For seasonal industries from lawn care to window cleaning, installing Christmas lights is a lucrative business opportunity. It’s a way to make more money and attract new clients during the slow off-season.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Offering Christmas light installation can help reduce turnover by keeping your crew employed in the colder months. And best of all, you get to spread some holiday cheer in your community.

We spoke with Kirk Brown, owner of Dynamic Celebration Lighting to learn the tricks he uses to maximize his holiday lighting profitability.

1. Join a Christmas Light Installers Professional Association

To get his crew trained and up to speed with all things Christmas lights, Kirk invested in a membership with CLIPA.

Through the Christmas Light Installer Professional Association Kirk and his crew received three days of professional training to prepare them for light installation.

In addition to great in-class and hands-on training, CLIPA offers its members:

  • On-the-job safety training 
  • Enhanced purchasing power with discounted rates 
  • Access to a private Facebook group for more information and tips

2. Start your Season at the Right Time

A short holiday season means your timing has to be pinpoint accurate. Here’s when you should buy your Christmas lights, when you should start marketing, and when to get started on installs.

When to buy Christmas lights

To get the best deals, start your buying at the end of the holiday season. 

According to Kirk, most vendors offer preorders in February to get a more accurate count of what they will be selling next season. Light installers can save anywhere from 10% to 20% by taking advantage of these early presales.

The closer you wait until Christmas, the more you will pay for lights and decorations.

Pro Tip: Add a calendar reminder of when to buy so you can take advantage of the best savings and buy when the price is right.

When to market your Christmas light business

Your marketing window is small for seasonal lighting. As Kirk puts it, “a lot of people have a one holiday at a time mentality.” So, don’t expect a great response from your audience until after Halloween.

Reach out to return customers as early as late August or early September to get them renewed, booked, and to collect their deposit.

Start your marketing efforts in October or early November to attract new customers to your Christmas light business.

When to install

The holiday season lights typically run from November 1st to the end of January. 

But be prepared. Your busiest period will be the two weeks before and after Thanksgiving.

Tear down will normally start as early as January 2nd, and then run the remainder of the month.

3. Test your Inventory Early

Burnt-out lights or faulty wires can be a major time-waster in your already hectic installation schedule.

Get ahead of the headaches by thoroughly examining your inventory before your Christmas light season starts. Look for frayed cords, exposed wires, and dim or dead bulbs.

This will also give you plenty of time to reach out to manufacturers and take advantage of product warranties.

4. Grow Your Client List for Your Christmas Light Business

Marketing your service business should always be a priority, but you truly need to bring your A-game when it comes to the short Christmas light installation window.

Here are a few ways to expand your client list this holiday season:

  • Make a Christmas light installation flyer

Spread the word by distributing Christmas light installation flyers in your target residential neighborhoods. Or post tearaway flyers on community bulletin boards in grocery stores, libraries, or community centers. (Just make sure to get permission first.)

Include the following information on your flyers:

  • Your business name and logo
  • Service description
  • Contact information (phone number, email, or both)

Use Jobber’s Flyer Maker tool to create free tearaway flyers

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  • Run effective email campaigns

Win more business with email marketing campaigns.

Kirk uses email marketing to reach out to his existing lawn care customer base and strum up crossover business.

Include details about your Christmas lights installation service, and a catchy call to action that sends customers to your website to learn more.

Jobber’s MailChimp integration makes it easy to market your Christmas light installation business to your existing seasonal customers.

Learn more about email marketing with Mailchimp.

  • Get new customers with Facebook ads

Facebook ads make engaging your dream customers virtually effortless with their wide range of targeting options.

You can choose to:

  • Select specific zip codes to reach more homeowners in your service area.
  • Target specific age groups to reach an audience more likely to require your services.
  • Create a lookalike audience that mirrors your existing business profile’s followers.

Use these targeting options to maximize your budget and reach the right audience for your Christmas light business.

  • Design a winning Christmas light website

When Kirk was ready to launch his new Christmas lighting business, he did so with a stunning website. 

A well-designed website makes you look more professional and can help attract new customers from Google search.

Christmas light business tips

Make sure your website includes (at least) the following four main pages:

  • Homepage – This is where you can truly wow your site’s visitors with stunning visuals and intuitive navigation. But sometimes your visitors won’t make it past the homepage. So don’t forget to include a few other essentials, such as; your logo, business name, service details, and contact information 
  • About page – Why should customers hire you? Seal the deal by listing your background and experience. This is also a great place to include any testimonials from existing customers.
  • Services page – Educate potential customers on your full-service offerings. Include a detailed description of each service or package option, images, and pricing when possible.
  • Contact page – Let your visitors know how they can connect with you. Include an email address, phone number, and links to your social media business pages.

READ MORE: Why your home service business needs a website

  • Invest in offline marketing tactics

Installing stunning light displays is guaranteed to capture the interest of neighbors or passersby. Capitalize on this with some offline marketing in your service neighborhood.

Kirk uses offline techniques like yard signs and business cards to engage customers while he’s out at installs.

“I have business cards and brochures in the truck. I told my team where to find them. So if anyone walks up looking to get more information, they can give out business cards and brochures”

He also had their work truck wrapped to draw even more attention while they are driving to and from the worksite.

Christmas Light Business Tips

  • Build brand awareness by giving back

Supporting your local community can help build a positive brand association for your business. And what better time to do so than Christmas, after all – ‘tis this season.

That’s why Kirk started Holiday Lights for Heroes, where residents can nominate another person who they feel is a community hero. Kirk will then award one deserving nominee with a holiday light makeover of up to $2,000.

It’s a way for Dynamic Celebration Lighting to get its name out and give back to the community.

