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Kings of Green LLC
11-09-2012, 10:11 PM
Im new to the lawn care business i purchased my lco in june from a guy who was in business for 10 years when i asked him what he did in the winter he said he hung christmas lights and ofcourse i chuckled! But after reading lawnsite all summer i saw this forum and now im not chuckling anymore.With that said please forgive my ignorance guys but i have a couple questions about christmas lights. First does anyone use the customers lights and decorations? If not how do you equip yourself to light up so many homes?
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addictedtolandscaping
11-10-2012, 04:55 PM
I tried that one year, what a nightmare!!

Their stuff is junk, they want you to fix it, be responsible for it and on and on. Nope never again. THen consider the liability - fire etc..

Sprinkler Buddy
11-10-2012, 05:12 PM
Christmas lights do seem to be a big thing on here but here in FL, I don't know any lawn guys that offer that as a service that amounts to anything.

Kings of Green LLC
11-10-2012, 08:31 PM
Makes since ATL!!! Thanks. maybe before next year i can prepare myself for this business .
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GreenI.A.
11-10-2012, 08:37 PM
There are plenty of reasons. Companies who know what they are doing in this field are using commercially available lights. We are not simply going to the box stores and buying them on sale the day after christmas. The lights we use are a completely different quality than what is sold at HomeDepot or Walmart. I know that I can hang a new string of lights 30' up on the peak of a customers roof or 40' up in an oak tree and there is very little chance that I will be getting a call back for any lights out that first year. That the second year, a few bulbs might go out, but more than likely not enough for the customer to notice and give us a call. You can't say that about the lights from boxstores.

Now think about the fact with a customers lights, you have no clue how old they are. The customer might tell you he bought them last year, but they may actually be 3 years old. People drive by and see your company hanging the lights in November, come Christmas there are five full strings out. Now the neighbors think you hung crap.

We have used some of the customers decorations, but will not touch anything previously lit. We have installed our own lights on their garland and wreaths, but prefer to touch strictly our products. Even other commercial products that a previous contractor sold and hung for them, we wont touch it.

How we equip our selves to install so much decor? We start advertising early in the fall and then increase our advertising substantially as we get closer to Thanksgiving. We purchase from a number of wholesalers. By mid october we have a number of new contracts signed and place a large bulk order of wreaths, c9s, minis, etc, we also figure in an extra percentage for jobs we figure we will still get. Then during the rest of Oct and Nov we place weekly supplement orders.

Really the biggest thing about it, that I probably could have answered this simply with, we show the customer a sampling of the products we sell. The products pretty much sell themselves.

turf hokie
11-10-2012, 08:51 PM
Christmas lights do seem to be a big thing on here but here in FL, I don't know any lawn guys that offer that as a service that amounts to anything.

Could be the area, but more than likely its because they are "lawn guys" trying to do lights. Most of us that frequent this forum are professional decorators.

To answer the OP, Addicted pretty much summed it up. I think we have all tried to do the hang the homeowners stuff because it was work....but we never tried it twice. I know I did my first one and my last one in my first year in business, never again. I wont even plug their stuff into my timers anymore, I dont want any responsibility for their junk, and that is usually what it amounts to.

David Gretzmier
11-11-2012, 02:35 AM
problems with customer stuff is the main reason. not having repair bulbs for it, or not beaing able to fix it, or spending alot of time fixing it. start with new, use the best and have less repairs.

Kings of Green LLC
11-11-2012, 03:34 AM
Wow i can see how this is not a take lightly business! I was looking for something to replace snow removal this year but can see how much work and preparation needed to do this business. So it looks like i have some home work to do before this time next year. Are there any "programs" books video's etc... that you guys would recommend to do this the safe and profitable way?
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addictedtolandscaping
11-11-2012, 06:03 AM
There are many books etc.

What I did a few years back when I started was read and re read this forum. It is free, and there are countless pages of posts and the information is amazing. You will find there really is not alot fo equipment that you will need. There are endless suppliers.

