Buying, wrapping and sending gifts, mailing cards, baking cookies, decorating the house, attending parties and work functions, preparing holiday meals….the list goes on and on. With so many holiday chores to do, it only makes sense to try to delegate some of the work—which is why a number of local families hire professionals to decorate the outside of their homes.
Not only does it save time, but it often looks better and is much safer, especially for those who shouldn’t be climbing ladders or balancing on slippery surfaces. Plus, you don’t have to store the lights and decorations when the season is over.
KLS Landscaping, located in Richland Township, decorates residential and commercial buildings all over the Greater Pittsburgh area. The process is simple, according to Jennifer Klinefelter, who owns KLS with her husband, Robert.
“We meet with the client to do an estimate to see what they want, how large the building is and more—they may want outdoor lights, wreaths, bows, etc.,” said Klinefelter, who adds that they also take measurements at that time. An estimate costs $100, which is credited to final costs.
Fees range according to lights and services selected and the size of the home or business. Klinefelter said the service can be quite costly, but includes the cost of commercial-grade lights and supplies, the labor and installation, and the storage of the decorations. KLS will also install indoor trees for clients.
“I would definitely consider it a luxury item, but we have many retired folks who don’t want to climb a ladder, restaurants who are too busy to put up lights and working couples who don’t have the time,” she said. Klinefelter said the initial costs are more expensive, but in following years, customers are only paying for labor, installation and storage.
KLS has been in the outdoor living business for 25 years, and many of their holiday decorating customers are those who have hired them for other work. All employees are insured so customers don’t have to worry.
KLS is already well into decorating for this year’s season, with the majority of their customers leaving their decorations up into mid- to late January. “But we have had some leave them up later,” Klinefelter said.
Vinnie Lavorgna, owner of Premier Power Cleaning, which is located in Canonsburg, said his company also covers the Greater Pittsburgh area. “I like to say that we take the hassles out of the holidays,” he laughed.
Like KLS, Premier provides and installs commercial grade lights, which they maintain over the holiday season and then store for both residential and commercial customers.
“It’s important to note that these are commercial grade lights, not just your average string lights,” Lavorgna said. The lights are custom cut, creating a professional, clean look.
“There aren’t any hanging wires, it is all neat, even and symmetrical,” he added. The company also provides wreaths, bows and other outside decorations.
Lavorgna can provide an estimate over the phone using 3-D software. “We get a description of what kind of lights they want, etc., and using their address and our 3-D software, we can bring it to life for them,” he said. Premier can also provide on-site estimates at no cost.
While Premier’s client demographics vary, Lavorgna said that many are families with children who don’t have the time to decorate or retirees who don’t want to climb ladders. “We do a lot of neighborhoods with families. We offer discounts for neighborhoods and do them all at once,” he said.
Lavorgna said they expanded their landscaping and power wash services to include outdoor holiday lighting services four years ago to lengthen their season.
“We like to make everyone happy. We like dealing with people and this allows us to be with our customers more,” he said. Lavorgna added that they have a $700 minimum fee, with costs varying according to decorations selected and building size.
Outdoor Lighting Perspectives is well into their 11th season of providing outside holiday lighting services for their customers. Owner David Perlmutter said they start decorating early in October while the weather is still cooperating. “We like to get the roof lines and all of those high places taken care of before we have to worry about ice and snow,” he said.
The Robinson-based company provides insured services to customers all over the Greater Pittsburgh area, according to Perlmutter.
“We actually have a rental program; the customer pays for the rental of the lights, the labor and the removal so that they can be in a year-to-year contract and don’t have to commit to anything long-term,” said Perlmutter. “They can also change things up year to year.”
Outdoor Lighting Perspectives provides commercial-grade lighting, wreaths and garlands for outside decorating. Perlmutter and his staff visit clients in early fall to discuss decorating needs and to measure the homes and businesses. They then provide a design plan. There is no cost for estimates, though the company has a $1,500 minimum fee for decorating services.
Many of the holiday decorating customers are previous customers who have used Outdoor Lighting Perspectives for their landscape lighting needs, Perlmutter said. “I would say about 85 percent of our customers are residential,” he added of the holiday lighting services.
According to Perlmutter, 2021 will be a more difficult season than usual due to labor and materials shortages. With more than 130 customers already on board, he has had to turn customers away.
“If someone is interested, I would tell them don’t wait. And if it is too late this year, get in line for next year,” he said. “It’s never too early to start planning.”