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NightScenes
11-17-2007, 09:43 AM
How many guys here have install and or service crews? I'm busy selling and designing projects and do very little hands-on installation anymore. I have recently lost a couple of guys so right now I have 4 guys taking care of installs and maintenance. I know that I need at least 1 more guy. Next year I may need to hire another install crew but I don't know if I want to keep up with the pace that would be required.

What are your thoughts?

The Lighting Geek
11-17-2007, 10:05 PM
I have 2 full time and 1 part time employees and they handle 75-100 fixtures a week. I am staying at this level for a while but really don't want more crews. I can realy stay on these guys, train, help out with technical stuff. I probably am going to put on a full time guy just for maintenance though in spring.

Pro-Scapes
11-17-2007, 11:54 PM
No crews here. Not sure I ever want any.

I think there are a few reasons there. Communication issues being one of them but also I feel when a client hires me I shouldn't send a group of guys to their property. I do use laborers to help out with the physically demanding parts of the job especially in summer.

I like being the one man show. If I ever got so busy I was unable to handle it myself I would add a few full time guys but I will always be on each and every job site the entire time for installations. Perhaps a stand alone guy for maint/service but I like the quality control I provide each and every client. I think it separates us from the competition.

Pro-Scapes
11-17-2007, 11:58 PM
I have 2 full time and 1 part time employees and they handle 75-100 fixtures a week. I am staying at this level for a while but really don't want more crews. I can realy stay on these guys, train, help out with technical stuff. I probably am going to put on a full time guy just for maintenance though in spring.

Tommy, If it takes 2 guys a week to install 75-100 fixtures either your installs are insane difficult or your guys are slow. I think you mentioned South tahoe as a project. Sounds pretty difficult :) Did you by chance do that 31 room house in emerald bay ? I will be out that way in the spring to do a special job in mariposa.

The Lighting Geek
11-18-2007, 12:12 AM
Well...I must be honest, they are in training. Frankly I am still training too. I am with them quite a bit and like to make everything is perfect. I also seem to attract the jobs with tough applications AND I have a thing for gadgets too. So I probably slow the process trying new stuff. But if I get my act together here someday, maybe we can do 200-250 a week. LOL

Pro-Scapes
11-18-2007, 01:38 AM
I hear ya. Some jobs that would seemily be quick take forever. Man thoes tahoe jobs have got to be tough with the solid rock! Gadgets are cool. I like em as well as the next geek but often times in the time we wasted with our gadgets good old fashioned work would of done the job.

I don't know a dedicated pro out there that is still not in training. The quest for knowledge, technique and materials is on going training. The day you stop striving to further that knowledge is probably about the time you should retire or sell off your business. Even the best wont remain at the top unless they keep up the learning and training.

The Lighting Geek
11-18-2007, 01:57 AM
OK, so here is the truck I use, with bed slider and demo kits. Some tf are out right now in demo's.

Mike M
11-18-2007, 08:58 AM
Sweet--very clean and practical. You'd probably land jobs just for the professionalism. lol

I am getting a matching set of boxes to hold everything, what are those black containers? Please tell more about your gadgets.

Mike

niteliters
11-18-2007, 09:44 AM
How many guys here have install and or service crews? I'm busy selling and designing projects and do very little hands-on installation anymore. I have recently lost a couple of guys so right now I have 4 guys taking care of installs and maintenance. I know that I need at least 1 more guy. Next year I may need to hire another install crew but I don't know if I want to keep up with the pace that would be required.

What are your thoughts?

Is this your indirect way of telling me you are going to try to put me to work when I visit you in Feb 08 :)

niteliters
11-18-2007, 09:59 AM
Paul, I think you are going to be able to answer your own question soon. Do you want to keep up the pace? Another question. Are you operating your business as efficiently as you want to? Are certain aspects of your business falling thru the cracks? I know some of your service is starting to roll over from your three year guarentee. Is that under control. I'll be able to give you more educated thoughts this winter my friend.

