View Full Version : Holiday Lighting??

Lawn Boy
07-11-2005, 06:44 PM
Do any of you all do holiday lighting. I have really been thinking about it lately because I am sure that people love lights during the holidays, but are not able to put them up. I know that no one does this service in Sedalia, MO. What do you think about this idea of mine? How do you price it? Just give me some info.

07-12-2005, 04:46 AM
I too have been thinking about holiday lighting.. I would like to know how to price as well. I have heard to charge per strand.

07-12-2005, 08:02 AM
I worked for a landscaper a few years ago and we put christmas lights up for a few customers. I'm not sure what he charged. One of the places we did was on a high dollar street and we werent the only LCO's putting lights up.

Frog Lights, LLC
07-12-2005, 06:51 PM
Great idea!

07-28-2005, 01:32 AM
During my first season with well planned holiday lighting efforts, I sold approx. $30K in installed lighting. The COG for new commercial grade lights ran approx. 20-25%! I was able to keep two excellent landscape crew members through the winter (although very short here) by doing this. An excellent success to follow on outstanding Holiday Lighting is Swingle Tree in Colorado.

jd boy
07-28-2005, 09:29 AM
holiday lighting is also a huge pain. depending on the lights you are using it can require a pretty large sum of electric. that means you are depending on the existing electric to be sufficent. Also, GFCI's always pop when the lights get wet. Then guess who they call.

Plus this is not fun work, at least in NW Ohio. Imagine being on a ladder in 5 degree weather with blowing snow.

We do it, but on a limited basis and only for our best customers that don't complain about price.

Something D
07-28-2005, 12:46 PM
For those that do this service, where do you purchase the lights Wal-Mart, Home Depot etc. or is there a wholesaler. What do you charge?

07-30-2005, 11:53 PM
There was a big article in the newspaper around here about that. Some landscapers were reporting making more than they do on some mowiing day for the few weeks that they did it. If you have the ladders and stuff, i would say go for it!

J Hisch
08-02-2005, 12:16 PM
Understand it is not just a matter of putting up some lights. First you must understand you assume responsibilty if there are any problems, such as fire or other damage. Second we only install what we sell, no crapola you get from Home depot that never work next year, or blown blubs you have to track down constantly. Third, we warehouse what we sell for the customer, therefore as to create a chain of custody. If I am going to service, install, and remove, I want them stored at my location. The average home it's first year will spend about 1000.00 1500.00 on a installed basic display. You make your money through the warhouse and service fee's. Service meaning you replace blubs, etc. ensure the lighting is in good working order. most home installs take a crew of about 2 men 4-6 hours. Another point is just like lawn mowing if someone in your area is selling professional products, and your installing home depot, they will notice a difference between the displays. Just like stripes in a lawn. You will need ample supplies, to make the connections easy and be able to hide the cords. Good luck, it a good jig but not one that is mastered untill about your 3rd year.

08-03-2005, 10:19 PM
I think the holiday lighting thing is best in mild winter climates. A little ice on the roof and you're in for a challenge. There are just about as many variables with a holiday lighting service as there are in the landscape biz. I would not recommend installing anything less than quality, commercial rated lights and buying them wholesale direct so that you can make some nice winter profits. There are many choices out there and some of them provide business tips and some training- similar to what the landscape lighting manufacturers offer. The most experienced is Christmas Decor which is actually a franchise opportunity started by some landscape guys. You may want to investigate them if you're serious. Either way, I if you're thinking of lighting this season you'd better start the learning now and advertising by Halloween. Oh by the way, I did have one holiday seasons worth of experience as with a Christmas Decor franchise (during the end of a past landscape partnership) and I had an absolute blast, and the money is great too if done right!

Carolina Cuts
08-09-2005, 08:39 PM
I light up 15-20 homes in Jersey every year.... won't touch a ladder... won't touch the house. All shrubs... minimum-$500.00/maximum house-$2500.00
Get our lights off the net.... commercial end to end.. $2.67/set charge 5.00 for new customers and/or replacements.

Good gig.... Pray for good weather in November....Brrrrrrrrrrr... cold in January when takin' em' down :blob3: ...

