How to charge for hanging outdoor Christmas lights and decorations.

If you are interested in keeping busy with your landscape company all year long there are plenty of services you can offer during the winter months. There is snow removal in the colder climates and there is also holiday outdoor lighting and decoration installs. Here is a great discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how to price such jobs and a few tips on installing them properly.

One lawn care business owner asked “I just got a call from a new customer who wants me to hang Christmas lights and is ready to pay. The problem is, I haven’t hung any holiday lights before and I am trying to figure out what I should charge him for the job.

Should I charge per linear foot of lights? How should I handle recouping the cost of string lights and all the clips? Should I use those LED lights are they better? How many of the strands can be connected together and all plugged into a single outlet? Is there a certain date range when I should be putting the lights up and when I should be taking them down?

Please let me know how you charge for this and where I should order the lights from.”

A second lawn care business owner said “from my past few years of experimenting with pricing, I have so far found charging ‘per light’ works the best for me. I am around the range of $.25 to $.35 per light. I add a ‘Materials’ cost for things such as clips/hangers and go from there. I sell the entire service as a HOLIDAY LIGHT INSTALLING service which is more than just put the lights up, I also take them down when the season is over. I have been marketing the service since mid September by distributing about 2,500 door hangers. Sure that may seem a little early but my schedule seems to fill up quickly and the more seasons I perform this job, the more jobs I get from referrals.

A third business owner added “if it is not too late in the season, you should order your lights on the internet as they should be a lot cheaper. If you are short on time, then you have to make due with what ever you can buy locally.

How to bid christmas light installs.

How to bid christmas light installs.

Next you need to find out what type of holiday lights the customer wants used. There are many styles such as c5, c7, icicles, mini etc. From there you can put together a price. I base my prices on how long I think the job will take (double the time to include removal of lights at end of season) and add the cost of materials (which I also double).

I did a large holiday light home instal last year that included lights hung along a first floor and in the center of the house was a second floor that had 4 pillars. It took me about 4 hours to do by myself. The customer really loved the job. The hardest part for me about that job was the work done on the second as it was very steep on the roof, so I charged a little extra for an extreme roof pitch. I need to remind you, you gotta make sure you include the removal of the lights in the price. With this job, it only took me about 1 and 1/2 hours to remove and box up, but I still charged for the full 4 in removal. I don’t tell the customer my hourly fee, just the final price. If I can do a job faster, I should benefit from it.

How to price holiday light installs.

How to price holiday light installs.

I have tried a lot of the gimmick light hanging tools to cut down on my install time like those long poles, but I have found they do not work. It’s best to just get a ladder and climb up there to do each by hand.

If you are concerned about how many strings of lights you can hook together, that information should be printed on the light box. With LED lights, they use less electricity so you can hook more of the strings together than the old style lights. You may want to try and upsell things like a photo timer so lights the will come on automatically when it gets dark and turn off automatically in the morning. Don’t forget you will need other items like extension cords too.

Another useful tool you may want to experiment with is a free trial holiday light designer software that will let help you create how a house will look after the lights are installed. Such software can really be a great sales tool. Do a quick internet search to find some.

To get a start on how long jobs will take, install some lights on your home at first. Keep track of how many linear feet there are in the job and how much time it took. That will help you compare other jobs you may bid on. Keep at it and you will get better with your installs and bidding over time.”

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