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Mike M
06-01-2007, 08:20 PM
I dragged my feet to do this estimate:

Customer calls a few weeks ago, leaves message; needs someone to dig a trench so he can install his own lights. Took me two weeks to call back. Says he has his own lights he brought from his home in California, and he's too old to dig the trenches. So I figure I'll stop by, maybe his fixtures are professional, plus I need to get out and start using my new spade.

Turns out he has a master gardener status from the county extension and a weekly feature in our town paper. He mentions this and says maybe he could write something.

I asked to see his transformers, which turned out to be two Malibu 500 watt 2-circuits each. I explained to him voltage drop, ideal voltage range for bulbs, etc., and the benefit of multi-taps. There would also be some long cable runs and he's not sure how many lights he wants to end up with. Then he tells me he needs new fixtures so he can do up-lighting (I have no idea what his old fixtures were) but he already has 12 gauge wire and he wants to connect everything himself. I don't think it's all about being cheap (just mostly), since he did such a nice job planting beautiful trees and shrubs throughout his property. (maybe he had a landscaper dig all the holes, ha)

I showed him my grease tubes and silicone connectors, and explained junction hubs. He didn't know about any of these, but he was impressed at my bags of these materials.

This weekend I plan to write up a plan, based on projected fixtures, watts, and length of cable, and I'll calculate voltage drop. I will include rates for kichler or vista lights.

If he doesn't sign an agreement that he will let me do the connections with him, using my materials, and using professional fixtures, then I will have to decline the job.

I even told him I would do a demo on his property so he can have a good plan before we start digging.

Does anyone have any other good selling points against his Malibu transformers, etc.??? There is a good potential for referrals, endorsement, and publicity here, based on his column and the community he's in.

Mike

High Performance Lighting
06-01-2007, 09:43 PM
I dragged my feet to do this estimate:

Customer calls a few weeks ago, leaves message; needs someone to dig a trench so he can install his own lights. Took me two weeks to call back. Says he has his own lights he brought from his home in California, and he's too old to dig the trenches. So I figure I'll stop by, maybe his fixtures are professional, plus I need to get out and start using my new spade.

Turns out he has a master gardener status from the county extension and a weekly feature in our town paper. He mentions this and says maybe he could write something.

I asked to see his transformers, which turned out to be two Malibu 500 watt 2-circuits each. I explained to him voltage drop, ideal voltage range for bulbs, etc., and the benefit of multi-taps. There would also be some long cable runs and he's not sure how many lights he wants to end up with. Then he tells me he needs new fixtures so he can do up-lighting (I have no idea what his old fixtures were) but he already has 12 gauge wire and he wants to connect everything himself. I don't think it's all about being cheap (just mostly), since he did such a nice job planting beautiful trees and shrubs throughout his property. (maybe he had a landscaper dig all the holes, ha)

I showed him my grease tubes and silicone connectors, and explained junction hubs. He didn't know about any of these, but he was impressed at my bags of these materials.

This weekend I plan to write up a plan, based on projected fixtures, watts, and length of cable, and I'll calculate voltage drop. I will include rates for kichler or vista lights.

If he doesn't sign an agreement that he will let me do the connections with him, using my materials, and using professional fixtures, then I will have to decline the job.

I even told him I would do a demo on his property so he can have a good plan before we start digging.

Does anyone have any other good selling points against his Malibu transformers, etc.??? There is a good potential for referrals, endorsement, and publicity here, based on his column and the community he's in.

Mike

Mike you are wasting your time. He's already told you he wants to do the work himself. You can't make a leopard change his spots. He's looking for a laborer to dig the trenches for him so direct him to the nearest labor ready office and let him take his chances on who they will supply for him. He's using non professional equipment you should steer way clear of this. This is a carrot dangler regarding his article. Make a deal with him this way. Have him write a story about you with your final editorial approval that he will personally guarantee will be printed and tell him you'll dig his trenches for free and make his connections for him, he pays for the connectors and fresh cable. This is assuming the publication he writes for will even be worth your while to be written up in. And it is the money, you tell him you'll supply fixtures for free and you'll see how fast he wants to do it himself. I don't think so. Doesn't make him a bad guy just not a good prospect for a professional lighting system. concentrate your efforts on qualified prospects.

Chris J
06-01-2007, 10:52 PM
Mike M, I have to agree with Mike G. This type of person will eventually drive you crazy when you have been in business long enough. However, try to be tactful and straight forward with him. You never know what these types of relationships will develop into down the road. Let him know that you are in business to create truly functional, safe and properly installed works of art and that you don't recommend what he intends on doing so you will have to pass because your professional integrity prohibits you from engaging in such a project. Touch base with him down the road to see how he's doing.

David Gretzmier
06-02-2007, 12:12 AM
One of the best clients I have ever had started this way, but that's about it.

a few dozen wanted to pump me for free advice on everything and hired me for nothing.

be careful, and hopefully this is the kind that hires you for a few things and turns golden later.

also remember that his pen could turn against you if you demand to do too much and push him to pay you more bucks than he is willing to spend.

extlights
06-02-2007, 02:04 AM
You can get an article written up about your business and what you offer in the paper without helping someone dig trenches.

