Grass is dead (or has at least slowed its growth).
Leaves are all picked up.
Winterization is done.
So now what do you do?
There's a hidden profit center this Winter that most lawn care owners overlook...
Enter: Christmas Lights.
No matter which region you live in, you’re bound to live somewhere that celebrates Christmas - and celebrates it Clark Griswold-style.
Getting by in the off season doesn’t have to be a struggle in you live in the North or Midwest. And if you’re in the South, Christmas light installation can supplement a slowed income.
Each winter more and more houses are putting up Christmas lights. And the displays are getting bigger.
Couple residential lighting with commercial possibilities and you’ve got yourself a nice little income come wintertime.
Christmas light installation can:
… And all of this can be done with very little startup costs, but there are some things to consider before you jump into the business.
As a Christmas light installer, you’ll be responsible:
Similarly to lawn care and landscaping, be mindful of the differences between residential and commercial jobs, especially the size of a property. Rarely is this a one-person crew - so plan on getting a few lawn care crew members to help. This is GREAT NEWS for your employees who are looking for work in the winter.
Typically, your season will be most active November - December, with removals beginning after the New Year into mid-January. However, you’ll want to start advertising your services in August/September.
What You’ll Need
You will need to buy lights on a job-by-job basis. So get the jobs first, and figure out what lights during your estimate.
Here's a list of equipment, decorations, and holiday lights you’ll need:
Lights (various sizes and colors)
Getting bulk deals on lights is essential to making a profit your first year. Join an organization like CLIPA (Christmas Light Installation Pros Association) to get access to better prices.
When is the best time to advertise your Christmas lighting services?
Ideally you’ll want to start your marketing in September. Even though the bulk of your orders may not come in until October/November, your customers should be thinking about YOU for their lights.
Start creating your marketing collateral early in the year.
Use high quality images of houses you've put lights on. Show off your work! And if you're just starting out and don't have images yet, that’s ok. Take pictures of the first few jobs - your best ones - and use them in future marketing pieces.
3 Quick Ways to Get Your First Clients
There are tons of factors to consider when pricing lighting displays.
The first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you’re going to LEASE the lights, or allow your customers to PURCHASE the lights. There are pros and cons to each.
With leasing, you have a better chance of return customers year after year, however you’ll need to find a place to store the lights throughout the year.
If you allow your customers to purchase them, there’s no “stickiness” for next year, but it’s also less hassle to keep track of lights.
Whichever route you choose, you’ll have to factor those costs into your estimates.
You should also consider:
It’ll be waaaaaay smoother if you take down the lights rather than your customers. You don’t want to deal with someone else’s tangled mess.
Each job can take anywhere from 3 hours… to 3 weeks… depending on the size of the property.
The most common decorations are roofline lighting, widow outlining, and tree lighting. Some customers may also want garland. If that’s the case, look into pre-lit garland instead of trying to struggle with putting your own lights into the garland.
You’ll have to assess the amount of work for each property. Some ideas to map our prior to installation include:
One quick note: Many Christmas light installers prefer using a Goat hook for safety with steep roofs.
Speaking of safety...
Make sure you and your crew are following safety protocols:
Mistakes and missteps can happen, and the last thing you want is to spend the holidays in the ER!
It's a great way to keep your business turning a profit all year long...
... and can keep your team members happily employed so you don't lose them next spring.
You don't need a ton of startup cash, but you do need to put in the effort.
Think about how you started your lawn care business - now go DO THAT with Christmas lights.