Maybe you’ve yearned for years to have your roof twinkling with LED icicles at Christmas time while spangled angels fly by. But then again, maybe it also seems like too much work and too tall a ladder to climb.
That’s OK; there are companies that can do the decorating for you and they have lots of ideas, equipment, bulbs and decorations. Here’s a rundown on what they offer and what you need to consider before hiring someone to do a lighting project.
1 | What do they charge?
As you might expect, it can be costly to hire someone, but it depends on the amount of glitz and how many strings and bulbs you want. It can cost about $400 to $500 for a basic job that includes roof lighting and lighting up a few cacti and shrubs. Others quoted $700 for a small job. Some companies will charge a minimum of $1,000 to $1,200 for a residential job. Others said that their average price is $2,000 to $3,000. One installer, Tony Snider of Holiday Lights Decorating of Phoenix, has done $20,000 houses. Some companies will give you a discount for an early installation.
2 | When should you call?
You generally have someone visit first to look at your property and give you an estimate. In November, it’s almost too late to call some companies. Some do from 100 to 300 houses a year as well as businesses.
3 | Who owns the decorations?
They do, of course; they’re basically leasing the lights and decorations to you. If you want to design something special for your house and keep it going for a while, Holiday Lights Decorating, for one example, will sell you the display and then store it for up to four years for future reinstallation. Generally, companies don’t want to install the decorations you already have because they cannot warranty their performance, according to We Hang Christmas Lights, which serves homes throughout the Phoenix area, including Apache Junction, the San Tan Valley and Queen Creek.
4 | How long do the lights stay on your house?
Some companies start installations in September, but of course the lights don’t go on until November or later. They’re generally taken down in January. They also set timers to turn your lights on and off.
5 | How do they do it?
These installers generally aren’t climbing ladders; they bring in cherry pickers and motorized lifts to get on the top of your house or cover tall trees. In some cases, tree climbers will scale tall palm trees, according to Scott McQuade of Margie Mae Holiday Décor in Mesa.
6 | How far do they travel?
Most Phoenix companies that specialize in holiday decorating drive all over the valley to do the decorating and some drive to Tucson. There are Tucson decorators as well. Other options to consider if you need just a little installation work done are landscapers and handymen that you have used before. Licensed electricians also do Christmas lighting jobs.
Here are a few other issues to think about before hiring someone:
- Don’t hire or pay an installer without having them give you a written estimate of costs based on a visit to your house.
- Ask if the business has liability insurance to cover its work and workmen's compensation to cover its employees.
- Get some kind of estimate of what it will cost to keep the lights on through Christmas.
- Keep an eye on the equipment being used to be sure that it’s up-to-date and in good condition. No frayed wires.
- You need to plug outdoor lights into circuits protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs). If you don’t have those circuits, you need to have them installed by an electrician.
- You don't need a licensed electrician just to hang the decorations. However, make sure whomever you hire knows enough about electricity not to overload your circuits.
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