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View Full Version : Up against the Home Depot "package"


nlminc
02-06-2006, 08:29 PM
Received a call the other day from a guy looking for a price on lighting. States he was going to install one of the packages from Home Depot, but since I sent him my post card he would like to have me give him a quote. This guy was easy to profile of course! When I told him my systems generally run $1500.00 and up he nearly had a heart attack. I explained to him the difference in quality of his HD package compared to the FX/Cast system, but that didn't seem to matter.

Do you guys run into this often? How do you profile someone who calls? This guy lives in a 400-600k home. Is it possible to sell someone like this a $2k system? Sounds like an up hill battle.

lawnmaniac883
02-06-2006, 08:51 PM
I dont install lighting but I know that type of person. Then, 6 months later they wont understand why their cheap ass lighting wont work.

Amazing how people live in such nice homes, but will skimp anywhere possible when it comes to enhancing the looks of them.

mcwlandscaping
02-06-2006, 10:33 PM
im not a racist but it sounds like indian people that live in higher class neighborhoods, theyll spend a ton on the house but will spend VERY little to furnish it or do anything with the yard or lawn

Broker
02-06-2006, 10:45 PM
I deal with it on a regular basis too. Somethings I learned about Indian people. Never give them your best price first. Their culture is negotiating so jack it up to give yourself some wiggle room. Second copper is an important element in their culture. Show them some copper pathways. But you always have to weed the pinchers out, you are better off with out them. They are cracking down on the multi-family homes locally here. An Indian family might have multiple generations under one roof and some of the local laws are single family homes only. A positive about doing business with Indian people is they are a closed knit bunch of people so if you keep them happy they will in return grow your business for you. The ones that wear the turbins are by far the best, they are some of the most peaceful people you will meet. Atleast from my experience. :gunsfirin

nlminc
02-06-2006, 10:59 PM
This guy was an old timer. No middle Easterner.

cgland
02-06-2006, 11:13 PM
With the number of bulbs he will replace in a years time, he will realize the value of your services and products.payup

Chris

cochino12
02-06-2006, 11:43 PM
I dont know anything about lighting so forgive my ignorance if I am out of line here. Why dont you bring a home depot light w/you when you do the estimate and "show" him the difference in quality? If he truly is a tight a$$ he shouldnt want to invest money in a inferior product. Or is the quality not something that is easily shown? good luck

Adam

Dreams To Designs
02-07-2006, 08:28 AM
It's not just the fixtures you are selling! It's your labor and most importantly your design skills. Anyone can hang a malibu transformer and string some path and spotlights along, but it is a true professional that designs a lighting effect. You upsell the quality of the materials you will be using and the effects you wish to achieve. Do they understand safety, security and the overall look, or do they just want what the neighbor has. Check around to see homeowner installed lighting and professionally installed lighting and share that with your clients. Hopefully you will pick drastic examples of both. Know your product and it's advantages, and explain the professional service you will be providing this client, show them the value for the money. Some people will never go for it and will make every possible defense against you, your products and service. Time to move on and spend your money and effort on those that will appreciate and understand the value of your services.

Kirk

steveparrott
02-07-2006, 04:28 PM
I'm surprised to hear these comments about Indians. In NJ, Indians comprise a good percentage of our high end customers. Yes, they like to negotiate, but so do most smart people who respect the value of money.

I lived in India for many years and got to know the people very well. In India, wages are very low and every Indian knows that a single rupee (about 3 cents) feeds an entire family for a day. Even the upper-class Indians never waste a single rupee (for them it is disrespectful and ungodly to do so). Indians that come to this country have the same mind-set.

Most Indians will pay a fair price for a professional landscape lighting system only after they are certain that they are not over-paying and that the value matches the price. Attempting to negotiate is their way to make sure they are not wasting money.

In India, negotiating is always a positive interaction between buyer and seller, it's understood that the seller won't go below a profitable price. At the conclusion of a successful negotiation, both buyer and seller feel good that they have been good stewards of the money. For them, negotiation builds trust between the two.

nlminc
02-07-2006, 06:51 PM
This thread has been funny! This customer isn't Indian. Just a typical older retired type.

