How to make money in the winter hanging Christmas lights!Nov 03, 2020
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Hey guys, I'm Jason Geiman host of the King of pressure wash podcast. I'm a self-employed entrepreneur. I grew my pressure washing business to a million dollar business in under five years. And now I'm here helping hundreds of pressure washers start grow, be successful in their pressure washing business so that they can be the King of pressure washing and their area too. Today's show is going to be an awesome show on the King of pressure wash [inaudible]. I got mr. Donovan on here. Again, we are going to talk about Christmas lights. He does own a pressure washing business. I swear he does, but he originally started out with gutter cleaning and grew his gutter cleaning started doing Christmas light years ago because he wanted to try to do some things and he's going to let us know his goals. And yes, he has the last year, his average jobs are $1,700. Yes, you can make money in Christmas lights. And so we're going to talk to Donovan and see, kind of go down the, the line of, you know, how he got to his business and all that kind of stuff. So Donovan, tell me who you are and kind of where you're from and you know, what, what got you, why did you start to think about Christmas lights?
Hey guys. One of y'all see me on here. My name's Donovan and I run a gutter cleaning business out of the central North Carolina area. This year, we added on power washing. Uin-house before we contracted it all out. Uand three years ago, three years ago, three seasons ago. Uwe added on Christmas lights and we didn't add on like before, before I ran into Fred Zimmerman and Jason Geiman. Uwhen I thought of Christmas lights, I thought like home Depot hanging up the knee, you know, the neighbor's lights and stuff like that. And I dreaded doing it. I hated doing it, but I actually got a part of,uJason's group and Fred's group. Uand I just, I was looking for something to fill my season, basically, right now I'm in central North Carolina, all the leaves are just starting to fall. So everybody waits until December or January to get their gutters cleaned.
Because we don't get snow here. We don't get a bunch of ice. So I was kind of looking for something to fill that October, November time slot. And I didn't realize just that you could even make 1700 bucks putting Christmas lights on a house. I had no clue. Met up with Fred Zimmerman, got, got into his group found out Jason Gaiman's training. I just nerded out on all that. And really like my first year I was my, I think everybody has it, but I was like, I just want to learn this year and then I'll do it next year. Like, I'll try it out next year, but I just want to learn this year. And I think it was Fred who talked me into he's like, no, no, no, no, no. You just need to give it a shot this year.
You need to do a few houses. You need to do 10 20 houses. Learn all the little nuances. You may not make a million bucks your first year, but you're going to learn tremendously. And then you can make quite a bit of money your second year. So last year was my second year and we did it right at 83,000. We started in November. We ended, you know, 15th of December. So six weeks we did about 83,000. This year, the goal is two 50. And just based upon some recent things, I think we're going to blow that out of the water. So,
So when you first started did you really think there was this kind of money into the Christmas sites? Did you really believe when people were telling you you could? Well, especially me, cause I know some of the other people don't believe it, but that you could get $6 a foot per bulb. Did you and, and coming from the gutter cleaning side of things, obviously, you know, your, what was, what is your average ticket for gutter cleaning?
Well, let me, let me put it this way. Two or three years ago when I started, my average ticket was probably like 75 bucks. Like I was one of those morons out there and my genius marketing strategy was every house is $75. I don't care. So,
So when you start talking about Christmas and so when you were talking about Christmas sites and you're talking, you know, at an average ticket, so what was your average, do you know what your average ticket was? Your very first
Hanging Christmas lights? Yeah. Right at 700.
So your first year was $700. So you're already 10 times in what you're in gutter cleaning. So as a mentality, what was some things that you had to overcome to be able to make sure that you could charge these prices?
Well, my thinking was that I'm already busy and you know, we were doing 20, 30 houses a day and making good money. So we're still making over a thousand dollars a day, cleaning gutters. I mean, so it's, it's good money. It's not bad money. We were just working really hard for it. And so my thinking was, Hey, if I'm going to try out something new, I'm going to make money doing it. All right. If, and honestly here's what it was. I met you and you said, Donovan charged this. And I said, okay, that was it. And am I thinking it was all right. Jason said that he's done half a million bucks. I'm just going to listen to Jason. I'm going to do what he tells me. And if it doesn't work, I'll burn his house down.
And now you're going to do over $250,000. Two years later, three years later.
Yeah, I literally on, on this right here, like I took my business mindset. What I could bring to the table was organization running the business, running crews, stuff like that. But the how to the, what the charge and the little nuances that way I literally just listened to you. And I was like, okay, if he says I can charge six bucks, I'll charge six bucks. And here's what really sold it for me. I, I always did my bids online. So I mean, we do everything online. I don't do any visits, so it was 10 o'clock at night. And I had some Facebook stuff going on. I had a guy message me on Facebook. What, what sold it for me is 10 o'clock at night. I had some Facebook stuff going out and this guy said, Hey, can you put lights up? I put, I sent him a picture of the whole front of his house, you know, an outline, a quote, a design.
