DIY





Holiday Window Art

If you're looking for ways to earn a little extra cash ahead of the Christmas season, painting holiday window art is one possibility.

| November/December 1981

Think back to last year's Christmas season. Remember the colorful window art painted on supermarkets and restaurants? Well, no matter how crude and misshapen those holiday symbols might have appeared, someone was probably paid to paint them, and—this Christmas—some of that money could be yours. Fortunately for those of us without the Rembrandt touch, this profession doesn't require much talent or experience. All you'll need to set yourself up in business is a bit of inspiration (uncomplicated, traditional Christmas card designs can provide it) ... plus a little practice (try your skill on your own windows at home) and some salesmanship.

Customer Contact

Though you can begin lining up customers as early as September and October, there's still time this year to head for supermarkets, restaurants, service stations, car dealers, beauty salons, and so forth to make your pitch.

As with any interview, be sure to be polite, organized, and neatly dressed when you ask to speak to the establishment's manager. Explain how your colorful designs, characters, and greetings can add a fine holiday spirit to his or her premises. Though most people will prefer to leave the creative decisions up to you, listen carefully to any ideas your prospects may have, and carry a small note pad and pen to jot down important details.

Be prepared to quote a fair price. I've found that $10 to $15 is about right for decorating one 6' X 8' window (depending on how much time the job takes). Usually, it'll be best to suggest a price range. For example: "I can do those three windows and the sliding door for $35 to $45. The job will include putting 'Season's Greetings' on the middle window, a Santa and reindeer on the two outer windows, and candles and holly on the door. I'll fill in any gaps with holly and ribbons."



Before you close the deal, be sure that both you and your customer know exactly what you'll be painting, how much it will cost, and when you'll do the work. (The day after Thanksgiving isn't too early to begin ... and if you're still painting New Year's decorations on Christmas Eve, hurray for you!) Then, a few days before the date agreed upon, call and remind the customer that you're coming.

Don't be discouraged by folks who refuse your services. You may talk to some 25 or 35 business people and end up with only half a dozen skeptical okays. But word will travel quickly once you begin work, and you're very likely to have other offers ... even from the same people who turned you down at first. During my initial season in this holiday trade for instance, I started with five stores and ended up doing 15!






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