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smarino21
11-20-2006, 10:42 AM
i wanna get into holiday lighting. Any help would be appreciated? How do people charge per stran or hourly? DO you rent the customer the lights or just have them buy them off of you ?

Maitland Man
11-20-2006, 11:01 AM
......and how the heck do you get the lights to be soooo straight? Special "light bars"?

Dennis

cadzilla500
11-20-2006, 04:22 PM
Yea, this sounds like a great thing to do in fall to make extra money. I was wondering the same things, hopefully someone can answer these questions.

evergreenedmond
11-23-2006, 12:21 AM
use all in 1 clips from a commerdial supplier to get the lights straight. Christmas lights can create an insane amount of money.

Grass-Masters
11-27-2006, 11:01 AM
How do you charge for lights, flat rate or monthly. Roughly how much should we charge.

Mr.Mow-It-All
11-27-2006, 05:22 PM
How do you charge for lights, flat rate or monthly. Roughly how much should we charge.

Its hard to say, evergreenedmond helped me get started this year. I have been doing a lot this past couple of weeks. I figured up how much 100 feet roughly cost, then double that, then just figure your time at your rate. Small house we did today was about 165 feet of C9 clear lights and 1500 mini lights for 5 small holly trees. Took me and one of my guys 2.5 hours and charged $507. My cost for products was about $150. I am very small time compared to evergreenedmond but even doing small stuff its great seasonal money. I got rained out today or else we could have done 3 just like this one.

Don't buy the 25' foot cheap lights from walmart, homedepot, lowes, etc... Find a distributor. We buy a 1000' foot roll of wire and cut it to fit our needs, the lights, wire, clips etc, is much better quality.

By the way J, if you read this when you get back from the other side, CONGRATS.

NY Landscape Lighting
11-27-2006, 08:37 PM
That project should fetch around 1,000.00 in my opinion. And I am not overpriced.

Mr.Mow-It-All
11-27-2006, 11:32 PM
That project should fetch around 1,000.00 in my opinion. And I am not overpriced.


If your talking about my job, if you can get more than $70 per man hour, more power to you. You have to remember I'm in Oklahoma, your in NY. This wasn't a hard job, everything done with an 8 foot step ladder, no high, steep roof, pretty basic.

NY Landscape Lighting
11-28-2006, 05:00 PM
If your talking about my job, if you can get more than $70 per man hour, more power to you. You have to remember I'm in Oklahoma, your in NY. This wasn't a hard job, everything done with an 8 foot step ladder, no high, steep roof, pretty basic.

Being a lower roof would lower the cost. I was also talking about new lights install, removal and boxing.

wurkn with amish
11-28-2006, 05:44 PM
Probally around 750-900 for here.

Mr.Mow-It-All
11-28-2006, 08:22 PM
Being a lower roof would lower the cost. I was also talking about new lights install, removal and boxing.

Yeh removal, boxing and storing will all be paid seperate when we take them down.

gardenkeeper88
12-01-2006, 10:16 PM
this was my first year giving it a full try. Well Walked around hungabout 400 door hangers, gave 7 free quotes, did 2 new jobs plus the 2 that I had from last year. All that didn't take said too high. (example 194 foot of c7 roof line 1 & 2 story house $300. materials & $275 labor) (3- 20 foot spruce Labor & materials $1275.00) Are these out of line? Some were just cheapskates I understand this. I am discouraged but am not going to give up yet. How do you compete pricewise wholsale compared to Menards & such. I priced both incan. and LED and menards was cheaper than any suppliers I found. I'm e-mailing you Ndmorris hopefully you can help. I also am looking for any suggestions from any one else. 1 of my new ones just went with roofline and lighted fresh roping around door. I stopped to check on them and she added a 9' spruce to light now. Quality was great. I think iam going to offer her a discount next year for any signed from her recommendation.

Mr.Mow-It-All
12-02-2006, 09:28 AM
this was my first year giving it a full try. Well Walked around hungabout 400 door hangers, gave 7 free quotes, did 2 new jobs plus the 2 that I had from last year. All that didn't take said too high. (example 194 foot of c7 roof line 1 & 2 story house $300. materials & $275 labor) (3- 20 foot spruce Labor & materials $1275.00) Are these out of line? Some were just cheapskates I understand this. I am discouraged but am not going to give up yet. How do you compete pricewise wholsale compared to Menards & such. I priced both incan. and LED and menards was cheaper than any suppliers I found. I'm e-mailing you Ndmorris hopefully you can help. I also am looking for any suggestions from any one else. 1 of my new ones just went with roofline and lighted fresh roping around door. I stopped to check on them and she added a 9' spruce to light now. Quality was great. I think iam going to offer her a discount next year for any signed from her recommendation.