And he said how much to do the whole house? And it came out to over five grand. I came out to like 5,800 bucks. And I was in, I had not gotten any jobs approved, maybe a $1,400 job or something like that. And the guy said, all right, if you can do it Tuesday, or you can do it in the next two days or something like that, he's like, I'll approve it. And I was like, I can do that, pay the, pay the deposit. And I was just, I was just thinking he was full of it. So 10 minutes later, he sent me a check or a credit card payment for 3000 bucks.
And so what was your mindset at that first point of you got a $5,000 job right out of the get go?
Well, if I can get a $5,000 job, I can get 10 of those. If I can get one of them, I can get 10 of them. And that's, you know what I mean? If I can find one, if I can find one person who will pay for it, then I can find 10 and next year I can find 30. You know, that was my mindset.
And so by doing this with Christmas lights, did it help your pressure, your Christmas or your a gutter cleaning business?
Absolutely because that first year or, you know, and even last year, you know, that first year I was like, Hey, I need to really focus. I need to really think about my business. And so it took me a year thinking about my business, working on processes, working on everything else of, of offering a premium price or a premium package, you know, instead of the Walmart approach go for a premium approach. And so, and then, then last year, you know, again, we did 83 grand and it just, it clicked even harder of, Hey, if I can get a $2,000 ticket, as opposed to in, in, and the very first year we did up our average gutter cleaning price. So we start raising our prices and making better money. And so we were making even we're finally making good profit, you know, we get turned down work and it wasn't affecting us.
And then last year, you know, again, we had a $1,700 average ticket for Christmas lights and it's like, Hey, it is really nice being able to get these larger ticket jobs. And instead of going to five jobs to make 1700 bucks, you can go to one job. And so we've duplicated that with power washing, we've done several power washing jobs this year for, you know, a thousand, 2000, $3,000. You know, everything included, you know, gutter, cleaning, gutter, brightening, underground, drain flush,uyou know, window cleaning, power washing drive, what, you know, like let's do this whole thing. Let's charge a premium for everything. And, and it comes out to a couple thousand bucks and we got a five-hour day and we're averaging three, four, $500 an hour.
And that's the beautiful thing about Christmas. Like customers, you know, when we're talking about Christmas, like customer, we're not talking about a $99 person, we're talking that they want premium service, that we're going to give them and premium stuff that's going to happen. And so that's the beautiful thing of Christmas lights. And so, you know, we can up sell everything and we can do everything we can down sell from Christmas sites. And so Christmas lights is a great add on to your business and it isn't something that's easy. It's not something that, you know, you get a lot close. Right. I don't know. Do you know what your close rate is?
25%. So your close
Rate. So that means you get told no 75% of the time. That's not, you know, if you're not, if you're not a very good salesman or if you don't like the word, no, it can be tough on you. And so 25%, but you know, the great thing about that, what is your return rate for a Christmas like customer it's? Well, your return also is about 80%
At that point. They'll, they'll shell out the money, you know, they're, they want a premium product and they want you, right? So we, we get a very high return rate just because people are willing to shell out the money when people have the disposable money, then very high return rate. And I will say this this year, I is a bit of an anomaly because the whole, the whole coronavirus saying Christmas has started a month early. And, you know, people that have those upper middle-class jobs just started working from home. So they didn't lose any income, but they didn't go to the beach. They didn't go to football games. So they got an extra couple thousand bucks. So, you know, supplies, you got to order lights. Now, you know, you gotta be, you gotta be starting your business now. Because it's, it started early this year. So I don't know if you know, but they'd only be my third year if I'm having a higher return rate this year because of Corona or what, but it's been, it's been very good.
I think as a whole, the service industry has been very well this year, just because people are home. People didn't go on vacation, people have money to spend and, and, you know, they didn't get to spend it in the, those times, you know, they didn't get to go on fall break, they didn't get to do a lot of those things. And so, you know, and a lot of people are just staying home and they'd rather just put money into their house. So the service business as a whole has really been taken very well this year, you know, through a pandemic, it is actually done very well versus, you know, you know, I didn't know what it was going to do. I wouldn't, you know, I couldn't guess which way it was going to go. I'm not that type of person to say, well, you know, I mean, I kind of thought that that was going to happen with Christmas lights. I didn't know. And so that's the beautiful thing about Christmas lights is it is something that now some things that we're running into is, is, you know, originally we was not having any problems, getting a lot of the equipment and the all the supplies, but people already starting to run out cause they didn't, you know, they're waiting on their stuff to get here. And so that could be an, so, you know,
Our one of the guys that are supplying the,uthe socket cord that you screw the bulbs into, he messaged me today, Hey, we're out of this. I mean, it's, it's, it's the beginning of October and he's like, somebody just ordered everything that I just had,ufrom one of my suppliers. And then he said, m'm getting also that, m lot of the shipping containers that this is coming over from China are stuck over in California at the ports. For some reason, either they haven't gotten cleared or screened or whatever, but lights are stuck at, ht the porch. So,
Yep. And, and so that's the beautiful thing about the Christmas lights is it is something that is, you know, that hopefully, you know, the, originally they were getting a lot of the stuff from China and maybe it wasn't having no issues. And now they're starting to have issues. China just went on a week long vacation there that they just shut the whole country down as a holiday right now, right in the middle of October. And I know that's going to cause some hiccups along the way. And so, you know, people might be scrambling around for wire and all that kind of stuff at the end of it. Hope not, but that's, it prices are going up. And so, but that's the beautiful thing though, if we can charge, if as long as, you know, if you're, if you're that four to $6, you can't handle the charge increase.
