Hiring a contractor to hang Christmas lights? Here's what you need to know first

November 28, 2012 4:06:15 PM PST
Across our area houses are aglow with Christmas lights and if you have yet to break out the ladder at your house, maybe this is the year to hire someone to do the job.

There certainly are a lot of signs touting companies that will do the work, but before you hire anyone we have some important things you need to first consider.

It's not an easy job, so you want to be sure the person hanging your lights knows what they are doing and can prove they are insured.

The lights are out all over Houston, but in a good way. This is the time of year to decorate your yard and home for the holidays. While you can do it yourself, there are businesses popping up overnight that will do the job for you.

However, there's one thing to keep in mind. A professionally done job can be expensive. How expensive? Try $1,500 for this house.

"That is initial install with custom lighting for each and every home, the follow up and take down," said Derek Salazar with ABC Home and Commercial Services.

Salazar says the costs depend on how many lights you want. Before you hire a company to do the job, Salazar recommends making sure the company can take care of employees and make repairs if there is a problem.

"First and foremost, I think you need to make sure they are insured and bonded, with the concern of employees climbing up on ladders and your home, you want to make sure they are covered," Salazar said.

Also, ask to see the insurance certificate and call the company listed to confirm coverage. It's good advice, according to University of Houston law professor Richard Alderman.

"If a contractor is injured on your home, the odds are you have no liability; if they sue you, you will win, but your homeowners insurance company will pay the cost of that defense and that can be a big expense," Alderman said.

Alderman says if you have homeowners insurance, you should be protected against a worker's lawsuit.

"You do not have any liability if these people work on your house and something happens," he said.

A couple of more tips: get references and call those references; if the lights go out or need repair, will you be able to track down the company; and finally pay with a credit card so you have some protection if problems pop up.


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