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Flynnlandscaping
11-18-2010, 01:04 AM
Hello everyone,

I am thinking about doing holiday lighting this year and have people lined up if I decide to do it...- know nothing about doing it as a business. How do I estimate it, how do I determine how much lights I need, how do I price it how do I do it haha? Any one know about that or do it before? Any help is awesome

CHEESE2009
11-18-2010, 03:16 AM
Hello everyone,

I am thinking about doing holiday lighting this year and have people lined up if I decide to do it...- know nothing about doing it as a business. How do I estimate it, how do I determine how much lights I need, how do I price it how do I do it haha? Any one know about that or do it before? Any help is awesome



Decide whether or not you are supplying the 'items/decorations' or not.

I would suggest supplying/renting them out, and charging customers for the labor and renting fee.

Though the catch is, they must pay for you to put the decorations up, AND also take them back down... $$$$$$$


I suggest supplying your own stuff, have a small storage space ... It's not that hard as many items can be taken apart to be placed in compact in boxes.

If people want you to put up their own decorations, this can be tricky. I would actually charge more, because in the end 'we' might break something and have to replace it.

Or, you can charge less - considering they are supplying the decorations (I don't suggest this)... UNFORTUNATELY you want them to rent from you, more business and income I suppose. Less hassle for customers.

Anyway, the breakdown in it's simplest form is you must charge by the hour but keep it to yourself.

If the job takes you 3 hours, how much are you worth? Tell your customers your price, though don't tell them you are "secretly?" charging per hour.

When I do labor, lets say a topsoil job;
I look at the property and get a good idea at how long it's going to take me, now it's all profit for me regardless as a business owner, so I can sweeten the deal for my customer if need be - instead of charging $47/hr, I can go so low as to $17/hr.

$17/hr + Materials is what I have in mind, lets just say.... So the materials cost me $80 and the job takes me 1 hour...TOTAL: $97.00 - just under the $100.00 mark and I've got a customer hooked.

Always go in with a minimum price.

cruzgardening
11-18-2010, 03:24 AM
Hello everyone,

I am thinking about doing holiday lighting this year and have people lined up if I decide to do it...- know nothing about doing it as a business. How do I estimate it, how do I determine how much lights I need, how do I price it how do I do it haha? Any one know about that or do it before? Any help is awesome


hey there well i did this for 2 of my costumers last year and well i realized i under charged them one wanted only the front of her house to have light she supplied everything i charged her $30 i spent over an hour but that was because i had to place some nails in, the other i charged 45 but took me 2 1/2 hrs and she also supplied materials but she was nagging me all the way through so just for that nagging im sure going to charge her at least 60 hoping she will say no but if she says yes ill be happy with the money :)

btw this was before i was on my own doing business :)

Steve
11-18-2010, 04:48 AM
Brian,

You need some kind of baseline to know how much average jobs are going to take you.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to experiment on your own house. Keep track of how long it takes you to hang the lights.

Then when you get a call to estimate a job, you will have a better understanding of how long the job will take you.

Does this help?

Experiment with your house and tell us what you come up with as far as time goes. Also show us some pictures of what you create!

Flynnlandscaping
11-18-2010, 02:18 PM
Steve,

i Love Doing The Lights, The Outside Is My Blank Canvas You Should See What I Have Done In Yards This Year But I Take My Time So It Looks Good So Either Half A Day Or 1 Whole Day, I Decided I Will Estimate By The Job Not Hour But Im Stuck On How Do I Figure Out How Many Stings Of Lights I Need And This And That.

Flynnlandscaping
11-18-2010, 02:22 PM
Decide whether or not you are supplying the 'items/decorations' or not.

I would suggest supplying/renting them out, and charging customers for the labor and renting fee.

Though the catch is, they must pay for you to put the decorations up, AND also take them back down... $$$$$$$


I suggest supplying your own stuff, have a small storage space ... It's not that hard as many items can be taken apart to be placed in compact in boxes.

If people want you to put up their own decorations, this can be tricky. I would actually charge more, because in the end 'we' might break something and have to replace it.

Or, you can charge less - considering they are supplying the decorations (I don't suggest this)... UNFORTUNATELY you want them to rent from you, more business and income I suppose. Less hassle for customers.

Anyway, the breakdown in it's simplest form is you must charge by the hour but keep it to yourself.

If the job takes you 3 hours, how much are you worth? Tell your customers your price, though don't tell them you are "secretly?" charging per hour.

