A little while ago I was almost broke and had no idea how I was going to earn enough money to give my family the Christmas they deserved. A friend suggested that I start a Christmas light hanging service and I haven't looked back since. I almost hit six figures in my first year of business and I'm going to share with you how you can do the same.
Before you begin you need to know that this is an extremely short season. You have from November 1st to roughly December 18th to get in as much business as possible. That means the more preparation you do the more money you're going to make.
The good news is that the preparation part of everything isn't really that difficult. All that you really need to do is get a flyer ready to send out. I highly recommend that you hire a local graphics designer to design the flyer for you. Your flyer needs to be flashy and catch peoples eyes because mail is sorted over the trash can and unless your flyer stands out. The best advice I can give about your flyer is make sure that it includes a bunch of pictures of beautiful Christmas light installations and make sure your contact information (phone number and email address) are prominent.
Now that your flyer has been designed it's time to get it delivered. I usually start sending them out starting on November 1st and every 2 weeks following and ending December 7th or so. If you're strapped for cash you can deliver them yourself or you can get the post office to do it. You can't just send them out randomly though. You need to target areas where people will actually want your services. I recommend targeting businesses and upper class homes.
Once your flyers have been sent out you can sit back and relax... at least until the phone calls start rolling in. Each potential client needs a consultation to figure out exactly what they want and to give them a quote. The majority of clients have no idea what they want though so it's a very good idea for you to put together a book of pictures that shows different types of light installations. If they don't know what they want just haul it out and they'll find something that they like.
During the consultation there is also an opportunity for you to earn a little extra money on top of what you're charging. Let them know that you can buy the lights if need be (just add 15% to the cost). At the end of the consultation (if things have went well) you can ask for a deposit. I generally ask for 25% for smaller jobs and 40% for larger jobs.
Once you get the deposit it's time to set a date to install the Christmas lights and a date to take them down (make sure you mention that you take them down as well). This is the easy part (if physical) because the client has already outlined exactly what they want so all you need to do is execute their vision.
The day after you do the installation always followup with them and see how they like it. That little step only takes a minute or two, but almost always guarantees repeat customers. One rule to remember is that it's much easier to keep a customer than it is to get one.
If you've been thinking about starting a Christmas light hanging service I highly recommend you do so. It's the best way I know to make six figures and still take an obscene amount of time off every year.