08-09-2005, 10:40 PM
can anyone provide a link to commercial lighting and how do you price for this. i think my insurance would cover the install aspect of it. it shouldnt differ much from cleaning gutters

J Hisch
08-10-2005, 08:02 PM
LOL it is totally different then cleaning gutters. It is a tough buck........but once you learn the how to it gets easier.

Doster's L & L
08-11-2005, 03:02 AM
I understand that Christmas Decor is a franchise opportunity. Minimum investment is $17,500 to become an owner of a franchise. There are many lights and some marketing tools available, plus other business stuff to "hit the ground running". They also train you for a few days on how to properly set up a home with lights as well as general business affairs.

Dreams To Designs
08-12-2005, 02:41 PM
can anyone provide a link to commercial lighting and how do you price for this. i think my insurance would cover the install aspect of it. it shouldn't differ much from cleaning gutters

Lot more to it than cleaning gutters, to be done well and and as an artistic display. Remember, they are paying a professional. The clients usually wants more than just the lights hung on their home.

I met these people at PANTS and they were very helpful and professional.
GKI / Bethlehem Lighting http://gkilights.com/
I will be giving them a shot this season.

Another supplier which is easy for me as I can pickup there is Orman Inc in Philadelphia. http://ormaninc.com/ What I have gotten from them was good quality.


Frog Lights, LLC
08-16-2005, 11:37 AM
Frog Lights, LLC
We imported real lead crystals from Europe. All of you have seen chandeliers in a ball room with beautiful glass crystals. When the light is spread around the room it sparkles. I purchased various sizes and shapes of glass crystals of the best quality from a European manufacturer. I had them made with a hole drilled in the top so that they could be hung easily with fishing line. We tried hanging them from some special trees like weeping cherry or Jap maple just below the branches. We put about 100 crystals per tree....during the day it looks unbelievable but at night with the up light on it ... all I can say is that it is spectacular ! These crystals can be hung on anything let your imagination run wild. Contact us for prices.. I will attach some photos as soon as I can. It takes about an hour to hang 100-150 crystals and you can make more than 100 percent profit. Be the first to do this !

09-03-2005, 01:50 PM
I installed for a christmas decor co a few years back before I went on my own. It is really fun for me anyways. I have found some really good suppliers thru the web one is http://www.aachristmas.com they have a good selection the other one ishttp://www.christmaslightsetc.com this site has the desired wreaths and garland because they will stay lit. Pricing here in minnesota is around $2.00/foot for the c9's Anyone who has any questions can feel free to email menikegolf44@aol.com I would be glad to answer any questions

09-13-2005, 02:48 PM
says your email is no good...

09-13-2005, 09:08 PM
i think this is a great idea and im sure it would pay some bills in between plowing. i like the idea of installing new lights you buy but what would you charge if they have the lights and want you to install them thanks tom

07-16-2007, 02:31 AM
dmoney are you still available for questions?

Chad K

David Gretzmier
07-25-2007, 01:04 AM
This Thread must have been moved here, given the posts and no one in landscape lighting side has really jumped in, maybe no one left on this thread is reading, but here goes nothing anyway-

Holiday lighting is an excellent add-on to lawn care and pesticide companies in temperate and cooler climates, not so good for tropical ( florida, california, far southern border and desert states ) and not so good for cold- north border states and canada. you really need to be able to start hanging lights in a serious fashion no later than Nov. 1st, if you want to do this and make money at it, Oct 1st or earlier.

The reason- training and efficiency. It takes about 2-3 weeks to get a crew of 2 or 3 up and running and able to work independantly.

we start on sept 15, with one crew of 3 with me added on for the first 3 weeks. these 3 will be my 3 crew leaders, and they are the cream of the crop. even though these guys may have done this with me for 2 or 3 years, it still takes at least a week to get everybody back into the mode of what goes where, what to bring, load, unload, how many lights on what cord, outlet, timer, etc.

