PDA

View Full Version : Where are they now?


NightScenes
01-14-2006, 10:28 AM
Man, we were tearing it up with questions and answers not too long ago and all of the sudden, it has stopped.

Let's keep this thing going. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding landscape lighting design or installation.

So, who's first!!

SONSCAPES
01-15-2006, 09:56 PM
Paul, I Have A ? How Do You Charge For A System I've Asked Several Different People This ? But All Have Been Distributors I Wanted To Ask A Fellow Contractor. Btw The Answers I Was Getting Were Ranged From $125-$200 Per Fixture And $1 Per Watt For Transformers. Thanks For All The Help!

NightScenes
01-15-2006, 10:24 PM
My average is about $215 per fixture. That is for the complete package. Sometimes this runs a little higher, if the client wants a higher end path/spread light. This price might be going up soon do to the price of wire. Of course all jobs are different, if I have to cross driveways, go under sidewalks, or install alot of moonlighting.

SONSCAPES
01-15-2006, 10:54 PM
so the $215 includes the transformers ,wires everything right in my city lighting has not even been tapped into yet! my company and one other company are the only ones offering lighting,but an hour away in the triangle(raleigh,durham and chapel hill) it is very competitive i'm hoping lighting will start spilling over to my city so i guess my ? is should i go for the high end of the pay range or should i cut back some to get the ball rolling in the lighting biz. thanks

NightScenes
01-15-2006, 11:17 PM
When I started my company, I decided that I was going to be the best at what I do. I saught out the education and learned every aspect of the field before I got started. By doing this I could go into it as a professional. When I did this, I set standards that are among the highest in the country. By doing this, I am able to command the best price. Now, I could lower my standards, lower my price and work my tail off, putting in cheap systems, or I can maintain very high standards, install the very best lighting systems, charge accordingly and not have to work as hard because I'm not in competition with the lower end guys.

This is my thinking about this, what you do is up to you. My target property is $500,000 or more. I have done smaller homes but my price does not change.

NightScenes
01-15-2006, 11:21 PM
I guess what I am trying to say is, set your standards high and let the others try to catch up. I hope that helps.

SONSCAPES
01-15-2006, 11:36 PM
so i should just set my price and stick with it, do a good job and my work will speak for itself. i agree with being professional and learning everything you.question is there a season for lighting to maybe really target marketing and advertising? thank you for all the help

NightScenes
01-15-2006, 11:44 PM
I am working on marketing now for the spring. People around here start working in the yard around the end of February. I install year round here but it does slow down in the fall.

SONSCAPES
01-15-2006, 11:50 PM
if you don't mind me asking what are you doing for advertisement? thanks

NightScenes
01-16-2006, 08:51 AM
Direct mail is supposed to work well so I went to my county tax office and asked them for a list of all properties in my county that are above $450k. They gave it to me on a disk in excel format. I will print the labels from there. The cost for this list? $12. What a bargin!! My best advertising is from my yard signs. When I complete a job, I make sure that I put a light, 10 watt, on my sign. When people drive by at night, they can't help but see it.

nlminc
01-16-2006, 05:43 PM
Paul, smart man! I used the same form of advertising (cheap right from the town hall) when I lived on Cape Cod, MA. Worked great. Here in GA they do not have the addys on disc. I think I will used a company for my direct mail this spring.

How do customers respond to you placing a sign in front of their home? How long do you generally leave it there?

NightScenes
01-16-2006, 05:48 PM
The only time I have had a problem with my sign, is in areas that don't allow them. All of my clients have been great about it. I usually leave them there a couple of weeks.

NightScenes
01-16-2006, 05:51 PM
Here is my sign at night.

