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barefeetny
02-26-2008, 07:47 PM
So it was a nasty day... but went down anyway....

it was real cool... i figured it would just be a huge vista ad... but surprisngly we spend 45% of the time talking design... anf 45% talking technical aspects....

less then 10% of time we talked about individual fixtures and that was mostly in the context of application.... Was a great primer for people like me that knew very little....instructor/ rep encouraged everyone to explore the other companys lines and education as well...did give us a nice handbook and worksheets......


for me it was a nice short lesson and i learned alot. i still plan on getting the book from joey D too..if fact the lco next to me said it was like "THE bible" .... at least now i will understand some of the facets of the buisness....

From what i saw the fixtures....hahaha learned a new word... and transformers looked top notch.....i checked out the table afterwards....

So if your clueless like me... i can reccomend... and thanks to all you guys who offered the help and some motivation...And for all the guys who are very brand loyal... he was very industry positive....and encouraged everyone to seek the education and check out the other names in the industry..


Now maybe this spring i can attempt something
Nate

Venturewest
02-26-2008, 08:08 PM
I am headed to a one day Vista seminar on Thursday. Should be good reinforcement of the basics. My brother went to an advanced seminar that covered mostly business aspects. They had some really good spreadsheets for bidding and tracking expenses. I have copies of them that I plan on putting to use.

I also plan on getting the lighting 'bible' ASAP.

Pro-Scapes
02-26-2008, 08:20 PM
ok first off I would like to say NOTHING should be compared to the Bible :)

second off please guys... dont think you can learn proper lighting installation in a 3 hour course and a book. Please for the sake of the industry take the time to learn more before attempting an installation.

barefeetny
02-26-2008, 08:26 PM
i plan on staying in my own yard for quite some time....

that way i can take my time and try diffrent things....

i know with enough time i can get this.... i usually have an eye for detail oriented work

and no disrespect on the bible

where i'm from this expression means a definitive source... like the bible

NightScenes
02-26-2008, 09:07 PM
When you are talking about the "bible" of landscape lighting (I agree with you Billy) you are talking about The Landscape Lighting Book by Janet Moyer. I would say that Nates' book is a very good over all manual though and I recommend it often.

Venturewest
02-26-2008, 09:09 PM
where i'm from this expression means a definitive source... like the bible

ditto that
per Webster
4: a publication that is preeminent especially in authoritativeness or wide readership <the fisherman's bible> <the bible of the entertainment industry>

I also agree that a 1 day training seminar is not sufficient in itself. I attended a Nightscaping seminar that was pretty good at the very basics. After reading this forum for 2 years I think this Vista seminar will be a good refresher. I would like to attend Unique university in addition to devouring Nate Mullen's book.

Billy, what would you say was your absolute most valuable training tool when you were first starting?

Venturewest
02-26-2008, 09:10 PM
When you are talking about the "bible" of landscape lighting (I agree with you Billy) you are talking about The Landscape Lighting Book by Janet Moyer. I would say that Nates' book is a very good over all manual though and I recommend it often.

Would you say that for the first big read on landscape lighting that Janet's book is the best? Is it design that is the biggest focus?

NightScenes
02-26-2008, 09:15 PM
No, I would say for an all-around manual you should read Nates book because it covers everything in a general manner. If you want to be a landscape lighting designer you have to read Jan's book. Jan's book is for those who want to take it to a "biblical" level.

Venturewest
02-26-2008, 09:23 PM
No, I would say for an all-around manual you should read Nates book because it covers everything in a general manner. If you want to be a landscape lighting designer you have to read Jan's book. Jan's book is for those who want to take it to a "biblical" level.

I will try to pick both of them up on Amazon. I talked to Longhorn the other day. They were really nice guys. They are sending me some information. I guess the Vista rep doing their seminar down there is the same putting ours on. They are going to send the CAST manual also. Should be a good read.

They had very good things to say about the guys on here who they are familiar with.

