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John Pletcher
02-17-2008, 06:49 PM
I would like to hear from the top 10% of you (you know who you are: would do lighitng for nothing if that was the only way you could do it), as to which manufacturer has the best representation out there.

I do not mean the reps that love it when you are stuffing money in their pockets and disappear when there is a problem, never to call, hoping the problem heals itself and you forget they left you high and dry. Nor the reps that show up with a uninformed distributor for the easy sale but when you ask the tough questions disappear (promising they will soon come back with all the answers) and never return.

I mean the manufacturer that has the reps that are there for you when its good and bad. The ones that give you answers or actually care enough to go and find it if they do not know the answers to your questions.

Lite4
02-17-2008, 08:45 PM
So far, My main experience has been with Vista and Unique. For product questions Unique is a sponsor here, so getting questions answered directly about fixtures, trannys, etc from the horses mouth is invaluable. However, The Unique rep for my area has never tried to get together with me, whereas my Vista rep is always right there for me. All in all they are both OK though.

NightScenes
02-17-2008, 09:56 PM
I would say Kichler and Unique for manufactures and Longhorn irrigation supply in Texas and Terradek for a national when it comes to distributors. These folks have always been there when I've needed them no matter what the issue was.

Chris J
02-17-2008, 11:50 PM
Personally, once I became established in this business I no longer had a need to look to reps for answers. I believe I now have more knowledge than the majority of them do, so the only questions I might have would be about new product lines, developments, etc....
As far as doing it for nothing; Are you serious? This is a business, just like any other, that puts food on the table. The day I stop getting paid for my talent is the day I stop providing it.

extlights
02-18-2008, 01:31 AM
I agree with Chris. I haven't talked to a rep in a very long time, nor do I feel the need to. My supplier gives us what we need and if there is ever any problem, we just go back to them and they take care of everything promptly. I don't even know who are reps. are for the lines we deal with.

Lite4
02-18-2008, 02:14 AM
I believe most of us here know way more about lighting than your average rep. I have met a few that were knowledgable, but very few indeed. Mostly they are good for supplying us with new product samples and updating us on what they are working on.

NiteTymeIlluminations
02-20-2008, 09:30 AM
I would suggest rubbing elbows with reps as much as possible. They get contacted with leads and large jobs. If a developer contacts kichler directly the rep in that area gets contacted. If you have a rapport with the rep you get the lead. Silly not to make nice and call the rep every few weeks to see ahts going on in the market.

Chris J
02-20-2008, 10:21 PM
Doug, shouldn't our reps be calling on us? Isn't that what a quality rep is supposed to do?

seolatlanta
02-20-2008, 11:16 PM
As a former contractor , who just closed up shop in November I can tell you guys a few things. I , like Chris and most of you, didnt need a rep because I knew what I was doing and I just needed the best price possible , delivery to office or job site , and proper billing.

Now , most reps and outside reps for irrigation /lighting houses are to help the new contractor get started and keep quality standards high and be a steward for the industry. It is my responsibility to make sure he is charging enough, he understands voltage drop, etc. I am trying to keep lighting going at the highest level with high end , quality landscape/irrigation installers. I can tell you that some of the best contractors that I have seen are electricians who do lighting right-they do it by the book, installed perfectly. And they are charging enough to pay a decent price for the fixture, and get help from me when they need it . You can tell what reps are doing a good job in your area by the amount of product you see out in the trade.If you see tons of Unique then he is working the area- if you dont then he isnt.

The amount of Kichler in you area will tell you if the rep is getting it done or not. I can tell you that here Hadco has fallen off the face of the Earth. The Unique, Kichler and Cast guys are in my place every week.

NiteTymeIlluminations
02-21-2008, 10:20 AM
Very true, but its not only the mfr rep that impact the area. Cincinnati is so hard core kichler and hadco because of the distributor who was in the area.

My only comment onthis is dont think you dont need a rep...having good rapport with a rep and taking his calls is a great way to expand your business. Ignoring his/her calls leaves you in the dust of the guy who takes his/her calls. and that goes for distibuotrs, be cordial and if you cant talk say that top him and call him back when you can.

NightScenes
02-21-2008, 10:41 AM
I have a VERY good relationship with my all of my distributors but I can't remember ever getting a call from a rep of any of the products I use. Isn't that funny. I did meet my new rep for Kichler while in St. Thomas and he just said that he was very glad to know that I was in his area. I haven't heard from him since, hmmmm.

