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BenRossen
11-24-2008, 10:06 PM
I run a landscaping company in Denver and am looking to supplement my income during the off-season. I have considered hanging Christmas Lights for a few years now but have never done it. There are stories on the Internet of people making over $100,000 in 2 months which is more than I make in a year. I find it hard to believe.

I have found a few start up kits such as ChristmasCash.org (http://www.christmascash.org). It looks interesting but I am skeptical. Does anyone have any experience with this before I shell out 67$ on information I may already know?

LushGreenLawn
11-24-2008, 10:25 PM
You should be skeptical. 100K in two months? Mabye an established business, running multiple crews.

It would take years to build a business with a client base that big, and alot of hard work, just like every other business.

Also, keep in mind you have expenses and overhead, just like any other business.

JB1
11-24-2008, 10:39 PM
I run a landscaping company in Denver and am looking to supplement my income during the off-season. I have considered hanging Christmas Lights for a few years now but have never done it. There are stories on the Internet of people making over $100,000 in 2 months which is more than I make in a year. I find it hard to believe.

I have found a few start up kits such as ChristmasCash.org (http://www.christmascash.org). It looks interesting but I am skeptical. Does anyone have any experience with this before I shell out 67$ on information I may already know?





no way not me, put me in a higher tax bracket then, don't need that headache.

T&J Landscaping
11-24-2008, 11:54 PM
sell x-mas trees, much safer, and you better have high i mean high insurance to do x-mas lights and know your voltage to put ina socket, you burn down a house u wil be homeless,

not worth doing x-mas lights unless u have done it before with a company,

good luck

David Gretzmier
11-25-2008, 01:41 AM
I know of a couple of companies in Denver that are doing quite well with lights. but then they have had a few years head start on you. I think in the denver market with the proper marketing plan in place, excellent training, reliable vehicles, and good weather, you could build to the level you want in a few years. I am clueless about the weather there in November, but I'm thinking cold, snow and ice and big challenges. To learn how to do it profitably and get training, I'd suggest you look at the big 3- Christmas Decor, Holiday Bright Lights, and Brite Ideas. following any one of those systems will be a huge step to making this happen for you. since you seem kinda skeptical about 67 bucks, you may be extremely averse to spending 8-20 grand for a system that works. But like most things, any Christmas light business will be what you put into it.

many folks think spending 500 bucks on a spool of cord and a box of bulbs and all in one clips, throw a ladder in the back make a Christmas light business. I know- there are several around here.

hotrod1965
11-25-2008, 10:18 AM
I know of a couple of companies in Denver that are doing quite well with lights. but then they have had a few years head start on you. I think in the denver market with the proper marketing plan in place, excellent training, reliable vehicles, and good weather, you could build to the level you want in a few years. I am clueless about the weather there in November, but I'm thinking cold, snow and ice and big challenges. To learn how to do it profitably and get training, I'd suggest you look at the big 3- Christmas Decor, Holiday Bright Lights, and Brite Ideas. following any one of those systems will be a huge step to making this happen for you. since you seem kinda skeptical about 67 bucks, you may be extremely averse to spending 8-20 grand for a system that works. But like most things, any Christmas light business will be what you put into it.

many folks think spending 500 bucks on a spool of cord and a box of bulbs and all in one clips, throw a ladder in the back make a Christmas light business. I know- there are several around here.

At least they buy the spool around you! Here they just buy the strand lights from the big box stores and call themselves pro's!

Anyway, The cash in on x-mas guy owns "we put up lights". He is trying to form a nation wide network of installers, so he can market on a national basis, and just sub-contract out installs. It's an interesting plan I guess. He is a big marketing guy, and not the best at actually installing lights.

I would imagine if you spent a day or two reading all the forums here, you will get everything in that book, and then some!

This is not an easy business. It will take you longer to grow than if you were in the south. Your season is shorter because of fighting with the weather. Yet, it takes a lot of people until Thanksgiving to call you....

BenRossen
12-01-2008, 03:01 AM
So I bought the Kit from ChristmasCash.org (http://www.christmascash.org) . Overall, I am really pleased with it. There are a few pieces of information in the eBook that I would do differently but there are over a hundred pages of interesting information. My biggest complaint I have is that it is only available in digital format so I had to print it out at home.

I think the most valuable part of the Christmas Light Business Kit are the marketing materials that it comes with. Great business card templates and signs and flyers.

My landscaping business is at a standstill right now so installing Christmas Lights is a great way to make money running a seasonal business in the winter.

I have already started scheduling jobs. It's not hard at all to find business.

CNYScapes
12-16-2008, 08:14 PM
OK, two weeks have gone by, hows it going?