You can make a big impact in your service area by collecting food or toy donations for a family in need.

READ MORE: Home service businesses giving back to their communities

5. Learn How to Bid Christmas Light Installations and Create Professional Estimates

Being ready to quickly send professional quotes will help your Christmas light business win more jobs. But quoting customers is about more than a quick turnaround. It’s about knowing the value you bring to the table and pricing your services right. 

Here are a few tricks to put you on the right path.

Determine your pricing model

As a Christmas lights installer, you can either sell or lease the lights to your customers. So, what’s the difference?

Lease vs. Sell

In the leasing model, you become an all-inclusive service. You’re responsible for the install, maintenance, dismantling, and storage of all lighting and accessories. 

It’s important to know that leasing Christmas lights comes with some downfalls. For example, if a light goes out mid-season, you’ll be expected to provide the repair. 

Kirk’s Dynamic Celebration Lighting chose to lease his lights, and for good reason. 

“Once you’ve purchased the lights, you have a hard asset,” Kirk explains. If you happen to lose a customer, you still have a set of lights you can use in the future.

This model also gives your customer greater flexibility in their lighting designs. If they purchase a set of red string lights, they are stuck with red lights year after year. When they lease the lights, they can change from red to green, to multicolor without having to make another investment.

The selling model is a much more hands-off approach. Once the lights are installed, it’s your customer’s responsibility to maintain or replace any damaged strands. 

This can lead to a lot more hidden fees. If a light goes out during the holiday season, you’ll have to charge the customer for the replacement.

Calculate your hourly rate

Once you’ve determined your pricing model, you’re ready to calculate your hourly labor rate.

If you’re new to the light installation business, time yourself installing lights on a one-story house, two-story house, and trees or bushes. 

Then use this formula to calculate what you should be charging for your hourly rate.

Price of Materials / Number of Hours = $ per Square Foot 

Then multiply by the number of square feet of lights you are installing.

Keep in mind, this formula is not a one-size fit all solution for your jobs. 

Take into consideration the difficulty of the job, and add premiums for installations that involve high or steep roofs, difficult trees, etc.

Create an estimate template

Creating estimates from scratch takes a great deal of time, and a short holiday season means you have no time to waste. Speed up your quoting process and win more jobs by making an estimate template in advance.

Once you’ve done that, simply fill in the blanks and hit send when a new quote request comes in.

Your estimate template should include:

  • Your company name, logo, and contact information
  • Your customer’s name, phone number, and email address
  • A breakdown of the services you are providing (installing lights, holiday decorating, etc.)
  • Estimate expiry date
  • Total cost to complete the job – including labor, materials, and sales tax
  • Terms and conditions
  • Space for the customer’s signature

Take your quoting process a step further and use Jobber’s automated quote follow-ups to send customized texts or emails to customers you haven’t heard back from.

Quote jobs faster with Jobber’s free estimate template

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6. Automate Your Invoicing

Automating your invoicing process means less time in front of the computer, and more time with family in front of the Christmas tree.

The right software can help.

Jobber makes it easy to send and track professional invoices to your customers. 

Once you’ve marked a visit as complete, you’ll have the option to ‘invoice now’ with just one click. The same job details will then be converted to a professional invoice, where you can edit or hit send.

Christmas lights business tips invoicing

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7. Take the Right Safety Precautions

 When it comes to protecting your employees, Kirk says it best; 

“Safety was not something I wanted to skimp on.”

While CLIPA provides invaluable safety training, there are other measures you should take to ensure the well-being of your crew.

Invest in PPE

Build a PPE inventory for your crew that includes the following:

  • Wooden ladders
  • Ladder levelers
  • Ladder standoff arms
  • Harnesses
  • Roofing shoes with replaceable pads
  • Work gloves

Create a safety protocol checklist

Use Jobber’s job forms to create a safety protocol checklist for your crew.

Make sure the safety checklist makes sense for your crew and your service offerings. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • All light strands and extension cords are rated for outdoor use
  • All light strands have been inspected and tested
  • We are using a wooden ladder to install the Christmas lights
  • The wooden ladder has been inspected and is in good condition
  • The wooden ladder extends past the roofline
  • If installing lights on trees, verify that no trees are in contact with power lines
  • No electrical outlets are overloaded with too many lights
  • All extension cords have been tucked away and are not a tripping hazard

READ MORE: 5 job safety analysis forms to share and use on jobsites

8. Strike a Healthy Work-Life Balance

There’s no denying it—running a home service business is hard work. It takes grit and resilience to organize and grow your business, all while supervising your team of employees.

Now throw in the already hectic holiday season and you’ve got a recipe for burnout.

Business owner life is a journey full of ups and downs. There have been triumphs and there have also been many times with tears.”

– Kirk Brown, Dynamic Celebration Lighting

Finding success in your Christmas light installation business shouldn’t require you to sacrifice your mental well-being. After all, the holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.

Here are a few ways to tackle small business struggles like work-life balance and truly enjoy the holiday season:

  • Block off time in your calendar to enjoy the seasonal festivities you love like baking, Christmas movies, and holiday parties. 
  • Don’t be a hostage of your business. Stick to your set work hours and then disconnect (literally) by turning your phone off.
  • Bask in the joy you are bringing to your customers. If there’s anything better than a happy customer, it’s the beautiful twinkle of Christmas lights. And you’re making both! Take a minute after each project is done to truly enjoy the magic of the season, and don’t forget to snap a few photos of your finished work

 

Count on Jobber to keep your holiday decoration business organized.

We’ve got all the tools you need to send quotes and invoices, and track customer information over the busy holiday season.

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