PDA

View Full Version : So is the low end market dead?


TPnTX
05-04-2008, 09:48 AM
We are a landscape company.
Maintenance commercial and residential.
Design and installation.

As far as lighting, I've been promoting and will continue to promote outdoor lighting. I do know that the potential client for this service is the high income category. Easy to target, look at the property value.

However I have a lot of service clients that are below that. Some of them are willing to pay for premium service. But none of them are willing to spend 2000.00 - 2500.00 for lighting the front of their house. None.

Is accommodating these clients a race to the bottom? I doubt it. Income is income. Someone is going to do it. Might as well do it right.

We're in a group called housewarmers. We have a small package that goes to new residents. I get a lot of calls from it. Over and Over I turn down the low end lighting. For the sake of what? not degradating the industry. Hey I'm all for maintaining an image but really if I'm going to be in the service business, turning down work isn't the best strategy.

I was talking to a new client the other day. She asked if I did lighting. I said yeah, I do "High end Low Voltage Lighting". (Thats my slogan BTW) She asked about price and of course her eyes popped out.

She asked whats wrong with Mr. Neighbors lights. I said well, I let him tell you in a couple of years.

Okay so I turned down more work. Just like I turned down Mr Neighbor. He's my client too and his eyes popped also he went the DIY route. The fact is, relativley speaking his house looks good at night. Hell of a lot better than nothing.

What to do? I'm not trying to compare to full time lighting. I know where I need to be with that. I'm looking at it from a added value point of view just like pushing mulch, seasonal color and weed control. Just like the resturant business. It's all about the check amount not the amount of food on the plate.

I've going to solve this and stop turning down the work. This isn't about being a scrub. It's about making money.

Any thoughts?

Bill S
05-04-2008, 09:57 AM
Set the people up with a multi phase plan where they can stay within their budgets. Install one, two, three zones at a time. Once they get a taste of the buffet they may just find themselves going back for another helping!

NightScenes
05-04-2008, 11:31 AM
The issue here is this, these people will forget all about the low price they paid when things start going wrong and who will they blame and bad mouth at that point? Maybe they can pay you as a consultant for design and installation and do the job themselves? That way you're not turning down work and they get cheap lighting.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-04-2008, 01:03 PM
I am with Paul on this one.... If you do choose to install 'value oriented lighting systems' then I would open a seperate business to do so. When the fixtures, sockets, finish, lenses, etc start failing the clients will have forgotton about the low price they paid and they will come looking for satisfaction from you. Keeping them repaired and happy will become a full time job. You don't want that associated with your 'high end systems' or reputation.

Phasing in a top shelf lighting system is a great strategy. Others out there are offering financing, which can be attractive to some.

Personally, I would rather walk away then install sub-standard or value oriented systems.

NightLightingFX
05-04-2008, 01:13 PM
TPnTX,
I think installing a low end lighting system is inviting a lot of problems. You can't guarantee it. If you do guarantee a cheap lighting system you will have more headaches than the job was worth. A cheap lighting system will not last long and then you will be associated with a lighting system that doesn't work. I don't see how someone can make a living at installing "affordable outdoor lighting systems." The materials aren't cheap and there is time and expertise involved. The bottom line cost is what it is, and we have to make a profit. If you know a way of providing quality affordable lighting systems let me know, I would love to be able to charge less for my work and still make a living.
~Ned

The Lighting Geek
05-04-2008, 01:43 PM
TPnTX,
I think installing a low end lighting system is inviting a lot of problems. You can't guarantee it. If you do guarantee a cheap lighting system you will have more headaches than the job was worth. A cheap lighting system will not last long and then you will be associated with a lighting system that doesn't work. I don't see how someone can make a living at installing "affordable outdoor lighting systems." The materials aren't cheap and there is time and expertise involved. The bottom line cost is what it is, and we have to make a profit. If you know a way of providing quality affordable lighting systems let me know, I would love to be able to charge less for my work and still make a living.
~Ned

I am in agreement with Ned here. I think Paul has some good advice concerning consultation, with no warrantees of course. I don't do work for less money, either from lower price or cheaper cost. It does turn into nightmares.You don't want that associated with your 'high end systems' or reputation.

James: 'You don't want that associated with your 'high end systems' or reputation.'
You have to consider the effect it may have your target high end client when they see you doing lower cost work. They might think you will use substandard materials in their job. James is right, just something to consider.

