Professional holiday light hangers seeing boom in business
For the past 25 years, Megan Johnston’s family has been cleaning windows and gutters all over the Puget Sound area. But the misfortune of one of her long-time clients led to a lucrative new holiday business.
“About six years ago, her husband was trying to hang the Christmas lights, fell off and broke his hip,” she says.
The Consumer Product Safety Council estimates 15,000 people nationwide end up in the emergency room because of holiday light hanging injuries.
With so many getting hurt, it’s spawned a booming industry around the region, as more and more people turn to professionals like the Johnston’s Woodinville-based Clear N’ Bright Windows to hang their holiday lights for them.
“We started with just my husband and my son-in-law and now we have three crews going out and we still can’t keep up with it,” she says.
The cost varies depending on the service. Clear N’ Bright charges a minimum $180 for installation on an average 2,000 square foot home.
The bigger expense is the lights themselves. Depending on how elaborate you want to get, it can cost hundreds of dollars and up. But the nice thing is most companies will buy the lights for you and help you choose what’s best for your home. And Clear N’ Bright is among a number who purchase from local hardware stores and don’t mark up the price.
“You pay what we pay,” she says.
Johnston favors LED lights over traditional glass bulbs. They’re more expensive, but they use about 80 percent less energy. They’re plastic so they don’t break like glass, and they last about five times longer than the old fashioned ones, she says.
Many of the professionals will custom fit the lights for a perfect fit on your gutters, eaves, peaks and trees. And most use only industrial grade lighting for safety.
Once the holiday’s are over, they’ll come back out and take the lights down and box them up for you until next year. Some will even store them for you.
Jessica Trufant and her husband, former Seahawks’ star Marcus Trufant – co-host of 710 ESPN’s The Barbershop, are among those who swear by the service.
“It’s totally worth it,” says Jessica. “We used to do it ourselves and it took forever. Half the time they wouldn’t work right.”
“They buy the lights, they come, they work fast and we’re good to go,” she says of Brothers Holiday Lighting, the company the Trufant’s have used for several years on their Eastside home.
Speaking of the Seahawks, Johnston says her company has hung more than its fair share of lights for dedicated 12s.
“Last year, we wiped out all the stores of their blue and green,” she laughs. But she prefers warm white LED’s and multi-colored lights for their brilliance on a dark winter night.
Johnston acknowledges it might seem a bit extravagant to pay someone else to hang their lights, but she points out the cost of the alternative can be exponentially higher.
“We have heard from far too many people who have fallen off their ladders and broken bones, cracked their heads open. Our guys are professional climbers with extensive training and experience. It’s really a much better idea to have them up on the roof than you.”