NightScenes
02-26-2008, 09:26 PM
The folks at Longhorn are some of the best. Rich Swor in the Plano area will take very good care of you.

barefeetny
02-26-2008, 09:29 PM
two books to order and read.....cool

really looking at the work on here ... seeing the presentation today.... i want to get good enough to at least highlight my own work.... if i never made a dime and could show off my work that would be good enough.....

but some work down the line would i like to make some money doing this...

absolutly.... it seems that it would be a hard buisness for someone with no experience to just set-up shop and underbid you....

maybe i'm way off... seems like a poser attempt will look way out of place


Well thanks again guys for all the info and motivation

Nate

NightScenes
02-26-2008, 09:46 PM
I started my business with a couple of hundred bucks in my account and just a couple of projects that I probably would deny now, so don't think that you have to know everything about this business to get started. We all have to begin somewhere. Practice at your home and then get going. Use your local distributor to help you on your first few designs (they do that now) and then be loyal to them for getting you started. Before you know it, you'll be on your way.

Good luck,

Pro-Scapes
02-26-2008, 09:54 PM
Billy, what would you say was your absolute most valuable training tool when you were first starting?

Common sence. You wont find that in any book or at any seminar. I thought about your question and the most valuble tool is your mind. Being able to apply... adapt and impliment what you have learned is cruicial.

Lite4
02-26-2008, 10:10 PM
If you guys want to get your feet wet. Buy some lights and go set up some demos at different houses free of charge. They will love to see their house lit, and you will get some experience at utilizing some different techniques by moving fixtures around a experimenting with varying bulbs and lenses.

Pro-Scapes
02-26-2008, 10:11 PM
i plan on staying in my own yard for quite some time....

that way i can take my time and try diffrent things....

i know with enough time i can get this.... i usually have an eye for detail oriented work

and no disrespect on the bible

where i'm from this expression means a definitive source... like the bible


This is an excellent plan. We did this alot. Learning different techniques... If you have the means purchase a demo set and start doing demos to learn more. You can get it. Its going to come down to if you really love it or you just do it.

I agree with paul... start with nates book... Jan Moyers book is an excellent source for design knowledge but when I first started I tried to read it and I was like UGH!. Now I can read and comprehend it for the most part. I dont think you will ever stop honing your design skills if you are truely passionate about lighting.

barefeetny
02-26-2008, 10:44 PM
guys

really all i can say is thanks.... i was going to look at some diffrent transformers this week as i have some nice features in my yard that i would love to highlight.... i might just play around for a while with somes fixtures and a few diffrent bulbs....i have some time... theres a ton of snow here

do you guys reccomend an actual demo unit for other peoples houses or do you just carry a full transformer quck connects and fixtures and bulbs?

the demo unit from vista was a little pricey

Pro-Scapes
02-26-2008, 10:52 PM
guys

really all i can say is thanks.... i was going to look at some diffrent transformers this week as i have some nice features in my yard that i would love to highlight.... i might just play around for a while with somes fixtures and a few diffrent bulbs....i have some time... theres a ton of snow here

do you guys reccomend an actual demo unit for other peoples houses or do you just carry a full transformer quck connects and fixtures and bulbs?

the demo unit from vista was a little pricey


Unique has a nice demo kit but its mostly par lamps so keep that in mind. Im pretty sure they will customize it anyway you want.

Ours started off with cheapy dabmar lights and a 600w trans and has slowly evolved into 6 paths... 30 bullets of a handfull of varieties... some wash lights... some ingrades we can set in place and 3 transformers. Demos do sell..I dont like doing them unless it is a very serious client or there is a question of design. They are a tool and can be a very valuble tool. Read the live demos thread for more info http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=206690

TXNSLighting
02-27-2008, 08:43 AM
The best way for me was to go work for a landscape lighitng company. very hands on, and you got to learn everything from the selling to fixtures to install. I worked for em for three months, and thats what it took. i learned enough to start offering it myself.