Broker
02-07-2006, 10:44 PM
My apology. My post was in poor taste. Just my observation over the past 2-3 years. Really it is just a lack of knowledge in general about the different culture.

Frog Lights, LLC
02-08-2006, 08:21 PM
Many contractors take it for granted that a client will throw their money at him just because he observes a very lavish life style. Some contractors notice the makes and quantities of cars, home furnishings, pool and landscaping,etc to use as partial consideration of the sales price. I'm not saying this is wrong but the wealthier clients are usually sharp, educated or business people. I have found that if you are well prepared and present your material with confidence the client will gain trust in you. Further, I have found many prospective customers will buy from the salesman that they like the best. Smile be relaxed and don't try to double talk them. Given these factors many people will then buy what you offer. In the event price is negotiated, I don't mind if the customer is reasonable. Some people just assume you are making a huge profit and there is just so much fat in the price that you would not miss a 30% reduction. They might need to be educated either by you showing them where the value is (as others posted) or by just letting them get other prices. If you did a great sales job they will come back to you even if they get a slightly lower price. Why?, because they liked you the best ! Don't forget to follow up on the estimates that were given. Further, with lighting most clients will comeback for more once you start with a small install. (Foot in door)
I liked Steve's comments and I agree whole heartedly.

gammon landscaping
02-10-2006, 11:58 PM
i personally like the a**hole tax if i show and talk to a customer and can tell they are going to be diffacult to deal with and i design something for them say a landscape and light install and the est. is 4000-5000 dollars i just add 500 to it, and if i get through the project and all goes well and they are reasonable with there requests i just tell them we came in under budjet and take it off. that will make you the man of the hour and you will get more jobs out of it. and if they are a**holes you were paid for there attiude

YardPro
02-11-2006, 11:00 AM
My apology. My post was in poor taste. Just my observation over the past 2-3 years. Really it is just a lack of knowledge in general about the different culture.

i did not see where your post was said in a derogatory manner.

Thier culture does haggle. Our culture does not. Nothing wrong with that statement. It is accurate. and if said without mallice then there is nothing wrong with it.

landscapelight
02-11-2006, 05:08 PM
It's not very business like to talk in those terms- "our culture. their culture" etc. :gunsfirin -Perhaps it's time you picked up a selling 101 book.

steveparrott
02-12-2006, 01:13 PM
It all comes down to respect and maintaining humility. When you have a service business, you are a servant and must treat your clients with real respect. If you come in with any other attitude, then you will receive neither their respect nor their business.

landscapelight
02-12-2006, 03:16 PM
Bottom line is that there is a very low probability that you will :rolleyes: sell a quality lighting system to a home depot do-it-yourself kit type mentality. Either you're marketing to the wrong demographic or not doing a very good job of qualifying before you go out to meet with them. It's much easier to sell to someone who is pre-disposed to buy quality then to educate someone on the virtues of a professionally installed system over a store bought kit. I'd prefer to do the former rather than the latter.

nlminc
02-13-2006, 07:06 PM
Bottom line is that there is a very low probability that you will :rolleyes: sell a quality lighting system to a home depot do-it-yourself kit type mentality. Either you're marketing to the wrong demographic or not doing a very good job of qualifying before you go out to meet with them. It's much easier to sell to someone who is pre-disposed to buy quality then to educate someone on the virtues of a professionally installed system over a store bought kit. I'd prefer to do the former rather than the latter.


I think people in the 400K -600K should be in the market. Most around here in 300k homes have lighting. I don't believe that if someone lives in a 1 + million dollar home means you will seal the deal for a lighting job. I have plenty of customers with homes in that range who prefer to do their own lighting and landscaping. Most of them live in nice homes because they watch every dollar they spend.

