Off Season Income?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by bmwsmity, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. bmwsmity

    bmwsmity LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Ohio
    Messages: 276

    I like to plan well in advance, and this will be my first winter as a full-time lighting contractor.

    What do you guys do for income during the winter...or do you just save up and take a long break?

    Keep in mind...all I do is lighting - not any landscaping.


    THEGOLDPRO LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,222

    i plow snow.
  3. Landscape Illuminating

    Landscape Illuminating LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 84

    A majority of folks here seem to do well installing christmas lighting.

  4. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    Are you kidding? We do landscape lighting in the winter!!! This is the reason for the season. We take the rest of the year off!!
    Oh, I'm sorry. You have snow.
  5. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    We do Christmas lights big time and shuffle the landscape light jobs we get to Feb. 15 or so when all of our jobs are finished with take down.
  6. jana

    jana LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    Trade stock, options & forex more actively than during the green season.

    Not much winter anyway in my hood.
  7. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Here we have a very challenging business cycle. Basically I have 16 weeks a year in which to sell my services. May To September. Generally we cannot start installations until after the frost is out and the ground firms up some (Late April / Early May) and by December 1st it is just too miserable and cold to bother doing outdoor lighting work. Our clients are mostly seasonal residents.

    For the first couple of years I 'enjoyed' the 4 months off a year. Then reality sunk in as we were beginning every season off in the red. I tried Christmas Lighting but it just insn't my cup of tea. That is when we moved inside and added custom interior lighting systems. We now take on 5+ full scale custom interior projects per year (fall/ winter) and this has become about 40% of our business.

    This year things are changing again... looking at new markets in which to open up in (locally and abroad) and morphing the interior lighting from turn key to Design Spec. only. This should help build volume on the interior lighting business.

    If you are in a seasonal marketplace and just starting out, the best advice I can give you is to keep your monthly expenses (burn rate) to a minimum, negotiate extended terms with your suppliers, and make sure that any advertising you contract includes a clause that your billing will only occur April to September. Then you can enjoy the first couple of winters off, survive and figure out what you really want to do with all that time.

    Have a great day.
  8. bmwsmity

    bmwsmity LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Ohio
    Messages: 276

    So are you a licensed electrician, or do you just do the design part of it and let an electrician install the interior lighting. Did you take any classes or training for this?

    I have to admit, I am intrigued by interior lighting design. I always take notice when I see unique lights and dramatic interior lighting.

    For those of you in colder climates (unlike Chris), do you get any landscape lighting work during the winter, or is it completely dead?
  9. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

  10. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    I am not a licensed electrician, although my company is a licensed electrical contractor and we are currently seeking to employ a master electrician.

    On Interiors we offer two packages: Turn Key and Design/Spec. In a turn key contract I do the design, specification, procurement of materials, then do a full layout on site. Then we project manage the electricians on the physical installation. Once the home is complete we return to trim, lamp and aim the system. If there is automation we work with the automation guy to build scenes etc.

    In a Design Spec job I simply do that... Design, specify and then if the client/builder so wishes, I am available on an hourly basis to do things like layout, consultations, project management etc.

    Around these parts we have no ability to do outdoor lighting after early December as the frost sets in and the snow starts falling. Pretty hard to dig in wire at -30c in any case.

    Have a great day.

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