Spread cheer and earn some extra shopping money by starting a business installing Christmas lights. Learn how to set up your Christmas light business, how to get and keep clients and how to follow safety regulations in your area. Operating a Christmas light business can keep you busy from October through March.
Many people and businesses enjoy having decorations during the holiday season. Not everyone, however, likes decorating or is physically able to Christmas lights installation businesses provide holiday decorating services for individuals and businesses who want or need assistance with the put-up and take-down of lights and other decorations.
Who Is this Business Right for?
Many Christmas lights installation businesses are started by painters, landscapers and other contractors who have a slow period around the holidays. The holiday decorating season is extremely short, lasting only a few months at the most, so it’s difficult to run a stand-alone Christmas lights installation business that offers no other services during the rest of the year. Such a business, however, is a potentially lucrative sideline business that can complement other seasonal businesses, such as exterior painting and landscaping.
What Happens During a Typical Day at a Christmas Lights Installation Business?
The daily activities of a Christmas lights installation business revolve around the holiday decorating season. The season for actually displaying lights usually runs from Thanksgiving through the first week of January. The work involved extends beyond both these dates, though:
- Leading up to the season, representatives help customers design their displays and crews test lights to make sure they’re working properly.
- Through November and the first week of December, crews install light displays.
- From Thanksgiving through the first week of January, crews service any lights that break or go out.
- After the first week of January, crews take down lights and put them in storage.
Because there are only a few weeks to get as many lights displays up as possible, Tagg Hamilton who operates a very successful Christmas light installation business recommends starting to put displays up soon after Halloween. Displays can be installed but not turned on. When customers want them turned on, a technician can come and set the timers—which takes much less time than putting in an entire display. This helps his business serve as many customers as possible in the week or two after Thanksgiving, which is when most customers want to start turning on their lights.
What Is the Target Market?
While most Christmas lights installation businesses have lots of residential customers, a business’ ideal customer is another business. Businesses frequently are willing to spend more on displays than individuals are able to, and most businesses don’t have employees to install lights for them because of potential lawsuits if there’s an accident. Lots of individual homeowners prefer to install their own lights, making individual homeowners a less reliable source of regular year-to-year business.
How Does a Christmas Lights Installation Business Make Money?
A Christmas lights installation business makes money by charging customers to install, service and take down decorative lights during the holiday season. Most customers are given individual quotes based on the size and complexity of their display they want installed. When you do a great installation for your customers the Christmas light installation business will create many repeat customers and referrals.
What is the growth potential for a Christmas lights installation business?
Most Christmas lights installation businesses start out small, serving just a local area. Several, however, grow to have franchises throughout a region or across the country. For example, Chris Fisccher grew a Christmas lights installation business that had one location into a franchise that has 21 franchise locations and plans on opening 10 more. (Fischer’s business also offers window-washing services.) Christmas Decor is a national business that works with local decorators in 48 different states.
Christmas and lights go hand-in-hand together. However, not everyone has the energy, know-how and time to efficiently and creatively decorate with Christmas lights. There are many people who want to have their homes or businesses decorated, but don’t like climbing tall ladders or untangling old lights. However, there are many other people that find great enjoyment in installing Christmas lights and it’s not unusual to wonder how those of us that do make our living doing this professionally actually got started. We are often asked if we have any tips for starting a Christmas lighting installation business.
This is the Resource guide we always recommend.
Here Are Our Tips for Starting a Christmas Light Installation Business
- Use quality Christmas lights. Since the business is that of installation of Christmas lights, you will need to source for quality lights in bulk quantity at an affordable price. Honestly, today we purchase most of our lights here on Amazon.
- Use quality clips or stakes. The last thing you want to do is revisit an installation because some discount-store clips snapped off or face a homeowner’s disappointment because you installed their lights with a power stapler. Some clips and attachments can be permanently installed or installed with silicone – especially on stucco and horizontal surfaces. Be sure to review these options with your client.
3. Get professional training. We know your time is valuable and we know what it takes for you to properly learn this business. The first option is our webinar and video training events. This is quickly becoming our most popular option! We have received EXCELLENT feedback from individuals / companies that have taken advantage of this very convenient training method. Do you want to go into this business with some “Hands On” experience? If so, our (2) day “in person” training events are just what you are looking for! We start by having you watch our detailed webinar and videos (within 2 weeks prior to the live event). You will then join us for 2 days “in the field”, participating in “hands-on exercises” of items that were discussed and detailed in the webinar and videos. This is hands down the most comprehensive training in the industry & will teach you everything that you need to know about this great business! Head over to our training page for more info.
4. Think outside the box and stay on top of trends. Your customers want their Christmas lights to stand out from a crowd. A great idea is to set google alerts on different types of lights and topics related to decorating for the Holidays. You’ll get regular emails giving you a heads up on the latest news related to the industry. As a professional lighting installer, you’ll want to make sure you are completely familiar with the different styles and types of lights available so you’ll know what options are available for your customers and ballpark cost figures. The best place to do your research is here.
5. Install the lights on your own home. Your own home can become your best business card. Note the time it takes you and how close your preliminary measurements for the length of lights required match reality. Sincerely make your home a conversation piece, it will help your holiday light installation business.
6. Have most of your orders lined up as early in the season as possible. All over the country, Christmas light importers and distributors start receiving their Christmas light products in August. Light sets and lighting products with 12-inch spacing have been known to run out by the beginning of November. As you start to build your business stay in contact with your clients throughout the year with cards. A very successful installer we spoke with said he sends every client he has done installations for a 4th of July card and a Halloween card.
7. Give your first few customers a discount if they’ll let you display a yard sign. Word of mouth and drive-by advertising beats every other kind of marketing – ask any real estate agent about the power of curb appeal.
Lisa Russell has been a freelance writer since 1998. She’s been published in “Rethinking Everything Magazine.” She has a professional background in education, cosmetology and the restaurant industry. Russell studied early childhood education at Antelope Valley College, and is pursuing a degree in business.
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