No tangled wires: NJ homeowners hire pros to install holiday lights
COLTS NECK — Her husband would handle the outdoor Christmas lights when they lived in a smaller home in Sayreville, but since moving to Monmouth County, mother of three Stella Buffalano has had professionals do the annual decorating.
"I do the whole front of my house and I do a big tree in my backyard," she said. "We get compliments like crazy."
The makeover also includes soldiers and snowmen, a massive wreath with a bow and Christmas stockings outlining the home.
According to professional holiday light installers throughout New Jersey, more homeowners have been giving them a ring, asking for help with a yearly task that can be extremely frustrating and, sometimes, just too cold.
Frank Rizzo, owner of Amazing Decorations in Wall, was still handling new requests for jobs on Monday and Tuesday — less than a week away from Christmas Day.
He's been in business for 12 years, and 2016 has been his best year yet.
"We're probably between 260 and 270 yearly-reinstalling customers right now," Rizzo told New Jersey 101.5. "Every year, I say I don't know if we're riding a wave here, if this is going to slow down eventually if there's more companies coming in."
Rizzo's company, which begins installations on Oct. 10 each year, is among a small minority handling only holiday light displays. Most services are an entity within a larger business, such as landscaping.
NJ Holiday Lights, part of Full Circle Lawn Care in Belford, has more than 200 customers in eastern Monmouth County, according to office manager Laura Lovgren.
"It has definitely increased in popularity," Lovgren said of the holiday light business. "It's actually sort of an investment for you."
When a customer signs on with NJ Holiday Lights or Amazing Decorations, they become the owner of the lights and other materials that are used on the home. Typically, the initial job comes with the biggest price tag. In the following years, customers pay for just the installation and break down, plus anything they'd like to add to their displays.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.