If you're that six to $8 a foot, you can handle that six to, you can handle that increase and it's not going to take nothing out of the profit at the end of the day. And so what somebody asked what's made in America or what, what about Merican made in USA? I, there's not much anything on this side of it. You know, I know there's a couple places you can get the wire for it, but some clips are coming out of America, but other than the light bulbs, there's not much coming from America. As of right now. So the, the issue with the American side of the the bulbs is there's a lot of hands on parts of it versus, you know, machine made of just pounding stuff out. And so the socket and all that kind of stuff. But again this is, so tell me a little bit about your process of trying of going through a Christmas light customer. You say you bid it all online. How, how do you do that to be art mean how hard was it to figure out? I know I teach methods, but how hard was it to find out if you were right or wrong and, and, and what are some ways that are some tips and tricks of that?
My number one tip is charging off so that if you are wrong, you're still in the profit. I mean, if, if you're, if you're trying to be a $99 guy, you're trying to be three to $3, a foot, $4 a foot to get a competitive edge or whatever, and you're all 50 feet that could be your profit. So don't be that guy. That's my, that's my number one tip. So leave room for error. Okay. Now, mou Google maps, you got maps, and then you have your County websites where I'm at. Um'm fortunate enough to have a really good County website where I can go to wake gov.com. I can type in your address and it shows me a blueprint of your house. Umo I'm very fortunate to have that. And so I can compare the Google street view to the linear, you know, it just shows a square, right?
So it'll just show your house. But if this right here is 20 feet, and I see that it's just a straight gutter than I can count 20 feet. If I see that it's a Gable, I just multiply it by 1.5 or whatever. So I count that as, you know, 30 feet or 40 feet, if it's a Gable, but I have a reference. So see if you got a County website, if you have a County website or a, a permit website, anything like that, where they store records that may be an option. And if not, you can always use the measuring feature on Google maps. You can go to the satellite view, right. Click, and it says measure from here to here and see, it'll take you a little bit more time, but you can do it that way and it'll get your really close. It'll definitely get you really close. Just remember to factor in if you're going up the Gables that look like this, you know from here to here as a shorter distance than from here to here to here. So just remember to factor in that, that, that extra training.
And so I teach us in the pressure wash training dates that we will be going, we have a class next Sunday and I teach it, it's called the guesstimation measurement. We go off of things that are known, you know, if it has a garage door, we know what's how long that garage door is. It's 16 feet. If it's one it's eight feet, if it's or eight feet, if it's one 16 feet off a double, again, we can take that. Bam, bam, bam. Um, know what size windows are. We know what size doors are. And so we go off known factors. We know that, you know, houses are built on eight, 16, 20 foot. And you know, a lot of times that's what they're going to be on. You know, that's what we're looking at. And so those are some things that can definitely help you be able to make sure that you will, u,t close and stuff. And so when you bid this stuff, u, you, pre-qualify your, u,en you're answering the phone or do you just be like, here, I'm going to give you a bid?
A bit of both. Okay. so on your advertising, you can't put on there that your minimum is $2,000. You can't do that because nobody will call you, but you do put on there 450 bucks. So I got a $450 minimum. I have a $500 minimum, and that keeps the, well you hang my legs for 60 bucks people out. Sometimes it does. I don't, you'd be surprised where I tell somebody, Hey, we got a $500 minimum. And then I send him a quote for 800 and they're like, Oh my gosh, I thought they would only be 99. I'm like, I just told you, you know, so you do you get some of that, but you're going to pre-qualify people, especially if it's a middleman. So like somebody on the HOA board, but they're just a, they're just a who's, who's the person that can make a decision. Okay. What's your book.
I want to tell you the budget. So you got to be nice and Zen and cures panicking, but you got to get that number from them. What's your budget, are you, you know, and, and this is a perfect example. Okay. Literally before you and I started talking pack lights in my store, Janet got a phone call, talk to the guy and he had an accent. And so that's an indicator of some stuff in my area. And so I'm talking to him, I'm just trying to figure out who he is, what authority he has and, you know, what's he looking for? It's an atrial way. I found out he has all of the authority. He's basically the HOA, which basically means that he has a limit my check right now, as long as I don't go over that limit. And so I got 10,000 bucks like that.
Okay. And so I said, yeah, Hey, send me some photos of what you want. Have you had it done before? You know okay, you, you guys haven't had it done before. You've had maybe some homeowners put a few things up and you want to do it this year because people are staying there. You want it to be special. You want them to end the year on a good note and you, you know, you feel a little charismatic. Can you qualify them? But you're still giving him that quote you're, you're giving him a lot of information. You're getting, you're spending time. You're treating them like it's a million dollar guy. I don't care if that job's going to be giving them a quote and you're doing that. You can do it on a phone. You can do it written out. It's the same process. Okay. And whether you're typing an email out to somebody it's the same steps.
