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View Full Version : First "Big" LV residential need help


Flow Control
05-01-2007, 08:12 PM
The first "big" one is for a backyard & side of home. The front yard was done during time of construction.

No huge difficulties for installation just a few bores. 3 different transformer locations (2 inground transformers) 2750' of 12-2 wire.

Pathway lights: qty 19 my price is based on a avg. fixture anything above 60 wholesale will be added to final price

Well Lights: qty 35

Accent Lights: qty 15

Flood Lights: qty 31

Stair Lights: qty 20

Putting Green Lights: qty 9

My price is under 25k, am I in the ballpark?


The second job I looked at today included: EASY install, no bores all bed work. All fixtures are within 55' of transformers

Pathways: qty 29

Floods: qty 20

Accents: qty 8

Well: qty 6

Wire: 1250' 12-2

Transformers: qty 3

My price I figured came in under 12k Am I in the ballpark?

Most of my past experience is just in 20 or less fixtures. And now I come accross two possible "homeruns"

NightScenes
05-01-2007, 09:53 PM
I guess your kind of in the ball park. What kind of overhead do you have? How long have you been installing lighting? What is your experience level? These things would help determine pricing a little better. Your around $200 average per fixture which is pretty good.

Chris J
05-01-2007, 11:11 PM
If your bidding the job, your probably a little under "average". As I understand it, the guys in the midwest are averaging around $250 per fixture (at least this is what they claim). It really all depends on what products you are using, and how much the project is going to cost you. When it comes to very large or very small jobs, a "per fixture" price guide is not sufficient. Your profit margin will be very high on the large ones, and almost non existent on the small ones. If it were me, and in my area, I would probably be satisfied with these numbers for these particular jobs....although I wouldn't be using any well lights. 2 cents.

Chris J

extlights
05-02-2007, 12:18 AM
I would say you're close. As Paul stated, there are a lot of things to consider when pricing..... pricing strategies shouldn't be based on what other companies might be charging. If you have no overhead then you're at a good price. If you have a lot of overhead, then you might be a little low. As far as midwest companies....I find it pretty doubtful that they are averaging $250/fixture. We are usually higher than most of our competitors and we don't average $250/fixture.

Chris J
05-02-2007, 03:34 PM
I'd like to doubt it too, but I can only tell you what others have told me. Do you know of a company called Landscape Illumination? Darrin ribs me at every conference/seminar that I see him at that we don't charge enough down here. My only defense is that our soil is so sandy and soft, we can install most lighting systems in 4 hours or less with two men (as long as it's 20 fixtures or less)

niteliters
05-02-2007, 05:11 PM
Question can't be answered with info given. 12 years experience doing what? mentioned first big job? How many have you completed? My guess is not many if your on a chat room asking strangers what to charge for your work. You need to forget about trying to charge what others charge and invest the time in figuring it out yourself. We all charge differently for many different reasons. If you have been in any business for 12 years you should be able to figure your costs...material/labor/overhead etc. As far as trying to figure your profit, after figuring your costs factor in what you think is a fair profit for you to make given knowledge/experience etc. My advice to you would be don't sell a mercedes and install a chevy.

Chris J
05-02-2007, 09:46 PM
Well put my friend.

CJ

Pro-Scapes
05-02-2007, 11:01 PM
Question can't be answered with info given. 12 years experience doing what? mentioned first big job? How many have you completed? My guess is not many if your on a chat room asking strangers what to charge for your work. You need to forget about trying to charge what others charge and invest the time in figuring it out yourself. We all charge differently for many different reasons. If you have been in any business for 12 years you should be able to figure your costs...material/labor/overhead etc. As far as trying to figure your profit, after figuring your costs factor in what you think is a fair profit for you to make given knowledge/experience etc. My advice to you would be don't sell a mercedes and install a chevy.


Well said Chris. I see more guys that have problems pricing lights and mulch than anything.

I too pondered pricing alot and asked questions. Now... I get what the job is worth not some generic average.

Case in point. Just came off a 14 light install... 396 per light. Had to bore a fountain wall.. driveway bore... rewire someone elses mess a bit... tree light 32 ft up and some deck lights mounted in a dry stacked wall. PITA so it commanded more of a price. Had to cover tree climber to come in and hang light.

Quick 1 day 25 light job we did 2 weeks ago went for just under 200 per light. Simple... only a 3 ft sidewalk to punch. Soft soil. GFCI already installed waiting for us and just minutes from our home.

