Outdoor lighting adds ambiance to hot tub areas
By Seraine Page
It all started with Christmas lights.
More than 20 years ago, Blake Smith started Christmas Décor, a company that focused on design, installation, maintenance — and postseason removal — of Christmas lights. Smith also simultaneously ran a landscaping company that suffered during winter months, and the Christmas-light business kept cash flowing during the offseason.
Now, Christmas Décor falls under parent company The Decor Group, along with two other distinct brands: Nite Time Décor and Barcana. The company is based in Irving, Texas, but has contractors across the United States and Canada. The Decor Group snagged a spot on Entrepreneur’s 2017 Top Franchises list.
For hot tub and outdoor product retailers, the opportunity is greatest with the Nite Time Decor brand.
“[Nite Time Décor] is strictly a landscape lighting company,” says Pat Bradshaw, a business development employee for Nite Time Decor. “We look at landscape lighting in a different way. We want to educate and partner with landscape contractors across the country.”
Depending on what a homeowner wants, a typical landscape lighting job costs between $2,500 and $50,000. Some of the most popular products are brass and all-weather lighting, including two-tiered area lights, tiki torches, wash lights and wall sconces.
Earning potential is maximized for contractors of Nite Time Decor due to the extensive training offered, Bradshaw says. When an entrepreneur signs up to work with the company, they have access to videos, webinars and online tools 24/7 through Nite Time Decor’s website. And for contractors willing to travel to Texas, six in-house training opportunities are available throughout the year.
All training is business focused to help the contractor thoroughly understand the product, Bradshaw says. During trainings, contractors watch evening demonstrations along with an install the following day to get comfortable with proper procedures.
“What really makes us unique is our education program,” Bradshaw says. “Nobody does education to the depth that we do. We want to show the art of the design of the product.”
The No. 1 reason customers want landscape lighting is for curb appeal, Bradshaw says. For outdoor entertaining areas, the idea is to bring the living room from inside to outside. If a patio with a deck and hot tub is well lit and welcoming, the homeowner is going to want to spend more time in that area; that’s how retailers can market Nite Time Decor products, Bradshaw says.
“You’re creating more than just putting up a fixture,” he says. “We’re creating an ambience.”
Nite Time Decor landscape lighting fixtures and transformers have a lifetime warranty. LED bulbs are also under warranty for seven years. To ensure competitive pricing on products, the company works directly with the factory so contractors can get high-quality products for a fair price. Additionally, contractors are given plenty of advice on marketing to their specific region.
The company’s goal of providing comprehensive business training and opportunities in the art of landscape lighting and installation is paramount, Bradshaw says. “We’re pretty extensive with our market strategy and working with the contractor to get the sales down,” Bradshaw says. “Unfortunately in the industry, it’s common just to put a light in the ground and light up the tree. To us, we want to help them understand its part in the design and the illumination.”