Landscapers get extra revenue through holiday lighting

After running out of lights, homeowner Lynn Nadler arrives at her house with several sacks full of boxes of white lights. Nadler begins helping her landscaper unwrap the lights wrapped in plastic so they can be strung on trees and shrubs outside her home in Columbus.

“I believe very much in allowing people who know what they’re doing to take care of things for me. I know what I can do and what I can’t do and so when she came highly recommended I just decided that’s much easier than my husband standing on a ladder in 20 degree weather and trying to do something that we probably aren’t real good at.”

Professionals are stringing 3,500 lights at the Nadlers Linworth-area home. And they are not the only ones in central Ohio turning to someone else to hang their holiday decorations. Owner of Landscapes by the Yard, Paula Cantu, says she’s booked solid through the middle of December.

“I am absolutely slammed for the next two weeks. Gotta couple days, you know, before Christmas. Last year I hung a house on the 22nd of December because people were just, you know, wanting it for the actual Christmas Day, Christmas Eve activities.”

Cantu’s been in the landscaping business for about six years and says this is her fourth year hanging holiday lights. And she says demand for it gets bigger every year.

“You said that last year with the holiday decorations and stuff like that, that your business went up about sixty percent. Yeah. What has it been like this year? Actually it’s probably gone up by about eighty percent actually.”

For landscapers, the late fall and winter months can be a slow time, especially if the winter is harsh. But the demand for holiday lighting has provided some extra revenue for landscaping companies. Cantu says it has definitely been a big help for her business.

“Well last year it totally changed my business. It, you know, afforded me to do some more projects just because of the income revenue through the Christmas lights.”

Right now the holiday decorating makes up only a small portion of the 2.7 billion dollar landscape industry in the state. But the director of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, Bill Stalter, says the holiday business could grow.

“I suspect as other landscapers see the success of their peers that it may pick up. It’s been a little slow to pick up. I don’t see a great number of landscape contractors turning to that. But those that are doing it seem to be fairly successful at it. So I think nothing sells a new service like success. So we’ll have to wait and see on that one.”

So what does a service like this cost? Cantu says it varies among clients.

“Usually you’re averaging about 200. You could have somebody spend a couple thousand dollars. I mean, it just really depends what they want um how high their house is, if I have to hang the icicles. So it just really depends on what the homeowner wants.”

Back at the Nadler home Cantu uses a long pole to string lights on a 20 foot pine at the corner of their lawn.

Cantu says it takes several hours for her and her staff to decorate someone’s yard and she says she believes that’s why people are turning to the pros to handle it.

“People just don’t have the time to get out there and do it with all the other holiday activities they have going on. You know, also people don’t want to get out there in the cold and people have some high homes these days and it’s kind of dangerous getting up on the ladders and hanging the lights, and people just don’t want to do it. And still basically, I really think it’s time.”

Even though Nadler has someone else decorating her lawn, she says it does not take away from the spirit of the seasons. She decorates the inside of her home. She says she’d rather leave the exterior to the professionals.

“What I like is just the look of it, you know. And once it’s up and it can be up then through the holidays. And then the nice thing is they come back and take them all down for you as well. So when it’s frigid in January you have somebody that you know is going to come back and take them down.”

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