As a sales rep for my company, I often field calls from interested potential clients who want Christmas lights and/or decor installed on their property. Often, after giving me a brief description of their property, they ask the following question:
“How much do you think it will cost to have Christmas lights installed?”
It isn’t always easy to answer this question over the phone, and I rarely respond with a dollar amount because there are many factors that come into play on the pricing.
No two jobs are the same in the holiday decorating world.
Let’s suppose client A has 10 palm trees on their property, and client B has 10 palm trees on their property. On the surface you might think these two jobs are the same. The difference in price, however, could be thousands of dollars.
Let me explain: First, there are various types of palm trees. Are they fan palms, date palms, queen palms, Washington palms, royal palms, etc.? Each style will require a different number of lights. Let’s just say, however, that both clients have date palms, a pretty common tree in Arizona, now can we assume they will cost the same? The answer is still no.
Another important factor when deciding the cost to install lights on something is ease of installation.
Are these palm trees located close to a street where we can use our bucket truck? Are they tucked back between other landscaping, requiring a tall ladder? How tall are they? How thick are they? All of these variables affect how many lights will be needed, and how long we estimate the installation will take; subsequently affecting price.
Finally, there are different ways to light a palm tree.
We break a palm into three parts: trunk, crest, and fronds. Most clients are happy with lighting the trunk, some add the crest, and a few include the fronds. The range of price can be anywhere from $150-$1,000 per tree depending on which options a client selects. This sentiment is true for most trees, cacti, roof lines, bushes, and any other item a client might want to light up for the holidays.
Our decorating company, Christmas Light Decorators, has been in the business of lighting for a long time now, so we do have a good idea of what the average property spends on lighting and décor. I will include these numbers as a helpful guide of what to plan for if you are flirting with the idea of hiring a professional decorating company.
First off, as a provider of large commercial displays, we have a minimum job amount when we install.
We decorate for residential and smaller commercial centers as well, but simply can’t provide the level of customer service we strive for if we take on every job that approaches us. This minimum usually falls in the $1,000-$2,000 range—depending on time of year.
We have to be heavily insured to work with our larger customers and so our overhead costs will be more than the decorator who is doing this out of his home on the weekends. If we slip and fall from 10-60FT up or break something we, nor our employees, will try to sue you since we are actually insured with both general liability and workers compensation. We are also a year round decorator so you can depend on us being around for years to come and we will be there to take down your holiday lights and decor at the end of the season.
We aren't just a fly by night company.
We've been in business over 25 years, so that is something else you should consider when picking a Christmas light installer in your area. How long have they been in business? Can you depend on them, are they safe, are they insured, and do they have the experience to do what you want them to do?
Consider more than just price.
Here is a picture to help you remember that price isn't always the only factor to consider. Experience is huge! If you want your lights or decor to look like your 5 year old did them go ahead and hire the cheapest installer. But if you want them to look amazing, you will need to pay a little bit more for that service and experience.
You will also want to see what services are included in the price they give you. Is it just a price to install the lights, or does it include taking them down at the end of the season? Do they come and take care of any outages during the holidays so you can be assured your lights will look great all the time? If not, what will these add on services cost?
When using a professional decorator who is insured, here are the basic price ranges you will find to have lights or decor installed:
Residential accounts: $1,000-$3,000
We know a lot of people who spend less and a lot who spend double or triple these amounts but this is a national average. This typically includes lighting your roof line, trees, desert landscape, and on the higher end some basic decor options (wreaths, garland, etc.).
Small commercial accounts: $2,000-$10,000
Typically includes Christmas lighting on your roof line, trees, desert landscape, some banners or pole decorations, and on the higher end some basic decor options (wreaths, garland, etc.). Your smaller strip center, business entrances and lobbies, and smaller shopping centers would fall in this category.
Medium sized commercial accounts: $10,000-$50,000
Typically includes lighting roof line, trees, desert landscape, some banners or pole decorations, heavy decor options (large trees, wreaths, garland, large ornaments, etc.). These are smaller malls, typical shopping centers, most cities, hospitals, and other establishments similar in size.
Large sized commercial accounts: $50,000-$200,000
Typically includes a very custom set up, i.e. Santa set, large tree, large scale lighting, big displays, etc. Falling into this category would be a large city (i.e. Glendale Glitters), high end shopping centers, large Casinos, and other big establishments.
The final thought I want to leave you with is that creating a holiday display with lighting and decor is an art. As sales reps we walk the property and try to imagine what it would look like with different options. Certain clients like a heavy application of lighting, others are looking for a more simple, yet elegant look. As we meet together with our clients we can together create an atmosphere that meets their needs, while staying within the price points they give us. Whether you are looking for a decorator or just the decorations to DIY we are hear to help and answer any questions you might have.
What factors do you take into account when pricing jobs or selecting a company to install your Christmas lights?