You just completed an exceptional Christmas light installation season and the lights are finally down and stored away. You've had a chance to rest and now you are re-energized to plan for next season. Early planning is essential for improved success in the same way an athlete prepares for a big game. Treat the season like a sport with laser-like focus in the peak season, and you’ll get through the intensity unscathed. Here are 5 tasks to make sure you get done before peak-season swings into full gear:
1. Take advantage of industry specials
This is the single most important task that puts more cash in your pocket! Get connected to industry deals and plan to purchase from annual pre-sales to drastically improve your margins. At Big Star Lights, we run two case-sized pre-season sales - orders placed by January 9th on our Pre-Season store will get you 25% off, and you only have to pay 30% upfront. Later in the year, we run our Pay 15 Save 15 Sale where you pay 15% upfront and save 15% on your order total. You can order less popular items as they are required in the peak season.
2. Check all your vehicles and equipment during pre-season
Spend more time installing in the peak-season and less time at the hardware store or mechanic by making sure your equipment is ready. Check your ladders to ensure they are functional and safe. Check the condition of your fall protection gear as well to make sure they are not expired. If you have a bucket truck, get it inspected. Keep a record of the inspections in case your local work safety authority asks for it. Ensure your light hanging poles are fully functioning too.
3. Market to commercial properties early
Property managers set budgets early, so make sure to reach out to them before everything is allocated for the year. It can sometimes be tricky to track down the right decision makers, but sending a short, well articulated email with a few example photos of your amazing work will often get a response. Remember, pictures are worth a thousand words and a great one will spark a sense of desire.
4. Clean up your CRM and property notes with plenty of time
Ensure your customer notes are meticulously accurate. If you are sending a new employee to install at a repeat customer's property, they need to be able to review the notes and execute the same installation without on-site supervision, saving you time to work on new sales or other more pressing matters.
5. Schedule large jobs far in advance
You probably have a list of great customers that are important to schedule in. Make them happy by scheduling them now. They’ll appreciate the early preparation and it will be one thing off the customer’s plate (and yours) in busy months. Consider offering a discount to schedule them earlier in the season, which will make room for new customers. New customers are easier to convert if you have space in high-demand weeks.
There’s actually a sixth essential task to do in the off-season: Rest! Take some time to enjoy the summer and be as rested as possible. Long stretches of time off in summer are one of the largest benefits to our work-hard-play-hard industry. Everyone is going to want their lights installed at the same time - it happens every year like clockwork, so be prepared. Check off as much as you can from the list so you don’t have to do it at busier times, and you’ll be surprised at just how efficient your peak season will be. And remember, installing Christmas lights professionally is a sport with a pre-season, a peak-season, and an off-season. Treat it as such and have fun with it!