View Full Version : Christmas Install training

10-13-2008, 10:52 AM
Hey Guys,

What a great forum! I look at the lighting forum a lot and had no idea this was here on Lawnsite , I never scroll down that far haha.

With the economy the way it is and the unbelievable drought here in North Georgia , I am seeing a lot of companies want to branch out into Christmas lighting. as much as I advise against it because it is such hard work and requires a ton of prep work .

Is there any company that offers training for new companies that want to offer this service? I have seen a few that offer a large one time fee for some marketing supplies and stuff but I havent found any hands on training.

Any advice will be appreciated.

10-14-2008, 12:42 PM
um not that i have found but why would you need training to hang lights

10-14-2008, 02:49 PM
I suppose that the first answer would be so that they get done right , power is separated properly , the amounts you quote for the trees and roofline are the right amount , etc, etc.

A good way to really tick people off is to mess up their Christmas lights.

10-14-2008, 03:09 PM
all true. you really don't want to get into it if you don't have one tool. and thats a bucket truck. If you have acess to one get it. when it comes to trees and roof lines your life will be a whole lot easier trust me

10-14-2008, 09:52 PM
Yeah, cause everyone likes having a bucket truck driven on thier lawn....

David Gretzmier
10-14-2008, 11:41 PM
Hillbilly lawnboy, welcome to the seasonal forum. Thanks for your first 2 posts ! You will find newbies and professionals here.

Some installers have bucket trucks for some work, but we have never used them. I have rented a lift in the past, but Like Hotrod stated, we had to run plywood across the lawn for tire tracks, and even an 85 foot boom is not enough on some homes, and most are unreachable from the drive way.

Out of 140 properties, we could only use a bucket to speed things along on a couple at best.The rest are done far more efficiently with ladders and working from the roof.

Holiday Bright Lights offers free training classes now, although you will have to travel to Omaha. Brite Ideas and Christmas decor offer classes If you buy in. I belive Village lighting has some DVD's out there, and there is another company in Omaha ( Brad?) that has some manuals and DVD's.

10-14-2008, 11:57 PM
Hey David

Thanks for the response , do you think that if I call HBL they can hook a few of us up w/ some training. I will call them tomorrow.


10-15-2008, 09:36 AM
David how would you rate the Village lighting dvd's?

10-15-2008, 11:08 AM
has anybody ever delt with those dancing lights before? i have a customer who is interested in them. I have to admit i have only seen them on tv or you tube. I have never actually seen them in person to see how they work. Is it a complicated procedure to get them syncronized? Thanks Jasen

10-15-2008, 11:39 AM
Yep, I deal a little in that stuff. It can be easy or it can be real hard. Really depends on how you plan it all out.
either way, it is expensive!

David Gretzmier
10-16-2008, 01:30 AM
Village lighting is a good start, as is the in person training at Holiday Bright Lights ( HBL ). Christmas decor has the best training hands down, and for 20 grand plus you can get access to it. The best training is doing your own house and learning what you need. Then your friends house, then your mom's, and then after 3 homes maybe one that you charge for, a simple one, and so forth.

turf hokie
10-16-2008, 07:49 AM
I agree with David the Christmas Decor has the best training. I disagree with it costing 20k to get the training. There is much, much more you get than just training for the fee that is charged to become a franchise. After 3 seasons going on 4 what they are able to do for my business is continuing and still as invaluable as it was in day one. They have opened many doors for me and many other things.

But that is enough of a plug, a franchise is not for everyone and there are other options if that is not what you want.

10-16-2008, 10:32 AM
Either way, practice makes perfect. Like David said, there is no better way than hands on training.

David Gretzmier
10-17-2008, 09:21 AM
I do agree you get more from Christmas Decor than just training. But to GET to the training, it does cost you 20k plus. You also get access to quality product and marketing, business training, etc. but you cannot get to the training without the cash.

10-18-2008, 04:19 PM
I took the Holiday Bright Lights training in August. Its a great class and it cost nothing. Just travel to Omaha. Call Mike Marlow and talk with him about it.

Christmas Pro
10-22-2008, 04:07 PM
Village lighting is good, national lights and decor is good but they charge like $8k, christmas decor is very good, but you have to buy a franchise. there are some other options out there as well including home study courses and the such, just make sure you get a good one.

David Gretzmier
10-25-2008, 01:18 AM
I just noticed HBL has a dvd training video, as I am in Louisville now at the GIE-expo. I will watch this at some point and let you guys know if it is worth wile to show new employees.

Christmas Pro
10-25-2008, 04:30 AM
I just noticed HBL has a dvd training video, as I am in Louisville now at the GIE-expo. I will watch this at some point and let you guys know if it is worth wile to show new employees.

Please do, I would be very interested in this dvd, if it's quality.

10-25-2008, 12:29 PM
I would also be interested in that dvd or any dvds on Christmas light training..

10-30-2008, 10:21 AM
The HBL DVD is pretty good, some of the info is dated and they teach new techniques at the actual course. The biggest difference is the DVD shows nailing up the lights. Now they teach using the S hooks and shingle clips. But it does go into estimating and some other good info.

11-15-2008, 04:10 PM
I do my Christmas hangs using ladders and safety ropes when on the roof.

elite lawns
11-16-2008, 01:42 AM
Village lighting dvd training how much is it thasnks

12-28-2008, 05:25 PM
Has anyone bought the training package from creative decorating inc. (Brad Finkle)? Just checking to see if its worth the $1155 ?

