8 Tips for Hiring a Professional Christmas Light Installer
Are you considering hiring a professional light installer this Christmas season? It’s not a bad idea; avoid the hassle of dealing with tangled strands of lights and have the best-decorated house on the block -- all without lifting a finger. The hardest part is finding a reputable installer and selecting the company that is right for you. That’s why we’ve put these eight tips together to help you choose the best professional installers!
1. Don’t Go for the Cheapest Option
While it might seem like a good idea to hire the company that offers the lowest bid, you have to remember --you get what you pay for. It’s not always the case, but significantly lower costs typically mean lesser quality.
Think about when you are buying Christmas lights and decorations; the cheapest ones don’t tend to look as good as other options. The other problem that you can run into is the reliability of the person you choose to hire.
There are plenty of people looking to make some extra money during the holiday season, and anyone who owns a ladder could call themselves a professional installer -- even if they don’t have any experience other than decorating their own home. When using a professional service, the display’s design is important, but the person installing your lights needs to understand electricity to do the job safely.
We also take frantic after hour calls in the middle of May from concerned homeowners that just can't get the previous part time installer to come back out and take down their lights like they promised them.
How can you be sure that a company is reliable and professional? See for yourself!
2. Check Out Their Lights
Ask the companies you talk to where they buy their lights, and you will get an immediate idea about the quality you’ll receive. Professional grade lights cannot be bought from retail stores -- make sure your installers aren’t loading up on discount, low-quality lights from big box stores. They should only source lights from dedicated, commercial Christmas light suppliers.
If the company you are considering hiring doesn’t buy their lights from a reputable source, it tells you two important things about them:
- The lights they hang for you will not be of good quality.
- They most likely are not experienced or professional in any sense of the word.
If you are set on hiring an installer that doesn’t use lights that are up to par, you can supply the lights yourself -- but, if they are using cheap lights, their work may not be the best.
Fortunately, Shine of Westlake is a nationwide franchise with serious buying power. Our lights are commercial grade LED, we go every extra mile to bring Shine up our homes with the very best, it's also what allows us to warranty the product for 3 full seasons!
3. Upfront Costs
Many professional installers ask for a small deposit before they begin working -- and this is completely normal. However,if the upfront fee seems high or is more than half of the total cost, that should be a huge warning, and you probably want to start looking for a new company to perform the job.
There are two main reasons to turn away an installer when they ask for a large portion of the payment before they begin hanging your lights:
- The first and most common reason is that they need the deposit to purchase the lights for your home; this means that they either have an unstable business, or they’re not really professionals and are only hanging lights as a side job.
- The other reason that large upfront fees are a red flag is that you might see delay after delay with nonexistent customer service after making the deposit. The installer may be stringing you along rather than your lights.
Related: Meet the Shine Team
4. Check That They Are Insured
There are risks involved with hanging holiday lights, which could be part of why you’re hiring a professional in the first place. There’s not only a potential for injuries to the person installing the lights, but there are risks of property damage as well. Most jobs go smoothly without any hiccups, but make sure that the person hanging your lights is insured in case something gets damaged during the installation. Make sure they have commercial and workman's comp insurance before anything.
Hanging Christmas lights involves tall ladders and lots of electricity -- this means there is always some risk of damage, no matter how small. It’s always a good idea to ask installers about the insurance they carry; they won’t be insulted. Professionals have insurance not only to protect you but to protect themselves also.
5. Ask for References
When a company gives you a bid for installing Christmas lights around your home, they are basically applying for a job with you. You know how you get asked for references when trying to find a new job? There’s absolutely no reason not to ask the same from a company you are considering hiring.
Reputable installers who take pride in their work will be more than happy to talk about their past customers and show you how they turned their home into the best-decorate in the neighborhood. Companies that have been hanging lights for a long time and have the customer references to show the quality of their work are the best ones for the job.
In fact, check out our Instagram portfolio to see a collection of work.
6. Problem Resolutions
Even if you find the best installers in the world, there’s a possibility that some problems will arise. What happens if some of the lights stop working before the end of the holiday season? Or, what if you disagree with some of their design ideas? Ask them how they will take care of these issues before you agree to have them do the work.
No company can guarantee that there will be no problems, but a real professional will have policies in place for resolving them. Ask them about these policies, and make sure that they aren’t going to charge you a massive amount if they have to come back to do some additional work.
Shine offers $0 service calls during those first 3 seasons, we can do this because we are confident in our product and our craftsmanship!
7. Hire a Team
Professional light hanging services will never be a single person -- they will have a team that knows that they are doing and can get the work done quickly and with the level of quality that only comes from years of experience. Professional teams will have the workforce to handle your job efficiently and will be able to respond to any problems promptly.
One-person outfits are usually people trying to make some quick money for the holidays, and most likely, they won’t be able to give you the quality of decorating you want.
After all, Shine is a nationwide franchise, we hold annual light training conferences, where all Shine's from all over the nation get together and train new employees on the up to the minute safety standards across the nation.
Ready to have your Christmas lighting that will make your neighbors jealous? Get a free estimate from Shine today!