And so that's a good point of, of pre-qualifying people and seeing where you're at and that kind of stuff. And, and, and, you know, like you said just answering your phone take, makes it go a long ways at the end of the day, if you don't answer your phone, there's no use marketing at the end of the day, because it's at that means you're just going to be money away at the end of the day. And so if you don't answer your phone, first off, you gotta answer your phone. And then second thing you got to do to stay in business. It doesn't matter if you're doing pressure washing Christmas lights, it doesn't matter. Then you got to do the thing called following up. You'd have to follow up. If you don't follow up, that's a whole nother issue. And so this is definitely something that,uis, you know, that you have to do at the end of the day.
You have to follow, you have to first answer your phone, and then you've got to follow up, pay the HBO guy, pay the HOA guy, an affiliate commission. He'll pay them, make the out of the HOA fund. I'm the, I've had a lot of luck. Don't do that. No, I wouldn't do that either. I've had a lot of luck out of hos. HOA is a great thing for Christmas sites. You would be surprised how well it does for Christmas lights. Because you know, talking about somebody right there, here he is on here, mr. Zimmerman, roofing and construction. This guy here has been doing Christmas for long. He's one of the longest guys. I know, not quite long as, but he's one of the ones that have been doing it a long time, probably 10 years. Umnd I've helped him out a lot and he's called me a lot and, h've called him and asked him questions too.
And so yes, he convinced him to, he convinced him to do Christmas lights and then I taught him on pricing. And so that's the thing that I've had to help some people around here on. So but now getting back to it, Christmas fights is a great add on it is one of the things that, it's one of the things that it kind of aggravates me in the fact that, you know, I do Christmas light training pressure, washing training, and this is a training that I don't get a lot of people to, to go for. And I don't understand why sometimes like the in-person side of it, because this is something again that it's not it. You can watch it on videos, but until you do it in hand and really get the gist of it, it can take you a long time. Cause I remember when I did my training, u,paid way too much for it.
And I went and all I did was watch. And when I came back, I was like, how did they do that? And so that is my goal in my training is, is I teach, I let you do it. You get to it, you get to physically touch it. You get to physically do it. And, and you know, this is a thing that yes, you can go learn it on YouTube, guaranteed. I got, you can go on my YouTube channel right now and probably figuring out everything you need to do. You can go to Christmas lights, help.com/free, and you can get into my Christmas light training 30 days and figure everything out. But it does take some time to get it down and, and, and, and get it done fast. You know, you know, when I first started, I was lucky to do two jobs a day. Once I got up good roof guy, I could get four or five jobs done a day, you know, and an average of 17, $1,800 a job is pretty freaking good money at the end of the day. Uso how many,uhow many, how many crews are you going to run this year to hit $250,000,uDonovan to two crews?
So now what I will do is I'll add helpers. I got, I'm going to have probably just a Garland crew. So that's, that's not really a true crew, but somebody to fluff, Garland and fluffer eats and stuff, you got a fluffer. I got, are you going to be the fluffer? I know a lot of people go go right now to Google and type in fluffer and see what come up, come up with. That's a real job. You're going to be surprised what it is. Oh man. I just got a bad joke. My mom was the fluffer last year.
A flopper is entertainment, industry play wondering. But and I'm also, I'm going to have somebody at the shop prepping doing a lot of prep work. So that's the key that I've found to be like really efficient because the how to do lights. I mean, you gotta do it right, so that you're not burning down somebody's house. I mean, there's a little bit to it. I mean, it's good to get training so that you don't, you know, you don't really mess up. But what takes a lot of time is getting the bulbs all put together, getting the orders, put together, making sure you have everything on the truck at the beginning of the day, as opposed to the end of the day, you know, and not having to come back out a day later. So I am going to have some people to assisting that, but install crews will be just to,
And so that is definitely some Zimmerman put Jason makes way more than me doing lights a year, but I've been doing it way longer. And so I've had to help and encourage mr. Zimmerman to be able to give his prices up because at the end of the day, you gotta be profitable, you know, and I know you gotta learn to not everybody's your customer and that's a hard thing to do. But also the other thing is, is if you, if you're really cheap and that, you know, then you're, you're trying to run a lot of crews. You're trying to do a lot of things. And Y you know, it goes back to, you know, if I can do less work and make more money, or the same amount of money, why do I want to work more? You know, if I can get my average ticket up to $300 per job, then I don't have, I can do one last job a day and make the same amount of money that thousand bucks a day, you know?
And, and so it's definitely something that you got to look, you know, if I can get my job up F you know, if I can get my average ticket up $300 and I can do three jobs, well, I don't have to do four. And I make the same amount of money at the end of the day. And so it's all about making sure that,uso put your mom poor thing, probably didn't even get that. Didn't know what a fluffer was, but we got to get our average prices up and, and, you know, pricing is really tough. It isn't easy, again, your close rate, isn't going to be good. It's going to be, it's not good. Even if you are cheap, it is going to be dropped down. And so these are some things that you got to look at and, and, and learn and do that kind of stuff. Uwhat about, do you go out and put up other people's lights? Nope. Why not? Cause you told me not to. You're exactly right. That's the worst thing you can do. Ucause usually what they do is they throw them in a big boxing day of the year. And then they're like, here you come put these up for me. And you're like, half of them don't work. And
I think I did one job last year. Uuthere's a very large company in this area who has been around for 15 years. Uthey have maxed out the number of jobs that they're taking on. Ubut they sell lights to their clients. So if the clients switch, you know, the clients tried to find somebody else. It, it was actually a really good client, had a lot of connections and blasted me out on, on,utheir social media. They own a big business. That is a very similar, it's a complimentary service. So,uI went out to his house and hung this other company's lights. The ends of them did not have connections on them. They were just open wire and you can see black singe marks on there. And I was like, how long has this been up on your roof? Uand all of them were just in a box.
