Is It Worth Hiring a Pro to Install Your Holiday Lighting?
Hanging Christmas Lights
Outdoor Christmas lights are festive and fun: They help set the mood for the season. What’s not fun is spending many hours on a ladder hanging the lights on your roof and wrapping them around trees - particularly if you live in a cold climate.
These days, more homeowners are outsourcing the task. The professional holiday lighting industry - practically unheard a decade or two ago - has exploded in popularity. People have enough stress during the holiday season, so they’re warming up to the idea of having someone else handle the difficult task.
What Does a Professional Lighting Service Do?
Most lighting services are landscaping companies that are trying to fill the winter lull with other work. However, there are some seasonal companies that focus exclusively on Christmas lighting and decorating. Many lighting services are part of landscaping franchises, while others are independently owned.
Most lighting services focus on exterior lighting and decorations. They work closely with you to develop a design plan, then execute it. They can hang lights, install lawn ornaments, hang wreaths and garlands - you name it. Most services provide the lights and decorations, but in some cases you can supply your own. Lighting services handle all of the maintenance when your lights are up, and when the season is done they take down the decorations and store them.
Some professional lighting services focus on residential or commercial work, while other services do both.
The cost of professional lighting and decorating depends primarily on what you choose. A very simple display might cost $500, while an elaborate display could cost upwards of $10,000. The size of your home, the pitch of the roof and your geographic location also play a role in the price.
Some people think outsourcing the task is worth the money; others do not. The decision is completely personal. Generally, if you dread Christmas decorating, you have a busy schedule and your budget allows for it, outsourcing is great. If you love decorating, you have the time, and/or you’re on a tight budget, DIY is the better choice.
Choosing a Lighting/Decorating Service
Anytime you outsource a household chore, you want to make sure the company you’re hiring is experienced and reputable. Here are some tips:
- Seek quotes from multiple services to compare prices. You never want to hire anyone without knowing whether the price you’re quoted is fair.
- Find out exactly what is included in the quote. Will the company provide the lighting and decorations? Will the company take care of any maintenance issues that pop up? Is removal included or does it cost extra?
- Ask to see photos of previous jobs. Do you like how the lighting and decorations look? Are they too sparse or too gaudy? If you don’t like the company’s previous work, chances are you won’t be happy with your decorations.
- Make sure the company you hire is willing to listen to your ideas. You want a company that decorates the house according to your style, not theirs. A company that tries to push its own ideas is probably not a good fit.
- Look for a company that does regular “drive-bys” to make sure that all of your lights are working properly and decorations are all in place. Regular maintenance is an important part of the service.