. we knock out all the commercial and the super early bird folks in a few weeks. then we switch to early bird folks for a few weeks. once we hit November 1, we are running 3 crews and 7 days a week, 10-12 hours per day.

    customers receive a decent discount ( 15-22% )if they hang from september 15-30, and a smaller discount ( 7-12%) from Oct. 1-Oct. 31. those folks also have to pre-pay.

    You will learn how to manage a larger business slowly as you grow. I was lucky enough to own and manage a company that went from doing 140k-over a million in lawn care in 30 months. it was an insane ride, but it taught me the value of being organized and to have systems in place. I also did some warehousing work back in my hometown so i have a feel for inventory , stocking and req's.
  6. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    Try this one, took a deposit albeit a small one, showed up to the job and she comes out and says, "We decided not to do and thought because we dont want to do it you would've just kept the deposit"
    SHE NEVER TOLD US SHE CHANGED HER MIND.:hammerhead::hammerhead:
    I just told her, Ma'am we dont generally take deposits and then not show up, it would have been great if you called and told us you changed your mind and I would have gladly given your deposit back.


    Sounds like you are having a great year compared to the rest of us. We lost almost 30% of our existing customers, customers for 1 year to 3 and anywhere from $400 to $13,000. My close rate is only 25% and we are down on total appointments from last year by almost 80%. Unless something happens the first week of December we will be down in volume from last year. This will be the first year that I did not turn away work.

    Good luck the rest of the way all....
  7. Tq23

    Tq23 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99


    Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions.
  8. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    I'm having about the same numbers. Lost about 30% on rehangs.

    the new jobs I am getting are higher dollar which is good, but way off pace from where we should be.

    I will say that in the last few days I have picked upped on emails and calls, but not really closing a whole lot.

    Welcome to Detroit!
  9. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    We're doing fine here in central Texas. I've had one cancel their re-hang and one moved. We've had a couple cut back on the original proposal and another cut back on what we were going to do on the re-hang.

    We have not gained very many new clients this year. I'm hoping things pick up over the next week or so though. My close rate is at 100% though.
  10. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    I've gotten a few email bids this year as well. kinda odd. seems many folks like communicating by email rather than phone. Which leads me to another marketing hole I need to fill-I need a website. I am hoping all of you do well in the next few weeks.

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