BenRossen
04-06-2009, 05:41 PM
Sorry for taking so long to respond, CNYScapes.

I bought the Christmas Cash (http://www.christmascash.org) kit at the end of November, started advertising immediately, had my first job a day later and by December 23rd, I had made just over $15,000 in profit. I put all the expenses on my credit card and managed to earn a flight to Seattle to visit my floks for Christmas which was nice.

It was great to have all the diagrams for hanging lights, and the marketing materials. The business cards and signs were pretty cool and it saved me a bunch of money since I didn't have to hire a graphic designer.

The kit helped in that it had certain ideas that I wouldn't have thought of on my own. Now, I have a database of 300 people that I will contact in October or November of 2009. I expect my business to at least triple this year since I started so late in '08.

My only regret is that I did not start earlier. I thought that $67 was kind of steep but I made that back on my first job. Also, the book was only available in digital format and I wanted a hard copy. When I asked for one, he said they weren't available yet. I ended up printing out the info at home anyway.

Does anyone else have experience with this or something similar? I am curious to know how others feel about this as seasonal business.

addictedtolandscaping
04-06-2009, 11:37 PM
I am very much interested in this, I have always been a bit of a nut when it comes to Christmas, hell I used to have lights up in my room when I was a kid by the beginning of October. I would greatly appreciate any info that may be available on this type of venture. I am just not sure what the market would be for my location in NY, just outside of Albany.

hotrod1965
04-08-2009, 06:14 PM
Read these forums. There is a ton of info on here... Far more than what is in this $67 book.

David Gretzmier
04-20-2009, 12:46 PM
addictedtolandscaping- Again, check out the big 3. you won't regret it. Holiday Bright Lights has a guy in New York that does very well with lights. I think he runs 5-6 crews.

addictedtolandscaping
04-21-2009, 06:22 AM
David Thank you

I have been researching to beat the band so to speak. I got a small package from Bright Ideas last week, also had sent a request for info from Christmas Decor, haven;t heard anything other than they were going to forward my info to a local distributor, that was over a week ago. I also sent a request to Holiday Bright Lights. Mike replied to my email within 24 hours, not once but twice. I actually had a chance to give him a call last week, and we chatted for about an hour. He answered so many of my questions, and without hesitation. In one of his initial emails, he mentioned sending me a 08 catalogue as the 09 was not finished yet, I was looking for it, and actually called to ask if I was doing something wrong in my attmpts to view their website, next thing I know I am talking to Mike. In our conversation, I mentioned that I hadn;t recieved the catalogue as of yet, he told me honestly that he hadn;t had a chance to send it, due to being very busy. That worked for me, he was honest. Instead of getting told "you should have recieved it by now," he told me the truth, I respect that immensely. I got it last night when I got home, and am going to get into it today.

Needless to say as of right now, I am leaning very hard towards Holiday Bright Lights. Our conversation went on for about 1.5 hours until I had to say thank you and end it due to being dispatched for an alarm (I was at work at the ambulance). I was so impressed with our conversation, when I got home the next day I searched "Christmas Creations" on this site and bam there he was. It was just as satisfying to see his posts and read them as it was to speak to him, it further locked me into the knowledge of dealing with someone that believes in integrity being the bottom line. Even some of the things he mentioned on the phone were right there on the posts.

I was going to try to go out to a training class in June, but found out my eldest son is going to have to have surgery when school gets out for a issue with his knee, so I am thinking I am going to have to put it off until July. Honestly, I can not wait to get the training. The only struggle I have going on in my head now is the level at which to join. The $1500 option gets you trained and marketing but essentially that is it. 3500 gets you all the training marketing and and product for 2 houses then there is the 5000 and honestly I haven;t read through the paperwork as of yet that Mike sent me, but I am sure that it is more product. Money in my area is really tight this year, and I am still not totally convinced it will fly, but the mind set I have for working in this area is foolishly limited, that is a personal issue I am dealing with overcoming. When I talked to Mike he suggested the 1500 for the information, the 3500 getting you the ability to start moving forward he mentioned there were other levels, but did not really go into that as I think he understood I was concerned about the start up expenses. I appreciate that as well. Do any of you guys involved have any suggestions on what level to enter at??

I am going to reach out to him again tomorrow hopefully, and gain more information. Even at the end of our conversation, he offered to spend more time with me as I believes he fully understands my concerns and isn't trying to persuade me one way or the other, just offer his knowledge to assist me in making an informed decision. I can't say how much I appreciate that as well.

Since you were so kind in offering advice for a newbie, I just wanted to give some feedback on how the research end is going and ask if any one and further suggestions, reading etc. I think this will be a fantastic add on and further stabilize my business once thigns get rolling, as y'all can see, excited is probably an understatement.

