Dazzling customers, residents, and tenants with twinkling holiday lights is a feel-good part of the holiday season.
But while they smile at the sparkle, property managers know there’s hard work behind it, from timing of installation and take down to budgeting.
What’s most important to commercial property managers when it comes to holiday decorating?
We asked them. Area property managers took our quick survey about outdoor holiday decorating.
What elements are most important? When is the best time to decorate a commercial property? How much money do they set aside?
Here are the survey results, along with some tips to get the sparkle started.
1. Do you currently have a holiday decorating service for your property?
Yes - 50%
No - 50%
2. Which service would you rank as most important when it comes to holiday decorating on your commercial property?
- Tenant base and what is acceptable and affordable, but good quality and meaningful.
- Outdoor wreaths and garlands
- Building appearance
- Maintenance, installation, storage, and removal
- Installing the decorations on a timely basis either just before or just after Thanksgiving.
- Lighting and the Christmas tree
- Good price, looks great, and installed & removed timely
3. When do you think the ideal time to begin decorating is?
Early November - 30%
Late November - 70%
4. When do you expect your holiday decorating to be taken down in the new year?
Before January 1st - 10%
After January 1st - 90%
5. What percentage of your budget do you allot for holiday decorating?
5-10% - 4
None - 2
Not Sure - 2
When is the Best Time to Decorate a Commercial Property?
Timing is the most important element when it comes to outdoor holiday decorations, says Jim Crawford of Foulger-Pratt Management in Potomac, MD.
“Installing the decorations on a timely basis, either just before or just after Thanksgiving,” is a top concern, he says.
Other property managers agreed timing is crucial.
Decorate too early and it annoys people. (Everybody knows someone who cranks up the Christmas tunes the day after Halloween.)
Wait too late and you’ve wasted valuable feel-good time.
Most property managers agree late November is ideal. Let everybody enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce first, right?
“You want to have the full effect of your decorating to start right after Thanksgiving,”
says Joey Schneider, regional manager at Level Green Landscaping.
But that means arranging installation now.
“It costs the same, whether you have it installed in mid-November or mid-December,” Schneider says.
But if you wait until December, he says, you’ve just lost a whole month of holiday cheer.
“I like to get things installed before Thanksgiving, then just leave the lights off,” Schneider says. "Then, the day after Thanksgiving, it’s ready to go and our timers will kick in and turn everything on.”
When is the Best Time to Remove Holiday Decorations from a Commercial Property?
Timing is important here, too. Nobody wants the decorations hanging around until Valentine’s Day.
But let everybody enjoy them through New Year’s Day, property managers agree, and take them down after January 1.
“After January 1 but before February 1,” Crawford says.
How Much Should You Budget for Holiday Lighting and Decorating?
Budgeting for holiday décor is tricky. Some property managers said they don’t allocate a specific amount or weren’t sure of the number. Others said they set aside between 5 and 10 percent of their budget for holiday decorating.
Crawford says he allocates $3,000-$4,000 for holiday décor.
“It’s a very minimal portion of all my budgets,” he says.
Some properties go big, with huge trees, thousands of lights, and reindeer on the roof. Others keep it to a lighted tree out front and a few elegant planters at the entrance.
Here’s a look at some of the options:
Wrap Your Trees in Lights
Property managers love holiday lights. It emerged as a top preference in our survey.
Wrapping your property’s trees with lights packs a huge holiday punch, Schneider says. You can practically see them from the North Pole. They look special and magical. And the higher, the better.
“Your maintenance guy can only get up eight or nine feet to do that, but we have big ladders and can bring in heavy equipment to get 15 or 20 feet up on large trees,” he says. “That can make a really big impact.”
Professional lighting makes all the difference. Trained crews also understand the voltage needs with lighting, Schneider says, and know how many strings can be connected so you don’t keep blowing fuses.
Trees. Wreaths. Garland. Check.
Property managers listed outdoor trees, wreaths and garland as top holiday décor picks.
You name it, we can festoon it.
Lights and garland on your lamp posts. Huge lighted wreaths to beckon customers. Towering, twinkling trees.
Don’t leave your lobby or courtyard sad and bare. It’s Christmas!
“We can put up really large Christmas trees in lobbies and courtyards and in the middle of shopping centers,” Schneider says.
Bonus: choose a tree with its root ball intact and wrapped, instead of a cut tree, he says, and crews will plant it on your property after the holidays.
Dress Up Your Pots
Those decorative pots, planters and window boxes have worked hard for you for months.
Treat them to a festive facelift for the holidays.
We’ll get containers holiday ready with evergreens decked out in lights and shiny baubles.
Swap out your fall cabbages and kale for wintry twigs and berries, red twig dogwood and glossy winterberry holly with its cheery red berries.
Indoors, pile on the poinsettias.
“People love those,” Schneider says. “We can bring in lots of different heights and colors for lobbies and entrances.”
Light Up Your Holidays With Level Green
Property managers, we know your long to-do list doesn’t exactly make you feel merry.
Cross off “holiday decorating” and leave it to us.
We’d love to tell you more about great holiday decorating ideas for your property.
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers.
Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.
It’s time to deck those halls.