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Pro-Scapes
06-12-2007, 08:33 AM
Since another thread was getting off topic about one having thier own line of fixtures I am starting a new thread. I know its not for everyone and I certainly do not yet do the volume to justify my own line but I was wondering if Mike G would share more pictures of his line and how he went about developing it. From the 1 or 2 pictures posted before it looks like these things could be used as jackstands while changing the tires on your nearest 18 wheeler.

Mike M
06-12-2007, 09:16 AM
Oh great, I was about to start a new thread too for the same reason, good thing I didn't. Please see my last response to Mike G's thread on professionalism. I'm a new lighting guy, but I'm developing my business model as strongly as I can, as early as I can.

Mike M

Mike M
06-12-2007, 10:54 AM
Interesting, what would be one fixture for most applications? With today's MR 16's, you have the variety built into the bulbs for degrees and wattages. Use a frosted lens and ya have a little flood.

I would have one decent-sized cowl or have it be attachment-ready for hoods (hey, I'm lost without the barn doors we use in broadcasting/film). I'll crimp my own leads, etc., which will be better for efficiency in wire length.

CAST already has this whole thing figured out, you don't need multiple finishes, bronze is like Khaki, it goes with everything, and if you want, you can treat it yourself to look antiqued.

Just drive up to your prospect and say "here's my fixture," it's custom made to the spec's I want, and I offset the price by simplifying and eliminating the middle guy.

We don't have to reinvent the wheel here. Many manufacturers in many industries produce the same stuff with custom logo/branding. You would just need to be an established business with enough sales to go past the break-even for the large custom order.

If I can't buy direct from the manufacturer in the long term, I will follow Mike G's business model.

Sorry again for getting way way way ahead of myself, but that's how I make and revise my business plan.

Medium-term planning includes simplifying fixture selection and bulk-ordering as soon as I can (when I get some sales momentum). Kichler offers this kind of pricing, I hope CAST does, too. I'll have to ask a distributor.

Vista charges the same price for black as they do for verde. So every job is priced as custom powder-coated? Here's an idea: www.vistadirect.com. Why should I have a distributor with no inventory? They should call them lighting brokers. And UPS should offer us frequent flyer mileage. The whole UPS market growth in America has been based on direct sales, not redundancy. Unfortunately, each purchase I make from my current distributor is shipped twice by a premium shipping service.

Just some ranting.

Mike M

David Gretzmier
06-12-2007, 11:39 AM
mike g talked to me in a private message about this some time ago, he may chime in here or not, I don't know. I know for me the volume to do this seems huge compared to what I am doing now. It is at least a few years away for me, but I am going that way as soon as possible.

My distributor is nice, but not very knowledgeable. I ask a question, they go to the book. I order something, it takes 2 weeks plus. The wire is higher that lowes or home depot. They stock FX bronze spots and paths, and some bulbs, but every thing else is special order. what good is a distributor that doesn't, well, distribute?

I really only want a hald dozen fixtures: good mr-16 spot with removable shroud, good mr-16 well, a tulip path and a china hat, a good downlight/tree with long shroud, and a small decklight. those 6 in a cast-like finish cover 98% of effects that I do. With a double o-ring and bulletproof socket, I am spending the next 3 years figuring out what I want.

Cost wise you gotta think container loads. ( like a 40 foot long, 8 foot wide and tall container)- a years worth of fixtures, that is a lotta dough to lay out. also, what happens when they get to the shore- customs, train, semi, unloading, storage, all these things cost money. that fixture that costs you 15,25 bucks at the factory, ( and more) may cost you double that once shipping and logistics gets the fixture to your hands for use.
The volume has to be very high for it to make sense.

when I reach that point, not so much for the money, but for the knowledge that no one can buy a fixture on the internet with my name on it unless I sell it.

Pro-Scapes
06-12-2007, 07:53 PM
mike g talked to me in a private message about this some time ago, he may chime in here or not, I don't know. I know for me the volume to do this seems huge compared to what I am doing now. It is at least a few years away for me, but I am going that way as soon as possible.

My distributor is nice, but not very knowledgeable. I ask a question, they go to the book. I order something, it takes 2 weeks plus. The wire is higher that lowes or home depot. They stock FX bronze spots and paths, and some bulbs, but every thing else is special order. what good is a distributor that doesn't, well, distribute?

I really only want a hald dozen fixtures: good mr-16 spot with removable shroud, good mr-16 well, a tulip path and a china hat, a good downlight/tree with long shroud, and a small decklight. those 6 in a cast-like finish cover 98% of effects that I do. With a double o-ring and bulletproof socket, I am spending the next 3 years figuring out what I want.

Cost wise you gotta think container loads. ( like a 40 foot long, 8 foot wide and tall container)- a years worth of fixtures, that is a lotta dough to lay out. also, what happens when they get to the shore- customs, train, semi, unloading, storage, all these things cost money. that fixture that costs you 15,25 bucks at the factory, ( and more) may cost you double that once shipping and logistics gets the fixture to your hands for use.
The volume has to be very high for it to make sense.

when I reach that point, not so much for the money, but for the knowledge that no one can buy a fixture on the internet with my name on it unless I sell it.

Sounds like you need a new dist.

You state a fixture may cost 25 at factory then end up costing you double that your still in line with a off the shelf fixture. m thinking its gonna cost ya a bit more than that. I am years from thinking about my own line. I am just curious as to the procedure and how one goes about this. I know he said he paid for the tooling and all so im sure the intial cost alone is prohibative all but the most dedicated. We are dedicated but just have not grown to thoes proportions. Im one of thoes guys always looking for ways to improve my gig. Yes its slow... Yes I have a few disadvantages namly being my hearing but i am determined to be the very best that I can be.

