*Please help with Holiday lighting questions*

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by Vivid Lawns, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. Vivid Lawns

    Vivid Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Hi everyone,

    Not sure if this is the right place to post this but I couldn't find a place specifically for Holiday lighting. My name is Chris and this is officially my second year in the lawn care business. Last season I had two jobs so the "offseason" wasn't a big deal but this year I'm looking to get into Holiday lighting which I've read can be very lucrative. I've done some research but it seems some questions just never get answered and I would like some other opinions as I have no knowledge or experience in lighting. If someone would be willing to take the time to educate me in this part of the business I'd greatly appreciate it!

    Do the clients usually have the lights they've purchased themselves and then put up by you, the client buys them from you and keeps them, or do you rent them to the client?

    How do you charge for lighting and how much?
    I've read some charge by the hour, by the foot, and by per light. If per light, do you charge more for bigger lights such as C9?

    What type of lights and where do you buy the lights usually?
    I've read some companies by the cord and the lights separately, cut and light them to fit the exact needs of the house. I had no idea that this was even an option. Where can I find more info on how to do this?

    Are the universal clips usually what are used? How are the lights on the eaves of the roof put up and how do they stay straight?

    Do you typically try to use one string to line the entire house?

    Do you usually price everything at the beginning? Such as installation, removing, timers, etc.



    That's all I can think of at the moment but if anyone feels like I missed anything please post. I know it's a lot of questions but I greatly appreciate anyone taking the time out to help. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Morgan Higgins

    Morgan Higgins LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I wanna know also. That's something I would be interested in
     
  3. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    First, if you search these threads, you will find all these answers and then some. Second, there will not be a perfect answer to your questions. Only you can decide how you set up your business.

    But, to get you going in the right direction: We have some youtube videos https://www.youtube.com/user/whlights/videos

    Here's a quick overview on your questions.

    Do the clients usually have the lights they've purchased themselves and then put up by you, the client buys them from you and keeps them, or do you rent them to the client?
    - I highly recommend you furnish the lights. You can sell them the lights, or rent them (you decide), but be in control of the product quality. You don't want to show up to a job and install crappy lights, because it will always be your fault, even though they were not your lights.

    How do you charge for lighting and how much?
    - depends on the sell vs rent model. But you need to charge enough to cover the product, your labor, your overhead, and your profit. Most charge by strand and by foot because it's easier to estimate. But you could charge by product cost, and then labor time.

    What type of lights and where do you buy the lights usually?
    - I'd buy commercial grade lights. They tend to look better and last longer. They also cost more. But, companies that do a great job can also charge more than those that don't. Yes, you can buy bulk spools of lights and cut them to fit. It's quite simple, and you get a perfect fit on rooflines. We supply commercial grade lights, I can help with product selection once you get going.

    Are the universal clips usually what are used? How are the lights on the eaves of the roof put up and how do they stay straight?
    -all in one clips or shingle tabs.... one clip per each bulb and they will be as straight as the roof.

    Do you typically try to use one string to line the entire house?
    - Maybe, but typically you don't. You'll have to cut and put in spacer wires for things like dormers, or changing different levels...etc. If you use incandescent for rooflines, you may have to split the strands up so you don't overload the circuit. LED's typically don't have that problem.

    Do you usually price everything at the beginning? Such as installation, removing, timers, etc.
    - IF you were a customer, wouldn't you want a price up front? You are going to want to bid the whole job upfront, and not charge them any more than your initial quote. (unless there is something unusual). No one wants to be quoted $1000 for a job, then have the installer come back and say that they really need $1200.....
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Vivid Lawns

    Vivid Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Thanks for all the info!
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  5. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,130

    hotrod covered most of what I was going to say. I'll add one thing, our insurance does not allow us to mount lights furnished by the customer on to the house. In order for our policy to be covered, any lighting we install on the house must be furnished by us. We can use their existing lighting on tress though. We usually try to push them away from using any of their existing lighting as the color/intensity wont match and we let them know that their is absolutely no warantee on their lights and any service for them will be billed.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Vivid Lawns

    Vivid Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Thanks!
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Vivid Lawns

    Vivid Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Regarding the question I had about doing the whole house with one line (one plug in), I spoke with a Christmas lights wholesaler and he said C9 LEDs can only be strung 335 bulbs is this true? I spoke with my electrician buddy (doesn't have xmas light experience) and he said each bulb at about .95 watts, about 2409 bulbs can be strung together. Help?
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  8. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    It's about voltage drop instead of watts. At some point you have too much resistance in your wire that the voltage drops below what is needed to light the strand.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  9. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,130

    Yes, like hotrod said, the limitation is more on the wire strand itself. If you are limited on outlets or timers, you can run a few of the 335 string lights of off the same outlet.

    I know you keep talking about doing one long run. In my experience this is not always best unless you are doing long roof lines. If you try to outlying a house with one string you will often find it doesn't match up perfect the fallowing years. It's easy to losse a few inches in each corner and next thing you know the wire is 2' short when you get to the end. It is much easier to have seperate sections that you connect together.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Vivid Lawns

    Vivid Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Oh ok. So it's not about the lights drawing too much power it's about too much wire and sufficient power getting to the lights. So then piggy backing several 335 bulb strands is ok and fixes the problem? I just didn't know if I would need an electrician to install a bunch of new outlets. Thanks for the info
    Posted via Mobile Device
     

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