NightScenes
02-27-2008, 10:00 AM
So let me get this right Ryan, you went to work for a landscape lighting company for 3 months. They paid you and trained you to do your job and then you quit and went into competition with your former employer who trained you. Is this right? Do you see anything wrong with this?

Lite4
02-27-2008, 10:16 AM
Paul, I was just going to say the same thing. This exactly why I do everything myself.:hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:

Lite4
02-27-2008, 10:22 AM
Barefeet, I did not buy their pre package demo kit. I just picked up a couple 600 watt trannys and a couple 300 watters and a variety of lights. I use well with the par because you can set them on concrete where you might core drill out a hole, you can also set them with a ground stake and they are very easy to move. I did make some heavy mounts for my bullets so I can throw them around like the pars over concrete when I to constrain the amount of light output a bit. I have about 35-40 bullets with a variety of lenses and bulbs I change out as needed for each situation. I have some pathlights (that I rarely ever use). Some wall washers, some downlights for trees, etc, etc.... You get the idea, I just carry a wide selection for each situation.

NightScenes
02-27-2008, 10:25 AM
I just couldn't help myself. I think I am going to institute a non-compete policy in my company. Fortunately for me, my guys are very loyal because I take good care of them and they don't want the headaches of running their own businesses.

TXNSLighting
02-27-2008, 05:16 PM
So let me get this right Ryan, you went to work for a landscape lighting company for 3 months. They paid you and trained you to do your job and then you quit and went into competition with your former employer who trained you. Is this right? Do you see anything wrong with this?

O no, i didnt have intention of quiting and doing this on my own. i actually wanted to go to work for his company, but me and the owner ended up getting in a scuffle, and the whole thing got blown up huge. hes lost a lot of people because of how he treats them. i guess i coulda explained a little more...sorry.

NightScenes
02-27-2008, 08:00 PM
Thanks for the insight Ryan. I think I'll still look into that non compete thing though.

Chris J
02-27-2008, 08:06 PM
The best way for me was to go work for a landscape lighitng company. very hands on, and you got to learn everything from the selling to fixtures to install. I worked for em for three months, and thats what it took. i learned enough to start offering it myself.

This is capitalism at its finest! Nothing wrong with it, but it does leave us business owners feeling a bit nasty. Also nothing wrong with some healthy competition. Your advertising dollars will probably bring more interest into your community, thus increasing your former employer's business as well.

Venturewest
02-27-2008, 08:10 PM
Barefeet, I did not buy their pre package demo kit. I just picked up a couple 600 watt trannys and a couple 300 watters and a variety of lights. I use well with the par because you can set them on concrete where you might core drill out a hole, you can also set them with a ground stake and they are very easy to move. I did make some heavy mounts for my bullets so I can throw them around like the pars over concrete when I to constrain the amount of light output a bit. I have about 35-40 bullets with a variety of lenses and bulbs I change out as needed for each situation. I have some pathlights (that I rarely ever use). Some wall washers, some downlights for trees, etc, etc.... You get the idea, I just carry a wide selection for each situation.

What kind of quick connections are you using? Could you get buy with standard male and female extension cord plugs?

Thanks for sharing all that about your demo kits guys. Our local John Deere has a Vista demo kit that they loan out which is nice. I am going to request it this weekend. I have been thinking I will put together my own demo kit in time for the season.

Chris J
02-27-2008, 08:20 PM
What kind of quick connections are you using? Could you get buy with standard male and female extension cord plugs?

Thanks for sharing all that about your demo kits guys. Our local John Deere has a Vista demo kit that they loan out which is nice. I am going to request it this weekend. I have been thinking I will put together my own demo kit in time for the season.

This is what I used to do. I rigged up a couple 900w trannys with about 6-8 20' home runs with 3-way receptacles (18-24 fixtures per tranny). Then I rigged all my lights with 20' leads with male plugs. You can then set on tranny on each side of the yard, connect them with an extension cord and power strip (or adaptor) and run lights all over the place. I also used an X-10 transceiver and remote to turn the lights on and off while I talked with the customer from the street. This was very effective as I could tease the crap out of them! Like what you see? Now I'll turn them off so we can talk a while.....No, No, No, Turn it back on! Fun stuff.