So are you saying on the quote with 194 c7, was 575 total? That actualy sound a little low to me if it was a 2 story house. And when you say roofline, do you meen the outline of the house or actualy doing the roofline (getting on the roof and going up the peaks, if this is the case you are way low).

We are doing one monday that started out to be just 110 c9 lights around the outline of the house for $500. I have upsold them to add about another 80-100 feet to do the peak lines, and mini lights around thier greenery (not a lot of mini's) and now we are up to $975, and like I stated before that doesn't include the removal, boxing them up, or storing, all of wich they will pay when we remove. Removal is usaully about 25% plus the cost of the bins I buy and a one time fee for storing them.

Jlawnmow
12-04-2006, 10:25 AM
Hey Mr.Mow-It-All, Where in Oklahoma are you???

For me I charge a $1.50 for EACH c9 light I put up.
$3.50 for EACH mini light strand.
There is alot of money to be made in this business!!!
Right now I'm backed up untill the 15th of December!

Wells
12-04-2006, 11:15 AM
This is for those individuals that are considering getting into Christmas Lighting but are not sure whats all involved.

We base our Christmas lighting prices on "materials" and "labor".

We purchase all of the materials for the project at wholesale prices then turn around and install the materials at reatil prices.

We purchase the C7&C9 bulbs seperatly from the lighting strands, this not only make installation easier but also allows the customer to choose their pattern for their lights. The bulbs come in all colors of opaque, transparant, and transparant blinking. Each box of lights come in a box of (25) and runs about $6.00 retail $4.50 wholesale.

The lighting strands come in 120' bundles and run about $30.00 retail and $18.00 wholesale, you can also purchase 500' spools but we typically keep to the smaller bundlles.

When installing the wiring we either use gutter/roof clips that can be purchased for $4.00 per 200 clips or we use the clips that come on the lighting strands and hang them under the soffit of the roof line.

The one thing to consider when installing lights is not to overload the circuit breaker that you are tying into, I usually try to tie the lighting into two seperate circuits.

Additional materials to keep in mind when bidding a Christmas lighting project is:
1. Male / Female adapters (These clip right onto the ends of your wire where you made a cut)
2. Additional wire (without lighting sockets) to wire up all your cuts.
3. Wire nuts and electrical tape for smaller cut lenghts.
4. Extension cords incase you need to run your wire to a plug at ground level. Many newer homes will have plugs under the soffit in the roof line. You can also wire right into outdoor garage/porch light using a socket plug.
5. Possible timer.

The only thing left to include in your bid would be your labor. We currently charge $65.00 per hour. (just make sure to include plenty of time on your bid as lighting typically takes longer than you usually expect.

Example:
A new set of 250 feet of lights put up on a two story home with approximatly 10 wire cuts would be charged out as follows:

Materials: 220.00
Labor: 295.00
Total: 515.00

Our prices do not include take down of the lighting, this is a additional fee charged in January.

wurkn with amish
12-05-2006, 09:31 PM
When you store lights for your customers, you are in the door already for next years job. Call set up a date and ask them if they would like to upgrade a little from last years job. Works for me. plus my salesperson at brite-ideas is great at helping with any questions.

wkipke
12-26-2006, 05:41 AM
How do you handle light outages. Is that on you or do you charge for the replacement?

Wells
12-26-2006, 10:24 PM
How do you handle light outages. Is that on you or do you charge for the replacement?

After we do the initial install I will give the customer a box of 25 replacment bulbs. We always make sure every bulb is working before we leave a clients property.

If one burns out between the installation and Christmas then it's up to the client to either call us for replacment or replace it themselves. If they call us for a replacment then there is a service charge.

If it's just one or two bulbs most clients will not worry about it and just leave them until the following years install.

