MARYSVILLE – Many people love Christmas lights, but not too many enjoy putting them up.
It can take many, many hours out in the cold. Some of the lights may not work, so you have to find a replacement bulb. If there is hammering involved there’s always the potential of smashing a finger, which is even more painful in frigid temperatures.
Matt Huston of Steve’s Window Cleaning has been helping people with this issue for a few years.
“It’s a new market for this area,” he said.
As part of the business, employees not only will set up and take down your Christmas light display, but also help you with your ideas on what you want.
“We collaborate on decorating trees and bushes and the colors, so we are all on the same page,” Huston said.
They started doing them for a few window customers when they asked. But last year they branched out and did 14, which was double what they did the previous year. He expects that number to double again this year.
Huston said some of his competitors lease their decorations to customers each year, which can be expensive.
“To differentiate ourselves, we will install whatever the customer has,” he said.
That way, he only charges for the labor of putting them up and taking them down.
But he also will buy supplies for clients if they want more than what they already have.
“We can incorporate all that stuff,” he said. “We figure out in the quote exactly what they want.”
At the end of the holiday, when they clean up, they get everything, including the clips that hold up the lights.
“In just one summer they can get brittle,” he said.
Huston said he keeps a small inventory of decorations.
“It’s such a short season,” he said.
Huston put up lights for Penny Davis at her home near Lake Goodwin Dec. 8.
She said she and her husband are retired and just don’t like getting up on a ladder anymore.
Davis checked into having lights installed last year. But she said the $800 bid was too expensive, so they put the lights up themselves.
“We got a better deal” from Huston, she said.
Joe Borovina also installs Christmas lights in the area with his business Hang ‘em High My Holiday Lighting. He specializes in putting lights on gutters and peaks.
He buys the lights from a wholesaler in Brier and charges $3 a foot. He gets jobs all the way from Puyallup to Burlington.
“Thank god for GPS,” he said.
Borovina said he learned the trade from fellow kite boarders. “The perfect houses where you can’t see the wires,” that’s me, he said.
“I thank god every day for the guys I learned from,” he said. “It’s a tried and true system that works.”
Borovina said most people hate putting up Christmas lights because “they put up stuff that’s provided in stores.”
His system is streamlined so he can do a job in about an hour.
He said this has been his best year, having done 60 with another 10 on the books. He’s been doing most of it on his own. His bid includes taking down the lights and the customer storing them for the following year, making the cost less then.
“I take the bid, keep in touch and build relationships,” he said. “People appreciate that. There’s nothing worse than talking on the phone with someone, and then them not following through.”
Along with kite boarding, Borovina loves to snowboard. His schedule of doing this in winter and fishing in Alaska other times of the year gives him time to pursue his hobbies.
“There’s a lot of similarities in hanging (fishing) nets and hanging lights,” he said.