Over the next couple of weeks we are planning on sharing some great earning ideas as part of our list of over 100 Ways to Earn Additional Income as we move into the holiday season. As we’ve mentioned in the past, not only will finding part-time income help you meet your financial goals, but you might be able to turn some of these ideas into your main form of income. For example, if your family has a roofing business, this could be a great opportunity to help you through those lean times when the snow is falling!
We actually know about this idea from our “transitioning days”. What do I mean? We actually used this service a few years ago when we were starting our transition from being deep in debt to starting to pay off our debt. Cassie grew up loving a house beautifully decorated for Christmas so we wanted to decorate our home on a thrifty budget. We purchased some Christmas lights on clearance and were pleased with the sale. It was then that Cassie noticed on one of the local classified ad services that two college-aged brothers (trying to earn money so they could pay for their schooling with cash) was offering to not only put up our Christmas lights for a reasonable price, but also take them down for us as well when the spring came. We’ll share in a different article on weighing the cost of paying someone for a service (e.g., could you realistically make more money by paying someone for a service and use the same time for your own business venture?) – which was part of our rationale at the time. But even more so we were excited about their vision and goals of working to pay for their schooling debt-free and wanted to support them. We hired them for the service and loved the results – they did a great job!
We wanted to share with you some ideas on how to get started (you may want to get started pretty quickly – there’s no time like the present) with some ideas you might want to consider. As always, because you are in charge of the business you can invest as much time and effort as you would like. This could be as small as helping a few neighbors with their lights or as involved as a full-time seasonal venture.
- Get your lights on your home (making sure they are just right) and place a sign in your yard offering Christmas light installation – We have actually seen a couple of businesses get creative with the moving lights to have them “move” toward the sign which helped draw our attention to it. Don’t forget to place a small spotlight on the sign so your potential customers driving by can see the sign during the prime time – at night while they view your beautiful lights!
- Make a vinyl sign that you can place on your vehicle – If you call your local print shops they will often get you set up pretty quickly. And if you call around you can negotiate a great price!
- Get your listing up on your local free classifieds – This is where Cassie saw our installers a few years back advertising and can be a great, FREE source of marketing!
- Ask some local senior citizen’s centers whether you can post a flyer in their center – If you think about it, there could be a great opportunity for seniors that would love to decorate their home but just can’t because they are unable to get on a ladder or on their roof. This could be a great blessing to them as well.
- Offer incentives to your current customers that you’ll offer them a $5 gift card for referred customers – Not only are you getting word-of-mouth referrals (which are the best kind!) but you are giving them an incentive to do so and helping them reduce their overall cost of service – the more they refer, the cheaper their overall price is!
- Offer the same $5 gift card to your friends and family – They may not have paid for your service, but again advertising spread by word-of-mouth can help you grow your business organically!
Supplies you will need
- Ladders – Obviously you’ll need a couple of extension and shorter ladders to get you on the roof
- Warm clothing – If you remember our post on starting your own snow-removal business you’ll note we mentioned the need to purchase cold-weather clothing to keep yourself warm during the venture.
- Snow removal supplies – Depending on your bravery level (can you tell I’m a bit scared of heights?), you’ll probably need some shovels and de-icer to help give you some safety while you do this.
- Materials to attach the lights to the house – We assume if you are even considering this that you’ve put up Christmas lights in the past. As you know it can require additional miscellaneous supplies such as various clips and even a staple gun (if your customer directs) to attach those lights. Having the supplies stocked up well ahead of your job will help prevent unnecessary last-minute trips to the store.
- Extension cords – You will obviously want to factor the cost for any cords or power strips you might need into the bid for the job. Each job will probably be unique as the customer may already have these ready for you to use.
- Obviously you really need to consider the risk involved – If you love heights and stand on the top of ladders for a good time, this might be a perfect fit for your family.
- Think outside of the box for how the whole family can work together – Each member of the family might offer great talents that you can use for the job. Does one of the children have a great eye for design (e.g., our 7-year old marketer)? Use him or her to design your marketing supplies! Consider using some of your older children to help pick up the supplies from the store or even shop around to find a great deal on them! If you sit down as a family you just might find some ideas that you would have never considered before.
- Consider loading of electrical sockets – As we mentioned before, we’re sure you have not only put your own lights up before but have probably done it multiple times. Make sure that you understand just how many lights can be plugged in safely without tripping the breaker.
- Insurance – Make sure to discuss and consider the price of insurance with your insurance agent. If you happen to have that roofing company we mentioned before you probably know all about this and possibly could already be covered. Every business has risk involved, but this one seems to potentially have more than others.
- Taxes – This is standard on every money-making post, but make sure to discuss with your accountant how to track your costs and income to prepare your taxes. There might be some deductible expenses (e.g., all the mileage for the work/advertising, cost of supplies, etc) that you might not initially consider as part of this business.
We hope some of these ideas will at least get you started in developing your Christmas Light Installation business. We would love to hear other considerations you might have and anything else we might have missed.
Finally, we encourage you to check out our full list of over 100 ways to earn additional income! We plan on expanding this list in the days and weeks ahead as there are some great opportunities with the holidays approaching!
Photo credit: Thank you to Home Tips as the source of this image.