Green Boys LawnCare
01-06-2007, 10:52 PM
Can you tell me who you get your supplies (lights, etc.) from?

wurkn with amish
01-07-2007, 06:23 PM
I get mine from brite -ideas out of nebraska

Green Boys LawnCare
01-08-2007, 08:46 PM
I get mine from brite -ideas out of nebraska

Do you have their web address? Thanks

wurkn with amish
01-09-2007, 06:54 PM
try sayitwithlights.com
or
briteideas.com

nelbuts
02-19-2007, 02:53 PM
Ok guys since I have been a member here for what seems like forever I feel I should give you some information. I do this Christmas light thing for fun. Don't sell anything and don't install anywhere except my house. Last year I had a few lights. Close to 200,000 and most are computere controlled and synced to music. Been doing this for several years.

Now for the good part. www.actionlighting.com take a look around and compare their prices. They have great quality and fantastic service. Plus the prices are better than anything I have seen quoted. Now I guess if you think I am not quite sure what I am talking about then that is ok. You can visit my website and look around. It is www.ridgeharborchristmas.com contact me through the website if you have any questions.

Oh and just so you know I am a certified pest control operator in FL and own my own pest control and grounds maintenance company. The lights are just my attempt to make a bunch of people happy.

Look forward to hearing from you all.

mverick
04-08-2007, 04:01 PM
I've done it. I make them buy the lights and when I take them down I roll them back up and use zip ties. Usually the owners don't want them back. I also tell them if a light goes out and I have to go through a strand to find it they had better just let me buy another strand. LOL

(wi) Roots
04-10-2007, 12:06 AM
Place them up new or customers own. Storage for free! retain customers 85%. Year in the Christmas lighting going on 12yrs. Started Lawn Care business with Christmas Lighting helped pay for fall income thru spring the following year. What a way to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NightScenes
05-10-2007, 07:41 AM
It's almost time to order lights for this year!! Where is the time going?

wurkn with amish
05-11-2007, 06:13 PM
Yeah I almost put my first order in april, just didn't have $20k at the time. I'll probally order in July @ their trade show.

evergreen_lawncare
07-16-2007, 04:57 PM
I did lights for the first time last year. Didnt do too much advertising. Hung some flyers and put an ad in the local paper. Profited around $6,000 for about 4 weekends worth of work (two weekends to put up, two weekends to take down, and take downs are much quicker). After last year we are really going to push it this year with extensive advertising and see how well that pays off. It was just me and one other guy last winter and hope to have a couple crews out this winter.

CharlotteOutdoorImpact
07-17-2007, 05:52 PM
evergreen, How did you charge?

did you use there lights or did they buy new ones from you?

Did you get any how to books? or get training materials from anywhere?

Thanks

Dhouse
07-18-2007, 08:24 AM
When do you start advertising for holiday lights?

evergreen_lawncare
07-18-2007, 09:24 AM
First year they purchase the lights from us, so we charge almost double what we would of the cost to put up the lights. For example, we had a house last year where it cost $800 just for the lights. We inflated the price to around $1,400 for materials and then charged another $1,000 or so for the install. It only took the two of us about 2 hours to do the house. Second year we charge half of what we charged the first year. We start advertising near the middle of september all the way through to the end of October. Last year we just did cold calling and passed out some flyers, and a lot of business came from word of mouth as well.

CharlotteOutdoorImpact
07-18-2007, 02:48 PM
Where did you get the lights? were they comercial grade?
Did your customer pick them out of a catalog?

Thanks

Christmas Creations
11-23-2007, 11:11 AM
Should check out www.holidaybrightlights.com, old partner of Brite Ideas.

Much better pricing and will work with anyone.

I've been doing this for 4 yrs, just christmas decorating and I'm approaching 80 accounts with 60K in business...install/removal/storage. I charge $25 per man hour with a 40% mark up on products. Ofcourse I will take any business, good mixture of commercial and residential. I always give my customers a high and low bid...this helps me close 60% of my bids.

If your getting started, have your local paper do an article on christmas decorating and feature your products. I've also been working with the local Red Cross that puts on a charity tour of house in the area. Donated my service to decorating one of the house and it's ROI is around 10K

David Gretzmier
11-24-2007, 03:52 AM
wow, $25 per hour won't cover my costs around here, but then this is Arkansas. I'm closing around 28% at this point, so I have to do alot more bids, but I am at $6.50 per foot 1st year costs, $3.25 in year 2 and following. Try to project into the future your costs of labor with a 2 or 3 man crew, trucks and gas, and most importantly, insurance. workman's comp, liability, theft ( if you store the lights at your place), fire ( if you store) and the one most people skip-professional.

