6 Mistakes Commonly Made When Starting and Running a Christmas Light Installation Business
Have you considered starting a Christmas light installation business? If you're among the many people looking for a way to ramp up your income and be your own boss, it's certainly worth considering.
The Christmas light installation business offers a unique opportunity because it doesn't require a large investment to get started. It also requires little in terms of prior experience. And the field is open to just about anybody that might be interested. We've seen people ranging from students to retired grandmothers have great success in starting and running a Christmas light installation business.
And the demand for light installation services is overwhelming and continues to grow. There's far more demand than there are professionals to meet that demand. For all of those reasons, the Christmas light installation business offers a life-changing opportunity for those seeking to enhance their income and control their own destiny.
We've helped mentor many entrepreneurs through the process of starting their Christmas business. Our ebook has guided many people to succeed in the Christmas business. But for all of the wonderful and unique opportunities that starting a light installation business represents, it's still a business. And it's a cold, hard truth that not all businesses succeed.
Over the years, we've observed that when Christmas businesses fail, it's usually due to one or more of these common mistakes:
- Trying to hit a home run. It takes time to build a successful business. But it's a great irony of this business that so much work is available, and there's so much demand for your services, that it's very tempting for new businesses to overload themselves. And that's understandable; after all, it's hard to turn away work when you've just started a new business. But it's likely that that's exactly what you'll need to do. Start with small accounts, and then over time, you can gradually add larger, more prestigious accounts. Give yourself time to gain experience in the field and to get a good feel for what you can handle. It would surely be a shame to go out of business because you took on too much business, but it happens! To use an old truism, learn to walk before you try to run. Otherwise, you're likely to stumble right out of the gate.
- Treating the business as a hobby. Christmas is fun. And for most people, it's the happiest time of year. It's a time of parties and celebrations. But if you start a Christmas light installation business, you'll want to treat it as a business, not as a happy holiday activity. That's not to say that you won't derive great enjoyment and fulfillment from your work, but you must approach it with a professional attitude. We've observed that many newbies tend to treat this business as more of a hobby. And that's a dangerous mindset. That unprofessional attitude will negatively influence how you run your business. And it will not impress your customers. Your customers are looking to hire a professional to provide a professional service. They're not looking to turn over their light installation chores to a happy-go-lucky hobbyist.
- Failing to establish proper business foundations. Starting a Christmas light installation business offers you a very unique opportunity. But in one respect it's like all other businesses: it is a business! You must be certain that you conform to all the legal requirements and best practices for starting and operating a business. You must have adequate insurance; you must be set up properly for workman's comp; you may need a resale certificate for tax exemptions, depending upon your state. Yes, it can all seem quite overwhelming. But there are resources available to help you. The Small Business Administration offers lots of resources for guidance in starting a business. Legalzoom.com can offer affordable legal guidance.
- Trying to run a one-person show. Even though your business will be starting small, it will likely require the efforts of multiple people to assure success. There's lots of work involved in running a small business. And many tasks require specialized knowledge, such as marketing and bookkeeping. You'll have to meet with clients, quote jobs, work with suppliers, and so on. In a sense, the actual Christmas light installation work is just the tip of the iceberg. Don't let that discourage you from starting a business; after all, those many different jobs and tasks are part of running any type of business. Just be aware going into it that trying to do everything yourself will probably set you up for failure.
- Lack of professionalism. As a Christmas light installation pro, you'll be a professional providing a professional service. Your clients will expect you to act the part and look the part. Communications with clients must be crisp, clear, and professional - whether over the phone, in person, or through written correspondence. And your appearance speaks volumes to clients about your professionalism. Given the nature of your work, you won't be expected to dress in formal business attire. But though you may be dressed in jeans, boots and a polo shirt, your clothes must be neat and clean. If you're in the field working, have a change of clothes with you in the event you need to meet with clients. Even the appearance of your work vehicle is important. If you're driving a junker, consider renting a nice-looking, modern vehicle during the busy time of the season. Appearance is important!
- Choosing the wrong suppliers. The service you provide to your clients can only be as good as the quality of the products you use. Go with suppliers that sell low-quality products on the cheap, you might save a little money in the short-term. But in the long-term, those savings will prove to be very costly. Products that are of inferior quality and prone to failure will leave your clients with a very negative impression of your services. That will turn potential long-term clients into once-and-done clients. Unhappy clients are also likely to share their unenthusiastic opinion of your services with friends and neighbors. And nothing is more damaging to a business than negative word-of-mouth. Even the initial savings you realize by buying cheap products will morph into extra expenses over time since you'll have to replace those products prematurely. You can avoid all of those potential problems easily enough. Simply choose a supplier that has a long history of supplying top-grade products to the Christmas light installation industry. Christmas Designers, for example, has been serving the Christmas industry for many years. And the light installation branch of our business uses the very same products that we sell to independent installation professionals. In fact, we use our own commercial installation projects to test and prove the quality of the products that we sell to professional installation business owners.
The Opportunity is Great: But Success is Up to You…
If you're looking for an opportunity, we'd encourage you to consider starting a Christmas light installation business. But whether you're thinking about starting a business, or you've already done so, you should be aware that in spite of the great opportunity, not everyone succeeds in this business.
Approach this business with the right attitude, though, and avoid the common mistakes noted above, and your chances of success are great. No business is a sure thing, but the Christmas light installation business offers greater opportunity to a wider range of people than any business I know of. What you make of that great opportunity, in the end, is up to you.
Want to dig deeper into what it takes to run and operate a successful Christmas installation business? Pick up a copy of our book: Starting Your Own Christmas Lighting and Decorating Business.