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Startup cost?

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by Farbio, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. Farbio

    Farbio LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    I was curious to see what kind of startup cost we can expect in our first year of holiday lighting installations.
    Also, what besides lights, wreaths, cords, ect. will we need? I'm thinking along the lines of safety equipment and tools (we have trucks, trailors and 1 guy with experience).
    Thanks for any imput. :usflag:
  2. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    You will want to have demo lights to show people. Then you can order what you need for the job once you get it.
  3. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,372

    where do you get the demo lights? Will the companies have those readily available or do you basically make your own?
  4. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    I made my own C9 demo strand that shows all the colors.
  5. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    If I had to start a brand new Christmas light company, I would equip it with: a 14 foot box van, used, with beautiful graphics and ladder rack on top, ( 6-8 grand ) light testing unit ( 120 ), toolbox:250 ft 16 guage galvanized wire, 2 cordless drills and chargers,4 batteries, concrete screws, 2 butane glue guns and glue sticks, gloves, spare mini-light bulbs and fuses,( 250 ), 1 spool of c-9 cord 12 inch green and a box of clear bulbs, box of 2000 all in one clips ( replace as you sell- price depends on where you buy) box of 6 foot, 15 foot, 25 and 50 foot cords, a dozen 3 ways, ( a 3 foot, 5 foot and 6 foot little giant ladders off ebay inside the truck ( 900 ). a 32 and 40 foot extension ladder on ladder rack ( 800 ), 250 full color 2 foot by 3 foot double sided yard signs ( 1500 ), mail out 1000-2000 jumbo postcards in 3rd week of September , 2nd week October, 1st week November, 4th week november to the top 1-2% of homes at quantumdigital.com ( 4000 bucks ). for demo, all from Holiday Bright Lights, I'd bring a few light links, a sections of noble garland and a 4 foot flat noble wreath ( 400 ). I'd order product as I sold from HBL, and buy cords and timers locally as I sold jobs. so a total investment of 17-18 grand, plus inventory and labor cost as you sell jobs, and what could happen?

    I could plop down in any population center in the US at 500,000 people or more, and with this package, 2 guys, a cell phone and a mini-storage, and I fully believe I could generate 110k+ in sales and 30-40 new customers in my first year. Rehangs would be 30-45 k in year 2, but that is mainly because I can say to a customers face I have years ( decades ? ) of experience doing this and they will know it is true. The biggest hangup folks will have in hiring you will be your inexperience, and they will pick up on that.

    You might consider aligning yourself with a christmas distributor that you can "borrow" their experience to give yourself credibility and use their catalogs, uniforms/logo, etc. Holiday bight lights, Christmas Decor, Brite Ideas, Village, etc. some of these will cost you more money, but you will make that back the first year if you use it right.

    we really struggled our first year and spent no money on marketing other than handing out flyers we made at kinkos. we bought/broke tools and ladders as we needed/used them. That was a giagantic mistake. good luck !
  6. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,372

    Great post! and Greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for all the help!
  7. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    Wow, I don't even have some of that stuff! That is a really good list though. I don't do a lot of garland and wreaths though, so some of those things don't apply.

    If you wanted to start small, you could cut a lot of things out of his list. You'll need ladders, a way to transport ladders, C9 spool and clear bulbs, and marketing to the top 1-2%. You could buy your mini lights locally until you got going.
    But if you have $18K to spend and live in a good metro area, I'd pick up what Dave said!

    The drip marketing (mailing every couple weeks) is absolutely key! You have to stay in front of your customers, or they will forget you are even there!
  8. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,372

    That sounds like me... I don't know about the 18K but that is something we will be looking into...

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