NightScenes
11-18-2007, 10:36 AM
Hey there Chris, it's always good to hear from you and I look forward to your visit.

I probably could be more efficient and I don't think I can increase my pace, which would be needed if I added another crew. The maintenance is an everyday kind of thing with all of the systems that we have out there and all of the others that other people have installed and don't take care of.

I would however like to grow a little more, maybe 25%. That would put me over the top. I could probably do that by becoming more efficient and I have some mega projects coming up next year.

Thanks for the input Chris. Does anyone else have some ideas? This is a subject that each of us may have to tackle at some point.

Chris J
11-18-2007, 11:02 AM
I currently have one full time guy and one part time. I use both of them for installs, then the full time guy finishes out the day doing service work. On the days that we don't have installs, the full timer does service all day. This has been working pretty well, and I think I could handle quite a bit more business with this set up. I guess we must be pretty efficient, because I really can't imagine so much business that it would take more than 2 crews of 2-3 guys each. In my opinion, I think the road to sucess would be to duplicate yourself and have one good man that you could train to design, sell and run another crew of 2 men. When I get ready to expand (which probably won't be for awhile) I hope to find someone who is capable of taking some of the sales load off of me, and branch out in this manner. It's kind of a hard concept to swallow, because we all want to believe that it is our design/selling ability that allows us to thrive. In the real world (of successful businesses) this is what all the other successful owners have done; duplicate themselves. It's just a matter of finding the right people, and investing time into them with training to make them as good as yourself.

klkanders
11-18-2007, 11:42 AM
Good Info!
Chris J, I agree with what you are saying the thing that concerns me is when you have duplicated yourself in an employee you have also set them up to run their own business. I have seen it happen firsthand.... everything is going great and then thoughts of how much more money you are making set in. Add to that a few disagreements or an argument on how something is done and then the thinking on why they should work for you instead of just themselves settles in. They start doing side jobs and talking with contractors, friends and associates. Then when you are not needed...poof...they are gone! I am not saying this is going to happen all the time or to everyone but when you work with someone so closely for so long they become like family. Then when you start butting heads it is taken much more personal, hurts more and is harder to forgive until they just up and go their own way. Any thoughts on this anyone?

klkanders
11-18-2007, 11:46 AM
I forgot to add this could take a few years or many years like 6,8,10. You have groomed this person to maybe take over for you or buy your business someday and right before that happens they are gone and you are back to square one.

pete scalia
11-18-2007, 11:55 AM
Who is doing 1 million a year in lighting with a 1 man operation? :rolleyes: That's someone I want to talk to. I'll send 1 man 1 truck out there and head to hawaii to live off the fat of the land.

NightScenes
11-18-2007, 12:51 PM
Good Info!
Chris J, I agree with what you are saying the thing that concerns me is when you have duplicated yourself in an employee you have also set them up to run their own business. I have seen it happen firsthand.... everything is going great and then thoughts of how much more money you are making set in. Add to that a few disagreements or an argument on how something is done and then the thinking on why they should work for you instead of just themselves settles in. They start doing side jobs and talking with contractors, friends and associates. Then when you are not needed...poof...they are gone! I am not saying this is going to happen all the time or to everyone but when you work with someone so closely for so long they become like family. Then when you start butting heads it is taken much more personal, hurts more and is harder to forgive until they just up and go their own way. Any thoughts on this anyone?


This is why I am training my son to eventually buy the business from me. He has worked for me for 3 years now and is finally starting to understand how business works. He will be 29 this month (yes I started VERY young) and is maturing. I would like him to be my "duplicate" and therefore be able to do everything that I currently take care of. This will take more time however. He will become certified at the next conference, which (to me) is a big step.

