Scott Neave, along with parents Kathy and Bill, own a successful landscape design and lawn maintenance business, Neave Group Outdoor Solutions in Wappingers Falls, NY. They’ve also grown a successful holiday decorating division called Neave Décor.
Scott says he found some information on holiday decorating in a landscape magazine 13 years ago. “I looked into it and went for training with our irrigation manager,” he relates.
The original objective for branching into holiday decorating was to keep irrigation crews busy in their off-season while also helping to recover some of the company’s existing overhead. But now it has grown into a serious business.
“We originally bought a (Christmas Décor) franchise in 2000,” Scott tells. By 2005 the company had opened two more territories. “We’ve recently bought out another company and now basically have four territories covering a large area in New York and Connecticut,” Scott adds. “We have been steadily increasing our revenue for this division by decorating both homes and businesses.”
Holiday decorating sales have grown 20-30% for the past two years. It remains a relatively small part of Neave’s overall business, but is a large revenue generator for October, November and early December.
This business is competitive, too. Scott says there is always fierce competition out there. “But we have confidence in our products and the type of service we offer. We know that if people are truly comparing apples to apples, we will win every time. We give our clients 100%. And once they have tried our company, they realize that what they are paying for is well worth it.”
Some contractors who perform holiday decorating services say it is a more recession-proof business than, say, landscape installation or even maintenance. After all, people aren’t going to skimp on Christmas, right?
Scott doesn’t agree—at least not when it comes to his market up in New York and Connecticut. “People react to the market and their availability of disposable income. This is a luxury, not a necessity.”
That said, clients use Neave’s services because they are busy people and want their homes or businesses decorated for the holidays in a tasteful and professional manner for their families, children and clients to enjoy. “They just don't have the time to do it, nor do they want to climb on roofs,” Scott adds.
Do you need a franchise to help you make it happen? Scott says Christmas Décor has provided great support in every facet of his holiday decorating business. “The products, systems, training, marketing support, and constant drive to keep us at the top of our game keeps us ahead of our competition all the time,” Scott relates.
However, Scott is confident that his company could make a serious run in the holiday decorating business on their own. “We have our own systems and marketing in our core businesses,” Scott points out. “Christmas Decor is the specialist in this industry, though. They work at it all year long to be sure that we are offering the best in every aspect of what we do. They are a driving force behind our success and continue to be a great support system.”