TPnTX
05-04-2008, 03:09 PM
I agree with all of that from the perspective of an Outdoor lighting company.

But from a maintenace company, there has to be a solution other that I will install one light and you can add another in two weeks when you get paid. Or worse yet, no can do-ski.
It may be difficult but it isn't impossible.

What is the least expensive manufacturer? Other than Malibu? Can you take the big box M16's and wire them up in a T Hub or Loop and get more life out of them. What is the point of failure

I don't think this is cutting in to anyone business. Come on how many people make a living off installing lighting in 150k houses. anyone?

Vette or Cobalt.
GT or a Fucus.
Limited Manu Warranty or Lifetime Warranty.

As the CEO of a major maintenance company I ask you my lead salesman. How can we provide a low cost solution to people that otherwise will not buy anything and you tell me it can't be done? Your fired.

Knowing that what would you come up with?

lol Im going to get my ass kicked I know but really I am just comtiplating openly.
I really rather all these people mow their own yards but I'm not there yet :)

NightScenes
05-04-2008, 03:23 PM
I would say that the next worst thing than Malibu would be one of the knock offs like Lightcraft or Advantage. I guess you could try those.

Chris J
05-04-2008, 03:24 PM
Don't let these knuckle heads steer you the wrong way TP. There is money to be had with these lower cost homes, and someone has to lower their ego enough to take on the projects. The best thing I have heard so far, however, is to create a separate entity or business to handle these customers. High end "lighting only" companies only want their name and reputation associated with quality and extreme customer service. I, for one, would not want my company to be known as the company that can do low or high quality. However, I will not turn down any business just because it is not a "prestigious" property or homeowner. Again, there is a lot of money to be made in an un-tapped market. Everyone else is chasing the same people, and if you live in my area and make >200k/year, you are being bombarded with solicitations for your lighting business. I say go for it! Find decent quality fixtures and transformers without the "brand name" attached to it, and create lighting packages for the less fortunate. Who knows? You may be the company that blows everyone else away with gross profit figures! No one else here can even give you an educated opinion on this subject because none of us have ever tried it!

Desertdweller
05-04-2008, 03:25 PM
I think the main problem is you can't be everything to everybody. If you actually want the "High End" then stick to it. If you want the low end then do that. There is market for every contractor, you just need to decide who you want to do work with. The Vette buyer isn't going to Bob's Used Cars to buy his car. The Focus guy isn't walking into the Lotus dealership. The focus will get you around town without all the fancy stuff. It may last as long too but the Vette guy doesn't care. He wants quality, service and the ability to turn heads. The Malibu system if designed properly will last for a while and can look decent, it just isn't going to have the WOW factor. It won't have the warranties or flexibility and will be replaced much sooner. If that's fine with you and your client then go for it but don't try to sell yourself as an expert if you are OK with HD lights. Money can be made in a number of ways. You have to decide what's best for your company.

NightScenes
05-04-2008, 04:21 PM
This has me thinking that it might be time to compete with myself and take on the cheap jobs under another name!! You may be onto something Chris!! The wheels are turning now and I'm actually being serious.

TPnTX
05-04-2008, 04:26 PM
If I went everyday assuming things with no information to back it up, then you could call me a fool. I'm simply trying to figure out why I should keep turning away this business and I have gotten some pretty good info.

My goal is to install "High Quality Low Voltage Lighting systems" but like I said I do have a maintenance company also. Some clients pay me $300 a month 12 months a year. Some pay me $25.00 a week for 38 weeks.

TPnTX
05-04-2008, 04:42 PM
And James with all due respect(and Im serious your a good guy) would it not be "remarkable" for me to come up with a cost effective solution instead of thumbing my customers. Which is my point, dont' loose me here, I am telling my customers I have only one solution. That which they cant' afford.

Customers can get a system installed at a price they can afford by someone who knows what they are doing. People in 150k houses are not going to pay 2000.00. Very few exceptions.

A customer asked what can you do. I say look, this is Cast, this is "standard". The difference is obvious.

I wish I was pulling up to million dollar homes in my wrapped Hummer but I'm not. Im a business man and there is some business here to be had.

