With so many different options, and everyone how do I know what what I am getting?
Christmas lighting may seem simple enough. I mean, anyone can hang lights, and most people do. Sometimes it is nice to have someone else do it for you. Who do you choose? Just like restaurants there are different levels of product and service. If you are hungry, you can save time and money and make yourself lunch at home. You could go for drive through for a $10 burger prepared by a teenager, or if you have time, you could go to a family restaurant for $20, or if you like great service and top quality, you could hit up a fancy restaurant for $30+
No matter what you choose, you will be fed. The difference is in the quality of ingredients and level of service, and ultimately the choice is yours.
While you can rest assured that all restaurants in our area are held to the same food safe standards, regardless of service and quality, we've all heard of the restaurants that get shut down for poor cleanliness, serving bad food, or for other reason...and it is much easier for 1 person in a truck to avoid regulations than a restaurant. So how do you know what you are getting when it comes to Christmas lights?
First, you have to determine what it is you want.
What do you value most? Low price? Speed of service? Quality of product? Quality of customer service?
Do you want cheap lights or top grade lights? Inflatables or or other decorations?
Do you want to install yourself?
Do you want to have a friend or a handyman to install?
Do you want a specialized company with training, insurance, top grade products, and warranties on the product? Or something in the middle?
No matter what you choose, safety is very important. There are many unscrupulous people who will sell inferior products, incorrectly install plugs/leave bare wires, or are not insured.
So how do you protect yourself?
If you are hiring a company to install, there are 5 questions you need to ask in order to protect yourself.
1. Ask your contractor where they received their installation certification. If you get blank stares or long pauses...say thank you and move on. The industry standard certification is set by CLIPA. This certification is a 3 day program with 2 days of in class instruction and 1 day of hands on training. This certification ensures that your installer will do the installation correctly.
2. Ask for the brand of lights they use and where they purchased them from. There are many consumer grade products and most look good when first installed. Avoid products from big box stores, these are typically lower quality and only last 1 season. We use Minleon. With Minleon's product you know you are getting top of the line. There are 2 ways to purchase these lights, direct from manufacturer, or from a local distributor such as Image Lights.
3. Ask for proof of insurance showing Christmas lighting is covered by their liability. If a bad plug or faulty bulb causes a fire, you need to be protected. If a ladder falls over and someone gets hurt, you need to be protected.
4. Ask for a WorksafeBC clearance letter. If a contractor is not covered by WorksafeBC and hurts themselves on your property, it may result in a lengthy legal battle. If you hire someone who is not insured, you may be seen as their employer rather than customer. Be careful.
5. Ask what kind of warranty they offer and get it in writing. If a contractor will not stand behind thier product and service, move on. If the price seems too good to be true, move on.
So, no matter what your preference is. Whether you are a do it yourselfer, want some big box lights hung by a friend or handyman, or have a professional company like ours, stay safe and have a happy holidays.