Chris J
11-18-2007, 09:38 PM
It's always a possibility that someone will learn and leave you. However, if every successful business owner had this train of thought, no one would have ever grown a substantial business into a large organization. There are people who are entrepreneurs, and there are people who are content with working for a steady paycheck. Owning a business (and all the risk, headache, paperwork, phone calls etc...) is not for everyone. My full time employee is an outstanding employee who is reliable, trustworthy, and dedicated to what he is doing. But I know for sure that he would never want to switch places with me. He simply wants to feel assured that he and his family will be taken care of with his salary, and that he can turn his cell phone off at 5PM. Anything beyond that is not for him.
There are thousands of people out there who just want an opportunity to make a decent wage. Yes, some of them are aggressive and want to use you as a stepping stone on their own path to wealth, but I believe if you treat your people right and compensate them fairly for what they do, you won't have to worry about them going out on their own.
Paul has an interesting situation where he has an adult son who is willing to step into his place. My advice to Paul would be to do exactly what I mentioned above, and let his son go ahead and take part in that role now. No time like the present to make the future a reality, and I can't think of a better scenario in which to do it than what Paul has in his hands. Again, it only requires that you put forth the effort in training and sculpting the right person. You don't have to hire that person to perform this role, however. You should let them work their way up and prove that they are committed to your company. If their intention was to steal your ideas and create their own business, you should know this relatively quickly.
Being a business owner means that you accept the concept of constantly hiring and/or firing people until you find the right mix of associates who are willing to help you achieve your goal. This is certainly a never ending process, but along the way you should eventually find a few cherries in the batch. Once you have this group of people, it will be up to you as the CEO of the Corp. to make sure that their interest is kept within the confines of your company. Treat them improperly, fail to identify their needs, pay them less than they are worth and they will find work elsewhere.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-18-2007, 10:07 PM
Great posts here guys....

I too am committed to remaining small and personal. I currently have one installer who works with me and has been instrumental in freeing up my time this past year and allowing me to finally enjoy the summer season with my family. I am considering hiring him a labourer for 2008 and then that is it.

I have witnessed too many 'small businesses' develop and grow into larger operations resulting in the owner growing tense, nervous and unhappy. The last thing I want is to be a personnel manager and have to deal with all the headaches of staffing, training, etc on an annual basis in our very seasonal market. So, I will keep things small, overhead low, and keep providing my clients with a very personal and hands on experience. It has worked out pretty well so far.

Chris J
11-18-2007, 10:18 PM
Great posts here guys....

The last thing I want is to be a personnel manager and have to deal with all the headaches of staffing, training, etc on an annual basis in our very seasonal market.

James,
This would be the next employee, and we would call him/her "human resources". Their should be another called "CPA" and we are well on our way to becoming the next Bill Gates. :cool2: j/k

pete scalia
11-20-2007, 01:07 AM
Great posts here guys....

I too am committed to remaining small and personal. I currently have one installer who works with me and has been instrumental in freeing up my time this past year and allowing me to finally enjoy the summer season with my family. I am considering hiring him a labourer for 2008 and then that is it.

I have witnessed too many 'small businesses' develop and grow into larger operations resulting in the owner growing tense, nervous and unhappy. The last thing I want is to be a personnel manager and have to deal with all the headaches of staffing, training, etc on an annual basis in our very seasonal market. So, I will keep things small, overhead low, and keep providing my clients with a very personal and hands on experience. It has worked out pretty well so far.

You come on strong like you are doing big dollars in outdoor lighting and the truth is you are a one man band with a helper? A helper who has worked alone much of the summer so you could have some free time. Isn't your season only a few months long in canada as it is? So when and where is it that you are doing all these wonderful things with downlighting exclusively? You stated you sold 128 thousand dollars in one weekend in November when it's starting to freeze up there already. You claim a 95% closure rate. You claim to have found the holy grail of LED's but will not mention a manufacturer or source. How gullible do you really think us Americans are to believe these gross exaggerations ?

sprinkler guy
11-20-2007, 02:56 AM
You come on strong like you are doing big dollars in outdoor lighting and the truth is you are a one man band with a helper? A helper who has worked alone much of the summer so you could have some free time. Isn't your season only a few months long in canada as it is? So when and where is it that you are doing all these wonderful things with downlighting exclusively? You stated you sold 128 thousand dollars in one weekend in November when it's starting to freeze up there already. You claim a 95% closure rate. You claim to have found the holy grail of LED's but will not mention a manufacturer or source. How gullible do you really think us Americans are to believe these gross exaggerations ?