TPnTX
05-04-2008, 04:46 PM
This has me thinking that it might be time to compete with myself and take on the cheap jobs under another name!! You may be onto something Chris!! The wheels are turning now and I'm actually being serious.


Paul I don't understand your logic. Your not going to compete with youself unless you going to start mowing yards too. I am therefor Im there.

I understand the distancing thing but I don't think your going to loose the high end customers to malibu jockies

NightScenes
05-04-2008, 05:14 PM
I was only saying that I would consider doing something like this where I open a separate company that only does the low end projects. I would target the $200k home market or track home builders with a very inexpensive lighting system that is installed professionally but has no warranty except from the manufacturer. The home owner would probably want to do their own maintenance and therefore I could sell them some replacement lamps as well.

NightLightingFX
05-04-2008, 05:19 PM
TPnTX,
I don't think this issue is about being a scab or undercutter etc. in providing "affordable lighting systems." It is a matter of physics - materials, time & expertise all have a cost. The cost is what it is. You can't physically change what the bottom line cost is "period." Just because you want to provide an affordable lighting system. The only way to cut cost is to take it out of your bottom line. It doesn't make sense to do a job and not make a profit. Let me ask you another question, what do you think is a fair price is for a low cost lighting system? You figure out what a fair price is. Then figure out how to match that price with the cost of materials labor & etc. I REALLY would like to know what you think the cost of an affordable lighting system would be.
~Ned

Bill S
05-04-2008, 05:55 PM
Why couldn't a simple top brand system be installed for under $2K?

Now of course I am talking about the cookie cutter house with maybe 6 uplights, 250 watt power center, 100' of 12/2 and ace connections...

Again, we are addressing the people with less money. Sell them a 500 watt p/c and let them know that their path can be illuminated at a later date. You come back, spend 2 hours and install 5 path lights again at a top profit, all the while keeping the out of pocket expenses to a minimum for the home owner.

NightLightingFX
05-04-2008, 06:25 PM
Bill & TPnTX,
That sounds good - 6 fixtures averaging $300 each = $1,800. I wouldn't classify that as a low cost lighting system. I am going to guess what most quality lighting pros charge a fixture is + or - $350 a fixture. $300 a fixture is in that neigborhood. People in TPnTX's price range aren't going to think $300 a fixture is a good price.

extlights
05-04-2008, 10:16 PM
We don't price per fixture, but if I had to figure it out I'm very confident that we are no where near $300 a fixture....much less for sure. Figure it out this way. Say a customer wants your average home facade uplit but doesn't want to spend 2K. Maybe 7 well lights, a 300W transformer and some wire. Any pro can place 7 fixtures to make a normal sized home look pretty good. 7 lights all on the home with maybe 1 sidewalk to go under might take what.. 2-3 hours max with one person working? Now figure what your costs would be for this type of job. Something like this can easily be done for well under 2K....geeze even under $1500. I'd take 2 of these a day and then go golfing for the rest of the afternoon. :)

Ramairfreak98ss
05-04-2008, 10:35 PM
I mainly install Unique lighting only.

And your right, when people ask for say only 4-6 lights in front, labor, even the smaller I force transformer thats 360watts, theyre already in the 1k rage just in parts. They dont understand that each light fixture is $100 not $100 for a whole home decrap kit from maliBOO. I think this is the main reason too that i have had very few lighting jobs. Most go out and buy their own garbage and skip your "business" then causing you to loose on potential income.

NightLightingFX
05-04-2008, 10:51 PM
For me personally $1,500 is the lowest I will go period. I have done some systems like what Extlights is talking about for $1,500. $1,500 is still a lot of money for the average Joe to invest for lighting. And after everything is said and done it isn't a big pay check - These jobs are barely worth the time. If this was a great market to target people would be making money in this area. I have yet to hear about a successful outdoor lighting professional who targets low end customers. I don't think this is a market to target to make a living off of.
~Ned

TPnTX
05-04-2008, 10:57 PM
I was only saying that I would consider doing something like this where I open a separate company that only does the low end projects. I would target the $200k home market or track home builders with a very inexpensive lighting system that is installed professionally but has no warranty except from the manufacturer. The home owner would probably want to do their own maintenance and therefore I could sell them some replacement lamps as well.

There you go thats what I came here to ask. With the endless experience and vast knowledge accumulated here.
Paul you're re-hired BTW, sorry for firing you earlier.

