PDA

View Full Version : Having fun yet?


The Lighting Geek
04-18-2008, 12:52 AM
We all talk about the ins and outs of lighting and which component does what and so on. But are you having fun? I have a blast everyday. I now realize this is what I was born to do and it shows to my customer. I have had customers tell me I am the most passionate person they've met in a while. Are your customers hiring you sometimes flat out because you get them so excited about the possibilities they can hardly stand it? We all get bogged down in the bad news and it gets to all of us at one time or another. Remember this is fun and we get paid for it! I have to pinch myself at times..LOL

Post your best story of when you were in the groove or those moments when you realized this business was for you.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-18-2008, 01:13 AM
I am with you 100% Tommy. I truly LOVE what I do for a living and my clients "feel the passion"! Getting such great positive feedback from a new client is a rush, and the paycheques are pretty nice too!

A few years ago, my best client (you can read his recommendation letter on my website) introduced me to a colleague of his by calling me his "lighting artist" That was pretty wild.

Last year, one of my clients was talking with my Wife (we provide a lighting ceremony to our best clients upon the completion of the system) and the client says: "You just have to love the amount of passion James brings into a room!"

When you truly love what you do in life, that passion is ever present and very infectious. I cannot count how many times clients have told me after the fact that it was my passion that convinced them to go for it.

Lite4
04-18-2008, 01:16 AM
Thanks Tommy,
I think I knew lighting was going to be my final vocational destination when I wowed myself on a job I did about 8 years ago. I was still learning lighting and was still pretty much a novice at lighting and design. Well, the landscape turned out incredible and I placed lights in the landscaping where I visualized they might show really nicely. Well long story short, every once in a while you stumble across magic when you don't really expect it. The placements were perfect with all the right tones and shadowing. when it got dark the homeowners and I stood outside and watched as they were turned on. I don't know who ooohed and aaaahed more. Me or the homeowners. Well, I was hooked. The differences between the landscaping under lights was literally night and day. It was so dramatic and their reaction to the lighting was greater than it was to the new landscaping. I knew I had to do more of this. This was probably the defining moment that solidified it for me.
The long nights sometimes are a drag, but all in all I couldn't imagine doing anything else that is more satisfying to me. And yes, I can't believe I get paid to do this.

sprinkler guy
04-18-2008, 02:53 AM
Great thread Tommy.

I think part of the joy of what we do comes from the reaction of the clients. We get to do the most glamorous part of the job. I spent a lot of years working on irrigation systems, but the coolest sprinkler system is only cool to the guy putting it in. A good landscape or home looks great with the right lighting system, and people see and appreciate it. I recently finished up a house for a couple in Rancho Cucamonga who might have been the nicest people I've ever worked for. Very genuine and sincere in every action or dealing. They spent over $200K on the landscape and pool, but told me several times the best part of the job was the lighting. He called me one night at about 10:30 from the hottub. He was sitting with his wife drinking wine, and he said they were thinking how lucky they were to have had me come "create this magical place for them". I asked him how many bottles of wine they had already had, he laughed and said they had just gotten home from work. He says "Late nights don't matter as much because of what they come home to." Kind of choked me up.

This same guy is letting me hang a 42" LCD in his backyard tomorrow. I'll get some picks up over the weekend.

seolatlanta
04-18-2008, 08:31 AM
What a great thread! Really who cares about what fixtures you use , there is a point in time where fixture choosing and placement becomes becomes second nature.

I had a TV network client who was such a blast to work for. She is on the Food Network and she has a 7 figure book deal , really loaded. But that wasnt the best part. The best part was they called me and told me to come and put lights wherever I wanted to and send them a bill! I had carte blance to a 2 acre estate that was totally tricked out with herb gardens, expensive palm trees , it was on the river as well so I did the dock also. It was so much fun, because I had all the freedom in the world.

Even better was she sent me a handwritten letter that said she had never had a contractor that was so courteous and professional.

Lighting Geek , you are really onto something because you have had the balls to make a move that might look silly , but you and your brand will never be forgotten . When they are giving you a referral they wont have to go look for your card- they will remember your name!

NightScenes
04-18-2008, 09:18 AM
I remember what got me into this biz. I had an electrical client who asked me if I could do something for him in an area where he and his wife liked to sit outside. I was a little garden area with a small water feature. I had no idea that there was any such thing as "professional" lighting equipment. I went to the HD and picked up some bullets and path lights (copper ones, I was not going to put in plastic) and did a basic design. That night I went back to see what it looked like (as an electrician I NEVER went back at night to make sure that lights worked). I was hooked at that point. The next night I took my wife, daughter and mother-in-law to see it and they all loved it. The client loved it and was more than happy to pay me the $585 that I charged him.

That weekend I did some research and the rest is history. I remember the time I told my wife that I was going to start a landscape lighting company, she laughed and told me that we had bills to pay but she stood behind me all the way.

When I consult with a potential client they can tell that I have a passion for what I'm doing and they tell me about it all the time. I do have a lot of fun in this business, not only in the lighting projects but the industry as a whole. I am currently in Harrisburg PA for an AOLP board meeting that will last for two days!! This is where we really do a lot of work, but we all love it!!