Put this in perspective Pete. First off, they use labourers up there, not laborers. The extra u in the word gets them twice as much productivity as we get stateside. Plus, you live close enough to the border to know everything costs like ten times as much there as it does here. The lights you and I sell for $250 or $300, James is probably selling for $2,000 each just to squeak out a little profit. Besides, James is talking about Canadian dollars, not U.S., so with the conversion, $128K Looney works out to like $11 bucks U.S. (or is my math off?). Also, don't you Northerners have like crazy long days in the summer being so close to the top of the world (and heaven as my Canadian in-laws keep telling me). A Canadian day is like 38 hours or something compared to what we have in the U.S. Nothing sounds suspect to me when you think in these terms.

pete scalia
11-20-2007, 09:13 AM
Put this in perspective Pete. First off, they use labourers up there, not laborers. The extra u in the word gets them twice as much productivity as we get stateside. Plus, you live close enough to the border to know everything costs like ten times as much there as it does here. The lights you and I sell for $250 or $300, James is probably selling for $2,000 each just to squeak out a little profit. Besides, James is talking about Canadian dollars, not U.S., so with the conversion, $128K Looney works out to like $11 bucks U.S. (or is my math off?). Also, don't you Northerners have like crazy long days in the summer being so close to the top of the world (and heaven as my Canadian in-laws keep telling me). A Canadian day is like 38 hours or something compared to what we have in the U.S. Nothing sounds suspect to me when you think in these terms.

Sean, I've been around the block a few times and I can see right through transparency like a picture window. If you give a guy enough rope sooner than later they will hang themselves with it. You read through these posts and you connect the dots and realize that the numbers don't come close to adding up in some cases. And in this case the numbers are way off. the perception is way different then the reality.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-20-2007, 09:35 AM
"Pete"

Thank you for your interest and concern for my business and personal health and well being. I assure you that all is well here.

We are currently as busy as can be.... installing our last large outdoor lighting project, as well as two boat house exteriors, one boat house interior, one log home interior and preparing to install a large residential interior.

Perhaps if you have some idle time in the next few weeks you would like to come to Muskoka for a work week and see how things are done productively. I could use some help hand digging ditches through the quickly freezing forest floor. For you, I could offer $8 an hour.

Pro-Scapes
11-20-2007, 09:41 AM
Put this in perspective Pete. First off, they use labourers up there, not laborers. The extra u in the word gets them twice as much productivity as we get stateside. Plus, you live close enough to the border to know everything costs like ten times as much there as it does here. The lights you and I sell for $250 or $300, James is probably selling for $2,000 each just to squeak out a little profit. Besides, James is talking about Canadian dollars, not U.S., so with the conversion, $128K Looney works out to like $11 bucks U.S. (or is my math off?). Also, don't you Northerners have like crazy long days in the summer being so close to the top of the world (and heaven as my Canadian in-laws keep telling me). A Canadian day is like 38 hours or something compared to what we have in the U.S. Nothing sounds suspect to me when you think in these terms.

last i checked canadian bucks were catching US dollars within a few cents/

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-20-2007, 09:54 AM
Put this in perspective Pete. First off, they use labourers up there, not laborers. The extra u in the word gets them twice as much productivity as we get stateside. Absoluetely correct Sean, also that extra U ensures Understanding, Ultimacy and Undeniable Ultra Undertakings. Plus, you live close enough to the border to know everything costs like ten times as much there as it does here. The lights you and I sell for $250 or $300, Sean, forget about what you sell your lights for ( I sell systems not lights) and think of what you pay for your lights.... That Copper bullet that you buy for $xx.xx generally costs me $xxx.xx James is probably selling for $2,000 each just to squeak out a little profit. Besides, James is talking about Canadian dollars, not U.S., so with the conversion, $128K Looney works out to like $11 bucks U.S. (or is my math off?) This time your math is off Sean. The Canadian Loonie is currently worth about $1.04 American... watch out, soon us "Rich Canadians" are going to be heading down there and scooping up all your real estate bargains... next will be your corporations, well I mean the ones that are not awash in scandal and corruption! :laugh: Also, don't you Northerners have like crazy long days in the summer being so close to the top of the world (and heaven as my Canadian in-laws keep telling me). A Canadian day is like 38 hours or something compared to what we have in the U.S. Although our days are in fact only 24 hours long we do have the ability to squeeze more productivity into each hour.... you see in the summer it doesnt get dark until about 10:00pm, allowing for 16 hour work days, and in the winter it is so freaking cold that we have to keep busy so as to avoid freezing solid in one spot. Nothing sounds suspect to me when you think in these terms.

