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View Full Version : I want you to come back and move fixtures


pete scalia
10-19-2007, 12:23 AM
We've had a few months (5) to live with the lighting and we'd like to make some changes when can you come out.
What changes would you like to make?
...........................
Ok sounds like a day of labor for my 3 man crew, some cable , connectors it should be about $1,500.00 (terms of contract they signed state any changes made after signing off approval of system shall be additional and work performed at ... per man hour and retail price for fixtures)

What! why should I have to pay? Don't you want your customers to be satisfied?

How would you deal with this?

ncls
10-19-2007, 12:57 AM
We've had a few months (5) to live with the lighting and we'd like to make some changes when can you come out.
What changes would you like to make?
...........................

How would you deal with this?

like a day of labor for my 3 man crew, some cable , connectors it should be about $1,500.00
That's just how I would deal with that.

NightScenes
10-19-2007, 07:51 AM
We'll take care of it as soon as possible. Have a great day.

bmwsmity
10-19-2007, 09:07 AM
We'll take care of it as soon as possible. Have a great day.

Ditto.

No disrespect meant Pete, but haven't you ever held a position in which you must provide customer service?

Some answers you might get on here may seem like the right ones (i.e. charging people), when in fact they are contrary to the concepts of great customer service.

About 90% of the reason I got into this business was because I realized that there are a huge number of contractors that simply have NO CLUE about how to treat a customer.

Here's one policy that can help to prevent the "re-aim lights" issue:

- Create a maintenance program that includes trimming of plant growth that covers the lights, re-aiming or positioning of lights when necessary, etc. Find out what the market rate is for this in your area, find your costs, and then set the price accordingly.

If a customer wants lights re-aimed, go do it for free the first time. You never know....they may have seen a lighting job done by SOMEONE ELSE and are considering having THEM come in and fix your install. I can't tell you how many times I go in and rip out systems that were poorly designed. Why? Because the original company didn't know how to treat customers (or design a system).

When you make the first free change, mention the maintenance program and encourage them to take it because "it will give them the most out of their lighting investment."

Oh, the market rate in my area is around $14-17 per light, per year. (includes replacing bulbs). I do my plan quarterly, so I can get maximum exposure to my customers and their neighbors, which increases my chances of referrals and upselling for more lights.

Hope this helps. :drinkup:

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-19-2007, 09:21 AM
It's called customer service for a reason. Do the right thing, get back in there, make the client happy and don't send them a bill.

In return, you can expect a statisfied client who will positively comment about your company and service to their friends and family.

If you simply cannot get over the "lost revenue" of providing such service, then account for the time and materials, send the client an invoice with the last line item being a 100% discount, and then have your bookeeper move all of the expenses into your 'promotions' account.

Next, go out and get yourself a copy of Purple Cow by Seth Godin. It will make you a better business person.

JoeyD
10-19-2007, 11:43 AM
You want to service your customers the best you can. But we are not in the buisness of non profit donations. You need to charge them. Whatever that is, you have to charge them. Ways to make this type of thing not become so expensive....neevr max out a TF, never max out a home run wire or hub. If you do this then to add or remove a light shouldnt be to hard or expensive to perform. This is another reason I love the hub. Simply add or remove alight whenever you want. You know where your connections are and you have 25ft of wire on your fixtures to play with.

irrig8r
10-19-2007, 02:29 PM
It's called customer service for a reason. Do the right thing, get back in there, make the client happy and don't send them a bill.

In return, you can expect a statisfied client who will positively comment about your company and service to their friends and family.

If you simply cannot get over the "lost revenue" of providing such service, then account for the time and materials, send the client an invoice with the last line item being a 100% discount, and then have your bookeeper move all of the expenses into your 'promotions' account.

Next, go out and get yourself a copy of Purple Cow by Seth Godin. It will make you a better business person.

James is right on the money with his comments. Of course, I know he's not going to be the low bidder on any job he does, and for that matter I bet he's the only bidder most of the time. James has enough of a handle on the business side of his operation that he knows that customer satisfaction means good word of mouth referrals and repeat customers. I also bet he pre-qualifies his customers both to know they can pay what he charges, and to make sure that his aesthetic sense and theirs line up. And he's not really giving anything away for free. Given all that, charging extra for moving a few fixtures after the install seems a little tacky at best.

roguesuerte
10-19-2007, 09:09 PM
My guess is that you got it right, or pretty close-too the first time(five mths. is a lifetime for a callback).I dont think their satisfaction warrants your loss of income, much less a freebie.
James right on the money, not!. We have as much work as we can handle here in the Northeast.

Cedar Valley Landscapes
10-19-2007, 10:31 PM
Just remember a happy customer might tell one person about how great it was to work with you, but an unhappy customer will tell everyone they know about how horrible it was. It doesnt mean that you have to give things away to them but be resonible in coming back and helping them out. Meet them halfway or dont put a 3 man crew out there. Keep your costs low and work with the customer to a point where you are both happy with the final product.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-20-2007, 01:43 AM
My guess is that you got it right, or pretty close-too the first time(five mths. is a lifetime for a callback).I dont think their satisfaction warrants your loss of income, much less a freebie.
James right on the money, not!. We have as much work as we can handle here in the Northeast without cow-tailing to idiots you granola peddler.

