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Mike M
04-04-2008, 07:21 AM
I mentioned this idea a few months ago, and decided to try it out for a current prospective client.

They have 5 Vista aluminum lights and a 300 watt transformer. After discussing the front and back zones, and their budget, they said they want either just the front or just the back. Three of the Vistas are downlight glares, and it's hard telling people I need to pull out their old stuff, and that I have no use for it. So, on my proposal, I included pricing for each zone, plus a buy-back incentive if they go with both zones at the same time: I will trade three new Unique down lights (which they liked very much in the demo) for their 5 Vistas and their transformer. (The down lights are valued/equated with my installed rate). For me, the benefit includes not leaving their vista "glares" up, plus avoiding multiple service issues.

They loved the demo, so I hope the incentive helps. I'll post response.

I am working on my next postcard ad, which I'm thinking of promoting a buy-back or trade-in. The real question is, how much of our potential market is there with people hating their current crappy install, but dragging their feet to call us, since they already spent money on what they have?

I don't know about you guys, but bad installs (aesthetically and technically) are everywhere around here!!!!

The campaign would highlight the benefits of a niche lighting specialist, and offer the buy-back/trade-in.

Here's some ideas: 25 bucks per fixture, up to 10 fixtures (malibu/consumer stuff excluded), and a $75 credit toward a new transformer (1 trans trade-in per customer).

I can even go with the energy savings/efficiency factor, with Unique's new 24v system. "Trade in you old transformer for a new, state-of-the-art 24V system, and save up to 20% on energy use."

I may need a larger postcard.

You can't recycle cast aluminum, can you?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-04-2008, 07:31 AM
Mike... I will say this: Your buy back program is novel. I have never heard of such an offer in our biz.

The way you describe it you have little to loose. I would only suggest that you closely examine your installation price schedule and make sure that the process of buying back previously installed crap does not negate your NET profit on the new replacements.

As for marketing the program... what the heck, give it a shot. You will know in short order if it motivates people to take you up on it. At the very worst you will be gaining new clients that would have never otherwise called you.

Have a great day.

pete scalia
04-04-2008, 08:14 AM
I can even go with the energy savings/efficiency factor, with Unique's new 24v system. "Trade in you old transformer for a new, state-of-the-art 24V system, and save up to 20% on energy use."

You'll sound just like any other scam artist trying to sell his wares by using false pretense.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-04-2008, 08:20 AM
Ahh you have to love that voice of optimism as you sip your coffee in the morning.

extlights
04-04-2008, 08:25 AM
I don't see it as a bad idea, but I'll ask this.....Why exclude Malibu? I'm not sure about in your area, but even highend homes around here have malibu systems that their landscaper or some tailgate slammer installed for them. I would say that if I found 10 homes with existing "lighting systems", that probably 6-7 of them have Malibu lights.

I would think that this kind of incentive that you are offering would impact those with the cheap systems even more seeing as they didn't shell out a ton of money in the first place, and they will noticeably find a enormous difference in the design and system that you are offering compared to what they have now. They obviously wanted lighting to begin with and went with the cheap guy.....now Mike comes in and shows them what a real design and lighting system is and saves the day! Just my opinion.:)

JoeyD
04-04-2008, 10:24 AM
Just drive around and look at all the crappy lighting systems that people have hacked in. Chances are those homeowners who have pagodas all slanted over, burned out, and broken are just fed up with lighting and dont know it but are waiting to have a pro come knock on their door and beg to replace it with a quality effecient well designed system.

Obviously I think the 24v is a great way to approach these customers. Not only for the energy effeciency but also for your labor cost in installing less wire. around the existing landscapes.

seolatlanta
04-04-2008, 10:36 AM
Hey Mike

Your idea is good but in my opinnion that is a slippery slope to play on. I mean you could go to a home , price it out , get the job , and then they go to the garage and pull out a couple of dozen old Malibu fixtures that you said in your ad you would give credit for.

Now I do understand that you have your pricing agreed upon , but this will be a sticky situation for you. I would definitely stay with the green idea though as energy consumption is top of mind these days.

I was at a class on weds. and got a good look at the Kichler LED and it is some pretty impressive stuff- that is the future of landscape lighting, along with the 24 volt stuff as well. The color of the LED was impressive.

You could always do a small test card and monitor your results.

The Lighting Geek
04-04-2008, 11:30 AM
Mike you might want a disclaimer stipulating (wow such big words..LOL) 'only fixtures currently connected to an existing 12 volt system qualify' or something like that so you don't get the guy collecting old fixtures from his neighbors, and it keeps the solar fixtures out.

Mike M
04-04-2008, 06:17 PM
If I give it a go, it will be token numbers. People just don't like the idea and feeling of being wasteful and tossing their last project into the trash.

It would be what I typically see, "up to" 8 lights from a professional installation, including 1 transformer. I can also stop it if it's a bad idea, by putting a "June Special" on it.

Maybe 25 per "working light" ? "Solar or DYI not included."

