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View Full Version : Broken Fixture: Who to Bill for it?


Chris J
07-25-2007, 08:26 PM
I'm finishing up a job on a house that we did while the house was under construction. I hate trying to put in lights during construction because of damage, congestion of people etc... Anyway, when we went back today to finish up the job, another fixture was broken and I have no idea which of the numerous construction people on site is responsible for the damage as no body would take responsibility. In a situation like this, does anyone have any suggestions as to who I should charge for this damaged fixture? I can't see billing the homeowner because it was of no fault of theirs. I am also having a hard time with the idea of billing the builder because he will have no idea of who to charge it off to (he doesn't know who broke it either). It looks like I'm going to just have to suck it up and eat the loss which is really aggravating! This is the second broken fixture on this job and the job is not completed. There is no telling how many other fixtures will be broken by the time this is over with!

NiteTymeIlluminations
07-25-2007, 08:37 PM
kichler rma material it sounds to me...weak weld spot...yup yup yup

Chris J
07-25-2007, 08:41 PM
Actually, it did break in a very strange place. It was a 15385AZT and it broke above the knuckle (the knuckle actually stayed in tact, and the shroud broke).
But that would be cheating I think.....naaa, I can't do that.

klkanders
07-25-2007, 09:09 PM
Chris, I gotta ask ya....why are you installing before house is done? I know you told whoever hired ya that things get broke when scaffolds and ladders and equipment are still being moved around right? And what was the response from them? And not one but two fixtures? That sucks because I agree you will probably have to take care of it.

NightScenes
07-25-2007, 09:36 PM
I'm betting that your distributor would take care of it for you. I agree with klkanders also. If they insist that you install before the project is ready, they pay for breakage.

NightLightingFX
07-25-2007, 11:15 PM
Chris
If it were me I would probably suck-up the first broken fixture. However after the second broken fixture I would consult with your client explaining the problem and that it isn't fair/right for you to continue to absorb the cost of broken fixtures. Some one has to pay for the fixtures and it shouldn't be you. Another thought, do you have to have your fixtures out while the construction is going on. What if you just laid out all your wires etc and when the construction is finished connect your fixtures to the bare leads?
~Ned

Chris J
07-25-2007, 11:57 PM
This was a tough one. The client was moving in from Texas (Texas people are so hard to deal with Paul!), and was pressuring the builder to have everything done 4 months ahead of schedule so they could move in. It is probably partly my fault because I didn't put my foot down. It was a very large job, and I really wanted it not only for the financial opportunity but also to showcase my skills for this custom builder. This is the job I talked about in another post where we put in every type of light imaginable (downlights, uplights, sconces, water feature, core drilled paver MR16 well lights, etc....) I did charge accordingly for the project because I knew things like this were going to happen. As I said, I don't like doing new construction projects and I will avoid it like the plague unless I absolutely have to do it during construction.
I just got back home about 30 minutes ago from doing my night-time adjustments and final walk through. I have to say that this turned out to be probably one of the finest installations that I have ever done. Somehow, these two fixtures don't even matter to me anymore. When I got there, the homeowners were beside themselves staring at their back yard and pool area. This is the stuff I live for! Man! How good it feels to get this kind of reaction from a customer. Before I left, the man told me to feel free to add him to my list of references. The feeling I have right now is well worth little bit of extra money in replacement fixtures.
I would also say that his feelings of me are somewhat extraordinary right now. I doubt that he would have exactly that same feeling of me if I told him to cough up another couple hundred to pay for something that no one knows who's to blame for.

klkanders
07-26-2007, 12:06 AM
You are so right. Hey this project sounds like something I wanna see. Can you get some pics posted here so I can drool over them? Congrats!

NightScenes
07-26-2007, 12:07 AM
I guess you could just take the cost out of your advertising budget.

Chris J
07-26-2007, 12:22 AM
You are so right. Hey this project sounds like something I wanna see. Can you get some pics posted here so I can drool over them? Congrats!

They are still working on the pool and a few finishing touches on the house. Once this is done, I'm bringing my photographer out of retirement for some shots. It's a shame that I quit doing photo contests. This one would be a real contender.

Paul, if you can afford to install entire lighting systems for free, I think I can spare a couple fixtures.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-31-2007, 12:11 AM
I would suggest you replace the broken fixture, not mention a thing to anyone, and apply the materials cost to your 'promotions' expense. Seriously, who wants to hear about someone else's problems? If you have designed and contracted this job out properly there should be plenty of wiggle room to absorb the cost of a couple of new fixtures without it hurting your bottom line. In the end the customer is completely happy and has no idea of any problems..... their references will more then pay for a fixture or two.

Have a great day.

Pro-Scapes
08-01-2007, 10:57 AM
I dont see why the lighting couldnt of been done as a final touch. Run your mains with the open irrigation and draingage trenches then after landscape is in splice in your lights. We are doing this on a project.

I reckon you or Kichler or your dist will be eating this light. Next time a release should be signed when the general contractor insists you install premature that they will pay for any breakage or subsequent damages to your system.

David Gretzmier
08-03-2007, 10:17 AM
1st line of defense, If your distributor will replace under warranty, I'd go that way. yeah, the manufacturer didn't break it, but the fixtures I use take a kick or two or five. The fixtures you use should do the same.

2nd line, you eat the cost, and let the customer know- "Hey this got damaged, but I'm gonna go ahaead and take care of it." At least you get some value in the customers heart that you are there for them. If they don't know this, then they can't brag to thier friends. They may offer to pay, but don't take it, just tell them to donate the money to a cause, or put it in thier savings for the next upgrade- great time to show portfolio for back yard or whatever.

3rd line- the general contractor. he gets this stuff every day, other contractors screw up others work daily- the painter guy, trim guy, plumber guy, etc. I promise you , those other guys don't always go back and redo thier work for free when others mess it up. If you repair for free, what motivation does he have to hold his subs responsible? You've got to let him know that he can pay for it, or this is the last time it is free to him. the next time it comes out of his pocket.