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Eden Lights
01-08-2008, 01:45 AM
Would you buy your equipment local if your supplier had average prices and provided excellent design service, licensed electrical support, free delivery, excellent training, onsite trouble shooting service, and had experience with automated controls and provided the support and sales of said controls? Would you switch from your current supplier? What products would you have to have?

pete scalia
01-08-2008, 01:46 AM
Would you buy your equipment local if your supplier had average prices and provided excellent design service, licensed electrical support, free delivery, excellent training, onsite trouble shooting service, and had experience with automated controls and provided the support and sales of said controls? Would you switch from your current supplier? What products would you have to have?

Do business local. Help the local economy. That's all there is to it.

Lite4
01-08-2008, 01:52 AM
Eddie,
when you say buy it local, obviously you mean local dist. right? The only thing mine gives me is average prices, free delivery and that's about it. They are great guys, but lighting gets put on the back burner in this store because of irrigation. They don't have stocked shelves with some of the basics you might need to grab in a pinch, ie.. louvers, lenses, bulbs, basic fixtures and trannys. If I could buy direct from the factory, (which I may be able to, have never tried), I probably would to save $ from the middle man who doesn't really do much other than hold it in his warehouse for a day or two until I pick it up.

Chris J
01-08-2008, 01:55 AM
Dat Be a Loaded Question. My prices are already around the higher average, I don't need design service, I have an electrician on payroll......what else do I need except the automated control stuff. I might pay a salary to an automated control guy, but not a premium.

Eden Lights
01-08-2008, 01:57 AM
Dat Be a Loaded Question. My prices are already around the higher average, I don't need design service, I have an electrician on payroll......what else do I need except the automated control stuff. I might pay a salary to an automated control guy, but not a premium.

That's one No.

Eden Lights
01-08-2008, 02:02 AM
Eddie,
when you say buy it local, obviously you mean local dist. right? The only thing mine gives me is average prices, free delivery and that's about it. They are great guys, but lighting gets put on the back burner in this store because of irrigation. They don't have stocked shelves with some of the basics you might need to grab in a pinch, ie.. louvers, lenses, bulbs, basic fixtures and trannys. If I could buy direct from the factory, (which I may be able to, have never tried), I probably would to save $ from the middle man who doesn't really do much other than hold it in his warehouse for a day or two until I pick it up.

This would be a lighting only dist. for the local guys. Clients would be mostly Landscapers and Irrigaition guys. These guys are already paying $5-$10 more per fixture than you guys with no support really.

Eden Lights
01-08-2008, 02:03 AM
Throw in Co-op advertising program.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-08-2008, 02:16 AM
Eddie, are you planning to open a distribution arm? If so, give John Higo a call at TC Lighting here in Ontario. He will give you some great insight into how to do it really well.

I already enjoy most of what you are asking about. Great stock levels, Great Service, a Vast understanding of the products, and systems available and a commitment to the LV outdoor lighting industry. When I find a new line or new product that I want stocked I can just make the call and He will take care of it.

I don't need a design service (Lots of the manufacturers offer this if the "contractor" needs it) and I already have a few EC's lined up locally who deal with all my line voltage needs.

Enjoy.

Eden Lights
01-08-2008, 02:52 AM
Keith you are correct about the one stop shop idea. I am thinking about the power of sales, I can only sale so many fixtures in a day if I have to install them all. I really don't want to put another truck on the road.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-08-2008, 03:01 AM
Eddie, you are thinking about it all wrong my friend. It has nothing to do with how many fixtures you can install in a day. It has everything to do with how much art you can create in a day and how much you can command for that art.

Do not be a fixture salesman... there will always be others who can do that better faster cheaper etc. Instead focus on developing your own style, and a signature style, and then finding the clients who are willing to pay for you to do your magic.

Leave the volume for the distributors.... If your passion is truly in lighting design and instalations then let it shine brother! And don't be afraid to charge appropriately for your craft.

Enjoy.

Chris J
01-08-2008, 03:11 AM
If we are still talking about the objective of having a local supplier, I have always done this from day one. 95% of my installation materials comes from the same warehouse, and the other 5% comes because of specialty situations. My local is within 10 miles of my shop; therefore, warranty or replacement issues are non-exsistent. In most cases, the customer is taken care of within the same hour (not just the same day).
I pride myself on EXTREME customer service, and I do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Chris J
01-08-2008, 03:15 AM
Eddie, you are thinking about it all wrong my friend. It has nothing to do with how many fixtures you can install in a day. It has everything to do with how much art you can create in a day and how much you can command for that art.