What is an "inexpensive lighting system that can be installed professionally"

TPnTX
05-04-2008, 11:05 PM
For me personally $1,500 is the lowest I will go period. I have done some systems like what Extlights is talking about for $1,500. $1,500 is still a lot of money for the average Joe to invest for lighting. And after everything is said and done it isn't a big pay check - These jobs are barely worth the time. If this was a great market to target people would be making money in this area. I have yet to hear about a successful outdoor lighting professional who targets low end customers. I don't think this is a market to target to make a living off of.
~Ned

I disagree and once again your completely missing the point. I'm doing a mulch job, or a landscape job, or its a customers house my guys are already familiar with. I have a package ready to go. I can upsale another three four or five hundred net in 2-4 man hours. Hardley worth the time? It's called a value added service. Upsale. Business101..

Take 500 bucks. Lay it out on the table. Tell me you don't want it.

dwightschrute
05-04-2008, 11:14 PM
10 well lights small transformer $1000, done deal.

TPnTX
05-04-2008, 11:31 PM
TPnTX,
I don't think this issue is about being a scab or undercutter etc. in providing "affordable lighting systems." It is a matter of physics - materials, time & expertise all have a cost. The cost is what it is. You can't physically change what the bottom line cost is "period." Just because you want to provide an affordable lighting system. The only way to cut cost is to take it out of your bottom line. It doesn't make sense to do a job and not make a profit. Let me ask you another question, what do you think is a fair price is for a low cost lighting system? You figure out what a fair price is. Then figure out how to match that price with the cost of materials labor & etc. I REALLY would like to know what you think the cost of an affordable lighting system would be.
~Ned

If I had to guess.

A 250w Transformer 80.00
6 20watt M16 lights 180.00
125 feet wire 50.00
misc 40.00
total material $350.
labor $90.00

total rounded up for grins $450.00 cost

You do the math 900.00 install? 1350.00 install?
How about under 1000.00 dollars with a warranty. 550 net.
do that 10 times. My check amount just went up. Again I'm a service company.

Pro-Scapes
05-04-2008, 11:39 PM
No I wouldnt do it. I have had a number of oppurtunities to do it. I phase out systems for people who cannot afford it or offer finance alternatives for them.There is a difference between an upsell and wrenching more money out of a client for junk.

We do have a sort of package deal. Its quality lights and up to a certain amount of lights and a certain amount of wire. It is reasonably priced but no where close to that 500 bucks or even that 1000 bucks. Its geared at Tract homes and we can install 2-3 a day if need be. We recently did 2 in one day and were done by 330pm and had to come back for adjustments.

If you "professionally" install thier lighting and it fails they are going to be calling you. Do you really wanna go back and play with plastic lights?? Not only that but your giving low voltage a bad name. If you want to do an alluminum (like the azt line) starter package but install it properly (you could still do this in 3-4 hours we do it all the time with smaller homes) you could have an excellent situation.

I have done very small systems for around the 1500 as well.

My advice to you is seek out a local finance company with a local office and go in and talk to the manager about offering financing. Most have some sort of same as cash deal you can promote too.

Chris J
05-04-2008, 11:52 PM
It's the call back costs that are not part of your equation that will prevent this idea from being profitable. You have to factor in what it's going to cost to also take care of the system for a reasonable amount of time. If someone's plan is to collect the money and not perform the service work, I believe this will eventually hurt your entire business (not just the lighting division, but the whole company's reputation).

NightLightingFX
05-05-2008, 12:09 AM
Looks like you have it figured out. You won't have to worry about any competion from me. $30 for a fixture, where are you getting these from Home Depot? You also have to include the price for lamps & lens. $1,500 is the lowest I will go on a job. And In order for me to do it I have to be in a good mood
~Ned

David Gretzmier
05-05-2008, 12:16 AM
recently I spoke to a wealthy friend who had inexpensive malibu lighting. she asked me what was the difference. light is light. she replaces her bulbs when they burn out, and put in her own system 3 years ago. I brought out my demo kit that night and showed her. here wire was corroded from the screw in taps they provide with the lights, and showed here what the effect should look like. even though she was wowed, and a friend, and wealthy, she balked at a 200 per fixture cost bid for a minimum 12 fixtures for front of house lighting only. 2400 bucks for a 700k house. the reality is that no matter what income range folks have, or house, some people see the value in this and some don't.