I never left the office for this call. With HD and Lowes advertising cheap lighting packages everywhere we will have to do some creative marketing to get people to pay 2000.00 as opposed to $25.00.

landscapelight
02-13-2006, 08:19 PM
The value of one's home isn't always an indicator of whether or not someone will spring for the cost of a high quality professionally designed and installed lighting system. There are people who own million dollar plus homes who do everything themselves or hire off price unlicensed contractors or day laborers to do the work and it always shows. Those will not be your clients. You've got a better chance selling to someone who appreciates quality and is willing to pay a fair price for the services of a professional. That person could own a $300K valued house or a 5 million dollar house. It's not always the demographics but the psychographic profile which is more important.

nlminc
02-13-2006, 08:52 PM
You're correct landscapelight. In my area all you'll find are subdivisions with advertisments at the entry stating the price range of the homes included. Of course it's makes more sense to me to target the ones showing homes from the 500's and up.

You would think these people usually spend more than the those who live in the lower priced neighborhoods.

I don't think it's possible to target a "group" of homeowners who are only looking to spend their money on the highest quality. Therefore in all demographics you will run into your do it yourself people.

landscapelight
02-13-2006, 09:19 PM
Bottom line is people are people no matter how much they have invested in their home. Today for instance I got two seperate calls from "Big shots" who wanted ball park prices over the phone which I don't do. One proceeded to tell me how they want top notch for everything and how big the property was and then told me that they had been online and priced fixtures from Ruud lighting for around $40 apiece. Well if they want top notch and they are shopping Ruud lighting for $40 per fixture then their idea of top notch and mine are two different realities. Just goes to show how little people know about landscape lighting. How badly the industry as a whole has done at educating the consumer. Meanwhile groups like LVLIA are allocating all of their time and resources to protecting the right of the landscaper to install lighting. They could be like other associations who promote and educate the general public and installers and consumers would be better off for it.

klkanders
02-14-2006, 12:27 AM
Good points everyone.
What also hurts the exterior contractors (irrigation,sod,landscaping,lighting) is when the builders that have a built-in allowance for these services don't even allow enough for the sprinkler system. Anyone care to guess who might get shorted here? Most customers want quality and I guess It's up to us to eduacate them it should be the same outside the house as inside.

NightScenes
02-14-2006, 10:56 PM
I don't even try to sell to someone who "was going to install a home depot package". I really listen to the client when they call. If they mention "bid" I let them know that I do not give bids. I explain that I am a designer, and every designer is going to have a different approach to landscape lighting.

If they mention home depot lighting, I let them know that my systems start at $200 per fixture. That will usually get one of two responses. They will either choke or they will continue to talk as if they are speaking with a professional.

I have an 85% close rate and 100% of my clients are happy clients.

My motto, "never promise more than you can deliver and always deliver more than you promise."

drsogr
02-17-2006, 07:50 PM
I don't even try to sell to someone who "was going to install a home depot package". I really listen to the client when they call. If they mention "bid" I let them know that I do not give bids. I explain that I am a designer, and every designer is going to have a different approach to landscape lighting.

If they mention home depot lighting, I let them know that my systems start at $200 per fixture. That will usually get one of two responses. They will either choke or they will continue to talk as if they are speaking with a professional.

I have an 85% close rate and 100% of my clients are happy clients.

My motto, "never promise more than you can deliver and always deliver more than you promise."

Very good response. Do you charge a design fee for landscape lighting? What ways do you find best to advertise?

NightScenes
02-17-2006, 09:14 PM
I currently do not charge a design fee, though that might change very soon. 95% of my business by referral. The rest seems to come from the local lighting showrooms and my truck and yard signs. When I complete a project, I place a sign in the yard and put a light on it.

drsogr
02-17-2006, 11:07 PM
I currently do not charge a design fee, though that might change very soon. 95% of my business by referral. The rest seems to come from the local lighting showrooms and my truck and yard signs. When I complete a project, I place a sign in the yard and put a light on it.

How Did you get started? Have you always ran off of referrals? What did you do when you first started advertising? I have decided to start including an estimate for lighting with my landscaping. That should help get me started...I was just looking for other ways to get going with lighting. Maybe direct mailers to higher end neighborhoods?

NightScenes
02-18-2006, 12:01 AM
I was a practicing electrician for 15 years, so I began by contacting my client base and it took off from there.

drsogr
02-18-2006, 10:37 AM
Thats a good place to start from!