Kearney lawn care company provides Christmas cheer to customers with light displays

KEARNEY — When Brandon Ross started his landscaping business, Ross Yard Sharks, in 2014, he wanted to find something to keep him busy in the winter — as long as it didn’t involve scooping snow.

“I never liked snow removal,” Ross said with a laugh.

Instead, he decided to do holiday light installations. When he started that aspect of his business, he had about 15-20 customers. Now he has more than 80, and he continues to take on more.

Ross initially thought he’d be a teacher when he grew up. Three of his four parents are teachers, as well as three of his sisters. While attending college, he began working for a lawn care company, and he fell in love with the work. He started his own lawn care business in 2014, and he began Christmas light installations with just a few customers.



When Brandon Ross started installing Christmas lights in 2014, he had 15-20 customers. He now installs holiday lights for over 80 customers in the Kearney area.


COURTESY

“I thought I’d get 15-20 people and just do that every year just for a little income over the winter,” he said.

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The demand has increased every year. Along with Christmas displays at customer’s homes, he also wraps all the trees in the medians at Lighthouse Point in Kearney.

Because there is a time crunch when putting up Christmas lights, Ross often enlists his family to help. His wife, Kelsey, and kids, Austyn, 6, and Kannon, 3, will help place clips on the light strings at their home to reduce some of the time it takes at an installation. His nephew, Lawson Cochran, 12, will help with home installations, and he has two part-time employees this year.



Ross Yard Sharks Holiday Lighting

One of Ross Yard Sharks’ largest holiday light displays features over 1,000 feet of light. Many customers have been requesting lights on their roofs to add a 3D effect to their home.


COURTESY

Ross typically starts hanging lights Nov. 1, but he started in October this year to get a jump on the cold weather. New customers will purchase the lights from Ross, and he will reuse them each year. The average cost of the first year for lights, installation and takedown is about $600-$1,000. Costs will drop the following year as customers will already own the lights.

Just as his business has grown and evolved, so has the technology for holiday lights.

“When I first started, I had one of my first contracts with incandescent glass bulbs. They’re very touchy. You drop them on the ground, they will crack, or if they don’t crack, they go out. With LEDs, I changed one out of probably 10,000 a year, if that. They’re just built stronger and made to last,” Ross explained.

This year, customers can opt for a new technology called Dynamic RGB. The lights are controlled by a remote with an option for eight different colors and 10 different functions. It’s cost effective, and many customers are opting for RGBs this year, Ross said. He will also wrap trees with lights and stake lights along sidewalks.

He plans to take a class this winter on how to do install permanent lighting.

“I can (install) it anytime I want. That’s something I want to evolve to in the future,” he said.

Kearney's Holiday Home Tour is back and better than ever on Dec.  3

Ross aims to have his customers’ decorations finished by Thanksgiving, but he will continue to work into December if he still has requests. While he may have to endure frigid temperatures and bitter winds, having satisfied customers makes it all worth it.

“I got a text a couple of days ago with a picture of the kids by the house with the lights. Some of these kids haven’t had lights before, and they get all excited,” he said. “I get thank you texts from people who appreciate it. When the weather is (cold), we have no choice but to get them up. It kind of makes the day a lot better.”

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