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How to Make Money With Christmas Light Installation

Published on November 29, 2018

When the grass stops growing, your lawn care business' profits don't have to stop growing too. Instead, take advantage of these top strategies for making money with Christmas light installation.

When you know how to make money with Christmas light installation, you'll have the power to:

  • Continuously maintain your profits all year long
  • Keep your favorite lawn care employees year-round
  • Simultaneously grow your lawn care and Christmas light businesses

Plus, Christmas lights are everywhere. Which means, no matter which region you live in, you’re bound to live somewhere that celebrates Christmas - and celebrates it Clark Griswold-style (you know, like from the movie, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation).

By the end of this quick guide, you'll have everything you need to know to make money with Christmas light installation.

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Why You Should Offer Christmas Light Installation

Getting by in the off season doesn’t have to be a struggle if 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:

  • Replace a dormant lawn care income
  • Keep your team members employed
  • Supplement an existing year-round lawn care income
  • Keep your business name out there throughout the year

Plus, all of this can be done with very little startup costs. However, there are some things to consider before you jump into the business.

The Basic Christmas Light Equipment Essentials

As a Christmas light installer, you’ll be responsible for tasks like:

  • Installing the display
  • Removing the display
  • Storing the lights until next year
  • Purchasing materials (lights, wreaths, garland, extension cords, etc.)

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:

  • LEDs
  • Tools
  • Stapler
  • Mini-lights
  • Large bulbs
  • Bells, bows
  • Icicle lights
  • Decorations
  • Wire cutters
  • Fall protection
  • Poles to hang lights
  • Trees and ornaments
  • Garland (lit and un-lit)
  • Wreaths (small and large)
  • Blow molds and inflatables
  • Lights (various sizes and colors)
  • Clips, tape, and other fasteners
  • Assorted zip ties and electrical tape
  • Aluminum ladder with stand-off arms and levers
  • Collapsible painting pole with a hook attachment at the end
  • Fabric tool belt with big pockets (holds your light clips and cutters)

Also, DO NOT GET incandescent bulbs. They lead to higher energy bills, and they'll shatter when you put them away.

Here's a list of optional Christmas light equipment:

  • Clamp meter (for troubleshooting)
  • Korker cleats and roof jacks (for cedar shake roofs)
  • Cones and caution tape (if you work in public places)
  • Portable power unit (for if the client doesn't leave the power on for you)

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.

Additionally, it's important you find a reputable Christmas light supplier. They can give you sample kits to show clients, and they'll also help you order the right amount of lights.

How to Get Christmas Light Clients

When is the best time to advertise your Christmas light installation 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. For example:

Plus, you might even take a cue from your lawn care business marketing practices, and try 9 arounds.

Also, don't forget to show off your best work! Use high quality images of houses you've put lights on.

However, if you're just starting out and don't have images yet, that’s ok too. Take pictures of the first few jobs - your best ones - and use them in future marketing pieces.

Take a look at three quick ways to get your first Christmas light clients:

  1. Run Facebook ads to your existing client list, or even target new clients. Target those neighborhoods in your town that you know put up a lot of lights. Offer to do it for them this year, and save them the hassle of fighting with each light string.
  2. Remember, word of mouth can travel fast. Encourage your friends, family, and best clients to leave 5-star reviews and refer you to their friends and family. You can even offer “new client” discounts for them to hand out.
  3. Finally, don’t forget early bird discounts! It’s a great strategy to get those jobs lined up and ready to go before the season starts.

How to Price a Christmas Light Installation

There are tons of factors to consider when pricing lighting displays.

First off, 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.

Also, you should consider:

  • Removal of the lights
  • How many feet of lights you’ll need
  • Number of crew members and workable hours
  • Additional decorations, such as lawn decor, pillar wraps, etc.
  • Installation hours (automatically track this using Service Autopilot)

Keep in mind, it’ll be WAY SMOOTHER if you take down the lights (rather than your customers). After all, you don’t want to deal with someone else’s tangled mess.

How to Install Christmas Lights for Your Clients

Depending on the size of the property, each job can take anywhere from 3 hours… to 3 weeks.

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 your prior to installation include:

  • Equipment needed
  • How many crew members you’ll need
  • Amount of lights, garland, etc. you’ll need
  • Extension cords and power supply/outlets
  • Drawing out where each light installation will be placed on the house and property
  • Don't forget to consider any strange curves on the house that you’ll have to work around

Quick Note! Many Christmas light installers prefer using a Goat hook for safety with steep roofs.

Also, speaking of safety...

Following the Right Christmas Light Safety Protocols

Make sure you and your crew are following safety protocols:

  • Remember to ALWAYS put safety first.
  • Be mindful of electrical currents when installing lights.
  • Look for power lines in trees and call before you dig when required.
  • Use spotters when someone is on a roof, high ladder, or installing lights in trees.
  • Always keep your equipment (ladders, harnesses, etc.) in good working condition.
  • Use protective gear such as hard hats, gloves, and boots, plus layer your clothing if it’s cold outside.
  • Put lights up during daylight hours - there’s less likelihood of you tripping and falling over something.

Mistakes and missteps can happen, and the last thing you want is to spend the holidays in the emergency room!

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Make Money NOW With Christmas Light Installation

Now, you know why Christmas light installation is a great way to make money and keep your business turning a profit all year long.

Plus, you can can Christmas light installation as a way to keep your favorite team members happily employed (so you don't lose them next spring).

While you don't need a ton of startup cash, you can use these top strategies to focus your efforts on building a profitable Christmas light installation business.

Think about how you started your lawn care business... Now, go DO THAT with Christmas light installation.


Related: How to Transition from Lawn Care to a Christmas Light Business


Originally published Nov 29, 2018 5:53 PM, updated Aug 10, 2021 9:32 AM

Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino is the Sr. Marketing Director for Service Autopilot. She uses her 17+ years in direct marketing, sales, and product development to push entrepreneurs beyond their limits. She's passionate about helping others grow their businesses through time-tested marketing techniques. When not writing, you can find her belting out a mean Stevie Nicks at a local karaoke night.
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