They were in a cardboard box. And they were, it took us more time to straighten all the lights and everything else. Then it did you know, me putting them on the house and then the lights weren't all working. There was clips that were missing. They had a different style clip than I had. So I had to improvise to get my clips that because theirs were missing, I had to improvise, get my clips to point the bulbs in the same direction as the existing clips, or I'd have to go and take all the clips off their lights and what am I going to do then? Because they own them. Do I sell them the clips or do I, the clips off? I mean, it's just,
So let's talk about that a little bit.
I did it for this one guy and here's what I said. I said, listen, you're keeping these lights next year. We're using mine and you just throw yours. I don't care what you do with them, but next year we're using mine. And it's like, okay, you know,
Somebody asks a question in this kind of roll right into my next question here is, is what, what's the population of the area you serve? And so not only what is that, but how much competition do you have is competition a good thing or is competition a bad thing? Because you know, it's kind of like pressurizing every, there's just a hundred thousand pressure washers in Florida and you can't make no money doing that. So how is it in Christmas lights in your area? And then I'll lock, I'll talk a little bit about the Cincinnati area.
Well, I mean, I just told you about a company that's been doing it for 15 years here. I mean, they're, they're big. They, they do a lot. They, they own, I mean, they took on 16 new clients this year because 16 went away and they already had them filled up. Now here's the thing I personally am of the opinion that competition's an amazing thing. I networked with other power washing companies in the area and we help each other out this landscaping company. I networked with him and guess what? He's completely booked up this year. So guess who? Because, because we network, he's going to send all of his extra jobs to me. Competition's a great here's the other thing, you know, when somebody else is already doing that service, it's a lot easier to convince them to work with you than somebody who's never paid for that service.
Like if you're going to sell somebody professional landscaping, you don't target somebody with three foot tall weeds in their yard. You target a manicured lawn because they already know the value of paying somebody else. So there is value. There's great value in having competition or having people already in a market and you can come into a market and you don't have to educate the market from ground zero. My area, there's probably 15 people like within, I could throw a rock and hit them that installed professional grade professional, good quality, beautiful lights just in my city. And you know, we got a, we got quite a few people here.
And so Cincinnati has a, I mean, Cincinnati has about 300,000 people in the Metro area here between Kentucky. And that it's about 300,000 people. And I would say there's probably, I mean, there's home decor. There's all different kinds of, I bet there's probably 10 or 15 bigger companies. And then you got all the small companies. And so we did a half, a million dollars lash, or last year Donovan's going to do over 200, probably going to be close to if he keeps it up, he's going to get close to half a million dollars this year, just in Christmas lights alone. And so, you know, this is something that is definitely there's money to be made in it. You know, and I would much rather have a place that has a little bit of competition versus a place that don't have any competition because when we don't have competition, then we got them.
It's kind of like roof, roof cleaning that where people don't know about roof clean, then we got to educate these customers. We got to try to get it out there. Where if everybody in brother has our house lit up by a professional company, then they know that there's this service out there. And so that is definitely something that, you know, you kinda got to look at and say, you know, that's the, that's what you gotta look at at the end of the day. And you don't need 300,000. You don't need all that kind of thing. You know, there's a guy in Northern Kentucky and that's just very few and he's doing, he did. I think he'll be at almost $250,000 this year, just in pressure, washing alone in Northern Kentucky with all the other pressure washers that are coming here, there, and everywhere you don't need a big giant area. You can do it out of a small area also.
How long have we been on here? 30 minutes. So what what what is one thing you would tell a new person of doing Christmas lights,
Nerd out on Jason Geiman videos on YouTube? That that's a big one. That's a real big one. Umet your hands on some lights now and install them on your house. Get some photos. Okay. Umet some training if you can't make it to the in-person sign up for Jason's course. Umnd here's the other thing. All right, you can get free training, but at this point in the year, myself, Fred Zimmerman, Jason, like we don't have time to answer the 37 million questions times the 37 million people who want to start up a business. Like there's not enough hours in the days to answer the same questions over and over and over and over again. So if you can afford some training, do that, go get some lights and get your hands on them. Get some hands-on experience. Do that before you come to the training, if possible, and then you can ask better quality questions.
All right. Take some photos, get some photos out there and get a 50% deposit only by good quality professional grade. Don't hang up anything. That's the clients don't hang up anything from a big box store. It's just going to be a nightmare. Don't don't halfway. If you're the type of person who will listen to half the advice and you can think you can do the better, don't do that with Christmas lights just don't do that because you can invest money in this and not get the return because you're not listening. The only reason why I'm successful in this is because I literally said, you know what? I'm just going to listen to Jason, everything he tells me, I'm just going to listen to them. And then I'm going to see what the results are. And here's the other thing, because I listened to him. He's actually more willing to help me. So, you know, there's, there's that too. But those are, those are my tips, you know, good quality lights, good quality training, get some experience now and you know, get a 50% deposit.