Do not be a fixture salesman... there will always be others who can do that better faster cheaper etc. Instead focus on developing your own style, and a signature style, and then finding the clients who are willing to pay for you to do your magic.

Leave the volume for the distributors.... If your passion is truly in lighting design and instalations then let it shine brother! And don't be afraid to charge appropriately for your craft.

Enjoy.

Don't mean to interupt, but have you seen some of eddie's work? I don't think he's worried about getting it done in a day or two? Your a funny guy James.

JoeyD
01-08-2008, 11:10 AM
Eddie, I know if I were a contractor that is the kind of support I would love to have. Reason being is even though I know how to do everything, and I mean EVERYTHING...LOL....I still like to have piece of mind that my supplier has a clue so if I have a problem he will know how to help me solve it. I may not need your services all the time or at all but I would buy from that supplier simply to help support someone who I know would be able to support me if I have an issue. Another reason would be sometimes you get so overwhelmed running one or two projects that its nice to know that if I need a guy to run out and maybe design a job or assist my guys with a technical situation I have my supplier to lean on.

I love this type of supplier becuase this is the type of service I provided as a distributor here in Southern California. In the 3 years I worked as the lighting specialist/lighting sales guy for this distributor I increased lighting sales by over 100% in one year! I didnt do this for any other reason other than supperior support and service. Sure I had inventory but guys came to me because they knew I had a clue. They also knew I could make them more money by going to their jobsites and selling the job to the homeowners for them.

Joey D.

Pro-Scapes
01-08-2008, 12:08 PM
local has a huge advantage. When I had a good local here It was nice if I needed like you said some warranty parts or something off the shelves.

Since they have closed up I had to stock up on alot of things i wouldnt normally stock alot of like lamps... grease tubes...wire (shippings high on wire)

If another local dist opened here with fair (note that doesnt say lowest) pricing and great service I think it would be almost silly not to use them. Nothing can rival having a face to face good working relationship. You will ALWAYS have to order in the obscure things. Especially when your not commited to any single line

never had anyone deliver to me locally but that would be awsome to have someone meet me at the jobsite with a van full of my materials for that job.

Eden Lights
01-08-2008, 11:32 PM
Eddie, you are thinking about it all wrong my friend. It has nothing to do with how many fixtures you can install in a day. It has everything to do with how much art you can create in a day and how much you can command for that art.

Do not be a fixture salesman... there will always be others who can do that better faster cheaper etc. Instead focus on developing your own style, and a signature style, and then finding the clients who are willing to pay for you to do your magic.

Leave the volume for the distributors.... If your passion is truly in lighting design and instalations then let it shine brother! And don't be afraid to charge appropriately for your craft.

Enjoy.

As you know history shows that most famous artists had bad personnel and financial biographies. I can't physically install many more fixtures nor can I charge much more and call myself honest. I guess after years of working for the ultra rich my mind is starting to work a little different. As I have said here before most of us don't have a true business, we are just a commodity that would have zero value should we be out of the picture for some reason. I have seen a lot of sickness, recovery, and some death lately and I have some pretty strong resolutions for 2008. I love lighting more than ever, but I am looking at all angles to take my venture to the next level and I have several ideas, but none of them include staying at a 3 person crew. I have to many things that I want to do for the Lord and my family! I had a record year last year and the week before Christmas I was working for a long time client and he said, aren't you getting tried of putting those lights in? He said if you will come work on my HoneyDo list everyday, I will give you your total investment in your company back, plus your salary and profit + 10% and cover your families health insurance! While it didn't interest me as a option, it did light a fire under me to take my venture to the next level.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-08-2008, 11:59 PM
As you know history shows that most famous artists had bad personnel and financial biographies. I can't physically install many more fixtures nor can I charge much more and call myself honest. I guess after years of working for the ultra rich my mind is starting to work a little different. As I have said here before most of us don't have a true business, we are just a commodity that would have zero value should we be out of the picture for some reason. I have seen a lot of sickness, recovery, and some death lately and I have some pretty strong resolutions for 2008. I love lighting more than ever, but I am looking at all angles to take my venture to the next level and I have several ideas, but none of them include staying at a 3 person crew. I have to many things that I want to do for the Lord and my family! I had a record year last year and the week before Christmas I was working for a long time client and he said, aren't you getting tried of putting those lights in? He said if you will come work on my HoneyDo list everyday, I will give you your total investment in your company back, plus your salary and profit + 10% and cover your families health insurance! While it didn't interest me as a option, it did light a fire under me to take my venture to the next level.

I completely understand your angle Eddie. Just remember that charging what the market will bear is not dishonest. There are rules of supply and demand and if your clients want you and only you, they will pay for that opportunity. There are also some very interesting ways in which any small trade can significantly increase their margins.