A: I'm sorry, I don't think we have had the pleasure of an introduction.

B: Glad you have so much work... but given the original example in this thread you have just called the client an "Idiot" in a public forum. You might want to re-think this.

C: Just what is a granola peddler anyway? I have the sense that you are slinging an insult at me, but since I have no clue as to the meaning of your reference it has pretty much rolled off my back as laughable.

D: Did your mother not ever teach you the "Golden Rule"? For your benefit, it goes something like this.... "If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all."

Have a nice day.

klkanders
10-20-2007, 02:07 AM
James, Nicely said! :clapping:

extlights
10-20-2007, 02:09 AM
For us it would all depend on what the customer wants changed. If it's something simple that might take a short period of time and very little supplies, we would probably not charge the customer. Now if that is the case we also wouldn't jump and run right out there. We would simply tell the customer that we will have someone out there to make the changes when we are in the area.

If the customer wants more complex changes, then we would probably charge them something.... I'm thinking maybe a service call plus materials.

If they would have called within a month of the install then that may sway my decision to charge them, but being 5 months that's a different story. Just because you charge the customer that's not bad customer service...as long as you're fair with the price. I'd think that most customers would expect to pay something after that period of time anyway.

klkanders
10-20-2007, 02:17 AM
Good Point Dave!
I had been thinking along those same lines. It just comes down to what was explained and what was in a contract if anything to begin with. If alot of changes had to be made it would have been bugging them sooner than 5 months anyway. I would handle it also just as you laid it out.
Take Care!

irrig8r
10-20-2007, 11:59 AM
A: I'm sorry, I don't think we have had the pleasure of an introduction.

B: Glad you have so much work... but given the original example in this thread you have just called the client an "Idiot" in a public forum. You might want to re-think this.

C: Just what is a granola peddler anyway? I have the sense that you are slinging an insult at me, but since I have no clue as to the meaning of your reference it has pretty much rolled off my back as laughable.

D: Did your mother not ever teach you the "Golden Rule"? For your benefit, it goes something like this.... "If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all."

Have a nice day.

Obviously, James has better manners than I do. Even if he does spell things funny sometimes.

Bill S
10-20-2007, 12:12 PM
While 5 months for a call back may seem like an eternity, think of it this way...

It has only recently started getting dark before 7 for the past few weeks... Most people aren't coming home at 9 at night to get a chance to really "see" their lights. With this in mind you should cut them a little slack as far as the timeline goes. I would not charge the client for any lights repointed at the same object. If they decide that they no longer want the pergola lit and they would prefer the lighting be transferred to the garage area, yes I would charge accordingly. If you don't have the pergola properly illuminated now you should want to go back and repoint your lights so they DO show what needs to be shown.

Lite4
10-20-2007, 02:06 PM
Here is my take on this whole issue.
If it is a matter of simply re-aiming some of the lights and I don't have to cut or splice anything new then hey, no problem happy to do some minor adjustments. However, if we are talking about moving some fixtures; these concerns should have been adressed in the final walkthrough. In my 15 years of experience of dealing with clients, if you give them a foot they will generally try to take a mile once they know you are maleable to a certain extent. I let my clients know that my time is not free and most clients who have money understand the value of time. Most lawyers, docters, specialists etc... are not free. For minor things they may help you out, but when it starts taking a significant amount of time for something the meter starts running, regardless of who you are. Most people understand this and will respect that you have a business to maintain. All others are usually trying to get something for free.
When the initial layout and design is approved by the client then anything additional is simply that - "Additional"

Lite4
10-20-2007, 02:13 PM
[QUOTE=Bill S;2003575]
It has only recently started getting dark before 7 for the past few weeks... Most people aren't coming home at 9 at night to get a chance to really "see" their lights. With this in mind you should cut them a little slack as far as the timeline goes.


Bill, It is dark on your final walkthrough with the client (if you do one?) They can easily see all the lights you have installed. They also will usually spend many long nights after that admiring their new investment alone as well. So, I don't think the issue is that they really can't "see" their lights, unless it is a commercial application where they may not live directly with the lights.

Pro-Scapes
10-21-2007, 12:46 AM
Ok I am going to take a different view on this.

First off he already said adding wire in his post didn't he? That's $$ right there IF you can add this missing piece of the puzzle

Did the client want or approve the lights this way or did they question it and originally ask for them another way and you suggested this way?

If you put them in as they agreed and they wanted it that way then yes they should be charged. A 3 man crew all day is reinstalling not just moving a few lights around especially 5 mo later. If they were never quite happy with em and you installed per your design and didn't meet your clients desires and have blown it off then yes you should go fix for no charge.

pete scalia
10-21-2007, 01:07 AM
Ok I am going to take a different view on this.

