Holiday lighting can be an excellent source of seasonal revenue. Part of being successful in generating revenue is understanding the benefits for your customers.
However, when companies add new services, it can be challenging to know how to structure the service. Ewing’s National Category Manager for Specialty Products, Roger Ramsey, shares his tips below to help you determine the logistical set up for providing holiday lighting as a service.
Who Owns the Product
One of the most common questions we get asked is, “Who owns the holiday lights, and where are they stored?” The answer isn’t universal. When considering who owns and stores the lights, look at your budget and your customers’ needs. Here are details to two different approaches to product ownership.
- If Customers Own the Holiday Lighting - For many customers, they want to own the holiday lighting that is used each year to provide their homes with a festive flair. This option also allows the cost to be charged to the customer instead of creating a business expense. However, this also means a possible sticker shock for first time customers buying product and paying for labor. You can help them realize this is an investment as next year, the cost will only cover labor; unless they add more holiday lights to their design, of course.
- Business Leases Owned Product - When you own the lights, the financial responsibility is on the business. In the pricing structure, you will charge the customer for leasing your holiday lighting. The upside is more options for your customers. One year a customer can lease out traditional lighting, then next year lease spotlights or add greenery options like pre-lit garlands.
These options can be altered and customized to fit what is best for your business and customers.
Storing Holiday Lighting
If you own the lights, it’s your responsibility to store the inventory. For your customers, this can offer another solution to a common problem for homeowners – lack of storage.
- Offer Storage for Your Customers - Holiday lighting can be bulky and take up valuable storage space that homeowners may not have. This creates another opportunity for your business if the customer owns the product. For a small monthly fee, you can store the holiday lighting for them. The other benefit for the company is you can schedule an install and know you have the product easily accessible to bring with you to the job site. With this option, your customers only need to schedule the install of their outside holiday décor.
- Customers Storing Holiday Lights - Some customers want to hold onto their holiday lighting. If your business doesn’t have the storage space, this is ideal. However, there is an added level of complexity at the time of install. Do you have access to the product if the homeowner isn’t home? Does the customer feel comfortable leaving the product out for you? If the customer needs to be home, does that limit your installation schedule to the weekend? These are some of the questions you’ll need to discuss with your customers to ensure their holiday lights are accessible at the time of install.
Pricing Installation and Takedown
There are many factors to consider for pricing out the installation and takedown of holiday lighting, including specs of the home, the existing landscape lighting and the customers’ specific design elements.
Each customer can have a different request for their holiday lighting. While one customer may ask for the traditional warm white C9 lights, another customer may want 5mm holiday lights or spotlights. A customer may want to keep the lighting on their roofline, while another customer requests their landscape, driveway and porch to be included. The more complex the design, the more labor and time will be needed to complete the project.
When it comes to the landscape, customers may ask for bushes and shrubbery to be wrapped. Trees can be wrapped around the trunk and/or have lights added to the branches. The customer may want to add Starburst LED Clusters around the yard for a unique touch. Understanding the desired lighting for their particular landscape will help determine the labor costs.
Usually home specs in other industries are based on the number of rooms. In this situation, we are talking about square feet and single or multilevel homes. A multilevel home has more risk to your employees which increases the cost of labor.
You’ll want to look at the specifics of each job to determine pricing. The labor isn’t just the time it is going to take. Ramsey recommends considering the products, time, design, square footage of the home and landscape to define the cost of installing holiday lights.
Scheduling Installation and Takedown
As you prepare your schedule, break the customers into two groups: repeat customers and new customers. Ramsey recommends offering early install for repeat customers at a discounted rate. This can create install business in late October or early November, keeping your staff busy into the colder months. Install doesn’t mean the lights are turned on; light it up in a follow-up visit. Using this strategy, your employees are available closer to the holiday season to do brand new lighting installations.
After the season has ended, apply the same logic. Offer first pick to the repeat customers, and then fill in your schedule with the new customers. If you cannot get to the customer before they want the lights turned off, schedule a quick visit to turn off the lights and then return for takedown at a later date. With this approach, you can keep your employees working into the new year.
Marketing Your Business with Holiday Lighting
When adding a new service, setting up the service structure is only one part. Part two is marketing. Holiday lighting is a visual service your customers want to see. Sharing on social media is a helpful way to use visuals to get the word out.
Customers who are happy with the outcome will end up talking to their family, friends and/or neighbors, so don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Your customers know the value of the service and may have already told people about you. Other effective, budget-friendly marketing opportunities include mailers and door hangers.
Now you are ready to start offering holiday lighting and to grow your seasonal revenue. Visit your local Ewing branch for more information on holiday lighting products and ideas.