SONSCAPES
01-16-2006, 06:54 PM
what do you do just run of the lead wire out to the sign and you say you use 1 (10 w) fixture. so you face the sign out to the street one sided. just trying to incorporate all these good ideas into my biz. thanks

NightScenes
01-16-2006, 07:07 PM
10 watts isn't going to make a very big difference in the voltage of a run, so I just tap onto a run that I am using for other lights.
My signs are 2 sided, but I usually face them toward the road and put the light in front.

klkanders
01-17-2006, 12:11 AM
Has anyone ever bought any transformers over E-bay? If so how did it go? Do you stockpile transformers or just buy them per job? Next is wire.....Best to buy in 500' rolls?.....where are good places to buy the quality stuff? Ok enuf for now. Thanks!

tiedeman
01-17-2006, 02:16 AM
Paul,
Why is your website different on the sign, than what is in your signature?

NightScenes
01-17-2006, 09:22 AM
When I started installing landscape lighting, I already had a company that was recognized as PRG Ventures. I recently have modified my name a little to enphasize the "landscape lighting professionals". I just have'nt been able to get the signs changed yet. I'm working on a new layout.

NightScenes
01-17-2006, 09:29 AM
Ok, never buy transformers on ebay. I am an advocate in many ways for ebay, but not when it comes to this. If anything goes wrong with that transformer in a year, what are you going to do? You'll have to buy another and it will come out of your pocket. Remember, the transformer is the heart of the system. Would you buy your pacemaker on ebay??? Buy as you need them, price doesn't change often enough to waste space on stocking them. It would not hurt to have one of each on hand for emergancy though.
As for wire, I always buy in 500' rolls. You have less waste that way. I go through about 20,000' per year so if you can buy that in bulk, you can save some money. Copper prices do change often and they are not going down.

klkanders
01-17-2006, 02:06 PM
Paul, thanks for the reply. I had to ask to see if there were any good or bad stories related to it. Paul you have me worried...you arent shopping for pacemakers yet I hope? I have alot more questions to ask you in the coming months. Just kidding! I remember reading somewhere on here that you use Kichler? Do you and have you used them exclusively? If you did have transformer problems what kind of warranties do they have and have they treated u well on that? Can I ask where you purchase wire? Thanks

NightScenes
01-17-2006, 02:18 PM
I'm not planning to pass on any time soon, thank God. Kichler is my main line. I also use Hadco, FX and vista. There are alot of companies out there and I am waiting to see what Frog lights has to offer. As far as Kichler warranty, it is a bench warranty, meaning that you take it to your distributor and they replace it then. I have had only 1 problem with a Kichler transformer, it was a 15PR1200SS which is the stainless steel 1200 watt model. It had a bad cercuit breaker in it, so I called my distributor and they braught me a new one.
That has been the only problem I have had with any of their equipment.

GreenMonster
01-17-2006, 02:34 PM
Paul,

could you touch on the advantages/disadvantages of the hub system that unique employs vs. what everyone else is doing?

klkanders
01-17-2006, 02:39 PM
Mark
Good question as I might attend one of their Seminars in the twin cities next month. Paul does Unique have a good Seminar?

DMAN
01-17-2006, 04:06 PM
Paul,
I am gathering as much info on lighting that I can this winter. I just joined LVLIA after reading your info on them. I noticed that you and the lvlia dvocate the use of multi-tap transformers with the UL1838 listing. Does this limitation with the available 12-15v taps inhibit your designs? If not, how do you manage situations with the extra long wire runs? Do you run into many of these problems with residential designs? There are now a ton of high volt trans. out there without the 1838 listing however it seems every on else is pushing them. I noticed that you used a 1200 watt trans in this post. Any tips or suggestions on transformers would be of great help.

Darron

NightScenes
01-17-2006, 10:16 PM
Mark,
The hub system is fine if you only use ground fixtures (I do alot of moonlighting) and they are all the same distance from the hub. Now, that could also mean, the same amount of the same guage wire from the hub. The hub in one central location for a connection is a pretty good thing, as long as you have a VERY good connection. If there is any problem with the connection, there could be alot of heat and you know where that could lead. Here's a real problem for me and it's not even technical. My biggest expense is labor. The most labor intensive part of an installation is covering the cables. Why would I want to cover a seperate wire for every fixture on every job? If it's a project with 30 fixtures, I not only have to cover the home runs but I also have another 30 lines to cover. My labor cost just tripled at least!!
That's just a couple of things. I also am not a fan of Unique. I was thinking about going through their course until I found out that I would HAVE to purchase their transformer to take the course. That, to me, is not a course, it is a sales gimmick.