Venturewest
02-27-2008, 08:27 PM
This is what I used to do. I rigged up a couple 900w trannys with about 6-8 20' home runs with 3-way receptacles (18-24 fixtures per tranny). Then I rigged all my lights with 20' leads with male plugs. You can then set on tranny on each side of the yard, connect them with an extension cord and power strip (or adaptor) and run lights all over the place. I also used an X-10 transceiver and remote to turn the lights on and off while I talked with the customer from the street. This was very effective as I could tease the crap out of them! Like what you see? Now I'll turn them off so we can talk a while.....No, No, No, Turn it back on! Fun stuff.

Thats a great idea. Sounds like it makes for a quick set up. Did you use all low voltage wiring or just modify some cheap extension cords?

TXNSLighting
02-27-2008, 10:37 PM
Thanks for the insight Ryan. I think I'll still look into that non compete thing though.

Yeh it is a good idea. atleast i charge accordingly and dont think of this as just a job.. i love lights and i love lighitng homes. it runs through my blood.

TXNSLighting
02-27-2008, 10:41 PM
This is capitalism at its finest! Nothing wrong with it, but it does leave us business owners feeling a bit nasty. Also nothing wrong with some healthy competition. Your advertising dollars will probably bring more interest into your community, thus increasing your former employer's business as well.


Thanks chris! ha! yeh competition is the only way. We only have two companies in our town who soley do lighitng, me and my former employer.

Lite4
02-27-2008, 11:44 PM
I just use simple interior rated twist nuts. They are cheap and I can reuse them job after job.

Chris J
02-28-2008, 04:07 AM
Thanks chris! ha! yeh competition is the only way. We only have two companies in our town who soley do lighitng, me and my former employer.

Watch out Ryan! I'm packing my bags and moving to Texas! I had a feeling you Texas boys had some kind of monopoly thing going in the outdoor lighting arena. Make the best of it while you can. When I started out there were only 2 other guys advertising in the phone book for landscape lighting. Just a few short years later, I stopped trying to count them. Good luck.

extlights
02-28-2008, 10:53 AM
I was just down in North TX...nice area. A lot of possibilities there, hmmmmm. :)

klkanders
02-28-2008, 12:02 PM
Chris J, Dave, I was thinking the same thing.......lots of nice houses.......great weather!
I can buy an enclosed trailer and live out of it for awhile............

NightScenes
02-28-2008, 12:19 PM
I'll get you guys all set up in the DFW area!! I know a great distributor up there and the area is HUGE!!

extlights
02-28-2008, 01:13 PM
We actually are moving down there next year. I've been down there a few times looking around the area and talking to realtors. We've got it narrowed down to 2 towns...McKinney and N. Richland Hills....but the subdivision we really love is in McKinney. My Brother lives in Mckinney and loves it there. This midwest weather is killing me!

Maybe I'll go work for Ryan....need any help there Ryan, I have a little experience!

NightScenes
02-28-2008, 09:21 PM
Yeah Dave, you can go to work for him for a few months and then once you know the lay of the land, you can go out on your own. LOL

TXNSLighting
02-29-2008, 08:43 AM
O dear... what have i started here... danget! You know there are actually no houses for sale or rent down in this area, so sorry i guess youll have to stay put. ha! (seinfeld reference). Yeh in the DFW area, there are a bunch of companies. Dallas landscape lighting, creative nightscapes, passion lighting, illuminart. theres alot in that area. theres a whole bunch more that i cant remember. o silvermoon lighting. Its still weird everytime i go on a demo or estimate, the majority of the areas i visit have zero lighitng! all these companies out there, and theres still alot of houses with no lights. So im advertisin all i can to those neighborhoods. The majority of my calls are from one certain town to. very weird.