When I do labor, lets say a topsoil job;
I look at the property and get a good idea at how long it's going to take me, now it's all profit for me regardless as a business owner, so I can sweeten the deal for my customer if need be - instead of charging $47/hr, I can go so low as to $17/hr.

$17/hr + Materials is what I have in mind, lets just say.... So the materials cost me $80 and the job takes me 1 hour...TOTAL: $97.00 - just under the $100.00 mark and I've got a customer hooked.

Always go in with a minimum price.




that is an excellent idea, makes me feel a little better haha, but how would you determine i need to grab this much string of lights or something.

CHEESE2009
11-18-2010, 03:51 PM
that is an excellent idea, makes me feel a little better haha, but how would you determine i need to grab this much string of lights or something.


Well, you can pick up lights for cheap - though they can get expensive depending on which types/brands you get. You have to browse around, quality isn't very important.

The chances of making a profit this year may not be so good. Next year you would have the decorations paid for and they will last several years. You can always pick up more decorations to further expand your business.

I suggest to maybe do what you can now.. Though on boxing day and before next winter, buy decorations! They will be sold for close to nothing and you could really stock up!


I did my Halloween shopping in mid summer. A bag of 200 lolipops cost me $0.49 , though nearing the holiday, the bag would cost $6.00.

If you have a 'Shoppers Drug Mart' i'd suggest taking a look there. Usually they sell several types of brands, and they ALSO make their own personal brand the least expensive.

Shoppers Drug mart is very competitive, they have a clone product for just about everything they sell. "Life Brand" products is their brand. Their brand is also equally as good, meaning you don't lose quality with them.


****************************

So when you get a few decorations in stock, then you can figure out how you'd go about putting them up on your customers homes. You should have a strategy made for each design - etc... You want to be efficient and prepared.

WARNING: Not all customers share the same religion and may not want Christmas decorations.


I also just realized that considering it'd be your first year doing this, it may actual work out to your benefit if you'd use your customers decorations. This I'm unsure of... You don't want to spend an arm and a leg, especially at this time of year.

MountainViewGreenskeeper
11-18-2010, 07:47 PM
The way I did it in high school(havent done it since) was use customers lights. If a strand didnt work we didnt use it. When we did what we could with what they had you sell them lights to finish the job. Obviously that can go 2 directions they dont want replace them or they just dont care cost wise.

Others went new or wanted something different even if they had last years lights.

Basicly you need to know how far a light string gets you(its not what the box says; its minus a foot or 2 depending on the brand). If its a poll rap or tree rap then you need this many. If its trim work you need this many. Dont forget powering it all and how many can go on a set before blowing a fuse in the set. Then in your estimate just figure what you need minus what they have working(may want to test at estimate). Sell install and done.

If they want us to take down then they call us back... most didnt.

As for the renting and charging to take down all up front I like the idea but unsure how many would go for it. Maybe thats the way it should be done.

I think options help. Giving them the ability to rent, buy, take down themselves and/or use their own I think may make all the difference in the world. Especially in this market but just make sure you have all your numbers as you dont want to screw yourself.

Steve
11-19-2010, 04:15 AM
Let's see some pictures of all the projects you all are working on!

Flynnlandscaping
11-19-2010, 11:48 PM
thanks,

i know some religions they only use plain bulbs an like the jewish religion have forgive me if i spell it wrong but manora and i have seen those, but i like the idea of buying them when their not in season to save money and stock up and even sell them during the holiday season. But some guy who spoke to me was weird i think he secret shopped me on the phone he was asking this and that and im like ummmm ok sure lol

jvholt
11-20-2010, 02:49 AM
I don't know what everyone will think of this, but have your wife or girlfriend call around to a few other companies that hang lights in your area. She can play like she just wants an estimate for her house. Around here some guys charge by the foot, others by the tree they are lighting, and still others by the hour. Have her get a few details on how they charge and then go with an average.

Steve
11-20-2010, 06:08 AM
But some guy who spoke to me was weird i think he secret shopped me on the phone he was asking this and that and im like ummmm ok sure lol

What do you mean by secret shopped you?

Around here some guys charge by the foot, others by the tree they are lighting, and still others by the hour. Have her get a few details on how they charge and then go with an average.

Do you offer lighting services? Which pricing method have you found to work the best so far?

Flynnlandscaping
11-21-2010, 12:35 AM
by secret shopping i mean like he worked for someone or owned his business he was asking me like weird questions and obviously i know nothing about the holiday business yet and i was dumb founded and hes like oh you could get this and do this... lol i just hung up

Steve
11-21-2010, 06:01 AM
LOL I gotcha. Maybe at that point you could have picked his brain for more tips LOL