David Gretzmier
12-29-2008, 10:49 PM
I've met brad on a few occaisions and he's a great guy. He's been doing this a while, and although we differ on some things ( he's a big fan of c-7's in trees, me, not so much) I can reccomend his training. I've looked it over at a few trade shows, and it is all correct and pretty informative. Is it worth 1100 plus? IF you read it, watch it and follow it, probably. if I had to spend the time Brad has to put all this down in a video and book format, which I am doing slowly, I would charge more. There are a few of his books floating around the internet for less than a grand, you could get a taste for less and see if you like his work. If you do, then buy the rest.

12-30-2008, 11:00 AM
thanks Dave, Im not sure what Im doing yet considering its quite a while (9-10 months) until the next season starts

David Gretzmier
01-01-2009, 12:58 AM
it seems like forever until next season, but you need to be thinking about next year now. The people that will be successful next year will have inventory, tools, advertising, cards, catalogs, training, ladders, magnetic signs, yard signs, DONE by Sept. 1.

HBL Sales Manager
12-07-2009, 11:54 AM
HBL will resume it's training classes in May 2010 and will have webinars starting in Feb 2010. Both will give new and old companies a new perspective on their business.

Mike Marlow
VP of Member Development
Holiday Bright Lights

12-09-2009, 08:53 PM
We are very disappointed with Holiday Bright Lights. We did attend the training during the summer time. We took advantage of the early order option on clothing and truck magnets in September. We were charged up front for the clothing and it shipped approx 5-6 weeks later. Our truck magnets did not come until the second week of November. After asking about them a few times. We took advantage of the postcard program, and our web address was incorrect. We did not find out about it, until a current customer, and potential customer pointed it out. We were not given the opportunity to proof the postcard before it was sent. When we placed our first order, for our first lighting install, all that was shipped were cords, timers, hardware, etc. The lights ordered were all high end LED product. The lights were on back order. We did not know this, until several attempts of contacting the company, through the proper channels. We were charged up front for the entire order. I only received a call and email back when I asked for my membership to be refunded; I had lost my first sale, because I could not tell the customer when the install would be done. It's important to note that members are promised 24 hour turn around on order processing. It's understandable that this may not always happen, but not understandable to have to contact the company several times, just to find out what is being shipped, and when it will come.To Holiday Bright Light's credit, I did receive a refund of my membership, but have not received credit for the items I shipped back, the items that were never shipped, or for the incorrect post cards. I was told on several occasions that a credit would be issued, even after I shipped back the product. Currently I cannot get a call back from Scott the owner, and have had to pursue the issue through my credit card company. I have called several times, and left voice mails or sent emails. I am very displeased, with what could easily been handled byreturning of phone calls.
Rick Longnecker
Buds and Blades Landscape Company
Olympia, WA

HBL Sales Manager
12-09-2009, 09:57 PM
Nice copy of the same post.

I replied to the post.

Thanks for the support.


12-09-2009, 10:43 PM
This was a thread I started a while back as a friendly question about training and then you come in with this?

I do understand that you are upset . That being said , I do know there are 2 sides to every story and you taking a shot like this is very uncool . They refunded your membership fee , which is more than a lot of companies would do , I can tell you that from first hand experience.

Why didnt you order some of the backordered stuff from somewhere else and get the install done ? Why didnt you try and put the customer on something that was in stock and give another 5% off?

You losing your first customer is a you problem , not HBL.

For what its worth , I went on the HBL website on Sunday and sent in my info for someone to contact me , and I got a call at 9:15 EST AM Monday morning.

I do believe that you had some problems with HBL , and you have a right to be angry. All I am saying is how would you like it if somebody went on a public forum in Olympia and dismantled you at your busiest time of year?

12-09-2009, 11:24 PM
David- You are right
It's not very professional of me-
My apologies-

David Gretzmier
12-10-2009, 02:01 AM
I'd like to stay out of this, as I buy quite a bit from HBL and they are my main supplier. I am biased, I do believe they have the best product out there. I appreciate the apology above and I hope that HBL and Rick can come to terms that lets them both part amicably.

I've called out HBL and other companies for some of their faults, I also sing their praises on their excellence. All companies do some things very well and all companies have areas where they are weak. HBL is no different than Litesource, Action Lighting, collonade, roman, Santa Claus Inc, or any other folks I buy from. I wish they would just take the things that each of them do great and form one company that sells only great stuff and does all the little things great too. Ain't gonna happen.

I lost a small job this year because HBL was out of the 3 piece candlestick, after I checked the out of stock items and did not see it on there. when I tried to order it, liz let me know it was out, and I tried to change them to something else, and sometimes it just can't go that way. I don't blame HBL for running out, nearly every christmas light supplier is out of tons of stuff right now. And I sure don't blame myself because no one else has that candlestick. I am at fault as I should have called HBL to check stock before I told her they had it.

I do believe HBL is sincere in trying to help members sell more product. It is an obvious thing, if I sell more stuff HBL will sell more stuff. So they try to help with postcards so you can sell more jobs, but hear me here, HBL is not a postcard or direct marketing company. they are not a vehicle magnet company. they don't weave fabric and they do not have an embroidery machine out back. They are not web developers or software engineers. They are a Christmas decorations company, they design and make Christmas decorations that ALSO subs out or provides those things to help you sell product.