Today’s homeowners can put on light shows that would have made theme park news a generation ago.
Installing a tasteful display can be easy and inexpensive.
But, not everyone wants to climb on his or her roof. Nor does everyone have the skill to put together an attractive display. So, more and more homeowners are contracting out the lighting work, creating jobs that never existed. It’s part of a trend toward greater specialization.
The growing sector illustrates just how experience improves productivity even in a service industry like decoration.
Brad Johnson of Lawn America has been lighting homes for more than 12 years. Christmas Décor by Lawn America uses top-quality commercial grade lights and materials.
Broken Arrow-based Tom’s Electric, operated by Tom Harrison, is an electrical contractor that has several award-winning displays.
Flip the Switch
Companies like Tom’s Electric and Lawn America provide a turnkey service with installation, service, takedown and storage. Customers lease the lights and avoid the hassle with ownership and replacing bad lights.
You Light Up My Life
The LED is beginning to overtake the lighting industry.
LED lights, or light-emitting diodes, are much more expensive to purchase, but have advantages.
They last longer, Harrison said. “About 10 times longer.”
LEDs are more durable than conventional lights and they burn about 90 percent less electricity.
“So, especially on larger jobs, they eventually pay for themselves,” Johnson said. They also produce a brighter light, which makes for a more dramatic display.
Another trend is the animated lighting display, Johnson said. Those displays dance to Christmas music playing on a low-wattage FM radio signal outside a home or business.
Lawn America is doing its first install of an animated display at the Chick-fil-A east of U.S. 169 on 71st Street.
Prices start at $500.
Most customers seek projects that range from $800 to $1,600. Commercial properties are generally larger, with prices at $5,000 and up on larger properties.
Displays by Tom’s Electric run $1,200 to $10,000. Most jobs average $2,200, Harrison said.
Harrison’s most unusual display was at Holland Hall. The project cost $3,100, including installation and removal.
In picking someone to hang lights, people get what they pay for, Johnson said.
“You want to be careful when hiring someone to do your lights,” he said. “Watch out for low-ballers. We’ve taken down many jobs that were put up badly by someone else, only to have them disappear and leave the customer with a mess.” ?