Damn, I'm feeling better this morning!! Thanks Tommy!!

Pro-Scapes
04-18-2008, 10:04 AM
We absolutly love it Tommy. Its not a Job its a passion. I think that is why tempers flair among certain people on this board. It really does show what it means to alot of people.

It really saddens me when I see people turning our passion into a cash cow or people giving it a bad name by doing sloppy work.

Even on 14 hour days in the summer heat we have fun. Now doing a water jet in the cold winters getting all muddy... No thats not fun anymore but the end result is well worth it :)

JoeyD
04-18-2008, 11:47 AM
Cool thread, gives us all a moment to refelct and realize we are all in this togeather regardless of affiliation or territory! we share this passion!

I dont get out as much as I used to on projects but I can tell you I have too many good stories to remember them all. I can tell you guys that I would usually get double the joy because most of the time I would be out assisting another contractor on his first job. I would let them know to just let me be your consultant and sit back and watch how I dissertate and explain what it is we are doing.....so at the end not only would I get to watch the homeowner get all giddy and excited about how their home looked but I would get to see that contractor's eyes light up, he would get all giddy, and you guys know the deal..lighting is like a drug, once you succesfully do one lighting job you are hooked!

I know this is long but Tommy I know you will appreciate this little story...One time about 6 years ago we were doing this huge demo design at a professional basketball players home in AZ. Nate was pretty much the lead here obviously and before the sun went down he was sitting back in his Tommy Bahama shirt and Rolex blinging in the sun pointing and telling everyone what to do and where to put the lights and etc......well as soon as the sun went down it was like where's Nate at? he was gone, then all of a sudden it was like he came out of the bushes and he had this vest on with his laser pointer, gloves, spare lamps, head lamp (like a miner would wear), spare lenses, his hair all messed up....LOL...he looked like a mad scientist running around the yard moving lights around. He would move them, then move them again, he would continue moving one light then stand back until every single fixture was perfect! But what made it funny was the homeonwer whom I was talking with said with sort of a funny look on his face and in a chuckle, "who is that guy? he must really love what he is doing..." I said yeah thats the owner, Nate Mullen....

The Lighting Geek
04-18-2008, 12:21 PM
Passion is ooozing all over this thread!

My defining moment was 3 years ago, after weeks of hell (the kind that make you want to quit) in my landscape construction and maintenance company. I came home on a Friday night walked through the kitchen, grabbed a glass and a bottle of my favorite wine, and savory cigar and went and sat in my back yard. My patio was an square island in the middle of the small yard with pots of internally lit bamboo in the corners and a metal framed canvas cover. the light from the bamboo shadowed the cavas in a very cool pattern. I lit my cigar and pondered about how the business was no longer fun. I hated going to work now. I had always told myself I would do something else if I ever found that it wasn't fun to go to work. I thought about what part of the business still blows my hair back. Landscape Lighting was an easy answer. I had always done more than the average landscaper when it came to lighting. I noticed the ambiance I had created on my little space but never took the time to enjoy it. I woke up on the following Monday, fired everyone and peeled the signs off my truck, sold my equipment, and the rest is history. I told myself that I was going to do the best dam lighting job at 110% and if it didn't work out I was going to sell cars or something. There is something in you when you don't care if you lose anymore, an indomitable spirit. That along with real passion doesn't go unnoticed.

extlights
04-18-2008, 02:08 PM
I've been involved in other business ventures in the past and lighting is by far my favorite. While the others were very interesting and really payed off, lighting brings out more of a passion in me. Success is measured in many ways, but to be able to do what your truly love everday has to be the greatest success of all. I also work in law enforcement and that is also one of my passions, so between the two I'm working in a couple of different fields that I really love. Most people have a hard time finding and doing one thing they love for a living....I feel very lucky to be able to do 2 things I love everday.:)

Pro-Scapes
04-18-2008, 02:11 PM
I think that is a super bold move Tommy. I didnt have the guts to do that. With our maint business we were doing very well and maintaining 12 apt complexes for several years. It just got too repeative to me. We have phased down alot of the maint but I still love it sometimes and kept a handful of special clients. Sometimes it is difficult to get to them timewise but we always make it happen. Its not so much a money maker for us anymore but more of something to break up the days so we dont get burned out.

JoeyD
04-18-2008, 02:28 PM
I've been involved in other business ventures in the past and lighting is by far my favorite. While the others were very interesting and really payed off, lighting brings out more of a passion in me. Success is measured in many ways, but to be able to do what your truly love everday has to be the greatest success of all. I also work in law enforcement and that is also one of my passions, so between the two I'm working in a couple of different fields that I really love. Most people have a hard time finding and doing one thing they love for a living....I feel very lucky to be able to do 2 things I love everday.:)

I dont know about the rest of yuou but I would be thrilled to get to do BURNOUTS for a living like that picture in Dave's signature!!! LIGHT EM UP!!

extlights
04-18-2008, 05:26 PM
Well yeah, that's my pastime of choice when I'm not working. I wish I could get out to the track a little more often these days, but I get out there every spare moment I get. Maybe if the lighting biz is good this year I'll treat myself to a full second faster... Or perhaps another car. :)

JoeyD
04-18-2008, 05:57 PM
I am jellous!!