Awesome. Awesome. And that's a good point of don't try reinvent the wheel. I mean, you know, when I say you don't do things, there's a reason why I say that you don't do those things. Donovan kind of figured that out by not hanging out of the person's site, I said not to do it. He did it. And he's like this, you're ready to pull your hair out. There's a reason why I say these things. You know, I usually tell you, don't go put up blow ups. You know how I know not to go put up blow ups because I've went and messed with that fricking thing 20 times during the season. And he was on this big roof, it was a big old bakery roof. And, mt was nasty, dirty black nasty roof. In every time he fell over and every time I had to go up there and fight him, by the time I was done, I had black crap all over me.
And it was the most. And I would have to go up there and usually at night, because it's, you know, it's coming down, it was 35, 40 minutes away, and it's not worth that. It's not worth it. Don't do it. There's a reason why I say don't do it because I've done it. I've done it on a, on residential house. And I had to go my own house. You know, I put them up and am out there every night, mess with them, stupid things. We don't want to be going in, going out there and doing stupid stuff. When we don't have to, it doesn't make us money. It doesn't do us any good at the end of the day. And so, you know, these are some things that, you know, you want to make sure that you learn how to do it and you do it right.
The biggest thing I want you to learn is how to bid because a lot of guys don't know how to bid. They don't know how, you know, they, they don't know. They don't know how to talk on the phone. They don't how to answer the phone. They don't know how to pre-qualify that person. And these are very, this is more important than the nuts and bolts of things. A lot of people think it's all about the nuts and bolts of things, the nuts and bolts and things are the easy part of it. The business side of it is the hard part. Business is not easy. You know, I don't want to make it sound like it's easy to make money. It is easy to make money, but there's things that make it hard to, especially if you're not good at it. Now, I'm not saying that you can't do it. If you're not good at it, you're going to learn skills that you're going to get better at. And you know, if you fail and you figure out what's wrong, what you did wrong, and you learn from your mistakes, that's a great failure for you because next time you won't do it. So in the Christmas light world, what is one thing that you might have failed? And then you learn from your failure.
That was your question. Yeah. I'm trying to give you, you talked about something else and then you spring that question on me without any time to think about it. You know, here's the thing, I, I, it's a tough one for me because I don't look at anything that I've done as, as failing yet. UI can tell you all the mistakes I've made with my gutter cleaning business, because I did it all myself. UI gotta be sincere. And I know this just kind of sounds like a sales pitch. It's really not, but honestly, truly you, I looked at you, you had experienced Fred Zimmerman had experience. You had fruit on the tree of, you know, half a million bucks. So I listened to you pricing and this, that, and the other. Uand I literally, I just, okay, what do you, what do you, what should I do?
And I did that and I haven't failed. Here's what, what could have been a failure? My very first year we did like 10, 15, 20,000 or something like that. And, you know, I spent all of that on lights or whatever. So, but my goal wasn't profit and Fred told me, and maybe even you told me year one don't don't plan on there being, you know, we're going to have a lot of profit. You're not gonna have a million bucks in profit. Uso maybe that would have been considered a failure, but because I listened to you guys, I didn't look at it that way. I looked at it as I learned everything I needed to year one, and then I could really double down and like really kick butt year two. Um, saybe that could have been if, but I also, I started in like November or like, you know, I started last minute, my very first year, um,
To make money. I know like I've talked about a couple of different people, one of guys in Lowville, he started in November, like the 10th or 12th and ended up doing 29,000, his first year. And he hit a hundred thousand and he's going to do probably 175 to 200,000 this year. It can happen. Uand it goes pretty quick. Uteak asked a question here,uis a good idea to only offer gingerbread lip on houses and trees, or do people have more requests than that for X misleads? And so the biggest thing,uI always, you know, most people don't want gingerbread. Most people want the classic look of the CNI and a reef, and that's what we want to give them that right. There is gravy money. That is the easy money right there. It's easy.
Put up five minutes and talk about my quoting. Yeah. Okay. So directly to that, somebody asked earlier, do I have a separate business here? One, no, I ran it off my regular business a year two. I set up a website and I paid for, moogle ads. Umhis year we finally set up Google my business, et cetera, et cetera. So if just getting started, that's not, what's gonna make the difference. Okay. Umor my quoting, I offer line items. If somebody puts on their, their work requests, that their budget is five 99, and I'm willing to go out there for 600 bucks or whatever, I'm going to make sure that my basic line item, it will meet their budget. So I'm going to give them a solution, but here's how I got my Jason asked me earlier, what was your ticket here? One 700 bucks.