Mike M
06-12-2007, 08:57 PM
I think we're just frustrated because we know there can be a more efficient model for getting us a product: bulk orders and/or direct from the manufacturer. Let the lawn and landscape guys (no offense to me) get their bullets and wire special-ordered from the irrigation distributors.

I'm getting nervous. JDL is taking over Lesco. Does this mean I'll have to special order fertilizer, too, and have it delivered in several 50 lb. bags via UPS? (ha)

I say we start installing Gambino lights if we can get them straight from the source, lol.

I mean think about, any industry where you need a distributor there are distinct reasons/advantages, such as experience and expertise, shelves full of various products, installation tools and materials, multiple accessories to see in person and from which to choose, and all the basics that they bought in bulk have broken down in smaller units. Without the inventory and specialization, they may as well do away with the counter, and the store front, too, and have workers in India taking our calls, brokering, and making arrangements for our UPS deliveries.

Mike M

High Performance Lighting
06-12-2007, 10:53 PM
I'd like to dispell any idea that what I am doing and have done is simple and easy and within reach for anyone to do. In fact most people in their right mind wouldn't do this. That being said I do not intend to discourage you as it has been a huge part of my success and for some others it's probably the right way to go. I will tell you it has required a tremendous investment in time, effort and a significant financial investment as well. This process is not for the squemish. I'm attaching a slightly edited edition of an e-mail I got today from the agent who handles my fixture line. I have designed a new fixture and I'm trying to get it built. This will give you a fish bowl look of what goes on behind closed doors during this process. keep in mind that there have been engineered drawing charges paid for this proposed fixture to get to this point. Just be aware if you are a small timer like me be prepared to get bent over a chair. :dizzy:

Mike,
Not the news you were looking for....
A very capable factory (not the one who makes your other fixtures) that has begun the mold process for the new fixture has come back to us mid-way...and told us the cost will be higher.
They can do the casting. we can do the finish, packaging and assembly at our own shop .
Price is coming out to you at $XX.XX
In addition....I can't commit to enough volume to get the mold for free....and that is costing us an up front $X,XXX.XX!

I know you are not going to be happy on this one....but it is what it is.
No one wants to touch brass casting without mold fees for these low volumes right now...and you designed a really heavy/beefy fixture .

Now...relatively speaking....no contractor in the usa will be buying a better value than you will be.
I know you are used to your $XX.XX price....but that was becoming more and more unrealistic as prices have gone up on me(brass and copper material) and I have absorbed much of them.
Anyway, I do think this will be a great product when done...and you will be the one to approve the samples.
I will only be acting as your "agent" on this of course as with the others this will be your proprietary product line in which you own the molds and designs.
I can trust this source. they do not cast for the industry...and are not tainted...for now..

If you agree...I will get you the mold invoice and tell them to resume.

Actually....to be safe...for you...I Will tell them i will pay 50% of mold up front...and balance when we approve samples! they should be ok with that.

let me know...and then i will continue on .

Chris J
06-12-2007, 11:07 PM
Mike,
You know you are my friend, but I don't know what the heck I can get out of this xxxx. Put some Freakin numbers in there! I guess I'm just a nosey Axx, but I can't deal with a bunch of fxxxxxg x's! Come on Man! Spill the Fxxxing
beans!:blob2:

Eden Lights
06-13-2007, 12:13 AM
Please guys, this is crazy! If you don't plan to sell the design, the fixture, or install a lot more than one guy can install this will not provide a return on the investment. Spend your time growing your business and put your ego's aside. Yeah it would be cool and might make you walk a little taller but that's about it. Sell the BK brass line which cannot be shopped and it's a fine machined jewel, not something that popped out of a mold. I could go on and on why this is wrong. Please don't take my comments to heart, we are all in this together.

Chris J
06-13-2007, 12:38 AM
Eden, I have to say I agree with you. The majority of the guys who will ever visit this forum will never reach the ability to even consider a proprietary line. There are a few manufacturers out there that no one can compete with in terms of quality. For those of you who are not too squimish, we can talk about these companies. For the rest of you (us) we should just keep ourselves grounded and focus on the business at hand which is selling high quality lighting and talented techniques with the products available to us.
I never told anyone, but when I grow up, I want to grow boobs and change my name to Janet Moyer;...........

High Performance Lighting
06-13-2007, 01:03 AM
Yeah you two champs are right on, it's been a huge mistake my getting involved with proprietary fixtures. Nothing to gain everything to lose. Maybe I'll stick it out another year or so before throwing in the towel and change over to that BK line. I especially like the cup of a shield they have that holds water and debris real well. After it stews in there for awhile it makes a real nice brown soup which crusts on the lens. I also love that miniscule set screw which strips and won't allow lamp changeouts. Better get a good set of channel locks so i can pry the top off. Please don't take my comments to heart, we are all in this together.:hammerhead:

Eden Lights
06-13-2007, 01:52 AM
I think it would great to discuss what the perfect fixture should be. HPL let's just start with your MR16 bullet style, show us some detailed pics for review or at least tell about its design?

How is the stem waterproofed?

What type of adjustment knuckle does it have? Teeth or infinite adjustment? If infinite, how well does it lock down? Screw or allen? How is the knuckle waterproofed?

What type of socket does it use? Is it fixed or floating? What is required to replace the socket, what is the complete procedure for replacement? Sealed or unsealed?

How many lenses or louvers can be used with it and how are they held in place if they are?

How is the shroud attached, sealed, and adjusted?

Do you have a full shroud for glare control in installs that have a 360-degree viewing angle? If so how does it drain?

What type of stake is it used with?