Chris J
02-21-2008, 10:04 PM
Very true, but its not only the mfr rep that impact the area. Cincinnati is so hard core kichler and hadco because of the distributor who was in the area.

My only comment onthis is dont think you dont need a rep...having good rapport with a rep and taking his calls is a great way to expand your business. Ignoring his/her calls leaves you in the dust of the guy who takes his/her calls. and that goes for distibuotrs, be cordial and if you cant talk say that top him and call him back when you can.

I never said I didn't take his calls. I actually have a very good relationship with my rep, and we are actually very good friends. I was only responding to your statement that we should be contacting them. Actually, I take anybody's calls as no one ever calls me. Will someone be my friend? :rolleyes:

John Pletcher
02-21-2008, 10:17 PM
Chris on your website it says you have award winning designs. What awards have you gotten?

Eden Lights
02-21-2008, 10:30 PM
What's a Rep?:)

Chris J
02-22-2008, 12:17 AM
Chris on your website it says you have award winning designs. What awards have you gotten?

ISPCA, NAACP, NASCR, HMPID, RESCO, etc....

Same stuff as you John; photo contests mainly. Why are you interested?

Eden Lights
02-22-2008, 12:20 AM
Who is John Pletcher? Have you introduced yourself? Did I miss it somewhere?

Chris J
02-22-2008, 12:21 AM
I think he's the guy you see standing on the side of the road with the sign that says "will work for food".

Chris J
02-22-2008, 12:26 AM
Chris on your website it says you have award winning designs. What awards have you gotten?

I would also include the AOLP/LVLIA awards, but I have not entered those because I have received too much joy watching one person win a 3 man contest. 1st, 2nd or 3rd: how could you lose?

pete scalia
02-22-2008, 12:36 AM
I think he's the guy you see standing on the side of the road with the sign that says "will work for food".

I saw a guy standing at a light on an off ramp of the LIE (Long island Expressway) today holding a sign. One side of the sign said Drive carefully when he flipped it over it said US Army sevrly (that's how he spelled it) injured

Chris J
02-22-2008, 12:59 AM
Did you give him money for spelling lessons?

Dreams To Designs
02-22-2008, 10:31 AM
I find manufacturers representatives to be an invaluable source of information and product assistance. Whether that rep visits at my studio, is an email contact or is a phone call away, their support is definitely a plus. Most reps will keep you up to date on new products, catalogs, promotional materials or technical assistance if needed. They may not have all the answers, but often they are able to steer you in the right direction. Most manufacturers reps have an excellent knowledge of their products, as opposed to many distributors may handle many different brands of lighting products and often many other types of landscape or electrical products to keep track of.

When I need catalogs or information for a class I am teaching in, a contact to most of the reps gets me the materials the students need. I have had information delivered over night, or brought directly to my studio by manufacturers reps.

If the reps for your area are not giving you the service you require, let the manufacturer know. Most companies realize the importance of good representation of their products and rely on the feedback of their consumers, especially the people making money installing their products.

Kirk

John Pletcher
02-22-2008, 10:42 AM
Chris: I think it is fantastic that you have the awards. I feel it makes a company look more legitimate and your work has to be good to win them.

As an introducton to who I am: My compan is Natural Accents Distintive Outdoor Lignting in Kansas City, MO. I am a member of the AOLP and yes I have received three awards from the organization. Two from when it was the LVLIA and one in 2008 when it became the AOLP. My company only does low voltage outdoor achitectural and landscape lighting. Our website is www.naturalaccentsllc.com.

I tend to be pro american made fixtures because of my age and experience with imported fixtures. That does not mean however I think there are no good imported fixtures.

I have been known to stand on street corners after I get a belly full of beer. Please accept my apologies. My wife is working on making me stopl

I support these forums fully because I know alot of you know alot more then I about outdoor lighting and I want to only get better. I do not have my logo on this forum yet because one of the staff in my office is alot better at making those things happen then I am and they have not had time to get it up yet.

Thanks to all of you for your opinions and advice. Opinions are just like noses though; everybody has one.

Chris J
02-22-2008, 08:25 PM
John, I was just ribbing you so I glad you didn't take offense. You do good work and I'm glad you are here.