First off he already said adding wire in his post didn't he? That's $$ right there IF you can add this missing piece of the puzzle

Did the client want or approve the lights this way or did they question it and originally ask for them another way and you suggested this way?

If you put them in as they agreed and they wanted it that way then yes they should be charged. A 3 man crew all day is reinstalling not just moving a few lights around especially 5 mo later. If they were never quite happy with em and you installed per your design and didn't meet your clients desires and have blown it off then yes you should go fix for no charge.

Billy, thank you. Out of everyone here it seems you are one of the few to closely read the message instead of taking the opportunity to slam the message presenter. The important points that are clearly in the op are this

5 months had gone by
client signed off on originally installed system
3 man crew most of 1 day to alter (major changes)
Additional materials (cable and connectors) required

Some people on here believe that their prospects are reading these messages so they should say what they think the prospect wants to hear whether it's what they truly feel or not. I think that's just pure pathetic. I will never compromise my beliefs , remain silent or totally lie in order to deceive a prospect into believing I'm something I'm not. You can quote me on that for Google.

sprinkler guy
10-21-2007, 02:06 AM
Pete,

A day of labor for a 3-man crew? That sounds like a major system ovehaul, if not a complete new sytem install. How big was this particular job (number of trans. and fixtures)? How long did the initial install take? Was the client real wishy-washy at the time of the final nightime walthrough, or were they blown-away thrilled, and couldn't wait to give you your money? If they were iffy on the project outcome, this call shouldn't have come as any kind of shock, but if they loved it, then why the need for the radical overhaul? I've never had this kind of call, so I can't say for sure what I would do, but I would definetly want some compensation for this amount of work.

Jesse L
10-21-2007, 02:50 AM
Don't know about the rest of you guys, but once it's installed and approved, that is the end of the freebie. I'd probably give the customer some slack if they called within the first 30 days, but beyond that there will be an extra charge for the extra labor and materials. If I did this for every customer, I'd go broke really quick.

Pro-Scapes
10-21-2007, 11:45 AM
Don't get me wrong. I would still take care of the client the best I could but I couldn't eat that kind of expense nor should I have to providing they are satisfied and completly happy with my original install.

Call a custom cabinet man or electrician and let him do some work then call him in 5 or 6 months and see if he charges ya for redoing job.

All in all in the end make the client happy. Sometimes calmly explaining things will help. Not all customers are savy with it comes to lighting and don't realize just how much work it will involve. In this day and age most people are worried about getting ripped off

irrig8r
10-21-2007, 05:51 PM
As usual, Billy has a level-headed approach to this issue.

All I was trying to say earlier was that James has sufficient business acumen to know if he's making money on a job.

I'll bet there aren't many cases where he's truly giving his time away for free because he is communicating with his clients and getting their feedback all along. My sense is that the finished installation is not going to underwhelm them.

So, callbacks for changing or relocating fixtures are going to minimized.

Pro-Scapes
10-21-2007, 08:50 PM
Its not level headed in my opinion. Its business. Make the client happy if they were not originally and work with them if their taste just changed.

I also see this as a golden oppurtunity to offer your client an expansion. It will be xxx to move your lights (this is provided they were happy and just changed their minds) or it will be xxxx to just light this area.

I really doubt they understand how much is involved with it. Educate them but don't cop an attitude like it was common sence.

I often find myself taking the basics for granted and forgetting the client needs to be educated

irrig8r
10-21-2007, 09:00 PM
Its not level headed in my opinion. Its business. Make the client happy if they were not originally and work with them if their taste just changed.

I also see this as a golden oppurtunity to offer your client an expansion. It will be xxx to move your lights (this is provided they were happy and just changed their minds) or it will be xxxx to just light this area.

I really doubt they understand how much is involved with it. Educate them but don't cop an attitude like it was common sence.

I often find myself taking the basics for granted and forgetting the client needs to be educated

Level-headed = calm and sensible.
I meant it as a compliment.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-21-2007, 09:02 PM
As usual, Billy has a level-headed approach to this issue.

All I was trying to say earlier was that James has sufficient business acumen to know if he's making money on a job.

I'll bet there aren't many cases where he's truly giving his time away for free because he is communicating with his clients and getting their feedback all along. My sense is that the finished installation is not going to underwhelm them.

So, callbacks for changing or relocating fixtures are going to minimized.

Gregg has a pretty good handle on my Biz. model and how I handle such things. I don't loose money I assure you. I do have a solid reputation for taking care of my clients and making them happy no matter what.

That being said, I have NEVER had a client call me back and ask me to physically move a bunch of fixtures. The only thing that has come close to that request would be to return to add a bunch of fixtures.... for that I charge.

Have a great day.

irrig8r
10-21-2007, 11:19 PM
James, I make assumptions about you and your business based on meeting you, talking to you on Nightchat, reading what you have to say about everything from Dark Skies to dock lighting, and looking at the high quality photos you have shared of your work.

I am a fan of your sense of ethics and your work. But I will stop making anymore public assertions about you and let you speak for yourself, 'cause you're better at it.