TXNSLighting
02-29-2008, 08:44 AM
We actually are moving down there next year. I've been down there a few times looking around the area and talking to realtors. We've got it narrowed down to 2 towns...McKinney and N. Richland Hills....but the subdivision we really love is in McKinney. My Brother lives in Mckinney and loves it there. This midwest weather is killing me!

Maybe I'll go work for Ryan....need any help there Ryan, I have a little experience!

what kind of experience do you have son? ha!

extlights
02-29-2008, 08:52 AM
what kind of experience do you have son? ha!

Over 10 years! You know there are a lot of times where I wished I was just an employee and could concentrate on just design and installations. While it's great being in business for yourself, sometimes all the other crap that goes with it starts to take away from the fun of what I really love...which is the desgn aspect. We do demo's and yes, I even like doing those... Something about taking a property from nothing to spectacular.

Anyway...back to the thread at hand.

TXNSLighting
02-29-2008, 08:54 AM
Watch out Ryan! I'm packing my bags and moving to Texas! I had a feeling you Texas boys had some kind of monopoly thing going in the outdoor lighting arena. Make the best of it while you can. When I started out there were only 2 other guys advertising in the phone book for landscape lighting. Just a few short years later, I stopped trying to count them. Good luck.

yeh but florida is better, so you should stay there... we have a saying, welcome to texas yall, but dont forget to leave! ha! No we seem to have a great market for lighting, and it seems the majority of people here have no idea what it is! theyre all like, isnt this what home depot sells for a couple hundred bucks....o dear...i just want to smack em. So we pretty much have to go find clients.

I was picking up my demo kit yesterday and the neighbor came walking up and asked: Do your lights use the same amount of energy as the malibu lights? Now this guy drove a brand new cadillac escalade and has a very nice home. and there were 5 malibus just kinda facing whereever..SO i tried to stay calm, and said you need to build a fire and toss those lights in them. he said really? he said yeh i noticed your lights were a lot brighter and better looking then mine. but i figured you used the same stuff. i didnt know if there was some trick you knew. I said heres one of my bullet lights, (the unique pulsar) hold this, now go hold one of your malibus. he said ok, lets get some of your lights. so were going to get him some real lights now.

Sorry i like to ramble...

TXNSLighting
02-29-2008, 08:58 AM
Over 10 years! You know there are a lot of times where I wished I was just an employee and could concentrate on just design and installations. While it's great being in business for yourself, sometimes all the other crap that goes with it starts to take away from the fun of what I really love...which is the desgn aspect. We do demo's and yes, I even like doing those... Something about taking a property from nothing to spectacular.

Anyway...back to the thread at hand.

I understand. but you know i actually like everything about being in business for yourself. And i love doing demos. especially when the neighbors all come and watch. It just makes you feel accomplished.

Its funny two years ago i was mowing lawns, and was depressed at life..and now im actually doing something i love. What a dream come true. :cool2:

Venturewest
02-29-2008, 09:09 AM
[QUOTE=Texanlawnandlandscape;

Its funny two years ago i was mowing lawns, and was depressed at life..and now im actually doing something i love. What a dream come true. :cool2:[/QUOTE]

That's what it is about. So many people never seem to find that. It's nice when you can make a living at it also.

Venturewest
02-29-2008, 09:29 AM
Since this is a Vista training thread I will comment on the training. I think it was a good intro for people that know nothing about outdoor lighting. It was the very basic nuts and bolts. I feel like Vista purposefully desophisticates the training in this basic seminar. Their target is the irrigation contractors because the irrigation distributors are the one who sell the product. They want to convey the idea that anyone, with very little training, can go out and sell and install good systems. Not only that, but make much better money than they were making in irrigation.

If their was a good local distribution network in place I think manus would do much better targeting the landscape designers. People that have demonstrated artistic ability and interest. I guess that is probably more the approach of Cast and Unique.