The biggest thing you are going to want to do, when you find a name either through this forum or through google for examples, research it, mainly on here. Things change significantly and are continuing to do so. Some of the changes in my opinion are definitely not for the good either. As you go through the posts, you will see what I mean, and you will learn really quickly what is being referred to and especially which company/supplier. The main ones were Christmas Decor, Brite Ideas, and Holiday Bright Lights, Holiday Bright Lights is now longer, the company reorganized and is now Holidynamics. I was with HBL when I started out, things were really good with them, I have looked at Christmas Decor, but don;t like the franchise idea, and then Bright Ideas, who seems to have undergone some significant reworking of their product - Link Ables are now extraordinarily similar to the Light Links you will see referred to here over and over again.

There are also a few references to different training programs, IE Christmas Light Installer, and you will see where there are posts regarding them as well.

Kings of Green LLC
11-11-2012, 10:50 AM
I have Googled franchises and really did not like what i saw seems prices were a little high! I have been reading this forum alot now just like i did lawnsite.com when i started out in the lawn business and it was extremely helpfull but for some reason its hard to find help as far as start up, bidding etc... I know that know one likes to give free advice that they had to learn by trial and error on the own but then they complain when s rookie like me comes into the business and does it the wrong way!!! Unless they are direct "competition" in my home town why not help the new guy out? Thats where franchises come in and to me thats who the real competition is.
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turf hokie
11-11-2012, 12:02 PM
King, pm me if you want, I can give you a little more insight on some of the questions you have.

Btw, where are you located?

Kings of Green LLC
11-11-2012, 02:22 PM
I'm near Topeka kansas
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packmaan
11-11-2012, 04:59 PM
We work directly with a large number of lawn care and landscape companies that have done very well in the pro Christmas industry. While there are many that only do a handful of Christmas installations each year, however there are also a number of them that do hundreds of thousands worth of work per season and a few that break through the million dollar mark. One of our owners, Leonard Schulz, started in the lawn and landscape industry and ended up expanding his operation into a seven figure per season Christmas company.
To get started in this business, reading the forums on Lawnsite is a great source of information as well as other sites like Planet Christmas. We've been doing pro Christmas installations for close to 35 years and have put together a comprehensive book that can also help you out and we also offer consulting during the off season for newcomers to the pro Christmas industry. You can take a look at our book here:

http://store.christmasdesigners.com/Starting-Your-Own-Christmas-Lighting-Decorating-Business.html

However you go about learning the ropes in this industry, just take it slow and be sure you are getting information from well informed sources. There are many so called experts that have very limited field experience. If anyone is telling you that you'll get rich quick, run the other way. It's a great industry, but there is a lot of hard work involved and it takes a number of years to grow the business properly. But it is one of the best secondary businesses to pair up with a lawn or landscaping business.

addictedtolandscaping
11-12-2012, 05:05 AM
I called specifically asking questions about the book, and was guaranteed that the girl I talked to was going to have you call me.

Needless to say, with taking into consideration the response Christmas Designers had with UPS losing my order last year, I am sure you didn't get the message. She also never shipped my order and if I hadn't called back as I didn't receive any invoice or shipping info it still wouldn't be shipped.

Not gonna bash Christmas Designers as I have had nothing but a great experience with product, and you enabled me to believe I could use LED again after the disaster I had previously. Specifically the M-5 conicals, reliable, brilliant color and even my client was over joyed.

ChristmasDesigners
11-12-2012, 09:21 AM
Sorry Dennis you didn't get the message I left you. I actually called the same afternoon you called about the book, but got your voice mail. If you have any shipping issues, you know you can always shoot me an email or contact me directly and I'll make sure it gets taken care of. As you know, in this business, chaos is the rule and some things do slip through the cracks from time to time. If there is anything you aren't getting from us, never hesitate to contact me.

Kings of Green LLC
11-12-2012, 10:20 AM
If i sign up with you at Christmas designers do you think its to late to start this year?
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addictedtolandscaping
11-12-2012, 08:54 PM
Absolutely never to late. I actually talked with Jason this afternoon, their customer service is just awesome to say the least. Unfortunately, my order won;t be arriving until tomorrow, am really chomping at the bit to see the c09's that are coming. One is an ultra energy saver and the other a quick change color changing, looks really cool on the website.

I have had a set of their m5 conical plugged in since feb 26 in my shop, no issue at all!

ChristmasDesigners
11-12-2012, 10:34 PM
No, never too late to start! Get your feet wet this year and then you'll be ready for a big 2013 holiday season.