I can ALMOST rejoice that we are finished working this year. No, we aren't installing anymore obviously, and we have taken alomst everyone down too. But! We do have a couple businesses that like their lights up all winter with a take-down in the Spring and a couple that keep them up year round. That is Ernesto's deal though:)
My part? Show me the money!! I do have a handful of payments still to be collected. People just need reminding. Heck, I am one of them. I had a dentist bill in San Diego from over the Summer that hadn't been paid. Yikes! I always pay my bills, I just needed to be reminded. Anyway, as soon as I collect all $$ we can be officially done!!!!
This was our best season ever! And although we have been able to say that every year, this time we doubled our usual amount of NEW customers for the season. And for all of those new customers, that is less than half of the estimates I actually sent out. Yeah we were working hard!
Ernesto wanted a new truck. I discouraged it for years, but finally it made sense.
His new Toyota Tacoma is more practical, seating up to 5 worker bees. Plus we can actually put carseats in it.
His old Toyota Tacoma is off in Asheville with tio Brrrian now. I still remember when Ernesto bought that thing 10 years ago. He paid $3k for it and bought several ladders. Why are you spending that money?! You are going to start hanging Christmas lights??
Little did I know.
If you have ever wondered how our little business works, here goes.
Ernesto starts installing lights in mid-October for our existing customers. We need to get them out of the way so when we start getting calls from new customers we have time to install. Every new customer wants there lights installed the next day.
Most of our new customers are calling the week before and after Thanksgiving. I did pretty well lining up help [at home] this year, but I was alone the week before and I about died! Customers heard a screaming kid on the phone more than once...and that's not professional. BUT IT IS MY LIFE.
We can get any kind of lights, in any color. Customers buy the lights from us the first year and we then guarantee them for 3 years. When we take them down in January the lights are theirs to keep (and store).
In the last few years, how we do business has changed. Technology. Google maps is the bomb. I am no longer driving all around Atlanta to give estimates. I still do meet some potential customers in person, and I actually love that part. I know my way around Atlanta. And DAMN are there a lot of neighborhoods/houses I want to live in! I love meeting new people too, plus putting a face with the name is important.
Mostly though, just give me your address and 98% of the time I can see your home online and email you an estimate. Have some trees your would like wrapped? Text me some pictures. My iphone is my right-hand. Potential customers get quick responses and I don't have to change out of my cozy clothes. It's a win-win!
A good percentage of our new customers come from referrals. This is the best. Google brings us the rest. Again with the technology. Years ago we would put signs along the road of neigborhoods we wanted to work. One year we even paid to run a commercial. But alas, referrals are where it's at.
We do a lot of rooflines, but the trees are the most popular.
All white lights too. I guess a memo went out that you have to do white lights in Atlanta.
Oh wait! Here is a red tree.
Seriously though, we do have some customers that use colored lights, but white lights are the norm. Im not knockin' it either. White lights are so pretty and magical. I just love how they look.
Oh and if you want your columns to look like candy canes we can do that too.
I don't think Ernesto is going to want to actually hang the lights forever, but I have a feeling he wont need to. My prediction is that in a few years these little monkeys will be ready to work.
What are the child labor laws these days?
So that's it! The Christmas Light Pros in a nutshell. Thanks to everyone who helped us during these few months of craziness.
You know we are finished when you see this going on at 1pm at Casa Espinoza.
Now, what to do the rest of the year??
We are now planning on making a plan to plan the plan for the year. In other words, I will let you know what we are doing as we do it. It's the Espinoza way.