Christmas Lighting

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by NewLeaf, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    I'm very transparent about my prices, mainly because i know my competition have thier friends get me to do bids so they know how much I charge. hiding anything just costs me time in the long run. I charge $25 per 100 light strand to install, takedown,and store the first year on the first 2000-5000 lights. beyond that you start to look at volume pricing, probably down to $18 per strand when you get above 10,000 lights or so or 100 starnds. timewise mini-lights can kill you.

    I recently did a job with 16,000 mini-lights, all on shrubs/ground and some in trees with poles, and it took 2 guys a day and a half to do the mini's. I charged 18 dollars a strand for new and 15 for existing lights. that worked out to around 2800 bucks for 2 guys for 1 and a half days, but it will take them probably 3/4 day to takedown. so 36 man hours for 2800 bucks is good money, but once you figure in the cost of cords, timers, and lights, maybe just 65 per hour or so. If you use high dollar 6-12 bucks per 100 light sets, you really need to be at 25 per strand and up.

    on rehangs I sometimes go to 12.50 per strand and sometimes have lower cost part-timers go ahead of the roof guys and mini-light the place. they will use thier car and can come and go. The roof guys for some reason prefer not to do mini-lights.

    whatever works.
  2. (wi) Roots

    (wi) Roots LawnSite Member
    from 9
    Messages: 152

    Sound like the hatred effect is beginning to set in your roofer. Actually, you have to have a good temperment for mini's which is another reason I couldn't hold on to good folks but, then you have those who simply don't like to be on the roof then there lies another issue entirely. There's no occurance in your treads that tells me you don't know what your treading about, but there's is one underlying useful piece of information that continues to reoccur that I find of use? You know your market. Which is why I have nothing against any statement you may thread about, I fact I encourage it. Continue please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  3. (wi) Roots

    (wi) Roots LawnSite Member
    from 9
    Messages: 152

    Sound good, but well have to wait until my tech guy completes my web site. Which looks like around possibly January, Hopfully. Sweet thing about my web guy is he's my Step son who is going to College and majoring in Web Design. Smart Kid! Works cheap! well for me anyway:laugh:
  4. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    well I'm way way WAY... off.

    No one has ever accused me of being cheap so lowballing is not intended ever.

    Last year I did one house for a friend/customer. I think it was 550.00 or so. I only did it for the experience. I've never hung lights even at my house.

    So this year I had every intention to educate myself for holiday lights. But business is good and I had no time literally and haven't been too worried about it. Every mow company in town has a magnetic sign on their truck.

    So I'm going to put up my friends lights again. I don't know what I'll charge him. Probably just cover my time. I'm making a lot of money off him this year anyway.

    I was at a customers house who lives in a 6000sqft 1.5mil home. I noticed he had his lights up. I asked if I could guess at the price which included 4 or 5 trees. It's not a bigtime light job. Just Ridges facia bushes and trees. I said 750.00. He replied "close...550.00" Not sure if he already had the lights.

    Okay next came a residential maintenance customer of mine. He asked if I do lights because his chem-lawn guy gave hime a quote. I told him about my deal regarding lights and if he wanted me to I'd do his house. I went over and looked at it and without measuring, I told him 450.00. He said the other guy was 375.00. So I said okay, let me price the material and I'll let you know.

    So what I decided to do was take that 375.00 and use it to buy a 1000ft roll of c7-c9 wire, c7 bulbs, hangers, green lamp wire and plugs. That way I can do my house for free. I have a huge roof line and facia. Plus my employee will get some experience doing 3 houses this year. His will only take an 1 - 1/2 hrs.

    So obviously I'm not in the holiday lighting business. And after seeing the prices I wasn't really too exicited about it anyway.

    Now at 6.50 a foot, show me the way because thats some serious cash. However I could not imagine a fireman probably makes 65k, has a brand new 140k house with a builders landscape package spending 1850.00 for christmas lights.

    I understand the risk. It has always bugged me comtemplating sending employees up on a roof. A lot of services involve that but few send guys up to scoot around quite as much. So it's really serious stuff.

    There are a lot of houses and a lot of companies doing it at these lower prices. Simply another source of revenue now that the mowing season it over. When you say they'll be out of business soon, I have to wonder. They primarilly mow now they can keep a few guys busy past november. If their making money that otherwise wouldn' happen, unless something bad occurs what is going to take them out of the market?

    So I'm sitting on the fence here. The market is saturated with companies doing it for $2.00 a ft. At least I assume all these yard guys are competeing with each other. Treating it as supplimental income it seems to attract a lot of business.
  5. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    I'm seeing a simliar problem as well. We have a lot of people out of work in SE Michigan, so they go and hang lights for next to nothing just to make a couple bucks. However, the quality of work they do isn't that great, and the quality of the product they use isn't that great. So, you get what you pay for...
    David said he gets about 30% of calls to sign up. We get about the same. The people that sign up tend to see the value in our products and service. Is some fly by night person going to come out in the blowing snow to replace a strand of lights that died? No, they arn't. Are they going to be able to light up a 35 foot tree? No, they can't. Are they going to have good relationships with light suppliers? No, they buy thier lights from sprawl mart. (Which get replaced every year) As you can see, after time these things will put them out of business.
    You have to look at the big picture in this business. Maybe this year you didn't grow as much, or didn't make a ton of cash, but where will you be in five years?
  6. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    I might add, a local irrigation supply company is who got me interested in this along with LV lighting. So the lights and stuff I'm using is Village and Cast for the LV. I am about to do my first two LV jobs and this guy from the irr supply co. is very helpfull to the extent that I feel very compfortable about the quality of service and material for both LV and Holiday. At least village is a step up from Home Depot.

    Consider this. I'm a rookie at this obviously. I would sell no jobs in your average neighborhood if I'm quoting numbers like 6.50. So if I did choose to compete using quality materials, at least I'm learning the business on a small scale.

    Of course on the flip side if I landed one good size job, I'd make more that several small ones.

    Can anyone who gets the top dollar reflect on how they started up their business.
  7. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    while we're at it. I actually got on the roof to measure ridge lines instead of guessing. lol is there a better way?
  8. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    lol I'm wearing this thread out....

    Here is the house that I'm talking about but no one laugh because I know it's worth more that 375.00 Just shoot me straight. It's 280 ft of c7.

    xmas lights.jpg
  9. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    We use Holiday Soft software to estimate the lights we need. $375 for 280 ft is cheap. We would bill at least $800. It would cost around $180-200 for the supplies to do this job.. Does this price include taking them down as well?? Does it incluse all the extension cords and timers.... I would bill around $800 and that includes timers cords, and take down... SO we would bring in $600 for about 4-5 hours of work.

    One thing to remeber to is if that is a $140K house, you live somewhere very cheap. That looks like at least a $300K house where I live....
  10. Dunn's

    Dunn's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,534

    Yeah and probably 400k house or more here.

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