As for building the value of your small business into a sale-able commodity... there is a way in which you can fully capture and realize the value you have built. It is called systematization and it is something that hardly any small business ever gets around to. I could go on for days, but why give away the farm here?

As for your interest in vertical integration... I applaud you! :clapping: Vertical integration (getting involved in multiple levels of the same business) is a very very good way to build, develop value, and create multiple revenue streams. All of my advisers own or run very large ventures, all of them are pros at vertical integration. I encourage you to go for it!

Are you going to the AOLP conference? I would like to meet you sometime.

SamIV
01-09-2008, 11:56 PM
Had similar feelings that Eden has. For years I owned a landscaping and lawn care business. That's were the interest in lighting came in. Sold off the lawn and landscape side and now I only do lighting but I also have another full time job. I am a little older than most of you, but I truly enjoy lighting and have a knack for it, but I knew I could not keep the pace for very much longer on the landscape side. Frankly, I would rather be a lighting rep, enjoy the technical and sales side of this business, but these jobs are few and far between.

Don't despair Eddie, things have a way of working out. I still do lighting, and had a very good year, but I also now manage, maintain, calibrate millions of dollars of very specialized equipment with my other job, and have only been at it a year. I would prefer being more involved in the lighting industry, but I still get to play a little and still have a bright future.

I am also headed your way Mr. Integra. Going to Canada in February for a little training with a vendor. I hear it is a little cold there this time of year.

SamIV
Accent Outdoor Lighting

Eden Lights
01-10-2008, 12:35 AM
Are you going to the AOLP conference? I would like to meet you sometime.

As of right now, I don't think so. We took a week off for the holidays and we really need to get some stuff finished that has been draging along. I would love to go and talk to everyone, and catch up with some old friends.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-10-2008, 09:04 AM
I am also headed your way Mr. Integra. Going to Canada in February for a little training with a vendor. I hear it is a little cold there this time of year.

SamIV
Accent Outdoor Lighting

Up my way as in Canada Eh Sam? We are about 4000 miles wide from sea to sea Sam. :) (Most people are not aware that Ontario is almost twice the size of Texas.) Where in Canada are you heading?

As for the weather, it all really depends on where you are going. It has been rather mild to say the least this past week. Highs here in Central Ontario have been hovering around 10 deg Celcius and lots of rain... almost all of the snow is gone. The east coast has been battered by snow but not much cold and the west coast has been snowy and mild too.

Pro-Scapes
01-10-2008, 09:12 AM
James as someone who was born in chicago and returned there for college and now living just a few hours from burt (sam) I would have to say mild to you guys is downright bonechilling for us! Mild probably means the sorel boots and eskimo hoods can stay at home.

been in the 60's here... wet this week!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-10-2008, 09:20 AM
Billy, it was 50 F here and pouring rain on Tuesday... Just crazy warm for this time of year. This is usually when we get our first of two, week long deep freezes. I have seen night time temperatures in Mid Jan hit -40 F

I have to run to a sales call now (Yea!) but I will post a couple wild photos when I get back.

Frog Lights, LLC
01-10-2008, 09:40 AM
Very well said Jim.

SamIV
01-10-2008, 09:42 AM
Hey James,

Headed to either Cobourg,Ontario or Edmonton, Alberta. Not finalized yet.

SamIV
Accent Outdoor Lighting

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-10-2008, 05:47 PM
Sam... are those your choices? Sheeeesh. I wouldnt really be choosing to go to either Edmonton or Cobourg in February. If you end up in Cobourg, see if you can add a day or three to your trip and visit Toronto. If you end up in Edmonton, well it will probably be bone chillingly cold, but they do have the largest shopping mall in the world (West Edmonton Mall) there and they are pretty close to some spectacular wilderness in the rocky mountains around Jasper Alberta.

Regards.

NightScenes
01-12-2008, 10:11 AM
Eddie, I use a few different distributors but I would say that I use my local, (Longhorn, about 60 miles away) 75% of the time. I pay a little more to them but they deliver, stock and take very good care of me. The out of state companies that I use (Terradek and California Landscape Lighting) also give good service and know what they are doing but it doesn't beat having someone in the area.

irrig8r
01-12-2008, 01:01 PM
I use various distributors, but most of my lighting purchases go through the same one where I do the majority of my irrigation purchases. I have three disributors to choose from within five miles of my house and two others within another 10 miles.

The small, local distributor I use most sends me lots of referral work, and that has made a big difference for me as far as how I spend my energy and resources on marketing. (Why advertise during those times of year when I historically get a lot of referral work anyway?)

