Christmas Lights- Customers Nit Picking Bid


LawnSite Bronze Member
Kansas City
So this is our third year offering Christmas lights to regular clients as well as non regulars. The regulars have all been fine with how we do things. However, the others have not. I know I could solve this by only doing installations for regular customers but due to the nature of the service I find it best to offer to all.

Currently I bid everything by giving a flat rate. I calculate this with $75 per man hour plus supplies etc with a little "juice" added on just in case. Of course I don't tell them my hourly rate, because it would likely result in them getting another bid.

I have had an increase in people asking for a price per foot, but find this to be problematic. You could have a really straight forward job for $500 with 250 feet so $2/ linear foot, or a complex/ hard to access job for $1,000 that is 200 feet, $5 per foot.

I've even lost jobs because I gave a bid and the customer asked how many feet I was installing so I told him. He goes wow $4.50 per foot I see companies charging $2.50 a foot I will call you back....

Without lying to the customer on how many feet (I would never do) what is an effective way to itemize a bid for the picky customer that wants that info? If materials are a factor I know there is that, but if they aren't, well I'm stumped. All I can think of would be trying to explain making a complex wiring diagram, etc. But people seem to think all it is is climbing a ladder and clipping lights to a roof.


LawnSite Fanatic
Do you really want to work for these nit picking people? You have to remember your not going to land every bid. Or find a way to compete with the $2.50 guy. I am willing to bet his lower price has restrictions that apply. Sometime a quick answer to why the lower pricing is just for a basic run on a 1 story. Not a three story with musical sync and animatronics!


LawnSite Member
Toronto, ON
agree with last comment- per foot pricing etc is full of black holes etc. No different than interlock installation, the per foot guys always find a way to add on extras that aren't included, 1st floor, 2nd floor, dormers etc. Be confident- the confident sales guy always wins the job. Don't second guess your system or you will attract all the wrong customers!