Eden Lights
06-13-2007, 02:09 AM
I think that it is great that you are trying to build a better fixture, I would love to blend the HK, Lumiere, and BK fixture to make the prefect one. I do still stand by my comments that it's not smart if you are a one man show and or not going to sale the fixture or the design.

What model of BK did you use?

I think it is worth noting that the HK fixture and the Lumiere fixture have the same designer.

David Gretzmier
06-13-2007, 02:46 AM
Eden makes a decent point- why is it so hard to fing a friggin bullet that has everything you want ? Doesn't everybody want:

a removable shroud, 360 option, long shroud option for moonlighting
Double o-rings for water proof on one end
and water proof knuckle on the other
an adjstable knuckle that you don't need a strange tool to use, preferably a knob you can actually turn with a gloved hand
the ability to replace socket and or/lead wire easily with a regular screwdriver
the ability to honeycomb or frost the lens, or colored lenses for you disco freaks
rainfall/irrigation clears debris from lens

and it comes with:

an unattatched stake you can hammer in with a HAMMER and not break it OR
a tree bracket that is adjustable on 2 axis AND
a box that opens easily. and not taped in three places with some child proof tab, or stapled shut in some tube and packing material taped to it inside.
No paper instructions. they just blow around on the jobsite anyway.

a heavy, heavy weight/feel ( really just to impress customers- Here- feel THIS- ooh heavy) AND has a finish that withstands the OUTSIDE. I want every customer to choose a bronzish color that stays the same, but others can be available. for those other customers that just won't listen to me. ( EGO ? )

and WORKS ! oh yeah, the effect- most important. must light things, and be made to handle heat. funny how these 2 things get overlooked.

and further the lead wire is not tied in some weird knot that requires you to remove gloves in cold weather to figure out how to untie it.

And is not sold or priced on the internet.EVER.

why do I have to buy 5000 of these from a manufacturor- and pony up, 50k, 100k dollars, am I the only one who wants this ?

NiteTymeIlluminations
06-13-2007, 08:43 AM
Great Blog, wow...got the big boys chiming in...Eden thumbs up...The HK line is freakin awesome, Lumiere has those glary little holes, and BK mgmt gets on my nerves sometimes...I like what HK is doing but gosh dern it I still need all three lines...

for those not happy with their distributor, find a good one...and stay loyal and tell him what to do...I can name a few competitors of mine that do a great job stocking and keeping prices competitive and know their products...Personally I dont think JDL can do this unless they have a lighting specialist in each branch...someone who doesnt sell anything but lighting and has nothing to do with irrigation.

the thing is I hear a lot of guys on this forum who try to buy lights from 10 different guys, whoever has the best price that day rather than staying loyal. I know we distributors are chasing you and that makes it hard sometime...but alot f you guys are already working with 5 or 6 distributors...my recommendation is to find a guy who knows the products, has the ablility to pull some strings when there's an emergency, and is willing to listen to you. Then tell the guy is stock levels start to fall...you need to keep 96 of this, 80 of this, etc...or i'm gonna start looking elsewhere...then get organized...don't expect to walk into your distributor and pick up 122 brass delta stars from BK and 33-15379oz and 22-15420agzs!!!

Oh then you want to buy direct from BK or Kichler....have a great time waiting 4-6 weeks to get that brass delta star...And with kichler getting 120,324 orders a day instead of 2,012 orders a day how do you think their turnaround will be...then get ready to pay 12% freight. You going to start buying your screwdriver straight from the manufacturer too?

Okay, got to get to work.

Mike M
06-13-2007, 09:08 AM
We all know that the smartest and more profitable models will beat the inefficient. As outdoor lighting evolves as a growth market, the landscape will change, so to speak. The current model of buying fixtures over the counter from an irrigation distributor is shaky. I think the only manufacturer that can pull this off is Cast, since they planned such a simple production line with simple and solid methods, and they train and service everyone with quality education (it's obvious they planned their sales on this model). But the lighting business is not the irrigation business. None of my local distributors have Cast, so I pay an extra premium for mail order.

While the manufacturers wait for all the local irrigation distributors to climb on board, the first company to offer direct internet sales will be in a great position early on in our growth. This would be especially beneficial for companies like Vista and Kichler who offer a thorough selection with all those accessories and finishes.

The present model, or lack their of, is so inefficient, so frustrating, that Mike G. and his natural business sense found it more economical to have his own fixture made for him. This is how manufacturing companies are born. He probably should make his own workhorse bullet and sell it directly to us. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

If I ever decide to have my own fixture, it won't really be my own. I will find a generic fixture line already in production and have my name branded on it, and shipped directly to me. It's very limiting, but if I have to go through UPS redundantly for each and every sale, and my volume is big, and a third party gets a commission for every individual sale just for brokering my order, then I'll find a better way.

Look at stocks and insurance, two very complicated industries, but consumers are savy and direct purchases have replaced brick and morter. I use e-trade to buy stocks, I buy into dividend reinvestment plans directly with corporations, and I buy my mutual funds directly from the mutual funds, and I have bought Geico insurance. "It's so simple a caveman could do it".

Again, the current irrigation distributor model is not working for me, and I know some people complain about FOLD, but they have lots in stock, and they specialize in LV lighting. I was pleased when I ask them the other day about bulk purchases and discounts, and they do offer that. I was also pleased that they had every fixture, mount, bulb, transformer, timer, photocell, and filter I requested in stock. I will just browse other online distributors Chris recommended if I have any problems. At present, I plan to use FOLD to build my business, and maybe I'll stay with them. Especially now that they offer Cast again. Eventually I'll be due for a personal face to face visit and to discuss bulk order strategies (Chris, you can come with me, you can bring your torches and I'll bring some non-listed fixtures with no spec sheets).

