The Christmas season will soon be here, and it’s almost time to start decorating. You may be considering hiring a company to hang your lights outside and avoid the ladders, cold temperatures and hassle this year. And if that’s the case, you may be wondering, “How much does Christmas light installation cost?”
As the owner of a home improvement company, I’ve installed Christmas lights for several customers over the years. I also spoke to the owner of a Christmas light installation company to get a full picture of what it will cost this holiday season.
Why Hire Someone to Put Up Christmas Lights?
Lots of reasons:
Personal safety;Time and effort;Professional results;Storage and maintenance;Avoid hassle;Customization.
Christmas Light Installation Cost
The type of installer you hire will greatly influence your cost. Handypersons like myself often offer Christmas light installation services, with a national average hourly rate of $60 per hour. Use this number as a jumping-off point for the lights you envision.
Professional Christmas light installation companies also exclusively offer this seasonal service. These companies will come with a higher cost that depends on many factors. “Each company prices things a little differently,” says Tim Hennessy, owner of Elite Christmas Lights in Blandford, Massachusetts.
Most companies require a $500 minimum. Costs can range from $700 for roofline and house outline lights and upwards of $2,000 for roofline, roof ridge and landscape lights. “I have a $700 minimum for my services and my average job cost is in the $1,400 range,” Hennessy says.
For either type of installer, make sure they’re licensed and insured to do the job before they start.
Size of your home
Larger homes will require more labor for installation, and second and third stories demand lots of high ladder work. All that adds to the total cost.
Homeowners should expect to pay at least $3 to $5 per linear foot of lights as a starting point. “That [price] is for a home with a basic light design and easy ladder access,” Hennessey says. “Some homeowners will pay that, but most should expect to pay more.”
The simpler the design, the lower the cost. More complex designs, like rooflines, eaves and pole wraps, cost more. Lights on trees, shrubs and garages also add up quickly.
Intricate tree wraps around the trunk and branches are labor and material-intensive and can add considerably to the cost.
A typical service installs lights on your home. Shrubs, trees and garages or outbuildings will be priced separately from the basic cost of house lights.
What To Expect From Christmas Light Installation
Again, this depends on the installer. When I do a Christmas light installation, the customer provides the lights and informs me of the design. If a light burns out during the season, it might take me a few days to fix it. I remove the lights after the season, and the homeowner stores them.
If you hire a full-service company, they take care of everything and even lease you their lights, so there’s no need to buy. “They’re commercial-grade lights that I know are in good working order,” Hennessy says. “It’s the only way I can stand behind my work and offer a guarantee.”
The process typically begins when you send a picture of your home, or set up a meeting with a company representative at your home. The company then creates a design and generates a quote.
“If you accept the quote, I ask for a 50% deposit upfront, then the remainder upon completion,” Hennessy says. This is a typical industry practice.
Full-service companies typically also offer maintenance services throughout the season. “If you call me at 5 o’clock on a Friday [afternoon] and tell me a squirrel chewed through a string of lights, me or one of my crew will be there by 5 o’clock Saturday,” he says. “It’s that kind of service and peace of mind that keep customers coming back year after year.”
Once the holidays are over, full-service companies also take down the lights, mark them for easy installation next season and store them off-site until next year. If you’re looking for a hands-off, carefree holiday decorating experience, this is the way to go.