Those 3 crews will be 2 or 3 man, from Oct. 7-Dec. 15th or so, depending on new sales, and etc. I also have a one man "fixer" this year to change out bulbs on a couple of huge projects and fix minor problems daily. we'll start takedowns on Dec. 26 and run until Feb 15 or so until the last job is down. takedowns go 3 times faster than installs.

we'll do about 250 k for the season on 110-150 customers on about 130-175 locations, give or take. we add about 35 customers every year, and lose about 5-10% from last years total. Bear in mind that this business is in it's 7th season in this area. This business will theoretically top out at 300-400 customers, as that is when you lose 10 % and you only can gain about 35 new customers every year. It will top out somewhere around 750k to 1 mill.

It is extremely stressful, dangerous, and not for the faint of heart. It is also very rewarding and employees tend to take alot of pride in this type of work.

There are others that do this bigger than we do it, but none around here. the biggest Christmas light company I know personally is a guy in Chicago, and he does around 1 mill or so in Christmas lights. in REALLY nasty weather. I buy bulbs from him, and he's a great guy.

The best place to get product is Holiday Bright Lights ( HBL ), google it and you'll find out how to contact them. I am not connected to them financially. I buy alot from them. I have bought from all the others, and started 25 years ago with my first Christmas customer ( a lawn care client back in my home town when I was a wee lad), so I can say with authority that the others are ok, and some are bad. I still buy some key items from other vendors, but mainly from HBL. Their garland, wreaths, and product line are the best, bar none. very unique products.

I bought a Brite Ideas Franchise back in 2001( around 15 grand then, 20 grand now with the nice package) , and still use that name, but their products had major problems when they shipped production overseas to china in 2003. most folks make stuff in china, but they did it badly. Talk to at least 5 of their older franchisees ( they call them "distributors" ) and at least one will tell you straight. I no longer buy product from them, but I do appreciate the unique products and minimal training. The guy that started HBL was the brains behind product development at Brite Ideas, left them in 2003, and one look ( in person if possible, they both tend to set up at nationwide conventions ) at both product lines will tell you which is better. easily.

Christmas Decor is the big fish that seems stuck at the same number of franchises even though they add 25-75 new members every year. the reality is most of them are lawn care and pesticide companies, and once you are using all of your manpower and trucks to do all of the Christmas lights you can in your respective off season, they drop the franchise and just keep those rehangs and no longer pay the franchise fee. I had an oppurtunity to buy my market, and got a glimpse at their training videos, it is the best training bar none. the products are c-9s, mini-lights, and yard displays, wreaths and garland. decent stuff, but you have to buy it all from them. 20 grand plus to get in.

It takes about 3-4 years to really have a good base of rehangs and give prospective clients the confidence to buy from you. we are know as the Christmas light company, do spots on the tv news on Christmas light safety and have done tons of newspaper and local magazine stuff.

It's a great kick, but I am trying now to build a landscape lighting business for the "off season" from Feb 15 ( done with takedowns ) to sept 15. I figure THAT will ltake another 7 years. oh well, I got nothing else to do.

07-25-2007, 01:40 AM
Thanks for the info.. I live in Charlotte NC, so the climate should be fine.
How would you go about getting this bus. up and running without buying a franchise.... Any suggestions on catalogs, postcards or ways of marketing and getting clients. Estimate forms, pricing. What do you use to actually hang the lights? Do you recommend any training manuals or videos for training?
Any more info at all will be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks again

07-25-2007, 08:37 AM
Thanks for the info.. I live in Charlotte NC, so the climate should be fine.
How would you go about getting this bus. up and running without buying a franchise.... Any suggestions on catalogs, postcards or ways of marketing and getting clients. Estimate forms, pricing. What do you use to actually hang the lights? Do you recommend any training manuals or videos for training?
Any more info at all will be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks again

For this approach I would look at Village Lighting. They offer a starter package with training video, door hangers, estimate forms and so on. You can goggle them as well. Nice guys and have some good product. You don't have to buy a franchise and you can do pretty well if you really work at building your client base.

David Gretzmier
08-01-2007, 12:23 AM
Holiday Decor is another good one for training and literature only. I met the owner a few years back, pretty good guy. c-9 and c-7's on trees though, the method he uses draws a lot of power. good luck.