Mike M
06-02-2007, 07:20 AM
I agree with you guys.

I am writing up a proposal that explains what my terms are in a polite manner.

I will write up some educational points he can use in his article if he wants, plus, I'll give him some technical references, and I'll invite him by my house to see my work.

Thanks,

Mike

NightScenes
06-02-2007, 08:41 AM
I send out press releases all the time. We have an article the the papers about every other month and we're not out digging ditches for free. If you have anything that is at all news worthy, write a press release and send it out to all of the local media. Most of these papers are looking for editorial content and will include your news. Give it a shot, but don't give it away.

High Performance Lighting
06-02-2007, 09:48 AM
I send out press releases all the time. We have an article the the papers about every other month and we're not out digging ditches for free. If you have anything that is at all news worthy, write a press release and send it out to all of the local media. Most of these papers are looking for editorial content and will include your news. Give it a shot, but don't give it away.

No free trenches for an old timer with a newspaper column but a free lighting system for 1/1,000th of a second exposure on a television program. Hmmn interesting mindset.

Chris J
06-02-2007, 11:12 AM
No free trenches for an old timer with a newspaper column but a free lighting system for 1/1,000th of a second exposure on a television program. Hmmn interesting mindset.

:cry: ouch :cry:

NightScenes
06-02-2007, 04:12 PM
No free trenches for an old timer with a newspaper column but a free lighting system for 1/1,000th of a second exposure on a television program. Hmmn interesting mindset.

The Extreme Home Makeover show was for a good cause, pure and simple. I would do it again today. As a matter of fact, I just installed a system for my church today for free. Sometimes, I just like doing a good thing for people.

Mike M
06-02-2007, 05:42 PM
Paul,

I agree about digging trenches. I also think your case was different than mine; if a nationally known tv show asks me for a favor, I'm there with my own camera to take my own pictures and put them on my website. That was was a good endorsement regardless of air time.

That all being said, we know I need to get out there and do stuff, network, and start getting referrals.

I wrote a proposal for the trench guy today, where I insist he only use professional grade transformers and fixtures, and that he let me do the connections. I wrote a nice essay for him on voltage drop and multi-tap transformers, etc., and I let him know I'm available for questions if he wants to write an article.

I offered him free consultation, a free demo, and a net labor rate based on my lawn rate (pro rated for 60/hour). That way he can feel special, and I don't lose money doing his job.

What I am ultimately attempting to do is to take him on as a prospective up-sell, as opposed to just walking away from him.

We'll see how it pans out, you guys all make good sense!

Mike

High Performance Lighting
06-02-2007, 08:08 PM
The Extreme Home Makeover show was for a good cause, pure and simple. I would do it again today. As a matter of fact, I just installed a system for my church today for free. Sometimes, I just like doing a good thing for people.

Except for this ole man and his trenches, him you recommend let twist in the wind. If the ole fella keels over and has the big one while going for the gusto then let it be on your head. Me, I'm gonna sleep well tonight.

NightScenes
06-02-2007, 08:33 PM
Mike you are wasting your time. He's already told you he wants to do the work himself. You can't make a leopard change his spots. He's looking for a laborer to dig the trenches for him so direct him to the nearest labor ready office and let him take his chances on who they will supply for him. He's using non professional equipment you should steer way clear of this. This is a carrot dangler regarding his article. Make a deal with him this way. Have him write a story about you with your final editorial approval that he will personally guarantee will be printed and tell him you'll dig his trenches for free and make his connections for him, he pays for the connectors and fresh cable. This is assuming the publication he writes for will even be worth your while to be written up in. And it is the money, you tell him you'll supply fixtures for free and you'll see how fast he wants to do it himself. I don't think so. Doesn't make him a bad guy just not a good prospect for a professional lighting system. concentrate your efforts on qualified prospects.

Mike,This is what you had to say about helping this old man. Where do you get off talking about what I said?

High Performance Lighting
06-02-2007, 08:44 PM
Mike,This is what you had to say about helping this old man. Where do you get off talking about what I said?

Yeah can't you read, I like the ole chap and recommended helping him (see below). Where do you find the time to post here. Aren't you busy working with SCORE on that patenting process for your sales call meetings?

He's looking for a laborer to dig the trenches for him so direct him to the nearest labor ready office and let him take his chances on who they will supply for him
Doesn't make him a bad guy just not a good prospect for a professional lighting system. concentrate your efforts on qualified prospects

Chris J
06-03-2007, 09:40 AM
This patent thing gives me an idea. I think I'm going to put a patent on the use of spades for trenching. I could become rich!

High Performance Lighting
06-03-2007, 11:51 AM
This patent thing gives me an idea. I think I'm going to put a patent on the use of spades for trenching. I could become rich!

No more far fetched than patenting sales meetings I guess. Be sure you contact your local SCORE office. Those retired professionals are waiting to assist you with your patenting needs. Keep us updated and let us know how it goes. Buona Fortuna.