Great rebuttal Sean... Thanks for the laugh!

NightScenes
11-20-2007, 10:21 AM
Rock on James!!

Mike M
11-20-2007, 10:28 AM
We gotta strengthen the US dollar before our southern beaches get over taken with a bunch of French-speaking guys in those wedgie bathing suits. AHHHHHH!!!!!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-20-2007, 10:43 AM
We gotta strengthen the US dollar before our southern beaches get over taken with a bunch of French-speaking guys in those wedgie bathing suits. AHHHHHH!!!!!

I think its too late Mike... Didnt that already happen, sometime around the mid '70's? :laugh:

JoeyD
11-20-2007, 11:26 AM
I think its too late Mike... Didnt that already happen, sometime around the mid '70's? :laugh:

I can tell you it didnt happen in San Diego beaches!!! Thank God!!

sprinkler guy
11-20-2007, 11:33 AM
last i checked canadian bucks were catching US dollars within a few cents/

Yea, I was taking a shot at sarcasm. Our U.S. dollar is pretty weak. I read an article recently citing the strength of the Canadian dollar and the Euro vs. the dollar. But I was trying to let the humor play off perception.

sprinkler guy
11-20-2007, 11:35 AM
Great rebuttal Sean... Thanks for the laugh!

Anything I can do to lighten the mood (pun intended!) Thanks for getting the joke James.

pete scalia
11-20-2007, 10:09 PM
INTEGRA- The Canadian Loonie is currently worth about $1.04 American... watch out, soon us "Rich Canadians" are going to be heading down there and scooping up all your real estate bargains... next will be your corporations, well I mean the ones that are not awash in scandal and corruption!

The USA is the greatest country in the world. We send our boys to war to protect the free world so countries like yours don't have to . I find no humor in your crass remarks. Have some respect!

NightScenes
11-23-2007, 04:52 PM
So, to get back on topic, how can I (or others) become more efficient? What are the steps used by those who install quickly? A 20 fixture job for us is at least a full day plus coming back (if we're not still there) for the adjustments.

We pull up on the job and I flag the whole project out. We assemble all of the fixtures with the proper lamps and place them where they belong. We then pull all of the home runs and mount the transformers. We pigtail the fixtures with the leads of 16 wire that goes to the hub (some fixtures come with leads). While all of this is going on, we are installing down lights (which we install on almost all projects). The down lights take a lot of time and probably is where the majority of the time is spent. We make all of the connections, hook-up the transformers and take the voltage readings and make any voltage adjustments that are needed. We then cover all of the home runs and seal all of the connections. At night we come back and make the adjustments which may require moving some of the fixtures (this is why we only cover the home runs until the adjustments are made). We may even ad a few fixtures if the client is so inclined. The next morning we come back and cover the remaining wire and clean up, add mulch and all around beautify the project.

Our ground here is very hard and rocky which means wire covering can be a challenge. We do quite a bit of lighting on homes like dormers or above garages. I know these things add to the time but am I missing something? Is there a shortcut that isn't a cut in quality? Maybe we're doing it right and we're already as efficient as we can be, but I'm always looking to improve.