08-02-2007, 11:58 PM
Re: Holiday Lighting,
I am by no means an expert, I only have one year under my belt. However, if any of you are looking for a resource that can really help someone out when it comes to running a holiday lighting business. Check out www.creativedecoratinginc.com. They aren't a franchise. You buy his step-by-step manual that also comes with DVDs. It isn't a bad deal. In my case there was no seminars on how to do holiday lighting near by. If I wanted to learn hands on I was looking at plane tickets and lodging and etc. Creative Decorating's Manual isn't cheap. It is at least a $1000 maybe $2000 I can't remember, but it is 100% complete on everything you need to know and you can call Brad anytime if you have a problem. If you want to get started in holiday lighting and don't know where to start. I really think what Creative Decorating has to offer is a fair deal. Has any of you had any experiences with Creative Decorating?:usflag:

David Gretzmier
08-03-2007, 12:18 AM
I met Brad in Louisville, KY, and He's a good guy. he likes c-9's and c-7's in trees as well, which draw a lot of power, but look nice. he knows what he's doing. the price is a little higher than I remember. I forgot he was out of omaha. Brite Ideas and Holiday Bright Lights are as well.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-03-2007, 05:07 AM
I took a stab at holiday lighting. (we live at 45 deg. north latitude... Santa's Villiage {his summer home!} is in Bracebridge Ontario) My first year in it sales were great. I did 5 big jobs ranging from $2k to $9K! I was a bit blown away by how much people were willing to spend on their properties.

Only problem for me was the tearing down. I hated it. I truly despised having to take down and pack away all the lights. It left me feeling very empty. I guess the temporary nature of the installations was the thing that bothered me most. I put my heart and soul into creating amazing displays, only to have to take it all down. In the end I decided to get out of it and moved my winter focus to interior lighting.

Interiors are now about 50% of my business and the systems are there for life, which suits me much better.

Lesson learned = "Do what you love"

08-03-2007, 11:35 AM
When you say interior lighting, are you using low voltage technolgy? When it come to interior lighting what can you do for a customer that they can't do themselves. Are you an electrician? I am just curious to know if there is an interior market in my area and what is involved?

08-03-2007, 01:48 PM
i would do Holiday lighting if i didn't have to come up with $5k just to be a dealer for lights so i can get them wholesale.

David Gretzmier
08-03-2007, 03:14 PM
Holiday Bright Lights will let you buy wholesale without an upfront cost. You can become a "member" if you feel you will purchase over 10k in wholesale products for slightly lower prices,shipping and other training/marketing benefits. Some guys start out buying a few thousand in the first year or two, and then become members after that when you start doing signifigant volume. the cost of membership varies by region. I'd talk to Bruce or Scott at HBL and get the numbers on it.

The wholesale prices without membership are quite reasonable.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-04-2007, 09:31 AM
When you say interior lighting, are you using low voltage technolgy? When it come to interior lighting what can you do for a customer that they can't do themselves. Are you an electrician? I am just curious to know if there is an interior market in my area and what is involved?

Hi Ned. I do full scale interior lighting design and installations. Basically I found a hole in the market when it came to interior lighting design. The electricians are generally not trained in lighting design and many architects don't really do a good job of it either.

I now do full scale interiors for my clients who are building new or doing major renovations. This is not a fun business if you focus on retro-fits!

Basically we start with the plans (elevations, floorplans, and projected ceiling plans) and do a full lighting design / layout. Then I prepare a specification listing each and every component required to achieve the design. Once the building is framed and ready for rough ins, we return and do a full layout on the structure. Then the client has a choice to make... they can have us do a turn-key system or simply buy the design and specifications for their electrical contractor to install.

If they choose a turnkey system by us. I will then procure all of the components and bring them to site. I then project manage the electrical contractor and his staff as to where and how each component should be installed. This ensures no substitutions in lamp technology or lighting components are made and that everything is installed to spec.

At the end of the process we return to lamp and trim out all the fixtures and do a final aiming of the system to suit the client's furnishings.

Interior lighting is a lot of fun and a huge challenge. It is also a bit of a risk if you are not 100% confident in your ability to work effectively with other trades. You must be able to come up with solutions to unforeseen problems at a moments notice and then make things work properly. Unlike Landscape Lighting, you don't have the opportunity to fix a problem easily at the end.

Some other time I will talk about outdoor architectural lighting and what a boost that can make to your business model.

Have a great day.