Mike M

Pro-Scapes
06-13-2007, 09:50 AM
I mean think about, any industry where you need a distributor there are distinct reasons/advantages, such as experience and expertise, shelves full of various products, installation tools and materials, multiple accessories to see in person and from which to choose, and all the basics that they bought in bulk have broken down in smaller units.
Mike M


I guess I am luckier than I know sometimes having a really well stocked specializing dist here 20 min from me. While I have had a few issues in the past its hard to break out of having what I need at my finger tips or 2 days away if they gotta ship it in.

Mike M
06-13-2007, 10:50 AM
You going to start buying your screwdriver straight from the manufacturer too?

If I gross over $100,000 in annual screwdriver sales, maybe. I won't be paying UPS to deliver them one at a time, that's for sure.

You make excellent points on loyalty and finding a good distributor I can trust.
I've been trying to do this all along. I paid FOLD to give me everything I need for installations and samples of different products to try for myself. I could have gone to Lowe's for some stuff, but I bought everything including excellent wire strippers and their slammer trencher tool, a spool of wire, and everything else they recommended. I didn't shop prices. I just said send me what I need for a demo set and for doing installations. I was disappointed to find the UL taped over, and that I had no spec sheets on anything. But for a demo set I guess it's okay, but like Mike G said, I have to tell the consumer "these are not what I plan to install, the architectural review board won't allow them without spec's, they're not UL listed, and I can't give you a warranty."

Based on Kichler's web interface alone, I agree that they would have difficulty emulating Amazon's model of inventory management and product delivery.

I'm now convinced that my needs will be met best by building a trusting relationship with a good on-line distributer, and with ideas like Kichler's bulk-packaging.

Disclaimer: I apologize for being green and thinking out loud, you guys are the experts, but again, I am in a thorough planning stage for medium and long-term business planning, and let's face it, early market positioning and business fundamentals are so important, and LV lighting is exploding right now.

Mike M

NiteTymeIlluminations
06-13-2007, 11:00 AM
I work with contractors who buy well over $250k a year and they have never brought up buying direct from the manufacturer....they know it would be a nightmare...but back to the point...I'm sure we'd all love to have a our own light...I do think it would be cool...but I also want a 63 foot yacht in Jacksonvile ready to go to the islands every weekend...it would be foolish for me at this point to do something like that but someday...

reap the benefits of a good lighting distributor and sign up for the manufacturer incentives too...stay loyal, shop prices on occasion to make sure everything is in line and you'll do fine...

NiteTymeIlluminations
06-13-2007, 11:02 AM
by the way, landscape lighting has been and will be exploding..and if you are doing your plan...write it down, if it isn't written down its not a plan...

extlights
06-13-2007, 11:45 AM
Mike M, I think you're concentrating on fixture costs too much. My advise would be this. Find a good local distributor who provides you good service and can get you the products that you need. Work on your business strategies and marketing. Remember this is a very service oriented field, and the customers you want to target aren't always worried about price. Give them a reason to go with you and what you offer...even if you might be more expensive than the next guy.

Thus you must remember, I doubt Mike G. started with his own fixtures solely for finding a way to save money. In fact, it's quite possible that maybe he's not paying that much less than others do for fixtures. What I see from this is that he wanted to seperate himself from other lighting contractors. If done right (which it seems he has) it allows himself to make his company his own and be different in a field that is growing by leaps and bounds. It gives him the competitive advantage in marketing, design, and perception. He knows everyday the quality of the fixtures he's installing and the performance these fixtures will put out.

I'm sure if he were only concerned about fixture costs, he may have not started his own line. Having his own line, however, is a way of him making his company different from any of ours...and not different just because he uses different fixtures....different because of establishing a market place in his area with a brand that he can call his own.

Service is the key to any business, and especially ours. These clients we are targeting all have the Mercedes or BMW in the garage and want the best. You have to show them why YOU are the best in your area and how you can provide them with the quality products and service they come to deserve. Once you do this and you start gaining a good reputation as a lighting contractor, then you can move forward and continue to find new ways to seperate yourself from your competition.

klkanders
06-13-2007, 12:57 PM
Very well said Dave!

Chris J
06-13-2007, 01:49 PM
Yeah you two champs are right on, it's been a huge mistake my getting involved with proprietary fixtures. Nothing to gain everything to lose. Maybe I'll stick it out another year or so before throwing in the towel and change over to that BK line. I especially like the cup of a shield they have that holds water and debris real well. After it stews in there for awhile it makes a real nice brown soup which crusts on the lens. I also love that miniscule set screw which strips and won't allow lamp changeouts. Better get a good set of channel locks so i can pry the top off. Please don't take my comments to heart, we are all in this together.:hammerhead:

Mike G,
In no way was I criticizing what you have done. What you have accomplished with your business is impressive to say the least. I was simply stating that most people in this business will never reach the level to justify taking that step. The level of your business has obviously reached a point above that of the average contractor. I was just pointing out the obvious fact that one has to be flying at a bit higher altitude before he starts thinking about a proprietary line.

Mike M
06-13-2007, 05:00 PM
You have to show them why YOU are the best in your area and how you can provide them with the quality products and service they come to deserve.

Yes.

I'm going with an LV-only internet distributor, and I'm thinking about limiting my main fixtures to a specific line, for simplicity and economy. I will target waterfront properties as marine-grade only, and inland areas I'll combine fixtures. Mainly, I like the Cast philosophy, business model, and marketing materials. I think the tighter selection helps in reducing the cost of bronze fixtures. I do, however, also like some of the Kichler products, and the variety of specialty fixtures that I see on the market. I'll need some time to learn more about all the other manufacturers.