The Lighting Geek
11-23-2007, 05:15 PM
Paul, all in all you are doing what we are doing. I know that I will always look for a way to do a job without down lights if I can for the reasons you stated. I charge alot more for anything not mount on the ground or near ground level. It probably also depends on your region, the type of houses, soil types, etc.

The only thing I do differently is I use Unique products exclusively, so I eliminate the pigtail assembly time. I found when I did the math on the labor, materials (products I was willing to use), etc, it was a wash on the cost or close to it. I know other manufacturers have pigtails available too. We make 1 connection per home run generally. We groove all of out concrete when there is no sleeves. Those 2 things improved my efficency dramatically. I have not found the secret decoder ring for downlights..LOL

NightScenes
11-23-2007, 05:25 PM
I do a lot of down lighting for a couple of reasons. First, I love the effect of "moonlight". It is also a great way to cover a large area with soft light (low level lighting). Finally, it almost guarantees a service contract, my clientèle do not want to climb a tree to change a lamp. This is yearly work that goes in the books and looks great to potential buyers or investors in the future.

The Lighting Geek
11-23-2007, 05:44 PM
There is a tree company here that used a picture of a climber way up in the tree for his ads. It scared the crap out the wives and they called him to keep hubby from climbing in the trees..LOL

Sounds like you have your system down, Paul. Looks like a lift might be in your future:dancing:

Mike M
11-23-2007, 06:01 PM
Do you use a fuse there? That would be like having the pig tail.

The Lighting Geek
11-23-2007, 06:11 PM
I put 1 fuse holder in every hub connection and using an Amp probe, use the correct rated fuse.

I like the 12/2 pigtail idea.

NightScenes
11-23-2007, 06:25 PM
No, I don't use a fuse at my hub.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-23-2007, 07:23 PM
Sounds like you are running a very efficient installation system Paul. When I was working alone a good productive day was 12 to 15 fixtures installed. I do pretty much the same method as you except for some wiring differences. Now we generally get 20 fixtures per day installed, which I am happy with. One zone per day is fine with me.

As for efficient lighting from trees... I highly recommend you try the CAST Treelight. It has cut my moonlighting installation time down from about 20 to 30 mins per fixture to just around 10. I dont think anything on the market beats it, and it truly is an optical instrument of light. Near perfection.

The most time consuming fixtures by far are building mounted. Hiding the wire and mounting discretely to structures eats installation time. I have a lot of tricks that I have developed, but guard these as proprietary information. I have to keep something unique!

Have a great day.

NightScenes
11-23-2007, 08:30 PM
For those installations on the buildings, I recieved some samples of product that I think is pretty good. It will save hours of wire hiding time.

Mike M
11-23-2007, 08:48 PM
Japanese solar downlights and miniwashers?:nono:

NightScenes
11-23-2007, 11:25 PM
Rotflmao!!:laugh:

Pro-Scapes
11-24-2007, 01:44 AM
Depending on the job I have done as many as 40 fixtures in a day solo. I cant imagine how a crew of 2 would only get 20 done in a day unless its an insane installation

Doing the leads on site is VERY time consuming. Burt and I did that with a number of fixtures and it just ate up time left and right. In the future I will try to shy away from installing anything without leads. On my next project I will have to install 66 leads on some kichler bullets so I can match the existing lighting and I am dreading it already. (no idea why kichler charges high premiums for leads)

Our normal technique when I do have a laborer would be.

Arrive on site
I start prepping and hanging the trans while I tell the laborer where to start digging.

I perform any punches

After trans is up I lay out fixtures and determine where hubs will be.

I start pulling wire to hubs while laborer continues to dig or starts to bury.

We do any installations of building or tree mounted fixtures.

Laborer continues to bury while I start to strip and splice hubs

I lamp fixtures

I start work in transformer and run conduit to trans.

Complete any left over work after hook up and voltage readings. Take notes for my as built reports and clean up

Mike M
11-24-2007, 07:47 AM
(no idea why kichler charges high premiums for leads)

Special order. If they just made them all with 25' leads, and eliminated that plug option from their assembly, it would cost them/us less.

