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Lawn Designers
11-08-2007, 11:44 AM
I look in the landscaping magazines and through the internet and I see tons of companies offering similar lights like the big guys at a 1/4 of the price. Its very tempting to purchase through these companies and make a larger profit. What should I ask these companies and what should I look for in a manufacturer?

JoeyD
11-08-2007, 01:33 PM
Ask them where the products are assembled. If they say in China it is a safe bet that over half the ligths will fail rather quickly.
Ask them what kind of field support they offer if the product fails or has a problem.
Ask them if they offer technical support, design support.
Ask them what kind of warranty they offer.
Ask them what kind of lamps come with the prducts. If it is other than GE, Ushio, or Sylvania it will probably fail rather quickly.
Ask them if the product dos fail will they send you replacement parts for the light?
Ask them why they are so much cheaper then the lights they are comparing themselves too?

I am bit partial here becuase a lot of those companies have stolen our designs and are having them made in China and selling them as being the same as ours but half price. If you support those companies you are esentially supporting companies that steal ideas and ride on the coat tails of the companies who put in all the hard work making and developing real quality lights.

Lite4
11-08-2007, 02:49 PM
Besides, who wants to support the Chicoms anyway. Support America and American industry. America is rapidly turning into a service nation like mexico, and we are losing our manufacturing jobs to China and Mexico. Like a good business man once said, .."If we don't pull it out of our ground and make it ourselves, America doesn't make any 'new' money. All we are doing now is shuffling the same money around and we will quickly come to poverty."

NightScenes
11-08-2007, 02:51 PM
Joey, let's be fair here. Not all products that are manufactured in China are bad. Kichler is one of the top lighting companies in the world and the product is assembled in China. I have had a very good relationship with that company as I do with your company.

JoeyD
11-08-2007, 03:27 PM
I understand that Paul, but I think in the spirit of the post it is directed at those products who look like other s but are not. Kichler is pretty unique in their designs. They do not look like other companies for the most part. I think the thread was directed more towards the cheaper look a likes and not so much the bigger names. Kichler is very different in that they have their own factory and control their own QC. Most of the knock off companies have zero QC

Lawn Designers
11-08-2007, 05:43 PM
I was referring to the unknown companies and their products.

JoeyD
11-08-2007, 06:03 PM
well in most cases you get what you pay for. Not that their isnt companies who make great products at a very affordable price but most of the companies who are advertising lights at $20.00 are nothing more than importers. They are not Landscape Lighting Manufacturers. Big difference when it comes to the support and quality departments. To some support and availability means a lot to some price is the most important. It is really up to you to decide what you want from a product supplier and manufacturer.

pete scalia
11-08-2007, 11:33 PM
I look in the landscaping magazines and through the internet and I see tons of companies offering similar lights like the big guys at a 1/4 of the price. Its very tempting to purchase through these companies and make a larger profit. What should I ask these companies and what should I look for in a manufacturer?

Don't ask them anything as you shouldn't be talking to them. You buy from them and you'll have nothing but headaches. A knockoff is a knockoff is a knockoff. Nothing like the original thing.

pete scalia
11-09-2007, 12:00 AM
It's gotten so bad that even the knockoffs are getting knocked off.

Pro-Scapes
11-09-2007, 12:33 AM
They are cutting costs someplace... If a product is 25% of the price and the REAL one or a quality version costs 3 times as much to make how are the "small guys" selling them so cheap. Of course there is always an exception to the rule but you can bet they wont be there to stand behind thier product.

A well known brand with nice printed materials and good support will be easier to sell at a higher price. If you need a lower priced fixture to get in the door for a low budget client then still give them something quality but at lower priced end of the spectrum like the Kichler AZT line. Rememeber as an installer your ultimatly resposible for anything you install. Do you want something that will prolly short out or do you want something you know will be safe.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-09-2007, 09:47 AM
I look in the landscaping magazines and through the internet and I see tons of companies offering similar lights like the big guys at a 1/4 of the price. Its very tempting to purchase through these companies and make a larger profit. What should I ask these companies and what should I look for in a manufacturer?

This discussion leans towards the importance, or lack thereof, of product branding and promotion of such.

I have always stood behind any product that I installed for a client. No matter who makes it, no matter what the warranty, if INTEGRA Works installed it, we will take care of it. Period.

This is one reason why I don't introduce the product manufacturer or brand into my specifications or sales process. For all intents and purposes, the client is buying INTEGRA Works' products. As such, I only want to install the finest grade products I can source. By doing so, my service and warranty claims are drastically reduced and the clients are not only getting what they pay for, they are enjoying superb longevity from their lighting systems.

There is a price difference of course. By using specification grade components the materials cost is much higher then otherwise. Which of course works in both the client's and the contractor's favour. The clients "get what they pay for" and the contractor is assured of higher revenue and profits, with less potential service related (warranty) costs as the components are less likely to fail over time. It really has proved to be a win win strategy over time.

