In addition to the many professional decorators one might find locally to deck your halls, one company has built a North American network of holiday decorating franchises.
Christmas Decor was started in 1986 by Texas businessman Blake Smith as an offshoot of his landscaping company. As more and more customers prove willing to pay him for professionally installed decorations, he decided in 1996 to expand the concept nationally. Today, the company serves more than 40,000 residential and commercial customers in 48 states and Canada with more than 300 North American franchises.
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Brad Rangel, marketing specialist for The Decor Group, says both the economy and seasonal weather have led landscaping businesses to pursue a sideline in holiday cheer.
"They really like it because business starts to slow down around October and November, so it's a perfect fill-in for a lot of them," he says. "We've also started getting some interest from painters, roofers and guys like that who just don't have a lot of business during the winter months. We market it, from a recruitment standpoint, as a diversification of their services and, not only that, they don't have to lay people off. It's a good way for them keep their crews busy, and that way they don't have to go out and try to find new help in the spring."
Christmas Decor handles all aspects of holiday decorations, from design and installation to takedown and storage. The company will return as needed to replace any burned-out bulbs.
Safety considerations add to the appeal of the services, Rangel says.
"That's really something people pay attention to, especially with the baby boomer generation," he says.
"They are getting a little older and they don't want to be climbing up ladders anymore, especially during the winter months. It's definitely a plus for them to be able to hire it out, take it off their plate and know it is going to be done and done well."
The cost of the decorating service varies according to size and complexity. Rangel says, however, that most homes fall in the range of $1,000 to $1,200.
"I hate to reference the economy so much, but you have to be a little bit more malleable because our guys have to find a way to do it at a reasonable cost and not price themselves out of the market," he says.
Christmas Decor typically provides all the lighting, but can incorporate older items customers may want added for sentimental reasons.
"We are not married to our products 100%," Rangel says. "If they have got that something special they want to pull out of the attic, we can try to incorporate it in as much as possible. For the most part our core commodity items -- our roof lights and mini lights -- we want to use our own stuff. We know we aren't going to have the service issues like we might by using somebody else's product."
Rangel says his company is using energy-efficient LED lights for most homes. The lights, although more expensive than traditional bulbs, are touted as using up to 90% less energy.
How much you spend or save with each winter's decorations will vary along with utility rate and the number of lights used. Here's an online calculator created by Wisconsin Public Service (part of Integrys Energy Group (Stock Quote: TEG)) that can determine how much your Clark Griswold-inspired masterpiece will cost you.