If you’re looking to make some extra money this holiday season, consider being a Christmas Light Installer. I did this a couple of seasons as a high school student and have a friend that still does it as an extra money earner during the holiday season. He brings in a five figure income for the 2 month period now that he has a regular clientele list. I sat down and talked with him and here are some basics that he passed on about what the job entails and what you need to do to help make it a successful season.
The Work: A Christmas light installer puts up the holiday lights on houses for people. There are also opportunities to earn money taking them down, cleaning gutters and hauling off Christmas trees as add on income.
Equipment Needed: You will need a ladder, hooks to hang the lights on and tools to install the hooks (a battery operated drill comes in handy – you can also use nails and screws, but if you think you will be doing the house in future years hooks make it easier and look better) to hang the lights on. While you won’t necessarily need the strands of lights (the homeowners may already have them), it’s good to have a least a couple of strands on hand for quick sales (he uses the basic strands that can be picked up at any Costco store and sells them at 100% – 200% profit for those that need them).
What to Charge: You need to use your own judgement for the area where you will be doing this. He charges $50 – $100 per house for a basic light installation and installations rarely last more than an hour.
Marketing: This is probably the most important part of the process. You want to find an area where it appears that the the people living in the homes are the type that would like to place up holiday lights, but may not have the time to do it themselves. A good indication is if other homes in the area regularly place up Christmas lights.
You should start putting out fliers in the next few weeks (he begins in mid November) and basically leaves the flier at the doors of houses in the area where he expects to work. Handing these out should get you a few jobs.
Once you have a few, the best time to sell is while you are placing up the lights. Once he finishes a house, he walks around to the neighbors and says, “I just installed Christmas lights on the house over there, and since I’m in the area, I’m offering a discount if you’d like your lights installed today.” This usually gets him one or two more jobs.
While there are businesses that do full out Christmas layouts for people, if you’re first starting out you want to keep it basic and simple. Look for single story houses that can easily be accessed with a ladder or two story houses where all the light hanging areas can easily be accessed.
Add On Income: When talking to the people about placing up the lights, you should ask if they would also liked them removed for an extra $25 (or whatever you decided to charge). This gives you some extra income after the holiday season as well. If they don’t want you to take them down, then you want to ask if the person wants their gutters cleaned (if the do want you to take the lights down, wait until that time when you have more time). You are going to be up there anyway and you can usually charge $100 or more depending on how dirty they are. If you come back to take down the lights, if you have a truck you can also ask if they would like their Christmas tree removed which you can also charge a fee for doing. These add on income earners can greatly increase your holiday take.
Just like any business, you will have to do legwork and spend time finding customers, but it can be a quite lucrative business for the holidays with little start up costs.