How to Start a Holiday Decorating Business

Woman hanging red ornament on white Christmas tree

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If you enjoy decorating for the holidays and are creative and handy with tools, then holiday decorating could be a profitable home business for you. Holiday decorators make the inside and outside of homes and businesses festive. Because of its seasonal nature, this could be a second venture that you could piggyback onto another that is more consistent during the rest of the year, such as interior design or a home staging business. Or, you can pursue it as a seasonal side-hustle to make extra money.

  • Minimal startup investment

  • Time off due to seasonality

  • No special training required

  • Grow at your own pace

  • Inconsistent income due to seasonal work

  • Takes time to build client base

  • Potentially dangerous

  • Work can be dependent on the economy

Types of Holiday Decorating

Many people think of Christmas when they hear "holiday decorating," but it can include other holidays as well, such as:

  • New Year's Eve
  • Valentine's Day
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Easter
  • Fourth of July
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving

Along with decorating for various holidays and seasons, this type of business can also work with different types of clients for a variety of purposes including:

  • Residential home decorating
  • Businesses decorating
  • Special events (i.e. weddings, family gatherings, birthdays, etc.)

Pros of a Holiday Decorating Business

There are many perks to starting a holiday decorating business, including:

  • Minimal startup investment. Most of your clients will have or pay for the decorations, so your only expenses would be purchasing tools needed to decorate and marketing.
  • Seasonality allows you time off during other times of the year. This is ideal for students, teachers, or retired people who want to make money occasionally.
  • No occupational or specialized training required. Although being creative and experienced in decorating can help, there's no official training or certification required.
  • You can grow a home decorating business at your own pace through referrals from satisfied clients and word-of-mouth advertising.

Cons of a Holiday Decorating Business

Just like any other business, there are a few drawbacks to a holiday decorating business, including:

  • Seasonal work. This is both a pro and a con. While you might be overwhelmed with clients in October and December, the rest of the year could be lean. This means time off, but it also means you may need to do something else to make money. 
  • It can take time to build up your client base. Chances are you won't have a lot of clients right away. Clients usually want to see your work before they hire you, so referrals can be key.
  • Potential dangers. If you offer exterior decorating for the Christmas holiday, you may be climbing roofs or trees in inclement weather.
  • Work may vary depending on the economy. Holiday decorating is one of those expenses that families and businesses will drop when the money is tight.

What You Need to Get Started in Holiday Decorating Business

To sell your decorating services, you'll need to set up your business, have a few tools, and develop a marketing plan. Here's a list to get you started:

  • Creativity: You'll need to be able to develop unique, eye-catching, holiday decorations.
  • Business license: Contact your local city or county business office for information on how to get a business license in your area.
  • Business plan: The business plan will include defining what you'll do and who your clients are. For example, will you do just residential decorating, or will you do offices or events, as well?
  • Basic decorating tools: You'll need items such as a ladder and hand tools, and you'll also need transportation to the locations you'll be decorating.
  • Menu of services and pricing: You might want to offer a variety of packages, such as a basic package of putting up lights, versus a more robust package of complete outdoor decorating. Make sure you price your services appropriately for the market you're in.
  • Portfolio: Use a scrapbook to show off photos of the homes you've decorated along with any written testimonials from your customers. Make sure you put them online, as well.
  • Helpers on standby: Depending on the number of clients or the difficulty of the decorating needs, you might need to have help. Many people need extra money during the holidays and would be happy to give you assistance if needed.
  • Marketing plan: Start by decorating your own home or business, as well as your friends' and family's homes to get experience and referrals. Consider advertising or posting bulletins in your church or other organization, or at local stores. Take pictures and build a portfolio. Use a blog or a site like Pinterest to show off your work.