Either way, I'm definately going with the products which are UL, with architectural spec's, and that have the longest warranties in the business.

Mike M

Eden Lights
06-14-2007, 12:55 AM
Eden makes a decent point- why is it so hard to fing a friggin bullet that has everything you want ? Doesn't everybody want:

a removable shroud, 360 option, long shroud option for moonlighting
Double o-rings for water proof on one end
and water proof knuckle on the other
an adjstable knuckle that you don't need a strange tool to use, preferably a knob you can actually turn with a gloved hand
the ability to replace socket and or/lead wire easily with a regular screwdriver
the ability to honeycomb or frost the lens, or colored lenses for you disco freaks
rainfall/irrigation clears debris from lens

and it comes with:

an unattatched stake you can hammer in with a HAMMER and not break it OR
a tree bracket that is adjustable on 2 axis AND
a box that opens easily. and not taped in three places with some child proof tab, or stapled shut in some tube and packing material taped to it inside.
No paper instructions. they just blow around on the jobsite anyway.

a heavy, heavy weight/feel ( really just to impress customers- Here- feel THIS- ooh heavy) AND has a finish that withstands the OUTSIDE. I want every customer to choose a bronzish color that stays the same, but others can be available. for those other customers that just won't listen to me. ( EGO ? )

and WORKS ! oh yeah, the effect- most important. must light things, and be made to handle heat. funny how these 2 things get overlooked.

and further the lead wire is not tied in some weird knot that requires you to remove gloves in cold weather to figure out how to untie it.

And is not sold or priced on the internet.EVER.

why do I have to buy 5000 of these from a manufacturor- and pony up, 50k, 100k dollars, am I the only one who wants this ?

Excellent perfect fixture request, Thanks

Eden Lights
06-14-2007, 01:05 AM
Aiming and Shielding are at the very top of my list and that narrows the field way down. Nothing kills a perfect job like glare, it can be just one pathlight, uplight, downlight, or whatever. I just got back from a aiming a few minutes ago and I would say of the 1.5 hours we where their about a hour was spent on shielding.

Mike M
06-14-2007, 07:38 PM
Seriously, I'm not the one with lots of install experience, but glare is an immediate issue I noticed. Lots of tricks, but I agree it's lots of moving and aiming.

"Barn doors" (hoods) always did the job in film/video. I see some on the market for specific fixtures, but they are not common. These are better than cowls because of the angles you can adjust. Louvers are nice but they need to be a little deeper.

Just my impression.

David Gretzmier
06-15-2007, 01:40 AM
eden- thanks for recognizing and responding to my rant. On your note- yeah, hiding the source is the jewel in landscape lighting. I try to design the plan to always face bullets away from walks and drives if possible. the tough part is when you can't.

Eden Lights
06-20-2007, 12:15 AM
Are we not going to see or hear about your fixture HPL?

Chris J
06-20-2007, 06:28 PM
Eden makes a decent point- why is it so hard to fing a friggin bullet that has everything you want ? Doesn't everybody want:

a removable shroud, 360 option, long shroud option for moonlighting
Double o-rings for water proof on one end
and water proof knuckle on the other
an adjstable knuckle that you don't need a strange tool to use, preferably a knob you can actually turn with a gloved hand
the ability to replace socket and or/lead wire easily with a regular screwdriver
the ability to honeycomb or frost the lens, or colored lenses for you disco freaks
rainfall/irrigation clears debris from lens

and it comes with:

an unattatched stake you can hammer in with a HAMMER and not break it OR
a tree bracket that is adjustable on 2 axis AND
a box that opens easily. and not taped in three places with some child proof tab, or stapled shut in some tube and packing material taped to it inside.
No paper instructions. they just blow around on the jobsite anyway.

a heavy, heavy weight/feel ( really just to impress customers- Here- feel THIS- ooh heavy) AND has a finish that withstands the OUTSIDE. I want every customer to choose a bronzish color that stays the same, but others can be available. for those other customers that just won't listen to me. ( EGO ? )

and WORKS ! oh yeah, the effect- most important. must light things, and be made to handle heat. funny how these 2 things get overlooked.

and further the lead wire is not tied in some weird knot that requires you to remove gloves in cold weather to figure out how to untie it.

And is not sold or priced on the internet.EVER.

why do I have to buy 5000 of these from a manufacturor- and pony up, 50k, 100k dollars, am I the only one who wants this ?

You pretty much just described the Kichler 15384AZT/BR/BBR with the exception of the internet thing. My opinion, as stated before though, if the customer is an internet shopper then they are not a significant customer. The internet does not do custom designs, installations and does not do service after the sale. The internet is not a certified lighting contractor, it does not have formal training, is not licensed by the state and you can't contact it for a service call when you have a problem. If you have a potential client that doesn't understand that there are costs associated with operating a business, then that person is not worth your time and effort. They will probably be better off going to the home cheepo first. Let them aggravate the crap out of themselves with that junk for several months, then when they call you they will be more than happy to shell out some money for quality.

High Performance Lighting
06-20-2007, 10:52 PM
Are we not going to see or hear about your fixture HPL?

Please guys, this is crazy! If you don't plan to sell the design, the fixture, or install a lot more than one guy can install this will not provide a return on the investment. Spend your time growing your business and put your ego's aside. Yeah it would be cool and might make you walk a little taller but that's about it. Sell the BK brass line which cannot be shopped and it's a fine machined jewel, not something that popped out of a mold. I could go on and on why this is wrong. Please don't take my comments to heart, we are all in this together.