Thanks again for the help and encouragement.

turf hokie
04-21-2009, 08:14 PM
Addicted,

I will jump in real quick, I am not sure about your call with Christmas Decor, but there are no "local distributors" it is a franchise system. So I am not sure what is going on.

If you call Christmas Decor again ask for Greg or Glenn. They will be more than willing to help you just as Mike has. Just so you can get a feel for the differences between Bright Lights and Christmas Decor.

Where in NY are you? I think you mentioned the Albany area?

Give me a call if you want to talk, I can offer some information that I prefer not to post on here in regards to the "big 3" as David put it.

Just click on the lawn care link and my phone # is there.

Bryan

David Gretzmier
04-22-2009, 01:38 AM
I agree you should research all your options to make a well informed decision.

Josh Mintern should be your contact person at Brite Ideas. He's a great guy. I've posted about Christmas Decor and Brite Ideas before, read back at some of my posts. I had the chance to buy the existing Christmas Decor "Franchise" for my area back in 2000, researched it heavily, and nearly bought it. I also own a Brite Ideas "distributorship" since 2000 or so, and been a "Member" of Holiday Bright Lights since it's beginning 4-5 years ago. If money is tight at the 1500 or 5000 level, again, I can't see how Christmas Decor or Brite Ideas can fit into that level.

the other 2, they are good at what they do, but you will pay more at either to get access to product and training. Christmas Decor has the most limited product line but hands down the best training, but you pay big bucks ( my area was 20k plus 9 years ago, no product and you pay extra for training every time. ) and you are protected territory wise by virtue of population. but you pay a percentage of sales for life. Brite ideas has a much more diverse product line, less dollars to get in ( I paid 20k but got a very nice enclosed trailer and about 5-8k worth of product. They have cheaper options ) good but limited training. again, somewhat limited protected territory ( less than Christmas decor) , but no percentage of sales paid back to the home office.

I compete with another Brite Ideas guy, 2 Christmas Decor guys, 2 other Holiday Bright Lights guys, ( which by the way, offers no protected territory) and the few other guys that just buy from walmart and the internet. When I walk up to a perspective client, the only way I win that bid is with the best sales literature, best products and the most experience. The best garland, Wreaths, and light links, and sales material out there right now is HBL. Were that to change, I would have to change.

If you have no competition, then you can choose and spend whatever. I no longer have the luxury of choice. My market forces me to sell the best to stay alive.

turf hokie
04-22-2009, 06:10 PM
I agree David entirely on his assessment, we were crusing until this past season. 2 brite ideas, 2 holiday bright lights and about 10 locals all decided to start doing lights. At least brite ideas and bright lights know how to price.:hammerhead:

I have spoken with Josh as well, very helpful, but we went another direction when we got into lights originally. I spoke to Josh in his first year with Brite Ideas so that may have had some bearing on my decision.

We have dealt with both of their material as well. All 3 have their good points and bad points.

But if start up cost is a major concern, that will pretty much determine the direction you will end up going. I believe bright lights has the lowest entry fee so to speak. All give different start up packages as well. I do know that Christmas Decor territory price will vary with its size. I dont know the smallest territory but I believe it would be competetive with some of the other guys packages.

We actually run an area that is twice the size of our "protected" area due to other areas being "unprotected" we share an unprotected area with another franchise and so far it has worked out to both our benefits.

addictedtolandscaping
04-22-2009, 06:26 PM
I understand and appreciate your information dramatically. I am concerned about the investment, especially since I know nothing about doing this sort of service, I am in a good location I believe, just outside of Albany, with Saratoga about 35 minutes or so away. Another interesting aspect I was playing with is Bennington, that is about 20 minutes away, then there is the areas between Albany and saratoga - Clifton park, Bethlehem etc. I know that once you cross the river up here, you enter a whole nother world. The package I entered in was 3500 and they are working me in on a payment plan.

I have played with the idea for several years, and in the course of reorganizing, I figured now was an ideal time to give it a go. Hopefully all will work out, I really like the idea of having another aspect of the business to create smiles.

turf hokie
04-22-2009, 06:49 PM
Good luck, again if you need any help, give me a call 845-735-2331

You should be fine. There is a Christmas decor that services parts of that area, but I know he cannot get to everything. And Holiday Bright lights offers a different line and many time the customers want one or the other.

There is plenty of work out there just dont sell yourself short with the pricing.

