Oct 19, 2022 | 8 min read

A guide to pricing holiday light installation

Perhaps one of the most successful winter business ideas is running a Christmas light business. When launching a holiday light installation service, you need to consider everything from licenses and insurance to inventory and marketing. However, the most important factor when starting a business is how to price your services. 

If you’re launching a holiday light-hanging business, you’ll need to know what to charge for your unique and customized services. Holiday and Christmas light installation service pricing depends on a number of factors that determine cost and value, and evaluating these together can help you ensure you make a profit while remaining competitive in your neighborhood.

Types of light hanging services 

There is a multitude of factors to consider when planning your Christmas lighting business pricing, including what, where, and how you will be doing the installation. This may include:

  • Interior or exterior lighting
  • Residential or commercial lighting
  • Special event or off-season lighting
  • Holiday decorations

Rather than setting a one-size-fits-all approach for your Christmas lights installation price, breaking down your offerings into these or similar categories can help you earn based on the actual cost, labor, and intricacy of the project.

Interior or exterior

Do you plan to offer only exterior light hanging, or include interior light displays as well? When quoting a customer for exterior lighting, you’ll want to consider the size and scope of the job, including:

  • Roofline height and type
  • Additional trimming including windows and doorways
  • Tree and wreath wrapping
  • Driveway and walkway lighting
  • Lawn displays
  • Additional decor including wreaths and ornaments

What type of services you offer may depend on the kinds of customers you most often serve. Interior lighting could be desirable for larger homes or businesses. Such buildings may have dramatic foyers and high ceilings that could really shine during the holidays with a professional light display, or Christmas trees that are too tall for a person to light attractively on their own. 

Meanwhile, smaller homes and businesses may simply need an exterior Christmas lighting service to help them hang Christmas decorations safely in spaces they can’t reach on their own.

Residential or commercial

Do you want to offer residential services, commercial services, or both? Expanding into more than one market will give you the most potential revenue streams. Residential services could lead to loyal repeat customers, while commercial businesses may be more willing to pay a premium for a value-add service that will draw in customers during the busiest retail season. 

Either way, be sure to consider how your market will affect your pricing and marketing strategies. You may be able to give discounts if a small local chain hires you for all their lighting needs, or offer referral rewards to residential customers who share your services with their friends.

Special events & season extenders

Once you’re established, you can easily break out of the seasonal nature of holiday lighting if you want to expand into more year-round work. Consider teaming up with an event planner in your area so that you are their first call when one of their clients needs just the right ambient lighting for their wedding reception or school dance. 

Here are some ways to expand your offerings outside of the holiday season:

  • Patio and deck lighting
  • Landscape lighting
  • Tented events like wedding receptions and graduation parties
  • Halloween light displays

Factor scheduling into your pricing when adding season-extending services. A special event will likely be a fast turnaround for installation and breakdown, while landscape lighting could be a more permanent installation with occasional check-in and maintenance. 

Light Removal

Once the holidays are over, people are looking to take down their Christmas light display and put it back in storage. For their safety, you can also offer a light removal service so that they don't damage the LED Christmas lights, hanging lights, or any other lights in their display.

Lighting displays: rent or buy? 

When you’re planning to start up your holiday light business, consider whether your customers will be leasing the lighting systems from you or purchasing them outright—or, if you want to offer them a choice of either option. 

Full-service installation including setup, use of your lighting products, breakdown, and storage can fetch a higher premium than just the labor of hanging the customer’s own items. 

If the customers are purchasing the display lights, you might want to consider if you’ll be offering them storage solutions during the off-season or if they’ll be on their own to take care of the hardware. Determine which works better with your operating budget and storage capabilities. 

How to determine pricing for your holiday lighting services

Pricing a service of any kind requires far more than the cost of the goods you're offering. To ensure you earn the right amount while keeping your pricing reasonable, it’s important to consider all the costs associated with running your business.

Time, labor, and supplies

Intricate, time-consuming installations that require focus and attention to detail should be priced higher than simple string light trim. For instance, having to bring in a lift to light an extra-tall tree in the yard or weaving lights into intricate roof eaves should be more expensive than a simple one-story ranch roofline. 

