Christmas (Planning) in July Part 1: Working Now to Install Later
Interiorscapers who will be knee-deep in garland and Christmas trees late in November and December sometimes earn a chunk of their annual income during the week or two of holiday installations.
Veterans who profit from “Holidayscaping” know pulling off a successful installation means planning for it months in advance. After all, the 200 poinsettias you will be placing in your clients’ lobbies are taking root at the growers right now.
Fred Scott, Vice President of NewPro Corp., is a former purchaser and manager of installations at one of the largest exterior and interior landscape supply companies in the US. He’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly the holidays can bring to Interiorscapers.
“People who install artificial Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands and poinsettias are beginning now to plan for Christmas” Fred said. “The first step is just diagraming what each client needs and then taking a simple inventory of what you have on hand and what you will need to match or expand your service for what client.”
That service includes the non-living – lights. It is safe to assume not every bulb survived the off-season or will survive this year’s installation rush. Many interiorscapers just purchase a set percentage – say 20, 30 or even 40 percent of their light inventory lighting so they don’t have to count every bulb or go shopping for them at the last minute.
While there are many ways to store and transport artificial Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands, one method is preparing the display in advance at your location. This is accomplished by decorating and then shrink-wrapping the pieces at your location before transport and installation at the client site.
“That way, once the tree is placed in the location, all the (Interiorscaper) needs to do is unfurl the shrink-wrap and fluff the tree,” Fred said.
Once your inventory is understood an accurate outline can be made so the interiorscaper can reach out to customers to verify their holiday needs.
“The economy has changed the way small and large companies decorate for the holidays. Even if they could afford to repeat or expand what they did last year, some may not.” Fred added. “That’s why it’s important to get an idea of what you have now and then proactively meet with customers to make sure you’re still on for this year.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with recommending “something different” as a more subtle way to expand your business in times that are still pretty lean.
Once Interiorscapers have verified the projects coming up, Fred said it’s not a bad idea to visit the client sites, diagram the traffic patterns, inspect the entryways and service corridors to make sure your ladders can fit through.
In the next post, ProScape will look at a poinsettia installation and removal strategy that will help you complete your holiday work on time while maintaining your sanity.
Do you rely upon the holidays as a large percentage of your annual income? Has the slow economy influenced your holiday business planning? Please leave a reply in the comment box below.