It pains me to see yet another person entering this field and trying to figure out how cheap they can do it. saying you'll target this to 200k houses and under is ridiculous. You'll be bidding those houses 200k and up as well. the people on this board know the costs of this business, and what connectors, trans, bulbs and fixtures to use. go ahead and bid cheap, buy cheap and install cheap and pay cheap labor. In the long run, when it comes time to stand up for your systems you have installed, you will not have money in your pocket to pay the fixes. Are you honestly going to train your mulch guys about voltage drop, amp load, line resistance, daisy chain vs. hub and etc? lighting is not like putting a one gallon plant in the ground. You need guys that really know what they are doing and can do math on the fly.

I install the best, and am proud of the work I did 7 years ago when I installed the best then. I let others be the cheapies.

TPnTX
05-05-2008, 05:17 AM
"It pains me to see yet another person entering this field "and trying to figure out how cheap they can do it"

You know thats not a fair statement. Please go back and read the post because you clearly skimmed it. I'm not simply trying to figure out how cheap I can do it. I am trying to research and determine how to tap a potentially lucrative market where I already have presents.

Otherwise I'm out bidding jobs. So far I'm getting over 200.00 a fixture. I've used both Vista and Cast. I am surrounded by wealthy neighborhoods and trying to balance my marketing and advertising for not only landscape maintenance and installation but for lighting as well for those neighborhoods. I'm not trying to downgrade the market, out bid, low ball or anything else.

And Yes I think given the right equipment and some forethought I can come up with a standard install package with standard lengths to approximately fit most of the same size houses without have to "train" my lead guy on how to figure voltage drop on the fly. You're way overthinking it.

"saying you'll target this to 200k houses and under is ridiculous. You'll be bidding those houses 200k and up as well. the people on this board know the costs of this business, and what connectors, trans, bulbs and fixtures to use. go ahead and bid cheap, buy cheap and install cheap and pay cheap labor."

Why would you say that? What have I done to you to cause you to suggest something like that. That is insulting and you don't even know me.

TPnTX
05-05-2008, 05:44 AM
Ned you asked me a question and as noted I'm guessing. "what if" on the fixtures. I know what I pay for fixtures.

I thought maybe someone knew of a good solution. Guess not. I'll figure it out myself.

TPnTX
05-05-2008, 05:50 AM
No I wouldnt do it. I have had a number of oppurtunities to do it. I phase out systems for people who cannot afford it or offer finance alternatives for them.There is a difference between an upsell and wrenching more money out of a client for junk.

We do have a sort of package deal. Its quality lights and up to a certain amount of lights and a certain amount of wire. It is reasonably priced but no where close to that 500 bucks or even that 1000 bucks. Its geared at Tract homes and we can install 2-3 a day if need be. We recently did 2 in one day and were done by 330pm and had to come back for adjustments.

If you "professionally" install thier lighting and it fails they are going to be calling you. Do you really wanna go back and play with plastic lights?? Not only that but your giving low voltage a bad name. If you want to do an alluminum (like the azt line) starter package but install it properly (you could still do this in 3-4 hours we do it all the time with smaller homes) you could have an excellent situation.

I have done very small systems for around the 1500 as well.

My advice to you is seek out a local finance company with a local office and go in and talk to the manager about offering financing. Most have some sort of same as cash deal you can promote too.



Thanks billy that sounds reasonable. I believe you understand the real question. If you don't mind sharing your setup info PM me perhaps.

TPnTX
05-05-2008, 06:32 AM
maybe 30.00 fixture with a 20watt lamp so rediculous afterall.

TPnTX
05-05-2008, 06:45 AM
okay forget the word malibu for just a moment

Now this isn't a multi tap. However considering the objective. Isn't there a way to wire this up with 6 20 watt lamps. Maybe you won't get 4000hrs but come on we're on a budget.

TPnTX
05-05-2008, 06:54 AM
Bam!
Im sure if I look hard enough I can get a better TF. Or at least loose the M word model.
Whats the loose standard? double your costs or is that not enough?

TPnTX
05-05-2008, 07:03 AM
The biggest issue I see is voltage drop and/or making sure no lamp exceeds 12volts. Cheap or no cheap you still have to know what you are doing.

difficult but not impossible. much better reply than no-can-do.