Pro-Scapes
11-24-2007, 10:54 AM
I agree Mike. There was alot of hype when Kichler was about to reveal thier junction but I really dont know one person who is serious about LVL that uses it. Alot of distributors will add leads for a nominal upcharge. I have seen anywhere from $4 to $9 upcharge for leads.

If im not mistaken having factory leads on the kichler products is $20-30 per fixture. Unreal. This is where cast and unique excel over others.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-24-2007, 11:17 AM
Depending on the job I have done as many as 40 fixtures in a day solo. I cant imagine how a crew of 2 would only get 20 done in a day unless its an insane installation

Now, now... not all properties are created equal! We predominantly work on waterfront estates, nestled into the forest, with lots of difficult terrain, rocks, roots, and rather massive granite hardscapings. Things take time here to do right. Not to mention all of the tree work that we do. This also takes time to do properly and safely.

Then you get into mounting fixtures onto buildings (we are talking homes from $2mil up, Garages that are in the $250k range, and boathouses that run $750K to $1mil).. You don't rush these installations... you make them perfect.

Here is an interesting comparison. When working in Suburbia, I used to budget 75m of 12/2 wire for every 12 fixtures installed. Here, I budget 75m of wire for every 4 fixtures installed. That gives you some idea of the size and scope of the properties here.

I am quite certain, that if I were working in a suburban market, I too could get upwards of 40 fixtures per day installed, but here things are different.

Have a great day.

Mike M
11-24-2007, 11:18 AM
I agree, Billy.

It's interesting, as some manufacturer's talk about the growth of LV lighting, some are betting on DIY's and lawn maintence guys to buy the stuff when it's cheap enough, or even easy enough.

But look at Toro, they have a residential line of irrigation equipment, and even offer free custom layouts based on uploaded info. But how many people do you see installing their own irrigation systems? Has that taken over professional irrigation installs?

Pro-Scapes
11-25-2007, 12:13 PM
I agree, Billy.

It's interesting, as some manufacturer's talk about the growth of LV lighting, some are betting on DIY's and lawn maintence guys to buy the stuff when it's cheap enough, or even easy enough.

But look at Toro, they have a residential line of irrigation equipment, and even offer free custom layouts based on uploaded info. But how many people do you see installing their own irrigation systems? Has that taken over professional irrigation installs?

While some manufactures (toro and kichler included and yes i use both products) continue to have dual lines serving the DIY's and contractors I doubt you will find most of the people we target out there in thier yard digging trenches and splicing wires no matter how hard or easy manufactures make it. The only way I see more high end and elite clients doing it themselves is if solar made some majorly stellar breakthrus in technology and performance and became basically a stick and play installation.

NightScenes
11-25-2007, 01:21 PM
I have to say here that Kichler has not had a DIY product in over 2 years now. They tried it out at Lowes but realized that they had to comprimize on the quality to meet the demands of the outlet and therefore discontinued the product.

Mike M
11-25-2007, 01:34 PM
Good for Kichler.

Pro-Scapes
11-25-2007, 02:31 PM
I have to say here that Kichler has not had a DIY product in over 2 years now. They tried it out at Lowes but realized that they had to comprimize on the quality to meet the demands of the outlet and therefore discontinued the product.

then why do they include quick discs ? I am proposing a project now that will include reinstalling 40+ Kichler bullets with the quick discs installed. Including some hanging in the air from the pergola.

NightScenes
11-25-2007, 02:37 PM
They are doing away with the discs next year.

Pro-Scapes
11-25-2007, 02:39 PM
I have to say here that Kichler has not had a DIY product in over 2 years now. They tried it out at Lowes but realized that they had to comprimize on the quality to meet the demands of the outlet and therefore discontinued the product.

then why do they include quick discs ? I am proposing a project now that will include reinstalling 40+ Kichler bullets with the quick discs installed. Even tho the Kichler catalogs give some demonstrated wiring methods in the back the pierce points still promote daisy chains.