Looking Good Lawn Service
04-22-2009, 07:50 PM
One question I have, my father has asked me to address as to whom is responding to this thread, landscapers whom have bought a system and are using it, or salespeople....he said that it is most likely sales people, not trying to step on anyone's toes, just asking an honest question. Because no one has addressed the fact of how it works and how do you get clients, and what type of training is it to be worth 3500 or 5000 dollars, thats alot, even by University standards. Just asking for some clarification. thanks

addictedtolandscaping
04-22-2009, 08:03 PM
I would have to say both, but the majority being contractors. I myself own a full service landscape company and just bought a system. I will be receiving the training to install, repair/replace, market etc.

It is pretty clear by reading through the threads that most are contractors. This thread a lot of the guys whom have had success in selling their services have responded to assist me in obtaining information. Essentially this entire site is posted on by contractors helping other contractors. You will on occasion get replies from company reps and they will state whom they are and with whom they are affiliated.

turf hokie
04-22-2009, 08:13 PM
Looking good,

Most of us are contractors. I own a fertilizer application service and have been a Christmas Decor franchise for 4 years. This is just a great site to share ideas and some of us share more than others. And you can tell that by the fact that David and I are the only ones to respond with over 80 views, although I am sure Hotrod would help, but is probably busy with other things right now.

You get a whole heck of a lot more than just training for your investment. Believe me.

Guys like Christmas Creations (Mike Marlow) will openly tell you they are a salesman and are a wealth of information as well.

There is rarely any shadiness with salesmen on this site, they get called out quickly and booted just as fast.

addictedtolandscaping
04-22-2009, 08:21 PM
The big three are Christmas Decor, Holiday Bright Lights and Bright Ideas. These are the companies that we are all referring to. Mike was mentioned above, and as was said he is now affiliated with Holiday Bright Lights, however the name he uses here - Christmas Creations was the name of his business prior to selling it and becoming part of the team at Holiday Bright Lights. As hokie mentioned the info available on here is tremendous. I have a high level of knowledge in the landscape construction aspect, and post fairly extensively in that portion of the site, also a lot of experience with different equipment and design software and have chimed in their as well. The site overall is just priceless. To sum it up, it is people helping people, not trying to gain on them or take advantage, just help each other out, share stories, experiences etc. A perfect example, I am now affiliated as a distributor for Holiday Bright Lights and Hokie is a Christmas Decor Franchisee, essentially competitors if you lok at it that way, but out of the obvious kindness of his heart and desire to help a newbie succeed, he has offered for me to call him for advice and information. Again, people helping people.

Looking Good Lawn Service
04-22-2009, 08:36 PM
Thank you very much, I am happy to see that lawn site is a good place for mentoring and advice, my father was just watching out for my best interests, and is most skeptical most of the time when I bring a new Idea to him. Hence, my honest question. I on the other hand am open to new ideas, but simply would like more information, and appreciate the info the both of you provided. addictedtolandscaping, you mention you have alot of experience in Landscape construction, and offer advice, I was wondering If I could pm you on walkways and patio advice? Thanks again

addictedtolandscaping
04-22-2009, 08:42 PM
Absolutely, feel free anytime.

You can see a great example of some of the stuff I have done on my website, there are pictures of a wall and then elevated patio that incorporated 3 grand stair case, lighting and a water fall.

There are several pictures I am fumbling through to find the best ones to put up on there, but you get the idea.

But feel free anytime.

Website is loiselleassociates.com

Looking Good Lawn Service
04-22-2009, 09:51 PM
Thanks, I will look the site, I will pm you if I have any more ?s

David Gretzmier
04-26-2009, 06:33 PM
I would agree that most guys on here are contractors, I own a Christmas and Landscape lighting business, although I do sell some items to contractors I have invented. ( got a new one in the works for irrigation guys...)

Turf Hokie and hotrod ND OTHERS and I disagree on many things, but all of us agree on providing great product and service, and pricing fairly to make a living at this. And we honestly wish our competition would do the same.

Also, finding and using great tools in this biz, along with finding ways to incite a passion for great holiday lighting INTO our employees.

hotrod1965
04-28-2009, 02:36 PM
Wow, I have been missing out on a great thread! I hope everyone is doing GREAT!
I've been working on getting our company a year round company, so that's why I have been missing...

Like Dave and Bryan said, this forum is full of ideas of all shapes and sizes, and opinions of all shapes and sizes. I would spend several days reading everything here. I know I still like to go back and read things every now and then! But the key to staying in business is offering the best service and best products. If you do this, you will stay in business longer than anyone else! The low ballers will come and go, but over time people will think of you when they want the best!

I can't speak for CD or BI, but I have worked with HBL's and they are good to deal with. I am not a member, but I will buy things from them. To me it says a lot when a company actually beta tests it's products to actual installers. (I am testing their new LED strands for them) Mike has also been an installer/business owner as well, so he is a great resource.