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Sports Team Lighting

Christmas Light Installation Services

July 31, 2008

A new service industry has arisen to offer Christmas light installation services. Undoubtedly, this is a service that has been available for some time but has recently become more mainstream. We frequently provide Christmas lights to professional installers but I've never really taken the time to understand the business. We will be launching a Christmas light installers directory and felt that it was only appropriate to learn a bit more about these services and share that information with our users. To that end, I recently met with the owner of Holiday Light Express and interviewed him about the services his company offers. Here is what he had to say:

Christmas light installation service is a relatively new service industry that has become more readily available to consumers, can you tell us some of the advantages of a professional light installation?

Having a professional light installation has many advantages. For one, it means you don’t have to be out in the cold on a high ladder putting lights up and then taking them down. Another is that we offer the latest and greatest in energy efficient lighting technology, meaning you will have a beautiful, energy saving display. We offer no hassle installations, meaning we take care of everything. We install everything, we warranty everything all season incase there are any issues, we take everything down. We actually lease the display to our customers, so they never have the hassle of dealing with storing decorations, untangling lights or replacing decorations when they wear out. We take care of this for them.

Since a lot of people may not be familiar with this service can you tell us a little bit about the types of installations that you do?  And more specifically, what is a typical installation for your company?

Our main service is to install energy efficient holiday lights. We use the absolutely best LED lighting products on the market. We also offer wreaths, garlands, bows, and artificial trees. What’s exciting this year is that we have partnered with Animated Lighting (www.animatedlighting.com). We can now offer amazing lights shows to our clients. I would say that a typical install involves putting up C9 lights in high places. We have a lot of clients that want their roof lines outlined in lights, and we typically install mini lights in surrounding trees and bushes.

If I was considering hiring a professional installation company this year what types of things do you think I should consider in choosing a company for my installation?

The absolute first thing you want to know is if the company is insured. The last thing a homeowner or business owner wants is a stupid lawsuit because someone fell off the ladder installing lights. Make sure you ask for proof of insurance as well. This also verifies that the company is a “real company”.

Then I would want to see demo lights and decorations that the company would be installing. There are a lot of companies that offer a wide variety of products. You want to make sure that you get exactly what you want. You also want to make sure they are using commercial grade products. The last thing you want is to be paying someone big money to put up “big box” store lights. You will also have a lower chance of failure using commercial lights.

I would ask how things will be attached to your structure. In most cases nothing needs to be drilled, stapled, nailed or glued. Most things should be clipped or tied into place. For roof lines, I would make sure that the lights are custom cut to fit the roof. It just looks more professional that way.

Finally, you want to find out what’s included and get it in writing. Do you buy the lights and then pay labor or do you lease the display. Some companies have the client buy lights. It really depends on what your preference is on this topic. We lease the displays to our clients. This way the client never gets stuck re-buying lights when they fail, and can also easily change their display year to year. We think this system gives the client the least amount of headaches and largest amount of flexibility.

For a lot of people this may have been the first question: How much does it cost? 

Cost really depends on the amount of lights and decorations you have installed. For roof lines we bill by the light, and for bushes and trees we bill by the strand of lights. Our price is for the complete package. We provide the lights, decorations, timers, extension cords, clips, and ties. This year I would guess that our average new install will be around $1000. We will range from $400 up to $3000. A typical 3000 sq. ft house might cost $1000 to have a roof line outlined with LED C9’s and bushes decorated with LED mini lights. The following year we would charge 70% if they want the same/similar display.

Does your company help clients design/develop holiday lighting concepts for their home or business?  If so, what process do you go through to develop a design?

Absolutely. Most people have a rough idea of what they want, but we can offer suggestions or do a complete design. We have computer software that lets us take a picture of a house, decorate it and preview the results. This allows our client to preview their display before they order. We will be offering the computer design service by email this year for free.

If I decide that I would like to have a professional installation how soon do I need to hire an installer?

The sooner the better. Most companies offer a discount for early reservations. We offer 10% off to our residential customers who order by Oct. 15th. If you wait to long, you may be out of luck. Usually by around the 20th of November we are pretty booked up.

What market does you company service?

Our main focus is the Ann Arbor area. But we do have clients as far north as Fenton, and as far east as Grosse Point.

How long have you been in business?

Holiday Light Express was “officially” founded two years ago.

How did you become involved in this business?

I spent a couple years working for my grandparents’ lawn care company and then a couple years as a manager/operator of the company. Every winter we would put up lights for some of our clients. It was a great way to keep busy once the grass quit growing and before you had to plow snow. We sold off the company and I went off to college. Later we started to get back into the decorating aspect, and decided that we wanted to be a little more environmentally conscious. So we founded HLE as an energy efficient lighting company.