NightScenes
11-25-2007, 02:43 PM
Billy, I will still use a daisy chain is some instances. It is still a viable method for installation of low wattage fixtures.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
11-25-2007, 05:09 PM
My opinions and comments Re: Hadco and Kichler have more to do with how ubiquitous those lines are in the retail marketplace. I mean really, who doesn't sell kichler??? You can go online or to any local retailer and find them in seconds.

I prefer carrying lines of product that cannot be readily obtained at a retail store or online at lightinguniverse.com for example.

Kichler and Hadco can hardly be considered custom anymore.

Just my .02

Pro-Scapes
11-25-2007, 05:10 PM
I think most of us use a chain at one point or another even if its just a few fixtures. Its the guys that take it to the extreme like the project we are starting on this week where you end up with 6v at the last fixture.

The Lighting Geek
11-25-2007, 06:08 PM
I can't remmember the last time I daisy chained anything. It is an option, I just choose not to do it. We hub method and fuse everything. The biggest reason is, that I train my guys only one way and it keeps it simple and I have less issues. I have not found a situation we could not get to work yet.

Having been a General Superintendent and having over 100 employees reporting to me, the more choices you give employees as a general rule, the greater the chances of problems. It also makes it difficult to keep the system or procedure you want your guys to use, pure.

Now I know many have no crews or small ones at that, but I am always thinking into the future and how what I am doing today would work with many employees and whether the process is easily duplicatable. Duplication of procedures is something that plaques from small to even the largest companies.

Pro-Scapes
11-25-2007, 06:13 PM
I am on site for every project. This opens my abilities to use different techniques. I dont make a habit out of chains. I have used then when I only have 2-3 fixtures when the voltage loss will be to my advantage (ie a certain area being a hint brighter)

If I had guys I would be doing the fused hubs like you I think.

pete scalia
11-25-2007, 08:35 PM
Nothing wrong with the daisy chain when using 3 or 4, 20 watt lamps all within 10 feet of the homerun wire. Check it out for yourself you will have less than a .5v differential between the 1st and 4th fixture. Using a hub or other method is just a waste of cable/$ in this instance.

JoeyD
11-26-2007, 11:42 AM
Nothing wrong with the daisy chain when using 3 or 4, 20 watt lamps all within 10 feet of the homerun wire. Check it out for yourself you will have less than a .5v differential between the 1st and 4th fixture. Using a hub or other method is just a waste of cable/$ in this instance.

It's only a waste if your fixture doesnt come with a wire lead from the factory!! Doing a Daisy Chain short or not you still have to make 2 connections per light.

Pro-Scapes
11-26-2007, 05:53 PM
It's only a waste if your fixture doesnt come with a wire lead from the factory!! Doing a Daisy Chain short or not you still have to make 2 connections per light.

i dont know how many times i end up cutting half the cable off the long leads. other times wish they were longer.

JoeyD
11-30-2007, 05:49 PM
You can order the leads in any length you want. The extra wire is perfect for keeping for sequencers or recycling.

pete scalia
11-30-2007, 06:13 PM
Does the recycler give you the same .20 per foot or so that you paid on the front end? Sorry but to me it still seems wasteful to cut off all that extra wire when you can custom cut to length in the field only what you need. Go Green America:usflag:

JoeyD
11-30-2007, 06:40 PM
well the best thing is to not cut it and keep your voltage the same but sometimes you want to trim it down. It sure does beat pullign your own leads and having to make 2 connections for every light. at minimum you recycle it and GO GREEN!!

Mike M
11-30-2007, 06:47 PM
Go Green America

Sounds like Pete is thinking about a sprinter van and making his own solar and LED lights!

pete scalia
12-01-2007, 01:30 AM
Go Green America

Sounds like Pete is thinking about a sprinter van and making his own solar and LED lights!

I have been cooling off on the sprinter for the spring. It doesn't look like it's worth 45K. No solars for me. As for LED's it looks like the field is glutted. Doesn't a day pass that I don't get some kind of solicitation from someone new supplying them. I'm no pioneer. I'll wait back at the camp till the coast is clear before testing the waters in a large way w/LED's.