Photo: Naitian (Tony) Wang / Unsplash
Some craftsmen dread the holidays because customers don’t want to schedule anything that disrupts their busy schedules. Others are excited because their customers want nothing more than to make sure their house is perfect for company. I used to catch up on my taxes and paperwork during the season slowdown. But over time, I discovered there are a number of chances to maintain a steady cash flow by helping homeowners around the holiday season. Below are some of the opportunities I missed, and later found.
One year, I was installing light fixtures for a big box retailer. I was surprised by the number of light fixtures we replaced. After that, I added that service to my installers’ suggestion list for added work. We stayed busy right up to Christmas Eve.
Here are some improvement ideas:
• Adding a dimmer can change the ambiance of a room. Your customers will get compliments and appreciate being able to set the tone for the evening.
• Offer to install motion switches in bathrooms. Many of my customers thought this was a great idea. It’s convenient and saves money—a win-win.
• Add lighting in the corners of common rooms. Sometimes, lighting a corner encourages more people to use it. Proper lighting also makes a room seem larger. This is a good service to suggest, especially if someone is expecting a lot of guests and is worried if the house is large enough.
• Replacing a chandelier. People often move into a house where their furniture and décor don’t match the style of the existing lighting. Be open to customers’ questions about their light fixtures.
• Holiday lighting preparation is important. Outdoor circuits and lighting displays can be a burden to turn on and off. A simple solution includes new circuits and timers. They can make customers feel safe and eliminate the worry of remembering to turn the lights on and off.
Anyone in the front door installation services business can tell you how busy they are during the holidays. A new door and porch light easily update an entryway. Guests always notice these updates and are quick to compliment. I once changed my porch lights and got compliments on my new ‘front door’.’ Offering to paint your customers’ front doors is an easy upgrade.
Other improvements include:
• Change the locks or doorknob. No one gets in without seeing them.
• Offer to install new energy efficient front windows. They improve appearance, cut down sound, and as the name suggests, they save energy. They are generally a one-day installation. You might even be able to get a rebate for your customers.
• Offer to add built in gardens, pots, and plants. They can go a long way in improving aesthetics by covering pipes, wires, and other imperfections.
Fireplaces and TVs
A new TV can always be a centerpiece around the holidays. Additional improvements to the fireplace include:
• Installing a new mantel – this used to be very expensive, and finding a craftsman who was skilled in building them was hard. Today, mantles can be ordered online and ship in a few weeks. Most mantels can be installed in a day.
• Fireplace logs make a space warm and cheerful. I installed fireplace logs one year and my family hardly turned them off. It’s not so much the heat as the feeling a crackling fireplace gives to a room.
• Fireplace doors give older fireplaces a more modern look and look clean and put together.
Organization systems can make all the difference in clearing that coat closet for guests. Keep in mind that customers should order the closet organization systems two to three weeks ahead of time, but the installation generally take less than a day. Even if you aren’t a skilled designer, you can develop a relationship with a local designer. Your customer will be forever grateful.
• Garage cabinets conveniently store holiday items and provide a space for a ping-pong table or other temporary entertainment.
• Pantry cabinets can be economically organized with additional shelves or dividers.
The kitchen is a tough place to update around the holidays because it is always in use. There are still some simple repairs you can offer:
• A new disposal. This is always a concern for customers. Remember to snake the drain when this work is done. Nothing is more frustrating than having the customer call you on a holiday to unclog a drain.
• New faucets are a nice touch and take a short time to install.
• Offer to install new water filters. Guests appreciate them and will thank their hosts.
• Don’t forget to offer new cabinet knobs for a fresh look. Make sure to measure the cabinets correctly before offering styles.
And finally, the bathroom, while not the centerpiece of the holidays, will have the most visitors. It may be too late to remodel, but simple things can make a big difference, like a new toilet, vanity light, accessories like towel holders, or new cabinet hardware.
Overall, even the smallest updates can deliver compliments from guests and help your customers enjoy their homes that much more over the holidays. Have a chat with them and talk it over. I bet a few of these suggestions will work for you.