Brighten your biz

September 26, 2018 -  By
Holiday lighting installation (Photo: Brite Ideas)

(Photo: Brite Ideas)

Holiday lighting installations aren’t just festive and fun—they also can be a end-of-season revenue booster, as well as a way to keep some employees busy.

“If you’re looking to fill a certain amount of days for your company to help retain employees, holiday lighting is a great avenue, but there are a lot of factors to take into consideration,” says Arnie Arsenault, president of A. Arsenault & Sons, a Spencer, Mass.-based landscape firm and Christmas Decor franchisee.

To get the scoop on holiday lighting, we spoke with a few experts: Josh Scearcy (JS), vice president of business development for Brite Ideas Decorating; Brandon Stephens (BS), president of the Decor Group, the umbrella company of the Christmas Decor brand; and Arsenault (AA).

Do:

  • Use proper clips and equipment for shingles and gutters.“A big thing is to take care of the clients’ homes. We use noninvasive fasteners and shingle tabs that slide underneath the shingles. We don’t use materials that infringe on the clients’ homes.” —BS
  • Use LED lighting.“Using LEDs instead of incandescent lighting, you’re probably using 90 percent less electricity, and you’re still achieving exactly the display you’re looking for. You’re also able to get longer life out of them.” —AA
  • Start installing in October.“The trend has been to let customers know that it’s okay to start lighting earlier than right after Thanksgiving.” —AA
  • Store each customer’s lights together in the original box.“Most of our distributors continue to use the boxes that the lights come in, so they’re not sitting out in the elements. I’ve always suggested to keep each client’s lights together instead of grouping by light product.” —JS
  • Consider a franchise. “(A franchise) will provide you with a professional-grade Christmas light that’ll hold up season after season and then train you how to estimate, install and remove it.” —JS
  • Market early.“We generally start marketing in September and really amp it up in October and November. Once you get through Halloween, people start thinking about Christmas and wanting to decorate.” —JS
  • Invoice upfront.“We always suggest our contractors invoice upfront so that it locks people in for the install timeline, and then they know they’ve paid for installation, removal and storage.” —JS
  • Return at night for a quality control (QC) check.“Our franchisees will install during the day and go back in the evening and do a QC check as a drive-by to make sure something isn’t off. We also suggest scheduling two proactive maintenance visits.” —BS
  • Target existing clients.“You don’t have to go chasing
    new customers. The clients who trust you to mow their lawn and take care of their landscape will probably trust you to do their Christmas lights as well.” —JS

Don’t:

  • Forgo safety equipment.“Roof lighting can be very dangerous if you don’t wear the proper harnessing equipment and have the proper ladders. As long as you’re trained on what you’re installing, you should know your limitations.” —AA
  • Light for more than 90 days.“We try to follow the 90-day code with our customers not to allow them to light for more than 90 days.” —AAArticle 590 of the National Electric Code states that temporary electric power and lighting installations aren’t permitted for more than 90 days.
  • Use glue, screws or staples.“If you use glue, screws or staples like you see in the “Christmas Vacation” movie, those things will cause damage to the house and the contractor is going to be on the hook for that.” —JS
  • Overload a section.“You need to be smart about power consumption, so you’re not tripping people’s outlets.” —JS
  • Buy lights from the big box stores.“A lot of people look for the cheapest product. But the power of this business is to reinstall (lighting at) a house year after year with the same materials. If you don’t have quality materials, you’ll find yourself running back to the store, you’ll be overworked with service calls and your quality will suffer.” —BS
  • Rush takedown.“Going slow and being safe is absolutely vital. It’s also important to not just rip the lights off the house but to categorize them and put them away properly so that next year, you’re not trying to figure out the mess you made.” —JS
  • Use a minimalist approach.“If you’re going to light the canopy of a tree and it takes 400 lights, don’t try to get away with 350 or 300 because the quality will suffer.” —BS

Check out more holiday lighting tips and tricks from the experts.

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's associate editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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