What was your ticket year to 1800 bucks? How did that happen? I quoted everything I could think of at a good price. And what I'm talking about is if 500 bucks is going to be straight across this, okay, I'm also going to quote them for going up the sides, going up the Ridge and coming down, you know, I'm going to put a wreath on there for 300 bucks. I'm going to do columns. If you want to do bushes, if you want to do trees, if you want to do landscape lighting, where you outlined the sidewalk, outline the driveway, I'm going to put that on there. I'm not going to discount any of it all. That's going to be premium price. But that's how I got my ticket up because you got everybody, you got some people who just say, yup. And even though they told you their budget was 500 bucks, they just spent two grand.
So give them a solution. It's like what Jason talks about with power washing, give them packages. That's what you're doing with all those line items is you're giving them different solutions. If you just want to come out, I am put in for me to put lights across the front of your house. Like this, that's going to be 700 bucks. I'm happy to do it. I'll be there for 20 minutes and I'll be gone. And that's, that's a basic package. We could also outline your roof. We could do a porch columns. We could put a wreath up and here's the other, I put a wreath, a 60 inch on every job. And right now my largest job has . So residential, residential job has five of those. So put a wreath on every house and what at least the front of the gutter, if you're okay running around the roof, like a monkey, go ahead and outline that roof. And, and just charge a premium discount. Don't be like, if you do everything, we'll give you a larger, no, no, no, no, no, no. You don't want to do more work to get less money to do more work. You're less money. You don't want to get that ticket up by just doing more work. You know, you want to, you want to make sure you're making your margins doing everything.
Yeah. And so bill asked a good question. Do do you do email marketing and yes, you do want to do email marketing and especially, you know, past clients is a good way to do email marketing and you want to do email marketing for you know, your hos. That's how I got a lot of my hos was through email marketing. Email marketing is a great way to get that kind of side of, you know, the side of things of that, of the commercial. If you're looking at nor commercial work and the HOA is both of those is how you're going to get that is through email marketing. And so if you can do that, that is what is, is there take put 20 minutes, $700, much better than pressure washing it is. And actually,uDonovan's got a video of him doing it in 20 minutes.
I will say this that's that's 20 minutes of prep work, right? So, I mean, no, no, no, no. That's 20 minutes of on the job work. There's remember I had to, if I'm at a 20% closing rate to get that job, I had five other people or four other people that said no times, 15 minutes on each of those quotes, that's an hour, hour and 15 minutes right there. Okay. Or an hour right there. And then also screwing on all the bulbs. We're not just going to home Depot and buying these cheap flimsy pre we got a screw on bulbs and we got to put on clips. I have a system where all of that's done in advance. Jason's old school. He doesn't like doing it that way, but I'm, I'm gonna, I'm gonna convince.
And we're going to teach that both ways this weekend. So that way you can see which way works best for you. So I'm not against it. Actually. My brother, he starting to do a, he thinking about doing a class or doing a business up in Iowa this year. And so I'm not against it at all. Especially if you're a one man show or, you know, you don't have much help and you can do that at nighttime. And that way you're not out on the job, especially where he's at. It's very cold. So,uso somebody asks, somebody said, Donovan will sell,uwater to a fish and Hey, that's all right. They need what they they'll buy it. You know, you gotta ask. And it doesn't matter if we're talking about pressure, washing their Christmas lights. That's why we do packages. If we didn't do packages, you know, we're leaving money on the table, we are leaving money on the table. If you don't let them know what you can offer them, you are leaving. It doesn't matter what service you're doing. It doesn't matter if you're doing gutter cleaning. Cause how much money have you left on the table in your gutter, cleaning years by not offering other things
Millions and not, not just all for another things. It's like charging too little. I, I mean, not, I'm not exaggerating millions of have lost millions. You know, I, I have a group gutter cleaning contractors where I make a post every day about the business side of gutter cleaning because the actions of it is scoop crap out of the gutters, drop it on the ground. That's gutter cleaning, but the business side of it, there's a lot more to it. And you know, I made a post the other day, a job that I did two years ago for 75 bucks for the very same gutter cleaning just paid 175. So I paid more than that. I mean, so every client who just, who paid 75 for the last, you know, or two years ago, they, I could've made double that money for the same work. They're willing to do it. The same exact client is willing to do it. Um, it's not just, you know, adding on more stuff. It's, what's the market value. How do you determine your market value?
Well, is this how you determine it is? I would never pay that. Is that one way?
No, no. The worst way, because here's the thing here was my thinking. When I got started business, I'm going to market this so that even the D the DIY guy will, will pay me to do it. That's stupid. That was the stupidest idea I've ever had in my entire life. It worked, it worked, it was true. It worked, it was the dumbest horseshit idea I've ever had in my entire life. Okay. The best way to do it is the guys who can afford to pay for Google ads, call them the top four or five companies, get them to quote the same house. And if all of them are $200 more than you, you need to raise your price 200 bucks. And you're like, raise my prices. $200. I can't do it. You're you are. You don't realize how bad you don't understand your business numbers.
Okay. I mean, I just bought a lift truck. Okay. Lift trucks. Aren't cheap. Yeah. It'll make me money. But how could I afford to do that? I couldn't do that two years ago. Right? So there's, there's so many costs that your business have that you don't even know about until you start growing. And then everybody wants a piece of that pie. There's a reason why market value is here and you don't have to advertise and you're busy as can be, but you're down here. There's a reason for that. So,uno, absolutely not. I wouldn't pay somebody $2,000 to hang lights on my house. I wouldn't do it. Jason, you start, you were out there painting the other day. You're sore right now. Cause you didn't want to pay somebody to paint. Right?
