ADVANCING YOUR BUSINESS!
It’s important to understand that we’re all on different levels in the growth of our Christmas business. Some of you may be on higher levels than me personally and others may just be a season or two behind but we must agree that we’re all on different levels. Secondly it’s important to understand that we are dealing with completely different dynamics depending on your company size, commitment level, resources and location. For example a smaller company that has plenty of time to perfect their craft and the resources to make big moves are going to be in a better situation especially if they’re in a warmer climate market like Texas. Others with huge companies carrying tremendous overhead and are already overwhelmed with their “year round business” can propose a completely different set of obstacles. Especially if they’re dealing with a tight budget and installing in the snow or inclimate weather. With this being said, there’s really not a simple “one solution fits all” scenario that applies to every business owner. There is however a few things that we all have in common and we’d like to start with the basics.
First, it changed my life when we went from being a top Christmas light installation contractor in our service area to also becoming a distributor of the products we installed. Getting “Contractor Pricing” or “Factory Direct Pricing” on products you offer in your installation business is a true GAME CHANGER! This not only allows you to be competitive but also offers you an amplified profit margin that’s magnified over 100’s of projects a week! For a company that’s installing 50,000 feet of billable materials a week at a discounted rate $1 per foot can add up to $250,000 in additional revenue. Obviously raising your prices a dollar per foot can have the same effect but WHY not do them both?
Another thing that changed the way that I think about this business is the very definition of it. We refer to our industry as the “Christmas Light Preparation Business” because honestly, most of our work is preparing for Christmas. If you find yourself saying the same thing more than 20 times in a season, you should stop and develop a process to teach someone through videos. Time management can be the biggest challenge for any sized business including ours so we try to predict, prepare and then implement. For example, training installers is a huge part of our business and is very time consuming since they apply for the position, get trained and then the next day a new crew starts the process all over again.
We thought that if we could record the pay plan, company policies, 1099 paperwork and the initial basic training session in videos then they could watch it while we continued to answer the phone for our clients. This addition to our process freed up valuable hours in our workday and proved to be a more beneficial use of our time. For the advanced training needs like installing the oversize bows, fluffing wreaths or garland and wrapping trees or bushes could be additional videos we’d make. Whenever there’s a question on a job site and the installer sending you a picture is not sufficient, it’s always nice to back up your phone conversation with an instructional video of how that particular task is supposed to be handled professionally. These videos have been a life saver and protect more than just your time, it preserves your company reputation.