Don’t undercut the cost of your (or your team’s) time and efforts, and include the full labor cost in your installation quote. Selling your service as a premium product with proper installation and safety procedures can help to alleviate customer concerns over higher quotes. If you do it well and do it right, you can get a higher premium for your Christmas light installation pricing. 

Your vehicle is likely working hard for you as well: don’t forget to factor in mileage and wear and tear for your vehicle and tools, since they are an essential part of transporting the product to and from the work site and getting the job done right. 

Type of product used

The qualities of your lighting products should also be taken into account when determining pricing due to varying levels of expense and product durability. 

There are a variety of different types of holiday lights, including incandescent lights, rope lights, and LED lights. You may choose to offer several different options to your customers, but be sure to price them accordingly.

For example, high-quality LED Christmas lights may be the longest lasting, but you may need to charge your customers more for them if they’re purchasing the product. However, if you’re merely renting out the lights, you may benefit from investing in longer-lasting LED lights up front.

Price comparisons

It’s important to research prices within your community to see how they compare and how many other businesses offer similar services. Setting consumer costs within an acceptable range will keep you competitive if the market is saturated. 

According to HomeGuide, the average cost for installation of holiday light displays is $2–$5 per foot. Tree wrapping averages between $10-$200 depending on the size of the tree or shrub, and all-inclusive packages are upwards of $1200 median price. Taking average costs into consideration can help you determine the right price point for your area.

For a service as individualized as holiday light installation, however, it may be difficult to provide set numbers or offer quotes without first consulting with the home or business owner, especially for larger jobs. But you can look to nearby businesses for examples. Consider how these businesses have priced their own services:

  • The Christmas Guys in urban upstate New York estimates their typical residential installation at $1,200–$1,500.
  • Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah lists their average home lighting installation at  $500-$1,000.
  • Bring The Bright, a larger company with a presence in multiple major metropolitan areas around the country estimates their home installs at $1,500-$6,000.

Many established holiday lighting install companies include in their published pricing the caveat that each job is different and pricing changes depending on the level of difficulty, labor, and the size of the install site. If you plan to work on large and complex projects, it may be wise to provide this kind of disclaimer on your website, too.

If you can’t find any reasonable comparisons, consider your business similar in value to a specialty contractor when it comes to hourly labor and material pricing. 

Coupons, discounts, and special offers

If you want to stand out from similar businesses during the busy season, you may want to offer a special lower price or service upgrade to draw in new clients. Building these discounts into your pricing plan can help to ensure they’re boosting business without breaking the bank.

You can offer percentage discounts for signing up for your newsletter, or reduced prices for off-season booking to ensure your schedule is full. Discounts for referrals can also encourage your current customers to provide shining reviews and be more likely to recommend you to their friends.

Offering packages in addition to one-off services may also be a positive way to increase business. Package deals are beneficial for both you and your customer: you upsell your services and increase your revenue, and they get a reduced price and full-service installation. 

If you do create special offers to boost your business, be sure to share them widely for maximum effectiveness—such as through your Nextdoor Business Page.

Tips for crafting a quote

Once you land a client, your first step in determining their project’s pricing will be the initial consultation and quote. Set a time to make a site visit to take measurements and assess any details that would affect the cost, like the shape and height of their roofline. This is also the time to discuss design, including colors or clear, dancing or solid, and any additional lighting style requests. 

Pricing for holiday light installation services is usually determined by footage of lighting used, the difficulty of the installation process, labor, and expenses. If you’re having trouble determining your pricing, research comparable companies offering similar services. 

Christmas light installation services priced right with Nextdoor

Start your business out on the right foot with accurate and reasonable pricing that brings in customers and returns a healthy profit. Holiday light installation can be a lucrative business, with growth potential and an income stream from clients who utilize repeat services year after year. 

Once you’re ready to open for business,  make your holiday light installation business part of the neighborhood. y establishing an online business presence on Nextdoor.

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