Generate revenue with holiday lighting

July 23, 2019 -  By
Photo: Naylor Landscape Management

‘TIS THE SEASON Offering holiday lighting services can help generate revenue during the slower wintertime months. Photo: Naylor Landscape Management

No matter what part of the country you live in, green industry work inevitably slows down in the winter. Two companies discuss their holiday offerings and how they fit in with their core services.

Forging the franchise

Judy Naylor

Judy Naylor

Naylor Landscape Management began offering holiday lighting services in 2000 in an effort to create more year-round, full-time positions for its staff. The company worked with franchisor Christmas Décor to implement the service and utilized its training and marketing programs. Judy Naylor, office manager for the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based company, says the firm continues to work closely with the franchisor, attending its annual conference and reaching out to its representative with questions and concerns. Because of Naylor’s holiday lighting services — which include installation, service, takedown and storage — the company keeps an additional four people on board year-round.

Naylor Landscape Management has an annual revenue of $2.8 million, $250,000 of which is generated by holiday lighting services.

“Our crews were excited when we began offering holiday lighting because it extended their season,” Naylor says. “It’s also just a fun thing to do. Everyone is happy this time of year and everyone loves Christmas lights.”

Naylor Landscape Management structures its holiday lighting services as a separate department, but uses landscape and lawn care staff and equipment. The company rents a boom lift each season to safely reach trees and high roof lines. Marketing to new customers begins in September, and installations begin in October.

Takedowns start just after the new year, and renewal proposals are sent to existing clients in April. Naylor says the firm’s renewal rate is 75 percent.

Naylor says snow and ice management services are the team’s first priority, so décor and lighting jobs are put on hold during inclement weather and rescheduled for calmer days. In instances of too much snow or icy roofs, projects may have to be redesigned or completed during multiple visits.

“Be sure to do the research,” Naylor says. “Do you offer snow and ice management? Which service takes priority when it snows? Can you do both? Make sure you have a standard operating procedure before starting.”

Starting from scratch

Giuseppe Baldi

Giuseppe Baldi

In 2016, a representative from Angie’s List contacted Giuseppe Baldi to ask him if Baldi Gardens in Arlington, Texas, was interested in offering holiday lighting services. The home services website had received a number of holiday lighting requests, but there were few Texas-based companies offering it. As part of a three-year promotion called “The Big Deal,” Angie’s List would send an offer to local subscribers for discounted holiday lighting services. After talking with some industry peers and holiday decorating manufacturers, Baldi decided to give it a try. Baldi Gardens is a $1.4 million company. Holiday lighting services generated about $40,000 last year.

“We had gone into regular outdoor lighting a few years before so it felt like it was a natural fit for the slower winter seasons,” says Baldi, general manager. “The partnership made it easier to get started because we didn’t have to go find our own customers.”

Baldi Gardens begins promoting holiday lighting services and ordering materials in September. Installations begin Nov. 1 and last for about six weeks. Takedowns begin quickly after the new year.

“It’s definitely given us the ability to stay busy year-round,” Baldi says. “Our winter here is mild, but weather still slows down the irrigation and landscape work.”

Baldi recommends investing in high-quality equipment, such as sturdy ladders in a variety of types and sizes. He also advises contractors to rent a boom lift when necessary and says it’s a good idea to offer storage. Baldi charges $5 per month to store the lights in what was previously unused warehouse space. He also suggests charging for installation, takedown and storage upfront.

“It’s becoming more popular — people are now asking if we do lights for other holidays like Halloween and Easter,” Baldi says. “Fewer people want to do lighting themselves, but they still want the big, showy displays. We are glad we got into it when we did.”

This article is tagged with , and posted in July 2019, Turf+Ornamental Care

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