No, I don't care to entertain your request and put my fixtures on display for your critique. I could care less about your opinion. You seem to have an awful lot of interest for someone who has bad mouthed the concept like you have. You just keep talking out of your azz when you have no experience at this . :nono: I have installs booked for four months solid and receive at least 6 inquires a week for paid design consultations. Obviously I must be doing something right. I work by referral only and am currently putting the finishing touches on a $92,000 landscape lighting project. I can tell you this , I don't get the I can buy this product on the internet or at the local irri wholesaler for X why are you charging Y, anymore. If you don't believe that this aspect of what I've done in and of itself has great value than you have a screw loose! Keep criticizing, I'm laughing all the way to the bank.

Chris J
06-21-2007, 12:06 AM
Mr. G.
Check your PM in a minute

Chris J
06-21-2007, 01:20 AM
Mr. G.
Check your PM in a minute

OK dude, the minute was up an hour ago. Time to respond.

Mike M
06-21-2007, 09:11 AM
Mr. G.

It's Mr. G., sir.

High Performance Lighting
06-22-2007, 12:42 AM
No mainstream manufacturer is dumb enough to put this much brass and copper into a fixture. And No, I'm sorry you can't have it.

David Gretzmier
06-22-2007, 11:16 AM
man I wish manufacturers WERE stupid...

Pro-Scapes
06-22-2007, 08:33 PM
Hey Mike didnt I read someplace your area lights are MR 16 based ? I like the looks of thoes. Real sweet. Look super tough.

Mike M
06-22-2007, 09:47 PM
The juxtaposition in that photo of the light with the irrigation device makes me wonder if we should have a pop-up path light when the lights go on...

extlights
06-22-2007, 10:17 PM
Why not...they have the electronic bollards that pop out of the ground when they turn on and then retract when they turn off.

extlights
06-22-2007, 10:18 PM
Problems waiting to happen, but still kind of cool I guess.

Mike M
06-22-2007, 10:54 PM
I installed some trees and shrubs the other day that pop up when the sun comes up. Pretty cool.

Eden Lights
06-23-2007, 12:42 AM
Now I see whats going on, I am really disappointed. That's for all the kind words from everyone that has contacted me. Thanks

Pro-Scapes
06-23-2007, 12:27 PM
The juxtaposition in that photo of the light with the irrigation device makes me wonder if we should have a pop-up path light when the lights go on...

nothing wrong with the position of that light and the sprinkler. The sprinkler will spray away from the light. I always make sure the irrigation is set for early morning too just to make sure the lights are off and cooled well first. We all know what happens when cold water hits hot glass. They do make pop up landscape lights but think of this. How often have you seen a pop up sprinkler that failed to retract because the smalled piece of dirt was wedged in.

Chris J
06-23-2007, 01:47 PM
Now I see whats going on, I am really disappointed. That's for all the kind words from everyone that has contacted me. Thanks

Eden,
Did I miss something? What is it that's going on?

Pro-Scapes
06-23-2007, 06:57 PM
Now I see whats going on, I am really disappointed. That's for all the kind words from everyone that has contacted me. Thanks

what ya saying man ? Just because having your own line is not right for you or most of us doesnt mean its not right for Mike G. to each his own. It works for him.... Its a selling point for him. I dont think it would make a rats hairy butt difference if I had these fixtures this early in the game. You seem to do stellar work and work with advanced dimming systems and use fixtures from your chosen sources. That works for you and you seem to be sucsessful at it.

If we all did everything the same we might as well buy into the olp gig.

Mike M
06-23-2007, 07:09 PM
What's the olp gig?

Do you mean the ole job gig?

Pro-Scapes
06-23-2007, 08:14 PM
olp is outdoor lighting perspectives.. a franchise arrangment.. www.outdoorlights.com

Eden Lights
06-23-2007, 11:22 PM
Now I see whats going on, I am really disappointed. That's for all the kind words from everyone that has contacted me. Thanks

EDIT!!! Thanks for all the kind words from everyonr that has contacted me.

Sorry for the Typo, this eastern time zone is kicking my tail, since it doesn't get dark until after 9pm. Its made for some long nights this week.

Eden Lights
06-23-2007, 11:42 PM
Eden you've got a real chip on your shoulder. The guy is a very good photographer. Have you seen the photos on the Cast site? Photo shop assisted or not who cares they are great shots. His photography skills and his camera happens to be superior to yours. This coming from the guy who demands a definition of a proposal and a close. What's the deal .you don't like it unless you're the center of attention. Chill out huh and have some respect.

No, I don't care to entertain your request and put my fixtures on display for your critique. I could care less about your opinion. You seem to have an awful lot of interest for someone who has bad mouthed the concept like you have. You just keep talking out of your azz when you have no experience at this . :nono: I have installs booked for four months solid and receive at least 6 inquires a week for paid design consultations. Obviously I must be doing something right. I work by referral only and am currently putting the finishing touches on a $92,000 landscape lighting project. I can tell you this , I don't get the I can buy this product on the internet or at the local irri wholesaler for X why are you charging Y, anymore. If you don't believe that this aspect of what I've done in and of itself has great value than you have a screw loose! Keep criticizing, I'm laughing all the way to the bank.

Why don't you PM Eddie Clemmons and ask him, better yet why don't you print out the photo, Study it very closely . Close your eyes and in your mind try and determine what value this could possibly be on a site.

Why all the attacks? Mr. Gambino I will try not to make constructive comments to your posts directly in the future, but I encourage you in the future to make constructive comments to mine, since without them from everyone I would have no need to come here. I also ask you to please stop making personel comments toward me in a public forum and send them directly to me by private e-mail. These types of personal attacks are damaging to you and me. Thanks

Lite4
06-23-2007, 11:43 PM
Speaking of OLP someone just opened up a franchise in my area. Saw the truck a few days ago. Don't know anything about the guy though. He sure has a nice national website to pimp though.

