Christmas Lights

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Big 12 Lawns, Jul 19, 2002.

  1. Big 12 Lawns

    Big 12 Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Anybody out there hang Christmas lights to get by in the winter? I have heard it pays well, but I don't know anything about how to charge, who supplies the lights, and other elements of the business. Looking for a Christmas light hanging mentor. Any takers?
  2. I seem to remember one of the trade mags ran an article about this in the last few years. Can't remember if it was Turf or not, but a search of their sites may be of some help.
  3. stslawncare

    stslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    from DE
    Messages: 1,484

    yes i do it, just make sure u have some type of contract aand be specific in it about safety
  4. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    The newest issue of Lawn and Landscape has an article on this topic.
  5. Big 12 Lawns

    Big 12 Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Thanks for the replies. I read the article and it was helpful. Scottie, when you do it, do you charge by the hour, by square footage of the house, or by the number of strings of lights you use? Also, do you put it in your contract that you will come back and take the lights down including that in your price? And lastly, could you go more into detail about that safety clause? Thanks for the time and advice.
  6. Ground Master

    Ground Master LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    I've been hanging lights for 10 plus years. I only do 20 or so homes. These are regular lawn customers that I've been able to hang lights for. I've never advertised, but believe good money could be made.

    I have kept track of the manhours over the years so I've been able to develop a pretty good guide for installation. But, from my experience installing lights can get frustrating, manly because of the quality of lights available. It never fails that the top strand I install on a 20' pine goes out (at least it seems that way).

    Almost all my installs are mini lights. I buy the heavy duty strands that allow 6 to be strung together. I've found that K-mart and Walgreens have decent heavy duty lights. I know there are suppliers out there that probably have better quality, but I haven't checked into it.

    I'll look for my install guide as I have been in the process of rearranging my office.

    As a general rule I've found that I can hang 3 - 100 light strands in about an hour. Second story roofs usually take longer. So, if I have a job that requires 9 - 100 light strands, I'll figure 40 for lights, 30 or so for extension cords and a timer and 4 hours labor.
    (3 hours to install and 1 to remove). I'd figure high for labor, at least $40 per hour. I keep all the lights and extension cords. I have to replace 1/3 of my light stock every year. They either burn out or get messed up from removing. At $5.00 a strand I find that its not worth repairing unless its a quick fix. I do keep some dead strands for extra bulbs.

    I do hang the c7 and c9 strands (the big bulbs) too. These usually take the same time as the 100 light mini strands, but they suck the juice, so you have to figure on more extension cords.

    hope this helps, Tom
  7. Big 12 Lawns

    Big 12 Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    That gives me a very good place to start from this winter. Thank you Tom. This may seem like a dumb question but, do you use a contract like Scottie with some kind of safety clause or do you just give them a general idea of the price and bill them after the work is done?
  8. heygrassman

    heygrassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 509

    This is going to be a trial for me this winter. I am going to attempt a few small accounts this winter.

    My problems are the hangers. I am thinking the key is definately in the contract, lights (GE - UL Listed) and the hangers.

    Thanks for the thoughts..

  9. yergus

    yergus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    i asked about this last year and received very few replies, so i investigated it. there is a man in st. louis that has more than 2500 customers, and get more requests for 50 a week more, he was on the news last winter.
    we did one christmas lighting last year, at the request of one customer.
    this is what i learned.
    1, there is always going to be lights out on strands that were used prior, so if you do a customer, make certain you advise them of such and ask if he would prefer you spend time trying to locate which light is out or would he rather you replace the strand.
    2. add several hours to you guestimation, it will always take it
    3. set up date for take down at time you put up.

    we also found a company to supply our lights,
    we will be offering this service this season to all our regular customers, and next year we will take on all new customer
  10. wojo23323

    wojo23323 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 608

    When I hang lights on my house, each light is straight and pointing in the same direction. I use the plastic clips that go on your rain gutter or slide under your shingle. Is there any other way to make your lights straight without using a clip for every bulb. I thought about adding this as one of my services, but I am to picky about the lights and I think it would take to long to install them the way I think they should be done. Any suggestions? The link to goes to a vacation rental co. not a light distributor.

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