November 29, 2010 in City

Lawn care company has bright idea for holiday lights

Rebeccan@Spokesman.Com, (509) 459-5496
 
Christopher Anderson photo

Scott Garske, with Senske Lawn and Tree Care, checks a lighting installation job on North Comanche Drive in Spokane on Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)

Did you know?

Senske Lawn and Tree Care has service centers throughout Washington, Idaho and Utah. Founded in 1947 by Bill Senske of Spokane, the company gained fame in 1952 after ridding downtown Spokane of an infestation by 10,000 rats.

A dozen years ago, Senske Lawn and Tree Care bought into the national Christmas Decor franchise, anticipating both the graying of America and an increasing reluctance by homeowners to risk injury when putting up outdoor holiday decorations. Scott Garske, 58, a sales consultant for Senske, recently explained why the popularity of this holiday service continues to grow.

Q. Why did Senske decide to offer this?

A. No. 1, it keeps our employees employed all year long. The employees are maintained full time, and they have the benefits they have in the summertime. It’s much better for the company and the customers.

Q. How does it work?

A. You’re buying the service, not the decorations. We don’t put up anyone else’s decorations. We supply the materials, and the design consultants (who) go to the house and tell the customers what would look nice. We listen to them, too, and we might give them more ideas.

We supply the maintenance. We do nighttime checks where we drive by. If anything goes wrong, we come out and take care of the problem.

In January, we take all the decorations down. We box them up, and the box has the customer’s name on it. We store it at Senske’s.

Q. Is it ever dangerous work?

A. Very much so. That’s one of the big reasons we have so much business. I had two hand surgeons who had us do their decor because they have worked on people who had fallen off ladders and broken wrists.

There are a lot of baby boomers who want their houses decorated, but they aren’t going to climb up on snowy roofs. They are to the age now where they have the disposable income to put decorations on their houses, but they want someone else to do it.

If we put the decorations up, and we hurt something on the house, we fix it. If one of our guys falls off a ladder and breaks his leg, we’re responsible.

Q. What’s the cost?

A. The packages average between $300 and $600. (But) it goes to anywhere you want to go.

The top-top cost? Thirty-five thousand dollars. That’s our corporate office in the Tri-Cities. We’ve decorated 30 trees there. We’ve decorated the entire corporate building, and it’s all put to music. It’s animated. When people drive by, they turn to a radio station and it flashes to the music sounds. 

Q. Is it true you do some free decorations for returning soldiers?

A. We try to do one in every market we have. We’ve also done them for military people deployed. We’re appreciative of what they’ve done and their sacrifices, and they’re appreciative of what people do for them.

Q. When you were a kid, did you have Christmas decorations on your house?

A. Remember the old stencils? You did them with a sponge. You’d cut them out and put the stencil on the window. My mom did those.

Q. Is your house decorated now?

A. Not yet. Mine is the last to go up.


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