NightScenes
01-17-2006, 10:49 PM
Darron,
Welcome, will you be at the LVLIA conference? To answer your question about transformers. UL1838 "The UL Standard for Safety for
Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Systems" specifies that a system cannot exceed 15v. The reason being, that a person will usually not suffer any effects from 15v or less. You can hold both ends of the line and not feel a thing. If you go over 15v, people can be effected. Since UL1838 is the standard, it is the only way that I will go.

As for compensating for voltage drop, I can upsize the wire, use less fixtures per run, use lower wattage fixtures, use an in-line booster or set another transformer. I have a couple of projects that are on three acres and use 3-1200 transformers. On one run, on one of these projects, I had to use #8 wire and an in-line booster. That was fun, but it came out great!!

klkanders
01-17-2006, 11:26 PM
Paul
Good Info! Are u serious u have to purchase a transformer to attend a Unique Seminar? If thats true I agree with u. Have u attended many seminars? Which Ones?

SamIV
01-17-2006, 11:47 PM
Not to put a negative tone on what Paul advocates, but I favor the hub method of wiring. With the hub method, all fixtures have the same voltage to each lamp. Very easy and quick to check all voltages on each run. You need to purchase fixtures with the extended leads though. To make a great connection, you should solder them and this is only one connection per run all centrally located and each marked per run here and at the transformer. Extremely easy to service. You still have to bury the main run to each fixture so burying each fixture lead really does not take too much more time.

You have to look at your project and use which method will work the best in each situation though. Such as a boat dock using hockey puck type fixtures. It would be to labor intensive to conceal and fasten each 25 foot lead to the dock, so I would recommend looping or T or center fed method. I use the loop method quite often. Try to say away from daisy chaining, but this is also subjective to the situation. Paul is very comfortable using his method as I am with mine. You just need to do the most professional installation you can. If you don't your service levels will increase, and profits decrease. I prefer proper installs over call-backs.

Getting back to your Unique seminar. You will learn something from each seminar you attend, especially if you are new to this field. Some of the seminars end up being sales seminars for the respective company as Paul stated. If you have a chance to attend a Hadco seminar, I recommend them highly. I attended a 4 day seminar at their plant in Texas a few years ago, and not one day did they try to sell their product. Also recommend the Cast seminar, but this is a little sales itchy also.

SamIV
Accent Outdoor Lighting

NightScenes
01-17-2006, 11:54 PM
You may want to check about the Unique seminar. It's been awhile since I was interested in their seminar, they may have changed it. I do remember that when I found out that I had to make purchases of their equipment in order to participate, I was no longer interested in their merchandise.

I have been to the Kichler Kollage in Ohio, a seminar in Plano, TX, the LVLIA conference in Scottsdale, AZ as well as all of the discussions that I have with other designers all over the country. The thing I liked about the Kichler hands on seminar is that they were not pushing their product on the customers.

klkanders
01-18-2006, 12:10 AM
Thanks Sam and Paul!
Being up here in no-mans land as far as landscape lighting there are not many seminars close. I will be in Texas in early june for a wedding. When I looked at Hadco they showed nothing upcoming....maybe a flaw on their website. Does anyone know if they do indeed have anything coming up.
Thanks guys!

Broker
01-18-2006, 01:07 AM
Direct mail is supposed to work well so I went to my county tax office and asked them for a list of all properties in my county that are above $450k. They gave it to me on a disk in excel format. I will print the labels from there. The cost for this list? $12. What a bargin!! My best advertising is from my yard signs. When I complete a job, I make sure that I put a light, 10 watt, on my sign. When people drive by at night, they can't help but see it.


You go the the county tax office a put a request in? Can it be done via email?

GreenMonster
01-18-2006, 08:22 AM
I didn't have to purchase anything at the Unique seminar I attended.

Paul, thanks for the insight. I'll surely have more questions as I move into lighting this year.

Good point on the labor. Never really even thought about that.