Professional insurance covers the situation if your guys overload a cord and cause a fire. it is the thing that no one talks about. If you have ever picket up a cord that is very warm to the touch, then you get what I am talking about.

To expand a christmas light business beyond the owner and a helper or two, costs need to be seriously considered and charged for. I know I could never had expanded beyond myself and my truck had I not been charging these rates 6 years ago.

good luck all, 6 prime selling days left. return those calls the same day! the phone will stop ringing and the messages will stop on December 1st. keep it going !

Christmas Creations
11-24-2007, 11:16 AM
Around my parts, everyone seems to be an expert. Been doing this long enough to prove the doubters that my services are the one they should pick.

This year I have a plumbing company doing major marketing for Christmas Lighting...I've seen some of there jobs and it's a joke. They are charging $50 per man hr with 50% markup....I can't see them lasting with those rates. Good more for me. Customer will always come around if they feel cheated.

I started this as extra income over the winter season, I have a full time job with Gateway Computers which makes the last 3 months very busy to say the least. I have 8 guys that work part-time for me some day and some at night. We just finished our 70 job this year, I've increase my business 150% from last year. One of the keys was to hire a stay at home mom that had good phone skills and understood the business. She started call commerical accounts around the beginning of september, worked out great for about 6 hrs a week she generated me 15K in extra sales I'm not sure we would seen the bid.

I run two vehicles with trailers, fully stocked for Christmas lighting equipment. It's a blast.

I love this business and I love the people I met and help each year. We provide a great service to those christmas nuts that need our help.

Good luck everyone, I hope your season has been rewarding.

Mike Marlow

TPnTX
11-24-2007, 08:31 PM
well Mike I must say that is a good post. I can almost hear your voice in the way that you type things in. Im glad to hear you much you enjoy it and that its doing well for you.

David Gretzmier
11-25-2007, 08:05 AM
mike- It sounds like things are working for you at that those prices. I just can't seem to make money at 25 bucks an hour. I pay my guys 12-15, and many hit overtime by thursday, so just strickly out of pocket labor costs go over 20 bucks. once you add in all the other expenses, I lose money. gas alone costs us close to 500 per week. even at 50 bucks an hour I'd be slimly making a profit once you consider all the insurance and warehouse costs.

So I'm a per foot and per piece man just because at the costs I pay it is the only way to have money left to feed my family and grow the business. I don't have a full time job the rest of the year, so I have to have money in the bank at the end of January. I know I close 25-35 new customers per year at the prices I charge, and I retain over 90% of my customers year to year. so whatever works for you go for it!

Christmas Creations
11-25-2007, 10:18 AM
That's awesome to hear, after being on this board it has made me rethink my business to help it grow every year. I am sure in the off-season there will be more calculations to help make a bigger profit.

Yes, there are advantages of having a full time job and not. I am sure there was another 20K to be made if I could of approached some of my medical centers and banks in person.

One thing is true, we are all in this business to make money...some of the perks is the grateful customer that loves your design and service. That's my bonus when a customer can honestly say to a friend, "you need to talk to Mike about your lights next year".

One last week of installs and it's smooth sailing until Jan 2nd.

David Gretzmier
11-26-2007, 07:37 AM
Yep- It looks like I'll be booked this week and then it is as jobs come in. letting my temps go will be sad, but since they have been working 60 hours a week for the past 3 weeks, they are probably ready for a break. back in the groove on takedowns dec. 26th for me. keep selling ! 5 days of prime selling left- return those calls !

Christmas Creations
11-29-2007, 03:20 PM
I see you start the day after christmas, is that for special accounts that request that or is that due to amount of accounts you service?

I usually start the day after New Years Day, hit about 7-10 homes a day...that's mixed with a day and night crew. This year I've grown enough to be concerned on my take down time and labor dollars.

Happy holidays,

MIKE

David Gretzmier
12-01-2007, 12:20 AM
I wish we could really hit the takedowns hard the day after Christmas, my guys will be ready to go back to work after a 3 week layoff or so. some customers are ok with 26th, but most folks will be upset if you takedown before Jan. 1st. and they'll be upset if you take longer than Jan. 31st. I really don't want to pay overtime in January because of my labor rates.

dave g