Or heck, just do it like Ford: push pull or drag or whatever.

etc.

Hey, even Jaguar and Mercedes take trade-ins.

Mike M
04-04-2008, 06:39 PM
Our cable company did a dish-buy-back program years ago. It was a great way to get the not completely satisfied dish people to let go of their dish. I was one of those people.

I think people don't even care as much about the exact dollar, I think the would feel good knowing their stuff was being recycled or something.

By the way, anyone know if you can recycle powder-coated cast aluminum?

I figure I can get some money for used transformers on e-bay. I could also sell them a kit with 8 lights which I can mix and match and salvage before corrosion, if possible. Heck, I can even include 100 feet of freaking used copper wire. Wait, this gets better, I'll also send them unused Kichler quick clips for each fixture!

irrig8r
04-04-2008, 08:24 PM
If I give it a go, it will be token numbers. People just don't like the idea and feeling of being wasteful and tossing their last project into the trash.

It would be what I typically see, "up to" 8 lights from a professional installation, including 1 transformer. I can also stop it if it's a bad idea, by putting a "June Special" on it.

Maybe 25 per "working light" ? "Solar or DYI not included."

Or heck, just do it like Ford: push pull or drag or whatever.

etc.

Hey, even Jaguar and Mercedes take trade-ins.

Yeah, but there's already a built in secondary market for used luxury cars...

You'll have to save yours up and load 'em into a pick-em-up truck and take 'em on down to the local swap meet or flea market or church rummage sale or wherever the local yokels look for bargains....

Just make up a banner that says "Pre-Owned Lighting 4 Sale".... as is ... all sales final.

pete scalia
04-04-2008, 10:07 PM
It's a terrible gimmick that gives prospects the perception that you are hungry for work and you're making concessions. Did you go around with a kick me sign on your back during high school? Nobody but the cheap and infirmed want to go see the wizard at the bottom of the hill. Have some dignity for crissakes.

NightScenes
04-04-2008, 10:40 PM
On occasion I have given a client some credit for their existing transformer and or fixtures so they don't feel like their paying full price for two different systems. This way I have a completely new system and am not adding onto an existing one. I then use these used materials for charity work. I use them at my church or other community efforts. I also let the guys have some of the stuff so they can have some lighting at their homes. I will not give credit for Malibu or other DIY equipment.

I don't advertise this however and only do it occasionally. I can see how something like this can work but I would be afraid that you might attract a clientèle that can't afford quality lighting. I would suggest that when they call you, you let them know that your systems start at $$$. If they are still interested than you can pay them a visit.

Chris J
04-04-2008, 10:56 PM
I say ditch the idea altogether. By doing this, you are associating yourself with the wrong client. Everyone wants what we can do, but only a few can actually afford it. This is why we call it "target marketing." In the end, you will spend more of your valuable time on potential clients that have no business calling you then you will profit from it. Either forget the idea, or figure out a real good prequalifying phone conversation. I might even suggest charging a small fee for the design/consultation process. At least you will make a few bucks for gas if they turn out to be tire kickers.

pete scalia
04-04-2008, 10:58 PM
I say ditch the idea altogether. By doing this, you are associating yourself with the wrong client. Everyone wants what we can do, but only a few can actually afford it. This is why we call it "target marketing." In the end, you will spend more of your valuable time on potential clients that have no business calling you then you will profit from it. Either forget the idea, or figure out a real good prequalifying phone conversation. I might even suggest charging a small fee for the design/consultation process. At least you will make a few bucks for gas if they turn out to be tire kickers.

I told you I like this guy.

Mike M
04-05-2008, 09:47 AM
Paul is doing what I am doing, offering some token credit, as an incentive to replace their pre-existing system. In fact, many of us probably do this.

The key, as I agree with Pete and Chris, is not attracting those who won't qualify. That would be a matter of planned ad copy. "Systems starting at 2500" should shake out most. Or, simply down-playing the copy with a brief: "Not happy with your pre-existing professionally installed system? inquire about our buy-back program."

Here's my observation: There are a high number of upscale homes in my market with pre-existing systems. These people already understand the cost and are consequently pre-qualified! So, (1) they are the right demographic, (2) they proved their need and motivation already by purchasing, and (3), they are stuck with what they got.

Out of kindness and compassion, I would like to help these people.

Pro-Scapes
04-05-2008, 11:50 AM
If your going to do this as a promo I would just put "trade in your existing system for a new preimium grade lighting system from lightscapes"

Personally... when I marketed with promos it got me no where. When I created the brochure that branded us and the only thing it said about fixtures is we have good relationships with top quality manufactures to assure our clients get the best I saw a dramatic change in the way people viewed our company. Now they ask for consultations and estimates not bids or prices.

Your idea might work but there are so many variables. I think its a great way to get people out of the poor systems they got now but i also think you need to leave it very loose and not offer a set price or set number of fixtures. If they got a 200 buck malibu system give em 200 bucks for it and do your magic.