NightScenes
01-18-2006, 08:56 AM
I'll check for you. I'm only about an hour and a half from them.

NightScenes
01-18-2006, 08:58 AM
Ohio, I don't know if you can do it by email. Give them a call and ask them.

NightScenes
01-18-2006, 04:46 PM
OK, I just checked to see if there are any Hadco seminars in San Marcos, Texas and there are none currently scheduled.

klkanders
01-18-2006, 08:29 PM
Paul
Thanks for checking. I would like to try and attend the Kichler one coming up and then maybe the Unique one closer to home here so I can compare and get some good ideas from both. Hopefully with the two It will be enuf to get me started in April. Any other thoughts or suggestions? As always Thanks!

pete scalia
12-04-2007, 10:17 AM
My average is about $215 per fixture. That is for the complete package. Sometimes this runs a little higher, if the client wants a higher end path/spread light. This price might be going up soon do to the price of wire. Of course all jobs are different, if I have to cross driveways, go under sidewalks, or install alot of moonlighting.

$215 per fixture for Kichler aluminum?
I'd better be getting $315 for what I'm using then.
Prices going up in 2008

NightScenes
12-04-2007, 10:32 AM
Man, you had to dig up this old thread? I'm around $275 now.

Pro-Scapes
12-04-2007, 10:33 AM
The longer i am in this field the less i see the reasoning in pricing per fixture. Its ok to check your averages but if an install is very simple... uses less wire ect it should be priced accordingly... if an install is insane with alot of bores and alot of tree lights it should also be priced accordingly.

Its not hard to arrive at your price... labor... materials... desired profit and your there. I run my numbers 3 different ways before we will issue a proposal. I want to make sure that its not doing myself or the client an injustice. I have even been known to hand the client an invoice for less than the original amount at the end. Be honest and good to your clients. It will reward you in the end.

NightScenes
12-04-2007, 10:38 AM
This is just a rough average Billy. I don't actually charge by the fixture.

The Lighting Geek
12-04-2007, 03:50 PM
I charge by the fixture, it works for me. I get 275 to 350 per fixture. I find it takes less time for the bidding process and it also gives the client the tools to figure out what the costs are. It especially works when I am doing jobs in phases. There are some jobs that use more or less wire, etc. but it seems to even out well. I also don't have as big a fluxuation in property sizes that some have outside of CA. I do bid a lttle differently on the 200-300 fixture jobs.

My competitors charge 185-225 per fixture, but they still think it is all about the fixtures. For me it is all about the results.

pete scalia
12-05-2007, 12:12 AM
Man, you had to dig up this old thread? I'm around $275 now.

If you are selling aluminum lights for $275 a pop average then with all the lighting you claim to do you must wear gold underwear. In other words you must be making bank. Good for you. In a coupla yrs you can hit em again for replacements when the aluminum falls apart. Excellent marketing strategy. Planned obsolescence . You are much smarter than you look.

Chris J
12-05-2007, 12:27 AM
What's wrong with selling at a per fixture cost? Just put it at $400 per light, and you should be covered in most situations. If you are going to use brass, however, I would go a bit higher.......

Chris J
12-05-2007, 12:29 AM
If you are selling aluminum lights for $275 a pop average then with all the lighting you claim to do you must wear gold underwear. In other words you must be making bank. Good for you. In a coupla yrs you can hit em again for replacements when the aluminum falls apart. Excellent marketing strategy. Planned obsolescence . You are much smarter than you look.

Give em hell Pete! Nothing in this world is for free!!

pete scalia
12-05-2007, 12:34 AM
Give em hell Pete! Nothing in this world is for free!!

You can say that again my brother

Chris J
12-05-2007, 12:39 AM
You all will have to excuse me. Sometimes, My arch rival makes perfect sense and he causes me to submit to his posts. Sorrry for the disruption. Back in a moment...

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-05-2007, 12:45 AM
You all will have to excuse me. Sometimes, My arch rival makes perfect sense and he causes me to submit to his posts. Sorrry for the disruption. Back in a moment...

Whew!... I was starting to worry that you were slipping over to the Dark Side for a while Chris. :laugh: