7 things to know about adding holiday lighting services

September 30, 2022 -  By
Holiday lighting professionals say it’s important to train crews on safe installation, proper electric handling and more. (Photo: A. Arsenault & Sons)

Holiday lighting professionals say it’s important to train crews on safe installation, proper electric handling and more. (Photo: A. Arsenault & Sons)

Arnie Arsenault’s foray into holiday lighting stemmed from a passion for the holidays and the need to keep his crew and business working during the winter months. For landscape companies considering adding holiday lighting as an additional revenue stream, Arsenault, president of A. Arsenault & Sons in Spencer, Mass., and Jed Wyatt, owner of Zing Services, a lawn care, pest control and holiday lighting operation in Middletown, Idaho, share what they’ve learned along the way.

1. Know your numbers

As with adding any new service, Arsenault encourages professionals to understand what profitability means for the operation. He operates a Christmas Décor franchise alongside his landscape company.

“You really should determine what are going to be good profitable numbers for yourself and in your company so that you can possibly offer more year-round employment for your staff,” he says.

Wyatt, who also founded Winter Profits, a holiday lighting training program for landscape professionals looking to add holiday lighting, recommends planning the season months in advance.

“As soon as we are done removing lights for the season, we are taking inventory and preparing our order for the next season,” he says.

2. Play to your strengths

Wyatt offers “Christmas in July” specials to his residential lawn care clients to encourage them to become holiday lighting clients. He sends his lawn care clients a “cold estimate” with holiday lighting pricing, and he does the reverse with his holiday lighting clients — he sends them a lawn care estimate.

“It’s a great way in the offseason to add lawn clients,” he says. “Typically, the type of clients that are investing in holiday lighting are usually interested in investing in their lawn and landscape needs.”

3. Know the market

There’s a short window to capitalize on the demand for holiday lighting services, Arsenault says. Holiday lighting prospects expect quick turnarounds on their estimates before they move on to another holiday lighting service in the area.

“When people inquire to have the service done, they’re looking for an answer pretty quickly,” he says.

Wyatt says he offers online estimates and responds quickly with a photo mockup of the proposed services.

“The visuals really help the client see the end result,” he says. “Turning the estimate around quickly really helps close the sale.”

4. It’s OK to say no

Both Wyatt and Arsenault say pros should expect clients to ask for custom designs, to use their own light strands and often give bad advice on which outlets are safe to use. It’s OK to say ‘no,’ they say.

“We’re very much about a repeated model, Wyatt says. “I can send multiple different crews on to different houses, and they’re all doing similar things. I’m not bashful at all about turning jobs down. We light up over 2,000 homes and businesses, and so to not do one job because the roof is not one that I want to get my crews on or the client is persisting on using their own lights is not a big deal.”

5. Be safe

Arsenault says pros should train crews prior to the start of a new season on safe installation, ladder use, electricity and how to install lights professionally. Know if you will need harnesses for roof installations. Notify your insurance provider about this additional revenue stream. Arsenault says his holiday lighting team works with clients to ensure the outlets used can handle the power demand of holiday lighting.

“There is a National Electric Code out there that holiday lighting is considered a temporary lighting and can not be up for longer than 90 days,” he says. “If you are going to be keeping them up year-round for different reasons, have a maintenance program that you know you’re checking them, you’re changing them out at certain intervals, using that 90-day interval as a change out timeline.”

6. Keep it uniform

Arsenault and Wyatt both have separate holiday lighting vans, but they say it’s a good idea for a business owner starting out to use the same vans or trucks and change them out as holiday lighting services begin. For Wyatt, that’s in late September. Both Arsenault and Wyatt recommend keeping truck setups for all holiday lighting the same, much like with lawn care or maintenance truck setups, so if a truck breaks down, crews still know where to find everything.

“All the light bulbs are in the same order, and the cords and timers are located in the same areas of the van,” Wyatt says. “The more organization that exists, the more efficient and productive your crews can be.”

7. Get educated

Wyatt and Arsenault say there’s plenty of information on the internet to help business owners get started with holiday lighting. Wyatt started Winter Profits to share the lessons learned in growing his business and building processes.

Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the former editor of Landscape Management magazine.

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