Because he also sells to homeowners (different prices) he gets a lot of customers who come in, realize how complicated a project might actually get, and ask for names of contractors.

He knows what kind of work I prefer and what I don't, so I usually get new customers who have been pre-screened for me. It's a win-win.

Eden Lights
01-12-2008, 02:37 PM
Eddie, I use a few different distributors but I would say that I use my local, (Longhorn, about 60 miles away) 75% of the time. I pay a little more to them but they deliver, stock and take very good care of me. The out of state companies that I use (Terradek and California Landscape Lighting) also give good service and know what they are doing but it doesn't beat having someone in the area.

The early buy program at CLL is pretty strong when you do the numbers, have anyone used the program before?

irrig8r
01-12-2008, 02:56 PM
The early buy program at CLL is pretty strong when you do the numbers, have anyone used the program before?

I have a couple of friends that swear by them. I'll ask what their savings are.

Pro-Scapes
01-12-2008, 09:05 PM
I get a fair deal of marketing from them but never ordered. For me it would be at least 5 days ship time and unless it was something obscure no one else had it would take something of an insane deal to order thru them. I think now my closest dist is 2 days shipping unless I want to pay alot more and/or drive 90 miles to John deere. When I spoke with deere last he didnt seem all to interested in working with me if I didnt want to do things his way and use fxl

TPnTX
01-12-2008, 09:40 PM
I can say as a beginner if it were not for Longhorn and Rich Swor specifically I would not have a clue. I still don't have a clue but with help from Rich and what I've learned, I am about to properly install a quality LV system.

So, to answer the original question, that type of distributor is excellent under the right circumstances. At least everything but the licensed electrician part.

I'm really excited. I have another lead on a job as well. Pretty simple actually but thats good. I wish(can't wait) would take off around here and I'll do my best to promote it.

Eden Lights
01-13-2008, 12:22 AM
I get a fair deal of marketing from them but never ordered. For me it would be at least 5 days ship time and unless it was something obscure no one else had it would take something of an insane deal to order thru them. I think now my closest dist is 2 days shipping unless I want to pay alot more and/or drive 90 miles to John deere. When I spoke with deere last he didnt seem all to interested in working with me if I didnt want to do things his way and use fxl

I didn't know Deere carried FX? Deere has several levels of pricing and it's hard to get up there unless your buying Irr & Plant stock also. While we haven't used CLL alot, If your doing 25K with them their early buy is very strong$ The 4-5 day shipping has never been a issue for us.

Pro-Scapes
01-13-2008, 12:34 AM
I emailed em one time thinking they carried Kichler. I needed a couple of paths in a hurry to complete a job before a party and they guy got back to me like a week later saying they didnt stock much kichler and FX was their main line.

No idea what was up. I never even went 2 hours up there because he couldnt even bother to return an email. FOLD rocks with replies. Usually within the day they shoot an email or text back to me.

This is the one in Brandon MS I am speaking of.

I sub irrigation and buy about 25k in plant stock from my local family owned nursery. If they were closer I might use em but with the prices he shot me I might as well buy retail.

Lite4
01-13-2008, 10:49 AM
I shop JDL. They are about 4 miles from my house. The only prob. I have with JDL is pricing. I can go to Horizon and get my same stuff for less, but I have been dealing with the guys at JDL for years so I guess it is a comfort thing. They always adjust their prices to match Horizon, but it is a pain to always have to check the invoices to make sure I am getting the right pricing.
I didn't know they carried fx. I have asked them to carry some but I always have to go to Horizon to get that line. They are big on the Vista line here, and I am starting to try to have them stock some Unique.

klkanders
01-13-2008, 01:32 PM
I also did not have a pleasant experience with JDL because I wanted to check out a couple Vista fixtures and my usual distributor doesn't carry that line. They wanted me to fill out a credit app even tho I wanted to pay w plastic. They agreed to do the transaction this one time after providing my company info but in the end screwed that up anyway and taxed me. To top it off i didnt get the product when I was supposed too.
Not a good experience and they will never hear from me again.

So getting back to the original post. If a local distributor could provide product when needed at a fair price with great customer and technical support,service might it work?
I say yes.

NightScenes
01-13-2008, 02:51 PM
Keith, have you tried Gerry De La Vega at Terradek? He's up in your area and he's also a VERY good distributor.

klkanders
01-13-2008, 05:23 PM
Paul, Gerry Is my main distributor and you turned me unto him remember? You are right he is a very good distributor. :) (This smiley is in regard to James post...I am showing my pleasure)