Obviously to do this well, more training is required. To be fair to Vista, they offer more advanced seminars including design seminars.

Overall, I think the seminar is a good starting place. It was a review for me, but it at least gave me an idea of the fixtures and accessories I want in my dream demo kit. I was really impressed with the effects of the spread lens and the frosted lens.

I think this forum is a blessing for anyone serious about outdoor lighting that happens to stumble upon it. It is a tiny percentage of potential lighting contractors that are ever exposed to the kind of absolute best practice that is discussed on the forum. Most people in my area will get the basics from one of the manus or lighting reps at the local irrigation supply. They will start installing systems and probably gain some experience and skill a long the way.
They may never know that soldering (or an equivalent splicing technique) isn't just a good idea. They may never know, even after years in the industry who Janet Moyer, Nate Mullens, Steve Parrott and all the other greats.

So anyways, thanks guys.:waving:

extlights
02-29-2008, 10:06 AM
At least your going about getting into the business the right way. Gaining knowledge will only help you in the future and put you ahead of the guy who just wants to read the instructions and then call himself a "pro." While seminars won't teach you everything, they are a great tool when you're starting out.

klkanders
02-29-2008, 10:50 AM
Venture, I agree with you on why irrigation distributors are targeted by manus. Its easy for them because they are everywhere. They believe that if they can install irrigation then they can install lighting. The fundementals are taught quickly but you can not teach good design practices in an hour or two class. Yes landscape designers probably have a leg-up here because they have already studied some Architectural design and certainly know the characteristics of trees and plant growth. I think lighting design is an on-going process picked up with practice, experience and engrossing others work and learning from it.

Any class or seminar and certainly the AOLP conference are great learning tools and should be attended as often as possible. Something new will always be picked up.

You are also right on about anyone discovering this forum or others. Attending any training or seminar and then reading everything thats posted here will give anyone more tools to become succesful. Sorry for the rambling....

Lite4
02-29-2008, 10:51 AM
Here is my problem with the quick 6 hour study. They only give you enough information in those seminars to get you pumped up, buy their product, wire up a bunch of fixtures and ultimately get in trouble. None of the ones I have seen ever introduced the class to a multimeter, or showed them how to use it properly. "maybe things have changed, but I doubt it." Here is the BIG PROBLEM though, they don't teach anything on lighting design which is the key to the whole lighting scene here guys. Most of these irrigation guys get a little information and then they just go throw some random fixtures out in a yard and call it lighting. Wouldn't you say that is akin to taking a lighting guy with no irrigation experience and just showing him how to hook a sprinkler head into the main line and then patting him on the back and telling him "congratulations you are now a irrigation contractor, he is a variety of the heads we sell. Good Luck" ; but then telling him nothing about how he needs to space and his heads and size his pipe, what nozzles to use in that spacing? you know IRRIGATION DESIGN, Are you getting the drift of this? I am sure it took more than a 6 hour class for most all irrigators to learn and feel comfortable about installing a properly designed system. Without a proper "design", all you have is a wet house, brown lawn, and a big wet spot.

klkanders
02-29-2008, 10:53 AM
I agree Dave. I started typing my reply before yours but didnt finish it as i got a phone call. :)

JoeyD
02-29-2008, 10:54 AM
Here is my problem with the quick 6 hour study. They only give you enough information in those seminars to get you pumped up, buy their product, wire up a bunch of fixtures and ultimately get in trouble. None of the ones I have seen ever introduced the class to a multimeter, or showed them how to use it properly. "maybe things have changed, but I doubt it." Here is the BIG PROBLEM though, they don't teach anything on lighting design which is the key to the whole lighting scene here guys. Most of these irrigation guys get a little information and then they just go throw some random fixtures out in a yard and call it lighting. Wouldn't you say that is akin to taking a lighting guy with no irrigation experience and just showing him how to hook a sprinkler head into the main line and then patting him on the back and telling him "congratulations you are now a irrigation contractor, he is a variety of the heads we sell. Good Luck" ; but then telling him nothing about how he needs to space and his heads and size his pipe, what nozzles to use in that spacing? you know IRRIGATION DESIGN, Are you getting the drift of this? I am sure it took more than a 6 hour class for most all irrigators to learn and feel comfortable about installing a properly designed system. Without a proper "design", all you have is a wet house, brown lawn, and a big wet spot.