The other benefit to installing only the best and then backing it up with a no questions asked internal warranty program is that the client's are very happy with the performance of their system. As such, they are also much more likely to refer your services to their peer group over a long period of time. Multiple referrals in the same peer group over extended periods of time allow your business to thrive.

The only downside is that once in a while you do have to return to take care of a problem. Even the best components fail once in a while. For the most part I simply take care of it, switch the component out for a new one, and be on my way. The clients sincerely appreciate and find it remarkable that no invoice appears... (they remark about it to peers) and what does it cost me? A fixture here, a lamp there, a relay here, some travel time and a bit of labour expense.... all in all a relatively low promotional expense.

I think this model runs counter-current to what the large manufacturer's would like to see. They would prefer complete loyalty and cooperative promotions. I see this as a watering down of your own brand and identity in the market. You see, long after the system is installed, your clients will not remember if that fixture is Brand X or Y, they will remember that YOU sold it and installed it... in their mind it is YOUR product.

You won't see my trucks running down the road with any manufacturers decals on them, nor will I probably be seen on any junkets to sunny locales. But, the clients are happy and talking!

steveparrott
11-09-2007, 10:20 AM
James, I love your approach. From the manufacturers perspective, we love it when contractors are loyal to our product, but more important to us is that the contractor succeeds and becomes prosperous. It is up to us then, to produce products and provide support that meet the contractors high standards. This makes us better and also helps the industry to improve.

The better manufacturers will always base their development on meeting the highest possible level of quality at prices that the market supports. Manufacturers that shoot lower and go for volume instead of quality are a drag on the industry and are doing a disservice to their contractor customers.

Landscape Lighting is an emerging art form with guys like James blazing an upward trail for others to follow. I hope everyone reading this forum understands his guiding principles and choose to embrace them.

NightScenes
11-09-2007, 10:51 AM
James, this is the exact model that I use. I don't talk about the manufacture that I use unless I'm asked and then I also explain that MY warranty will cover their system. They really do appreciate that I stand behind our work and they are thrilled when I do a service and hand them an invoice that states "no charge".

jhuanger629
11-13-2007, 12:09 PM
Newbie here, but just wanted to offer my 2 cents on chinese manufacturing. While you can't beat the labor costs, their qc isn't quite there yet, but it doesn't mean you are not getting quality product.

Personally I feel that the order of quality is Japan, Taiwan and then China, but in the end, you simply get what you pay for. With the recent backlash against chinese manufacturing, we're seeing a revitalization of US manufacturing.

In the end, I just want whats best for us, the consumer

irrig8r
11-13-2007, 12:49 PM
Ummm.... So where do you happen to rank North American made products in your list? Do you have any idea what you 're talking about?

Since your profile is kind of vague, and this is only your 3rd post on this board, are you an installer? A designer? Why do I get the feeling you might be an importer?

jhuanger629
11-13-2007, 01:05 PM
apologies, i meant to clarify the top 3 as for Asian manufacturers. do you disagree?

And yes I do have 3 posts, thus my introduction as a newbie. Just offering a perspective, didn't mean to step on any toes.

JoeyD
11-13-2007, 01:23 PM
Welcome to the lighting forum jhuanger629. We are always up to fresh ideas and imput. It can be a ruff crowd here from time to time but you will learn to lay with the lions!! LOL

If there is anything I can help you with lighting wise dont ever hesitate to contact me! Info is all below.

Joey D.

jhuanger629
11-13-2007, 01:29 PM
hah Thanks JoeyD, I chalk it up to newbie hazing and an opp to hold my own in the trenches! LOL

JoeyD
11-13-2007, 01:36 PM
You should go to the "Role Call" thread and create a post describing yourself and your company in the format all of us did. This will give everyone an idea of what you do and what your about in terms of outdoor lighting. It will help to keep others from thinking you are someone your not.

Your not Mike Gambino are you??? Just kidding, you will know what I'm talking about in no time!

jhuanger629
11-13-2007, 01:40 PM
awesome, i'm headed over there right now. i posted a simple new member intro but more as just a general hello.

thx joeyd

irrig8r
11-13-2007, 03:37 PM
Sorry, I didn't mean to be too harsh...

I did notice you didn't mention Korea as far as east Asian products, or other countries like Pakistan or India where I've noticed brass parts coming from now and then.

Over in the irrigation forum there's a thread where people are tossing around whether it matters whether something is made in China or not. it seems that some companies that used to be thought of as American companies are now doing manufacturing worldwide.

We're maybe more used to it with cars and kitchen appliances, less so with products in our industry. It's a "hot button" issue with some.

jhuanger629
11-13-2007, 03:46 PM
No problem Gregg, I didn't mean for my entry to be an exhaustive list of asian manufacturers as there are a number of quality producers. (just listed the 3 that came to mind)

I also agree as US manufactures find it extremely difficult to be price competitive. In the end, quality speaks volumes.

Look forward to learning and contributing to the community.