Made about same per hour at both jobs.

niteliters
05-03-2007, 07:22 AM
The first "big" one is for a backyard & side of home. The front yard was done during time of construction.

No huge difficulties for installation just a few bores. 3 different transformer locations (2 inground transformers) 2750' of 12-2 wire.

Pathway lights: qty 19 my price is based on a avg. fixture anything above 60 wholesale will be added to final price

Well Lights: qty 35

Accent Lights: qty 15

Flood Lights: qty 31

Stair Lights: qty 20

Putting Green Lights: qty 9

My price is under 25k, am I in the ballpark?


The second job I looked at today included: EASY install, no bores all bed work. All fixtures are within 55' of transformers

Pathways: qty 29

Floods: qty 20

Accents: qty 8

Well: qty 6

Wire: 1250' 12-2

Transformers: qty 3

My price I figured came in under 12k Am I in the ballpark?

Most of my past experience is just in 20 or less fixtures. And now I come accross two possible "homeruns"

Where in the midwest are you?

TXNSLighting
05-03-2007, 10:08 AM
its odd, here in texas our companies vary so much. the lowest ive seen is 215 a light. and ive seen them as high as 285 per light. these are for the same jobs tho! me im at 220-250 per light. it just really depends on everything involved. how many sidewalks to go under, will there be any drilling, am i landscaping also? If their getting landscaping also, i knock the price down. ive been subbing out the lighting jobs, but i am starting my first one next week. Im very excited about it. And this site has definately helped. thanks to all. But anyways we would charge a hair over thirty thousand for that first job, and prob around 15,000 for the second job. just shows you the different markets.

cgillispn
05-03-2007, 03:48 PM
are these prices just for the labor or labor & a light?

niteliters
05-03-2007, 05:11 PM
:hammerhead: :hammerhead: :cry: :cry: :hammerhead:

Pro-Scapes
05-03-2007, 08:42 PM
:hammerhead: :hammerhead: :cry: :cry: :hammerhead:

I will second that one Chris. Please drop me an email.

Flow Control
05-03-2007, 09:14 PM
I guess your kind of in the ball park. What kind of overhead do you have? How long have you been installing lighting? What is your experience level? These things would help determine pricing a little better. Your around $200 average per fixture which is pretty good.

Hey Paul,

We are an irrigation company that has been installing LV lighting systems for only 6 years, we might do 30-50k a yr in LV sales or less the 7% of total sales.

Question can't be answered with info given. 12 years experience doing what? mentioned first big job? How many have you completed? My guess is not many if your on a chat room asking strangers what to charge for your work. You need to forget about trying to charge what others charge and invest the time in figuring it out yourself. We all charge differently for many different reasons. If you have been in any business for 12 years you should be able to figure your costs...material/labor/overhead etc. As far as trying to figure your profit, after figuring your costs factor in what you think is a fair profit for you to make given knowledge/experience etc. My advice to you would be don't sell a mercedes and install a chevy.

Niteliters you are right about pricing and others trying to help (I just posted since my largest $$ LV job in the past was $7.5k now taking a jump to 20something seemed big so I wanted an opinion if I was in the ballpark, not exact pricing but rather if the pricing seem too high or too low), after reviewing all costs and margins we have submitted pricing. I have been following your chat room (RI OHIO) for about two years now, just have not been in the room much recently since it seems to have slowed down in the past couple of months. I will take your advice on not selling a mercedes and installing a chevy and raise you one. Also you should never sell a Chevy and install a Mercedes..

Chris J
05-03-2007, 09:18 PM
are these prices just for the labor or labor & a light?

Oh, no... This is just labor cost. If you want fixtures too, then that's going to be extra! :usflag:

NightScenes
05-04-2007, 07:42 AM
I'm sorry but that is just my design fee. Parts and labor are double.

Pro-Scapes
05-04-2007, 09:37 AM
oh im sorry ma'am you wanted lights with that labor ??? :laugh:

ZX12R
05-09-2007, 09:25 PM
I have a serious question.Let's say you are charging $250 per fixture.Does that include the transformers and wiring also?

NightScenes
05-09-2007, 09:35 PM
The price per fixture average is based on complete project cost. That includes everything on that project, fixtures, wire, transformers, labor, lamps, screws, nuts, bolts, everything. This is why you should not base your prices on "per fixture" pricing because it usually does not include "everything". All jobs are different and therefore the "price per fixture" should change on all projects.

ZX12R
05-09-2007, 09:48 PM
Thanks for the reply Nightscapespaul.I was curious because about 3 years ago,I attended a lighting course given by the owner of Cast Lighting.At that time,he was teaching the class to get $200-250 per light,which was to incluse everything needed for the job.I wonder what he is suggesting in his classes today.His fixtures and especially the wire has gone up significantly due to oil prices.I would imagine he is preaching well over $300 per light as a general rule.

Chris J
05-10-2007, 02:19 PM
I'm glad you mentioned that because a lot of the "clowns" around here that were charging $150 per fixture 7 years ago are still charging that today! It makes me want to choke somebody because all this does is undermine the entire industry. Low voltage already has a bad reputation thanks to the big box stores and products like "Malibu". These guys are just pouring gas on the fire by installing junk while posing as professionals.

ZX12R
05-10-2007, 09:43 PM
"I'm glad you mentioned that because a lot of the "clowns" around here that were charging $150 per fixture 7 years ago are still charging that today!"

How in the world are they making money after overhead expenses,not to mention their laborors? It makes the companies who provide a quality installation look like crooks.

extlights
05-10-2007, 10:06 PM
We've never been even remotely close to $300 per fixture. It's simple business really. Leg work, leg work, leg work. Do your research, get the best price. I can guarantee you that Paul just like us get a better price per foot on wire because we buy it in bulk. I don't know what an average distributor gets for a 500 ft. spool, but I'd bet it's a lot more than we pay. The larger you get, the more you buy, the better price you can get.

We buy everything in large quantities for price reasons. Research is everything...in any business. I know that we aren't the cheapest around here, but the advantage we have is a "cusion". I know what our competitors are charging and we are right in that same realm. However with that said, we have some extra room to play with if it means getting a contract. We won't price drop just to get a job, but if it makes sense to lower the price a little bit, we will.

ZX12R
05-11-2007, 09:24 PM
Dave,I buy wire in 500' spools now. I have searched on the net and I have not found it cheaper than what I pay for it now with my current supplier.:confused:

NightScenes
05-12-2007, 12:01 AM
Just recieved my 3rd wire shipment this year. 10,000' of 12/2 and 5000' of 10/2 and they back ordered my 14,000' of 16/2 for leads. I'll have to get some from Longhorn.

extlights
05-12-2007, 01:09 AM
ZX, if you're looking for say 500-5000ft. you're probably going to pay market retail anywhere you go. Depending on what we need at the time, we'll get 15-25,000ft. per order. We do it just for the price. We might not need all of it at that time, but we will use it all and the price of copper isn't going to go down anytime soon. If you have the means and you're confident you will use that much, it isn't a bad way to go.

ZX12R
05-12-2007, 08:48 PM
Thank you Paul and Dave for the replies.I would buy in bulk if I knew where to get it.Whats the minimum amount of feet you need to buy to get a significant discount? If you do not want to post it in the open forum,please pm me as I am very interested.

Chris J
05-12-2007, 10:01 PM
Every supplier is going to give you a different price break point. I recommend shopping around, but insist on UL approved wire. Not all wire is created equal, so your going to want a sample before you make the big purchase. I get about 25,000' per order, shipped out of California, and one time the wire was really funky. The strands seemed to be braided, and you couldn't strip the wire without cutting several strands. What a pain in the rear it was to get this back to the supplier!

Ramairfreak98ss
05-13-2007, 02:14 AM
wow, $250 a fixture!? i need to move :p.. I did one bundled into a 15k landscape job, yet i only charged ~$40 per fixture for the install price plus the cost of the units.

I have a job thats 40 lights comming up and was thinking $50-55 per... I wish i could get $100+ ! dam!

Ramairfreak98ss
05-13-2007, 02:16 AM
Dave,I buy wire in 500' spools now. I have searched on the net and I have not found it cheaper than what I pay for it now with my current supplier.:confused:

Dave, is $185 descent for 500'? Thats what im paying, its descent though.

NightScenes
05-13-2007, 08:26 AM
Let me get this right. You only charged $40 per fixture for labor, wire, transformer, photo control, timer, advertising, insurance, tools, gas, office overhead, etc, etc, etc? Plus the cost of the fixture?

TXNSLighting
05-13-2007, 10:03 AM
wow...thats cheap...cant believe he can make anything for that price...

extlights
05-13-2007, 10:15 AM
Again, I'm not sure what suppliers are selling a 500' roll for in smaller quantities. $185 seems a little high...I could be wrong though as we haven't purchased smaller quantites in quite some time.

extlights
05-13-2007, 10:31 AM
wow, $250 a fixture!? i need to move :p.. I did one bundled into a 15k landscape job, yet i only charged ~$40 per fixture for the install price plus the cost of the units.

I have a job thats 40 lights comming up and was thinking $50-55 per... I wish i could get $100+ ! dam!


When they are talking about a per fixture price, they are talking about the average price per fixture total after all other expenses are covered. Basically take your total finished project price (with wire, labor, transformers etc. all factored in) and divide it by the number of lights installed.

I won't say an exact price, but depending on the difficulty (among other factors) of the project...we would charge anywhere from $7,500-$10,000 for a 40 light project. However with that said, I've come to notice that landscapers will bundle a lighting package into a complete landscape package and charge way less than professionals that do strictly lighting.

Pro-Scapes
05-13-2007, 11:35 AM
Landscapers can bundle it in cheaper and get away with it but it does not USUALLY provide the performance or longetivity that a specialist will provide.

If they already have open trenches for irrigation and raw freshly tilled ground with no mulch ect it really cuts down on the labor and plus they are already on site. One huge prob I see with it is guys running wires too close to new plants then the wire growing into the roots or guys not accoun ting for voltage drop or plant growth.

40 a light plus materials is a tad low if your doing quality designs and workmanship. Lets not get into discussing pricing out in public tho. My prices seem to be on par with about what daves charging. Least I have gotten is 165 a light on a special job and most I have gotten is about 390ish a light on an insane-find what some other guy did and correct it-climb 30 ft up a tree-rework the other guys 6v to a light and bore a driveway type job.

You get what you pay for in life and the same holds true for lighting for the most part. Yes there can be a great profit but to really do the job right requires alot of planning and work to bring it all togther for something thats going to last for years and years. I have not seen 1 landscaper maintain the lighting system they installed. Most the time a year later it looks like crap because the plants have grown in and the lenses are so dirty you cant see the lights.

Chris J
05-13-2007, 09:28 PM
A true lighting professional will be able to demand higher prices simply because he or she is bringing more to the table. Formal training, licensing, certifications, awards, service agreements, experience etc... these are the things that the typical "landscaper" who is focused on "landscaping" does not possess. In my opinion, therefore, this is why the landscaper should develop a relationship with a quality lighting designer and pass this work on to them (and vise versa) The end result will be a much happier client, and much less of a negative impact on the industry of LV lighting. Furthermore, I too buy product in very large quantities and get the bulk price breaks. However, I don't do this for the purpose of "competing" with the average joe so I can have a little cushion for negotiating my prices. I feel that a prospect should expect to pay us quite a bit more for the service that they will receive from us. As someone said earlier, "you get what you pay for." Our clients receive "extreme service" from us. Our phone is answered 7 days a week, and until 10PM at night. If no one is available in the office, the message gives my personal cell phone number. How many companies in your city can say that? Look at it like this: How much do you think Picasso would have charged you to paint your portrait? Do you think he would have been worried about what the going price was? Of course not. His portrait would have been worth the price due to the reputation that preceded him.
I'm not bashing people that are installing lighting as a sideline to their business, but it really frustrates me to read these posts.:cry: If you are not making a significant profit on any portion of your work, how willing are you going to be to take care of that customer when the time comes. Again, if your not going to take it seriously, then you are not doing your customers any great favors by installing a lighting system for them for nothing. You are just giving them a headache that they will remember you by.:hammerhead:

David Gretzmier
05-15-2007, 11:56 PM
185 bucks for 500 feet ain't high these days, I have 2 distributors here and it is 40 cents a foot up to 5000 feet, and 36 cents a foot up to 14000 feet for 12 guage. most of my jobs are 500-1000 feet, and I'm only doing a job or two a week, to go along with my maintenance and Christmas light business, So I can't justify buying more than what I need.

when it comes down to it, I am around 200-250 per fixture, and as I do more jobs I get better about guessing what the bid should be. If a job requires more expertise, special tools and skills, than let's say a bread and butter uplight job in the front of a home, it seems you should make more on that job because of the complexity.

I can usuall make more at 200 per fixture than the big landscape company can at 220 per fixture simply because I can install it in half the time. I watch other guys work and it boggles my mind how long it takes them to wire 16 fixtures. And quite honestly, I've seen guys who have done this twice as long as me that are TWICE as fast as me. They could charge 10,20 bucks less per fixture than me and make way more than I make easily.