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bmwsmity
09-15-2007, 09:36 PM
I like to plan well in advance, and this will be my first winter as a full-time lighting contractor.

What do you guys do for income during the winter...or do you just save up and take a long break?

Keep in mind...all I do is lighting - not any landscaping.

:drinkup:

THEGOLDPRO
09-15-2007, 09:37 PM
i plow snow.

Landscape Illuminating
09-15-2007, 09:39 PM
A majority of folks here seem to do well installing christmas lighting.

-LI

Chris J
09-15-2007, 09:57 PM
Are you kidding? We do landscape lighting in the winter!!! This is the reason for the season. We take the rest of the year off!!
Oh, I'm sorry. You have snow.

David Gretzmier
09-15-2007, 11:41 PM
We do Christmas lights big time and shuffle the landscape light jobs we get to Feb. 15 or so when all of our jobs are finished with take down.

jana
09-16-2007, 12:52 PM
Trade stock, options & forex more actively than during the green season.

Not much winter anyway in my hood.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
09-16-2007, 01:45 PM
Here we have a very challenging business cycle. Basically I have 16 weeks a year in which to sell my services. May To September. Generally we cannot start installations until after the frost is out and the ground firms up some (Late April / Early May) and by December 1st it is just too miserable and cold to bother doing outdoor lighting work. Our clients are mostly seasonal residents.

For the first couple of years I 'enjoyed' the 4 months off a year. Then reality sunk in as we were beginning every season off in the red. I tried Christmas Lighting but it just insn't my cup of tea. That is when we moved inside and added custom interior lighting systems. We now take on 5+ full scale custom interior projects per year (fall/ winter) and this has become about 40% of our business.

This year things are changing again... looking at new markets in which to open up in (locally and abroad) and morphing the interior lighting from turn key to Design Spec. only. This should help build volume on the interior lighting business.

If you are in a seasonal marketplace and just starting out, the best advice I can give you is to keep your monthly expenses (burn rate) to a minimum, negotiate extended terms with your suppliers, and make sure that any advertising you contract includes a clause that your billing will only occur April to September. Then you can enjoy the first couple of winters off, survive and figure out what you really want to do with all that time.

Have a great day.

bmwsmity
09-17-2007, 04:04 PM
Here we have a very challenging business cycle. Basically I have 16 weeks a year in which to sell my services. May To September. Generally we cannot start installations until after the frost is out and the ground firms up some (Late April / Early May) and by December 1st it is just too miserable and cold to bother doing outdoor lighting work. Our clients are mostly seasonal residents.

For the first couple of years I 'enjoyed' the 4 months off a year. Then reality sunk in as we were beginning every season off in the red. I tried Christmas Lighting but it just insn't my cup of tea. That is when we moved inside and added custom interior lighting systems. We now take on 5+ full scale custom interior projects per year (fall/ winter) and this has become about 40% of our business.

This year things are changing again... looking at new markets in which to open up in (locally and abroad) and morphing the interior lighting from turn key to Design Spec. only. This should help build volume on the interior lighting business.

If you are in a seasonal marketplace and just starting out, the best advice I can give you is to keep your monthly expenses (burn rate) to a minimum, negotiate extended terms with your suppliers, and make sure that any advertising you contract includes a clause that your billing will only occur April to September. Then you can enjoy the first couple of winters off, survive and figure out what you really want to do with all that time.

Have a great day.


So are you a licensed electrician, or do you just do the design part of it and let an electrician install the interior lighting. Did you take any classes or training for this?

I have to admit, I am intrigued by interior lighting design. I always take notice when I see unique lights and dramatic interior lighting.

For those of you in colder climates (unlike Chris), do you get any landscape lighting work during the winter, or is it completely dead?

Chris J
09-17-2007, 04:37 PM
:laugh: :cool: :laugh:

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
09-17-2007, 07:45 PM
So are you a licensed electrician, or do you just do the design part of it and let an electrician install the interior lighting. Did you take any classes or training for this?

I have to admit, I am intrigued by interior lighting design. I always take notice when I see unique lights and dramatic interior lighting.

For those of you in colder climates (unlike Chris), do you get any landscape lighting work during the winter, or is it completely dead?

I am not a licensed electrician, although my company is a licensed electrical contractor and we are currently seeking to employ a master electrician.

On Interiors we offer two packages: Turn Key and Design/Spec. In a turn key contract I do the design, specification, procurement of materials, then do a full layout on site. Then we project manage the electricians on the physical installation. Once the home is complete we return to trim, lamp and aim the system. If there is automation we work with the automation guy to build scenes etc.

In a Design Spec job I simply do that... Design, specify and then if the client/builder so wishes, I am available on an hourly basis to do things like layout, consultations, project management etc.

Around these parts we have no ability to do outdoor lighting after early December as the frost sets in and the snow starts falling. Pretty hard to dig in wire at -30c in any case.

Have a great day.

Chris J
09-17-2007, 08:43 PM
[QUOTE=James Solecki - INTEGRA;1966769]I am not a licensed electrician, although my company is a licensed electrical contractor and we are currently seeking to employ a master electrician.

How can your company be licensed without you being licensed?
I ask this because of simple ignorance. I wish you no harm what-so-ever. Please answer because you know that I am just asking to gain knowledge and not to pick another fight.


Disclaimer: Messages from here forward are intended to enhance creators knowledge. They are not intended to criticize, condemn, embarrass or humiliate respondents reply. Any retaliation will be ignored.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
09-17-2007, 09:01 PM
[QUOTE=Chris J;1966850]
How can your company be licensed without you being licensed?
I ask this because of simple ignorance. I wish you no harm what-so-ever. Please answer because you know that I am just asking to gain knowledge and not to pick another fight.


Its a long complex story Chris....

Short Version: The ESA here moved to limit electrical permits (inspections) to only licensed electrical contractors and homeowners. This put our business at risk of going underground and not being able to get an inspection. Seems they were not really aware of how many people were making a living in the LV outdoor lighting market. I decided to apply for a "provisional electrical contractors license" given my special circumstances. They reviewed the case and decided to issue me my license with the limitation that I cannot perform any work on line voltage installations and that I would have to employ a master electrician within 5 years to maintain my licensed status.

Since the time this all happened, the ESA has decided that LV outdoor lighting systems will not require an inspection as long as they use a CSA approved plug in applicance (transformer). I am now one of 3 LV outdoor lighting contractors in the Province with a Electrical Contractors License.

Have a great day.

INTEGRA Works:
ECRA / ESA Lic. # 7003564

Chris J
09-17-2007, 09:16 PM
wow. Thanks for the explanation! So with all of the Canadian requirements, your systems don't even have to be inspected? What a trip! Since the ESA has decided that LV lighting will not require an inspection, what is stopping everybody else from jumping on the band wagon?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
09-18-2007, 09:48 AM
The band wagon is pretty much wide open, and always has been. Like most places we have landscapers, irrigators, electricians, builders, carpenters, and maintenance companies all installing LV outdoor lighting systems. Oh and there are a handfull of stand alone lighting companies here in Ontario too.

It is, for the most part, the stand alone companies that are leading the charge for the development of standards, policies and codes that would help to protect the industry and the public. New here in Ontario is the Lighting Commodity Group within Landscape Ontario.

niteliters
09-19-2007, 06:21 PM
I like to plan well in advance, and this will be my first winter as a full-time lighting contractor.

What do you guys do for income during the winter...or do you just save up and take a long break?

Keep in mind...all I do is lighting - not any landscaping.

:drinkup:

we are just south of you and manage to keep busy all but about 3weeks usually. hopefully global warming will continue, you, myself and james will be instaling oceanside and chris will be putting lights on house boats :)

bmwsmity
09-19-2007, 07:33 PM
we are just south of you and manage to keep busy all but about 3weeks usually. hopefully global warming will continue, you, myself and james will be instaling oceanside and chris will be putting lights on house boats :)

thats great to hear dude. what type of marketing do you do in order to maintain work that long?

niteliters
09-20-2007, 06:10 AM
for the first 5 years or so there was only one to two people working, word of mouth was sufficient.

bmwsmity
09-23-2007, 09:48 AM
for the first 5 years or so there was only one to two people working, word of mouth was sufficient.

what did you do to get customers for those first 5 years? I'm just now a couple of months into my second year

niteliters
09-26-2007, 06:11 AM
the very first jobs were friends, then it grew, slowly, with others seeing that work. At first, 1 person, it was not too difficult. Doesn't take much work to keep one person busy.