Eden Lights
06-24-2007, 12:29 AM
OLP's new marketing materials are the best of any Landscape Lighting company period, I would have to say. The recent Architectual Digest info article was the kind of thing ALOP needs to be doing for it's certified members. Recent UPB lighting control card stock piece is excellent, DVD, Folders, and etc. It's all good. While I consider my lighting work to be far superior to them, it's hard to see that without a face to face client consult.

Lite4
06-24-2007, 12:34 AM
Just because they may be the biggest name, doesn't mean the individual franchisees know jack about mentally walking through a project and seeing how it looks completed in their mind. There are plenty of guys who just put in lights with no flare for the artistic side of lighting. The big picture just escapes them.

Chris J
06-24-2007, 01:12 AM
Yes, but in this business marketing yourself and your company plays a big part in your success. Although we have a good idea amongst ourselves who does the best jobs, the potential clients do not (in most cases). If the customer is turned on by slick marketing, professionl looking trucks, proposals, presentations etc... they just might get the job. The bad news is that the customer will more than likely be happy with the lighting job because he/she has no comparison. To the typical home owner, any lighting looks pretty. They will really never know what it "could have looked like" unless a better designer has the opportunity, somehow, to install another system for the same person on the same home.

David Gretzmier
06-24-2007, 01:31 AM
Chris J is right on the money, whoever "looks" the best on the 1st or follow up bid gets the job 80-90% of the time. I have great literature from my distributors on Christmas lights, and I sell and close well. I need equally slick or better marketing power to sell in landscape lights.

High Performance Lighting
06-24-2007, 01:39 AM
OLP's new marketing materials are the best of any Landscape Lighting company period, I would have to say. The recent Architectual Digest info article was the kind of thing ALOP needs to be doing for it's certified members. Recent UPB lighting control card stock piece is excellent, DVD, Folders, and etc. It's all good. While I consider my lighting work to be far superior to them, it's hard to see that without a face to face client consult.


Mr. Clemons with 1 m why don't you post your website address so we can see some of your slick marketing. :clapping:

Mike M
06-24-2007, 08:51 AM
I need equally slick or better marketing power to sell in landscape lights.

Absolutely. Dave, since ours is a visual medium, we need strong visual materials to sell it, and very professional looking logo's, trucks, etc., like Chris said, I think we all agree, and you are right about the manufacturers; I plan to take advantage of the materials that companies like Cast puts out. That kind of stuff will help promote my business with strong visual images, professionalism, and big company product support plus quality company endorsement. All I have to do is insert my business card.

I would hope it's just a matter of time before our manufacturers offer us co-op money for print ads. This is a natural step for them, since the franchises, I'm assuming (I'll have to read up), are going to sell their own lights and cut into the product market share considerably.

Also, regarding marketing, we can easily compete by using direct mail services, again, like Chris uses. Also, FOLD is now referring lighting businesses to a Florida marketing firm specializing in landscape lighting. Just something to look at to compete with big business.

Not to stray away from "propriety fixtures" stuff, but I just want to mention the benfit of having an on-going business plan with short, medium, and long term objectives, which includes an evolving marketing plan.

Let the franchises spend their money helping the industry as a whole to sell lights. I'm not affraid of those guys, it's you guys I'm worried about. Chris, Hilton Head is infested with poisonous snakes, maleria is the number 1 killer for landscapers, and nobody lives here, it's all condo's and cheap people, and vast areas of protected land. All the rich folks live in Texas, Arizona, and Southern California, which, I might add, are very nice places to live without all that East Coast humidity. I also hear nice things about Nashville, TN, Reading, PA, and the whole state of New Jersey. :)

Chris J
06-24-2007, 11:01 AM
In regards to the marketing, I don't want you guys to misunderstand my position. While I believe it is truly valuable to have a tremendous and professional marketing image, I tend to side with those who agree with not promoting a particular brand. I believe in creating your own materials, brochures, catalogs, flyers, folders etc... I think you want to promote yourself and your company rather than the manufacturer of the products you use. If you place emphasis on the manufacturer, the potential client can then shop another less expensive installer of the same product. It just makes for a harder sale because you then have to take more time to explain why you are better suited to install these same products.

NightScenes
06-24-2007, 01:25 PM
I agree with Chris. I make all of my own promotional materials like flyers, CDs, business cards and the like. That way I'm not selling a product but myself.

Mike M
06-24-2007, 03:05 PM
Again, I see your point Chris & Paul. That's why I'm here.

I do like co-op, though. Why not split the expense of ad placement? Anywho, it might be helpful in the beginning for me to use an affordable manufacturer's mailer if I don't have the in-house production equipment/software, yet. Nice too have beautiful photo's from a lighting pro with my card attached, at least while I get started.

I noticed a compromise may be a printing company that uses stock photo's for backgrounds, etc.

Mike

High Performance Lighting
06-24-2007, 03:56 PM
I plan to take advantage of the materials that companies like Cast puts out. That kind of stuff will help promote my business with strong visual images, professionalism, and big company product support plus quality company endorsement. All I have to do is insert my business card.