You can't find nobody to do anything. That's the issue. You try to call people and they're like, they don't answer the phone. They don't call you back. They don't do crap, dude.
So that's another point. If you are charging too little, you can't run a good service side of a service business because you're too busy. That was me. I was so busy and I had to work every single day. And every day that I wasn't working, I made not be able to pay my bills that month. Like I had to be so working in my business, I couldn't work on my business. And that was because my prices were too low. The moment I start making profit, you know, and today's society there's a bunch of people, you know, half the people in the United States think that profit is bad and we should just share everything. Right. Well, there's a reason why the country's in debt. Oh. And if you want to run a prosperous business and you want to run it with profit, not debt, you got to charge accordingly. Yep.
Amen. Preach it. It's people on here said, and that is true. 100%. I'm not, you know, I guarantee you that. I mean, I preach it every week that you got to charge your or not your customer and that it that's what you got to do at the end of the day. You know, and so if, if you think that being the cheaper guy is going to make you more money, you are wrong. Or you might think that, Oh, it's just me. I ain't got all this other things, Hey, if they're charging it, you should be charging it to why aren't you charging it? You know, you are leaving money on the table. Like I say, I was talking to a Christmas light install around here in Cincinnati. And he's like, man, you can't get four to $6. I'm like Christmas lights, Cincinnati getting $8 a foot.
You just he's like, but I would never, I can't pay people. Won't pay that. Yeah, they will. You just got to find the right customers. If it's the wrong customers will not grow your business. At the end of the day, if you find the wrong customers, you will go out of business and Christmas lights and pressure washing in anything in business. You have to find the right customers that are willing to open their wallet and make things happen. And guess what? You can pay an ad we're pricing. You can pay in Google ads. You can cause here's the thing. If you're paying Google ads for this, it's not cheap to get a customer. You're looking at probably a hundred to $150 in Google ads per customer. That's what it's going to cost you to get a customer. Now what's the lifetime value of that. A hundred dollars. What's the lifetime value of your customers of Christmas lights. If they do Christmas lights and gutter cleaning and pressure washing. And because the people that buy Christmas lights will buy everything else at the end of the year,
20 to 50
Versus what is your lifetime value of a gutter cleaning customer. And that's all they do. So you see how that is, how that works and how that is. Everything makes everything better.
Yeah. And, and you know, the other thing is that when, when you charge a premium price, you can actually give a premium service. And here's something it's not, it's not all about the money and the profit and this and that Christmas lights is really about the, the, the experience and the memory that you're giving these folks. Okay. And if you want to give some, like, I'm telling you everybody, who's been in this business, I've been in it for three years and I can tell you a dozen stories where you get that phone call, that this is my last Christmas. And I know that, and I want this. I'm having all my family over and I want this to be special. Okay. If you're the $99 guy, can you spend, can you guarantee can, if you're the cheap guy, can you actually guarantee that you can spend whatever amount of time it takes to ensure that that person is going to get the, the, the results that's their last Christmas, you know, and I'm not trying to be sappy, but I'm, I'm being a hundred percent honest.
I promise you, everybody who's been in the business has gotten that phone call. I've gotten several of them this year and I tear up every time. Okay. And it's like, I will find, even if we do something simple, okay. Even if you were just at the basic, whatever, I promise you, you will love it. And here's the thing. If on December 24th, we get a snow storm and it knocks down your lights. You just message me. I will come out there at 2:00 AM in the morning and rehang them myself, if I have to. So that when you wake up Christmas morning, you get the hallmark Christmas that you want. So that's what we're giving people, but that costs money. It costs me money. It costs me time away from my family. I mean, you know, I'm, I'm just, I'm being real with you guys. You know, there's a reason why we're offering a PR we're charging a premium price.
And that's because we're giving a premium service. We're not giving a job for a premium price. There's, there's a big difference there. So, you know, what you do is actually going to impact people. And I've said this before, I can give somebody your free gutter cleaning. It's like, get, you know, that, that doesn't really whatever. But I hear somebody, you know, a little kid whose parents passed away because the dad was in the military or,uyou know, or maybe this year it's COVID,uwe got a couple of businesses that have been really hit hard by COVID. And so I'm able to do that for free, but also it's because I'm charging a premium. I can, I can pick where I want to give. Uand I can still give that same quality thing. It's not like I can, it's not like what I give away is like my leftover my reject. I can actually afford to give a premium service to somebody we're able to really make an impact. I agree
A hundred percent. And that is great marketing if you use it that way. And, and, and that is 100%. All right, guys, that is all the time we have for today's show on today's King of pressure wash podcast. I know you find it as exciting as I did. If you appreciate the work we do here at King of pressure wash, be sure to subscribe. So you don't miss an episode and give this episode a share on your favorite social media network. And if you're looking to start or grow your own pressure washing business, to give your family financial freedom, be sure to sign up at pressure, wash out community today at pressure wash, help.com/free, that will give you 30 days free in the membership where you can start and learn and grow your pressure washing business today. See you in there.