Even in rain, they light the lights 

Heavy rain spells extra duty for The City and The Peninsula’s outdoor holiday lighting companies as they respond to water-related shorts that leave newly decorated eaves dark.

But with her new business thriving, Anne Dijamco’s not complaining. Dijamco, 25, and her fiancé and business partner Mark McGinty, 29, began their local affiliate of San Diego-based The Christmas Light Pros this autumn, and have already been bustling as customers call them to string lights on their rooflines, bushes and other outdoor areas. The company provides maintenance and cleanup service as part of its fees. So if rainwater makes its way into a plug, the firm is out resetting timers and other parts.

"They try to solve the problem rather than just fix it temporarily," Dijamco said.

It’s all a part of their growing business. The Christmas Light Pros was begun in 1997 in San Diego, and now trains and licenses affiliates in 15 different states, President Kevin Boyd said.

He said his own light-hanging business in San Diego brings in some $300,000 annually — a feat he said has not yet been replicated by an affiliate — and licensing brings in an extra $400,000. Dijamco declined to say how much money her affiliate is making, but described business as very good. Licensing an affiliate costs $12,500 to $15,000; the average job costs the customer $400 to $500 or more. The company has affiliates in San Mateo County, Walnut Creek and San Anselmo.

There are also competing outdoor decorators, including one who advertises on the Internet but who declined to comment for this story. Livermore firm The Screen Machine and San Jose firm CDI By Screen Machine of Silicon Valley are franchisees of Texas-based Christmas Décor.

Consumers say they hire professional companies rather than doing a homemade job to achieve a certain look and avoid the danger of messing with lights in high places.

"We just purchased our home and moved in last year. I have always wanted to decorate my home for Christmas," Kat Anderson, who lives in San Francisco’s Marina district, said, describing her house as a two-story, pitched-roof affair. "I wanted sort of an elegant, simple look. I knew because of the danger I would have compromised on the look."

The rain did knock out her service once, but she said a technician arrived promptly and there hasn’t been a repeat.

kwilliamson@examiner.com

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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