This may seem enticing when first starting out since you won't have to incur the costs of producing professional quality marketing materials. Just consider the hidden cost of doing this though. Number 1 this is not a representation of your own work and could be considered by some to be unethical. This may be fine and fair in return to the manufacturer if you are using 100% of the host manufacturers product and are heavily branding their name before yours because you are yet to become established in the marketplace. if you are using a portion of their products and are using their materials to sell their competition's products than that's bad too. The obvious drawbacks to branding the product are that you are now setting yourself up to be shopped not only out to other service providers but to distributors who don't have a problem selling direct to the end consumer. The other problem that can potentially arise is this. the prospect receives the manufacturers materials from you with your business card inserted. The prospect then contacts the manufacturer direct and asks where they can purchase the product who in turn is sent to a distributor and you have now facilitated a sale for both of them. They have a less costly individual do the install or do it themselves and you are left holding the bag. And if you don't think this happens then I have some ocean front property in AZ which I need to sell you. you have to start somewhere but go into this eyes wide open.

I'd recommended developing relationships with non competing fellow service providers who will either refer you to their clients or subcontract you to work on their projects. Make sure their values and quality etc. are in line with yours. Endorsements from trusted individuals are 100 times more powerful than glossy paper and digital images on a computer screen no matter how nice they look.

Mike M
06-24-2007, 05:04 PM
I'd recommended developing relationships with non competing fellow service providers who will either refer you to their clients or subcontract you to work on their projects.

Good point.

Pro-Scapes
06-24-2007, 06:14 PM
I really have to agree with HPL on this and especially since I am coming straight out of doing this mistake.

We tried a manufactures based door tag with our cards attached.. 1 call from an elderly lady accusing us of ripping her flowers up when we came to hang the tag. Waste of shoe leather and time as well as business cards.

We tried manufacture based post cards. Again zero reply but in all fairness we only tried a small amount of these in order to test the waters per se to existing clients.

Word of mouth is starting to pick up for us. Im sure it takes time. There is a southeastern francisee operating in our area. It does take some work I am sure but the advantage is I am local and will be there for many many moons to come for service. Our direct marketing got mailed out yesterday. I have recived the left over post cards in the mail yesterday and they look really good to me. I need everyones prayers on this and I will also keep you posted on my results with hand creating my own mailing list by hand vs buying a list from a firm.

Eden Lights
06-25-2007, 02:45 AM
Mr. Clemons with 1 m why don't you post your website address so we can see some of your slick marketing. :clapping:

We have discussed my Website in the past which is Edenlights.com and it is currently down during replacment. I even have posted a link to a current snap shot of one of the pages, I will post it again when I get home. We do very little cold marketing, but I know we should. We have no yard signs, but I think they would really help, we have no lettering at all on our two trucks a 01 and 03 model which we just never had lettered since new and I know that would help, no current website which I know would really help, but development is stalled waiting on materials from me. We try to find our clients and then make every effort to provide a them with a world class experience from the start to ??? (all of our clients are still clients for the past 8 years) We do yellow pages, we do a full color card stock piece with new graphics every time to a very very direct market. We never talk negative about other professionals in town. And most of all we try to give back, which has the greatest returns of all marketing types.

I have attached some information about Eden Lights that we start off with with our clients, HLP you will see a couple of phrases that I got from you about HP systems. Then I have attached some project materials with a final photo of the install that I feel backs up my statement about World Class Performance, and make sure to take note of the warranties to back it all up.

Now if I could my marketing up to speed we could really get this thing rolling, because I agree we do not have any slick marketing. I almost forgot we need to do some shows to, I have some great ideas for a plan at one of our high end shows oneday.

Eden Lights
06-25-2007, 03:08 AM
Sorry for the typos and incomplete sentences, but I fell asleep two or three times.

Mike M
06-25-2007, 09:22 AM
Hey, the architectural lights are exceptional and set you apart from most any installer, but do you also have a photo with the tree lights in the foreground as you have in the plan? Thanks! Mike M.

By the way, I have had time for a lot of reading lately, Lawn & Landscape magazine has a good article on "Wise Landscaping" from central FL, which goes into details on his marketing strategy and business plan, and he highlights trade shows. You might want to hear what he says about the shows and his business plan, especially after you read his numbers in growth.

High Performance Lighting
06-26-2007, 02:37 AM
We have discussed my Website in the past which is Edenlights.com and it is currently down during replacment. I even have posted a link to a current snap shot of one of the pages, I will post it again when I get home. We do very little cold marketing, but I know we should. We have no yard signs, but I think they would really help, we have no lettering at all on our two trucks a 01 and 03 model which we just never had lettered since new and I know that would help, no current website which I know would really help, but development is stalled waiting on materials from me. We try to find our clients and then make every effort to provide a them with a world class experience from the start to ??? (all of our clients are still clients for the past 8 years) We do yellow pages, we do a full color card stock piece with new graphics every time to a very very direct market. We never talk negative about other professionals in town. And most of all we try to give back, which has the greatest returns of all marketing types.

I have attached some information about Eden Lights that we start off with with our clients, HLP you will see a couple of phrases that I got from you about HP systems. Then I have attached some project materials with a final photo of the install that I feel backs up my statement about World Class Performance, and make sure to take note of the warranties to back it all up.

Now if I could my marketing up to speed we could really get this thing rolling, because I agree we do not have any slick marketing. I almost forgot we need to do some shows to, I have some great ideas for a plan at one of our high end shows oneday.

I am beginning to lesson my grudge against Eddie Clemons and am slowly becoming a fan. We are deep in private message sessions and are working out our differences. We are soon to reach an agreement that this forum is big enough for the both of us to peacefully co-exist.
:clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

Chris J
06-26-2007, 07:44 AM
:drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup:

Eden Lights
06-27-2007, 12:42 AM
I am beginning to lesson my grudge against Eddie Clemons and am slowly becoming a fan. We are deep in private message sessions and are working out our differences. We are soon to reach an agreement that this forum is big enough for the both of us to peacefully co-exist.
:clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

I got a great laugh when I read this, Thanks.