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Angie’s List: Help With Holiday Decorations

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Trimming the tree and decorating your home are some of the most enjoyable traditions of the holiday season, but there are many homeowners who just don’t have the time to get tangled up in the lights or grapple with a ladder.

In this week’s Angie’s List, Jim Donovan shows you how to hire a professional to handle the job.

The holidays can be a stressful time, so bringing in some help to handle hanging the lights lets you check one more thing off you to-do list.

“Believe it or not there are companies that will hang exterior holiday decorations. Whether it be handymen, landscapers, even roofers – these companies are typically less busy during the holidays and have the equipment necessary to hang the lights properly,” said Angie’s List founder, Angie Hicks.

Plus, when you hire help, the company can design the display, sort through decorations, hang lights and decorations and best of all, take it all down after the holidays. But choose a decorator wisely.

“You’re going to want to find a company that has done holiday decorations before. A lot of handyman for example, or landscaper, might have built it into a business. Be sure they have the right equipment and that they are insured – you want to make sure their employees have workers comp insurance so if someone gets hurt on your property it doesn’t go against your homeowner’s insurance,” said Hicks. 

Here are Angie’s List 8 do’s of decorating.

1. Why hire help? Every year the holiday decorations get more extravagant and houses these days have more difficult roof lines so it’s challenging to hang the lights and decorations yourself.

2. Check rules and regulations: If you belong to a homeowner’s association, ask what decorations are allowed to be added to your home’s exterior before you hire.

3. Call early in the season to get scheduled: Meet in person and share ideas so no one is surprised or disappointed by the final design. Ask to see photos of other homes they’ve decorated to make sure their designs are in line with the style you want. How creative do you want to get? Do you want a theme with your decorations or remain traditional?

4. Is the company qualified? The holiday decorating company will likely access your roof to hang lights- check that the decorator is insured to protect against any falls or accidents – otherwise it falls back on the homeowner.

5. Ask about costs: How do they determine the price – by square foot or by the hour? Don’t forget to ask about the cost of materials- are you required to purchase the company’s lights/decorations – or will they hang your pre-existing decorations?

6. Installation process: Ask if you’ll be required to be home during installation. Generally, the company will need access to your home’s power sources. Check if your display will be on an automatic timer, or if you’ll have to manually plug in the display.

7. What is your timeline? Figure out when you’d like the house decorated by and for how long? Some people want to flip the switch right after Thanksgiving and keep the lights up through January; others are just looking for a couple weeks.

8. What’s their maintenance policy? If a bulb or timer goes out, do they have staff available to return to your home and fix/repair the decorations?

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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