Our trainings have always been based around how to use and when to use a volt meter and amp probe. very important when learning lighting.

klkanders
02-29-2008, 11:03 AM
Tim, I love your last line. I vote it as line of the day!
I agree with you. The seminars I have attended did stress "This won't make you a pro kinda attitude". They also did show meters and in one everyone paired up and tested voltage. (This was a Unique seminar). Maybe its putting too much faith in some of these guys thinking that they should know not to call themselves or think they are professionals after a couple seminars. I certainly didn't and still think I have much to learn.

klkanders
02-29-2008, 11:04 AM
Hey Joey! Dang it! You guys type faster than me!
Joey i praised you guys.....see my reply to Tim!

Venturewest
02-29-2008, 11:25 AM
I will say that they did demonstrate properly using a voltmeter. They absolutely stessed checking voltage at the fixtures (they encourage leads at each fixture splice) to make sure you are right on in your voltages. They also did a good job teaching voltage drop and proper calculation. They even had a light meter there and demonstrated checking foot candles. Someone could install an electically sound system after the seminar if the "got" everything.

The design aspect is obviously the weak part in a short seminar.

Venturewest
02-29-2008, 11:27 AM
Our trainings have always been based around how to use and when to use a volt meter and amp probe. very important when learning lighting.


Joey, I have been trying to find some training and a local distributor or even not so local distributor with Unique. I put in a request on the website, and I got an email back stating there was no distributor in my area. She gave me the regional managers contact information at John Deere Landscapes and told me that if I contact her I might get some information. She didn't have any suggestions or options for training.

JoeyD
02-29-2008, 11:55 AM
Oklahoma is a territory we are working on getting distribution in. She was correct. I do have some regional guys I could give you to purchase but if you have any local lighting distributors maybe you could share them with me and we could pay them a visit.

Pro-Scapes
02-29-2008, 12:48 PM
I will say that they did demonstrate properly using a voltmeter. They absolutely stessed checking voltage at the fixtures (they encourage leads at each fixture splice) to make sure you are right on in your voltages. They also did a good job teaching voltage drop and proper calculation. They even had a light meter there and demonstrated checking foot candles. Someone could install an electically sound system after the seminar if the "got" everything.

The design aspect is obviously the weak part in a short seminar.

Something I wish I had done when i first started is to take a few trips and visit guys who have been doing this a long time and probably guys out of my area so there would be no tension of competition. There are plenty of guys here who would welcome you for an install or 2

NightScenes
02-29-2008, 02:04 PM
Something I wish I had done when i first started is to take a few trips and visit guys who have been doing this a long time and probably guys out of my area so there would be no tension of competition. There are plenty of guys here who would welcome you for an install or 2

We have had guys (even in our area) hang out with us for a few days and learn by helping out. I don't pay them for their time but they do learn a lot in a few days.

FIRESCOOBY
02-29-2008, 05:12 PM
Where IS a good place to learn the design end of things? What looks good, what to focus on, etc?

Venturewest
02-29-2008, 05:27 PM
We have had guys (even in our area) hang out with us for a few days and learn by helping out. I don't pay them for their time but they do learn a lot in a few days.

When you were first on lawnsite a couple of years ago, I was just getting my appetite wet for outdoor lighting, and had thought about asking if I could come be free labor for a couple of days.

I think learning from an experienced mentor is unbeatable. In the field, practical design and installation experience. I definitely would be willing to help anyone. Close would be nice, but I am willing to travel for education. I even thought about the Rutger's class.

barefeetny
02-29-2008, 05:34 PM
venture

i'll make you a deal... if you can go to rutgers.... i'll go too... and i'll buy the first round of hamburgers and beer...

about 2 1/2 for me... about how far i'm driving for savios class....

NightScenes
02-29-2008, 05:42 PM
Where IS a good place to learn the design end of things? What looks good, what to focus on, etc?


I would say that one of the best places to learn design would be Janet Moyers class. She has one coming up in October. I would also say that Nate Mullens offers an advanced class from time to time. I would suggest getting Nates book (The Landscape Lighting Resource Manual) and practicing at home with different fixtures and lamps. Try out all of the beam spreads, filters and wattages. Try them out on your home and your landscape. Maybe even your neighbors homes.

Venturewest
02-29-2008, 05:58 PM
venture

i'll make you a deal... if you can go to rutgers.... i'll go too... and i'll buy the first round of hamburgers and beer...

about 2 1/2 for me... about how far i'm driving for savios class....

Sounds good.:drinkup: Need to look at Rutger's schedule.

barefeetny
02-29-2008, 06:17 PM
tba.....maybe next year... really hands on is the only way for someone like me to learn....

i love to read... and listen.... but to grasp something.... i got to get my hands, eyes and ears on it

Chris J
02-29-2008, 08:49 PM
I will say that they did demonstrate properly using a voltmeter. They absolutely stessed checking voltage at the fixtures (they encourage leads at each fixture splice) to make sure you are right on in your voltages. They also did a good job teaching voltage drop and proper calculation. They even had a light meter there and demonstrated checking foot candles. Someone could install an electically sound system after the seminar if the "got" everything.

The design aspect is obviously the weak part in a short seminar.

In my opinion, you can't teach design. You are either creative and artistic or you aren't. For example, if we took the top 5 lighting guys on this forum and asked them to design a system for the same home, you would see 5 totally different concepts and results. All of them would be excellent lighting portraits, but they would be different indeed and the client would be extremely happy. My point is this: you can't teach someone on the "proper way" to light a home/landscape. There is no proper way. There is only the vision of the designer to provide the results that he has in his own mind. If someone getting into the business is "doing it right" they should find it gets harder every year. When I first started, I thought I had struck gold because it was so easy to create a very nice lighting design for someone and get paid very well for it. As time went on, I learned about the differences in lamps, connectors, fixtures, and I had been in the business for at least two years before I found out that long wire runs actually increased the wattage load on the transformer! I continue to learn new stuff every day, so I would find it very hard for someone to put on a seminar and teach my wisdom in a few classes. It's just not going to happen.

Lite4
02-29-2008, 09:04 PM
Chris you are correct in your assesment of creative abilities, everybody based on their own personal perceptions is going to create what in their own mind looks like the best lighting picture overall. Like you say, Ill bet if each and every one of us tried to light the same house, there would of course be some similarities, but there would also be some subtle nuances that would differentiate us from one another. Boy you sure are right about always learning though. That is why this is such a good forum for sharing information and ideas.

Go Halogen
03-01-2008, 09:14 AM
Guys,

In my area, Vista is offering 4 seminars. Basic intro, Est. & Bidding, Sales & Marketing and Advanced Design. I thought that I was above all of these little classes. But I did recently attend the Advanced Design class. I actually learned a lot of new tricks. I am biased, my local rep used to be my student, so I put a lot of faith in him. He has been in the business 10+ years now. It was a cool class. Lots of before and afters, and new things in the industry. Ask for the advanced classes. They are free and you will p/u a few things.

My area rep will actually take things to the field as well. He offers help on first jobs and yes, he will follow through with the promise. Giving a seminar is one thing, but hey, it is a different story once you are in the field alone with a pile of boxes and 500 feet of wire. Get the rep to help in the field.

Hold them to that promise. That's how you can determine a good manufacturer and get on the road to competency.

If you are in PA, NJ, MD or DE you can call my guy. He is knowledgeable.
He better be..........I started him off!!

-Andy