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wow, 3 weeks until we start hanging lights.

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by David Gretzmier, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    Another season has snuck up on me and of course, I am not as ready as I would like. but we plan to start hanging lights on our super early bird customers this year on Sept. 12. so 20 days from now we are ramping up. This will give us an extra week in September, hopefully that will be enough.

    but lots of things still to do:

    need to locate and purchase anonther used boxvan. really just need to recognize the need for another newer rig or 2 and have a better back up system for mechanical issues. right now when one of our 3 boxvans goes down we are looking at an older truck and trailer or my truck goes with the trailer and I drive a car or rent one. I really could use 2 more boxvans, and that may be what happens. we'll see. The goal- what is the newest lower mile ( under 125k ) boxvan that has 16-20 feet long box can I find for under $5000? I am really tired of 14 and 15 foot vans.

    still need to do graphics on one boxvan, and fix graphics on another. gotta tell you, I had a guy locally off craigs list put a phone number and "Christmas Lights installed" on the aero part above our windshield on our fiberglass aero box van. big mistake. the color vinyl graphics I got from china look perfect two years later on the side. the full color heavy canvas banners still look very good on their 3rd season. so you can go cheap and look good. but not so much with a guy who does vehicle lettering out of his garage.

    we've gotten most of the work done on our shop that I wanted to this year, but still have some touch up to do. I'd like some more gravel spread around, and some other items, I will try to update my shop thread with some new photos.

    need to get postcards designed and set to mail, probably will do a mailing Oct. 1 and Nov 5 this year. you know me, go big or go home, so both sets will be 6x11 size, and probably 4-5000 each mailing.

    still need new yard signs, I have a ton of old ones but really like the idea I have in my head for the new ones, so if money is available I will get them, although probably mid september at the earliest.

    I have gotten 2 service magic exact leads already for holiday lighting this month, with one coming in today. I have had several landscape light customers tell me they want Christmas lights, so I need to get some contracts signed and get them on the schedule before it gets crazy.

    wanted to get some kind of ladder rack and maybe ladder rungs goint to roof of boxvans for putting tall ladders on top of vans. we use 32 foot and 40 foot extension ladders, and I am sick of the 32' sticking out the back with the door half open. gotta get on that.

    speaking of ladders I need another 32 footer and a couple of 6 foot little giants. I never seem to have enough ladders. even though I think I currently own 23.

    got the new HBL catalog yesterday with my "Platinum" membership, and it looks pretty slick. Since I missed convention I need to familiarize myself with new product and pricing.

    need to nail down my c-9 bulb and cord inventory, as we are gonna start going through bulbs like crazy on our commercial jobs. I know I have a few cases, but I usually get those from up north and it is a 4-5 day shipping window.

    I am thinking of signing up with a local trade partners group that issues money in trade dollars. There are about 400 local busines that do it, and I can set what limits I will do in trade, like maybe 50% trade credits and 50% cash, but a local handyman service already wants me to do landscape lighting on his home with trade dollars, and I can use him for several projects, so I think this will lead me to some jobs I might not otherwise get, and as long as I can spend some of the money on necessities, I probably will make out ahead.

    what all is going on with you guys? anybody else gearing up and need to get stuff done?
  2. TexasFire221

    TexasFire221 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 480

    I wont have much of a holiday season. My cash is going out 10 times faster than it is coming in and wont be able to put much in advertising. As stated in other posts my lawn business has went from booming to non existant. 80 lawns are now down to 5. In two weeks we wont be able to use sprinklers or install new landscapes. So honestly in two weeks I will have zero work. Today will be day 73 of 100+ temps. 108 yesterday and 107 today. My only hope is to get out on foot and hit some businesses or put put out the yard signs I have to bring in some light work but it being August the lighting season sure still seems so far away.
  3. TimNNJ

    TimNNJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    We are rained out today so doing some maintenance..office work...

    *looking to get brochures printed up (gotprint.com)
    *looking to put together postcards (adeas.com)
    *lawn signs..(ssoutfitters.com)
    *business cards for xmas lighting

    My letters to my re-hangs will go out in the next week or so....and I need to order some vitale materials to have on hand..who do you guys use?..
  4. TimNNJ

    TimNNJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    also I plan on using my 15' npr mowing truck for the lights this year...can you hang lights on a truck?...I was thinking of putting a sign on the gate w/ a wreath lit up...
  5. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    I have hung a wreath and run it with an inverter on my trucks before. usually for parades or just the 2 weeks before Christmas. not really for sales but for Christmas spirit.

    I use also use gotprint.com- for postcards, brochures, most print items. new presentation folders this year in works. postcards are cheap to print, around 600 bucks for 10000 6x11's, or 6 cents each, but expensive to mail unless you only do 500 per time or so on saturation rates. folders are not cheap-1000 bucks to ship and print 1000. yikes ! but that is about a 5 year supply or so.

    I think the yard sign place I use is victory store, but not sure. need to get those on the way still. that'll be another 1000 bucks for, 250 signs, but again, about a 2-3 year supply.

    we start hanging lights next week. not all the way ready, but best way to get ready is to do it and figure it out.

    hired part time secretary help this week. my wife finally has a helper. yay !

    decided to take credit cards this year, gonna start that Oct. 1.

    trade partners is nearly set.

    box van graphics partially done.

    not enough time or money, story of my life.
  6. TexasFire221

    TexasFire221 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 480

    I really wanted to get some presentaion folders made up this year but there is no way. Unless a act of god brings us 30 inches of rain my lawn season is done this year which means no cash to spend. I will have to stick with yard signs this season and thats about it.
  7. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,737

    I'm curious if there is a market here for holiday lighting etc... Hmm may be something I need to look into!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    I'm trying my best to send some your way. we have worked 2 days in the past 2 weeks because of flooding. 9 inches from Irene in 12 hours and almost 7 inches form the remnants of Lee over the last 2/ 1/2 days.

    Put your own folders together, we do it, go to staples for blank folders, stickers on the cover with your name and logo etc, a microsoft word letter inside, along with a trifold brochure and a couple of "why you should use us" type of letters. I put mine together for under 3 bucks....

    PM or call me if you want to talk.

  9. TimNNJ

    TimNNJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    ya we have had our share of rain up here...water table is full for sure...hope they get those fires under control down there...

    Do you guys make your own bows for the wreaths?..on our larger wreaths last year I was going to Michaels and having the lady there make them up ...it was a pain..I was at costco the other day and bout about 200 yards off different color ribbon...I figure I would youtube it and figure out how to make them...( I was paying between 15-20 I think per bow...ouch)
  10. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    Pm me your ph # and I can tell you what we do, nothing hand made except on the fresh cut wreaths, we have one set style of boe but we use up to 3 styles of bow depending on the Situation but bows are not cheap, especially when hand made

    Posted via Mobile Device

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