Chris J
05-05-2008, 07:36 AM
TP, no sense fussing about it. You have an idea, so run with it! In the end, you can either tell all of us "I told you so", or you will learn the hard way and spend a lot of time salvaging your reputation. Give it a shot and let us know the results.

Bill S
05-05-2008, 09:15 AM
Personally, I don't believe lighting is for those people that are the low end spenders. It just isn't. They won't want to pay for the electricity, they won't see the value in a quality system, etc.

Is it impossible to sell to this group? No! Would you be better off offering a quality product for double the price ($2K) and accepting the fact that it isn't for everyone?

Remember this, you are dealing with electricity! You are not dealing with a Home Depot plant that might die that you simply replace. You are dealing with the possibility of electrocution. You are dealing with the possibility of fire. These risks are associated with all product, not just the cheap ones. For me though, I will stick to the quality products manufactured my Nightscaping knowing I can rest at night upon completion of my installations. If a few clients decide to forego the lights due to costs, so be it!

Good luck with your new venture

Pro-Scapes
05-05-2008, 09:16 AM
"It pains me to see yet another person entering this field "and trying to figure out how cheap they can do it"

I am trying to research and determine how to tap a potentially lucrative market where I already have presents.

.

I think people will rememeber your name. We had a client call us at home because he just rememebered me as Billy B. Once you tarnish that name installing sub par systems it will be hard to clean up your mess.

If you think a 100 buck profit for a couple hours work is lucrative and if you think your going to make a killing at that price you need to get back to business 101.

What about your time and fuel for picking up these systems or shipping ? What about unforseen like cutting an irrigation line ? You can do reasonably priced systems but I think at your price tag you should be putting in solars or something.

If your company has a rep for doing good work dont stoop to this level. You would be better off doing less systems. I would concentrate on reaching your target audience.

Do up a nice brochure and educate your clients on the difference of what you can do and what he could of done himself. then find a finance alternative for them if you want to reach the joe average homeowner.

Also to adress your comment about putting 500 on a table and see who wants it is void. Your spending 80% of that in materials for your crap system.... So really for.... going to pick up the stuff... installing it (rememeber the need for a GFCI and in use cover ? They can usually throw your instant installation out the window) You need to buy splice materials....tools your guys will no doubt loose....account for the unforseen... acct for the nighttime adjustment... account for some sort of warranty. Seems your expecting to do all of this for $100 bucks. Sounds like a loosing proposition to me.

JoeyD
05-05-2008, 11:33 AM
I think a few people eluded to it. Well Lights will still allow you to offer a good warranty, they are low maintenance as long as the homeowner knows to keep them free of debris. I dont think you should sacrafice on the quality of the transformer, that is the heart of the system. But 20w Well Lights are a good option IMHO, I know we still offer 15yr to lifetime warranties on them. Hell we used to design entire jobs with just well lights and i dont ever remember a homeowner ebing upset with the overall effect. And back then we didnt have 20w lamps available so now we can really play with the softer light. It just forces you to be better at placement but trust me it can be done!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-05-2008, 12:26 PM
And James with all due respect(and Im serious your a good guy) would it not be "remarkable" for me to come up with a cost effective solution instead of thumbing my customers. Which is my point, dont' loose me here, I am telling my customers I have only one solution. That which they cant' afford.

Of course it would, and if I wasnt so darned busy doing what I am doing I would open up another company, under another name, and market directly to the middle, the 80% of the market that wants nice things but cannot afford the best of the best.

The key here is name brand differentiation. You dont want to muddy your 'high end' name and reputation installing "low end" systems.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-05-2008, 12:36 PM
For me personally $1,500 is the lowest I will go period. I have done some systems like what Extlights is talking about for $1,500. $1,500 is still a lot of money for the average Joe to invest for lighting. And after everything is said and done it isn't a big pay check - These jobs are barely worth the time. If this was a great market to target people would be making money in this area. I have yet to hear about a successful outdoor lighting professional who targets low end customers. I don't think this is a market to target to make a living off of.
~Ned

Just last year I installed a nice little system for $1400. It was the smallest system I have ever done, for a very nice lady here in town who helps out everyone with everything. She is very well known and now has a rather nice, well performing, decent quality lighting system.

There is a market for these systems for sure, and you can do them with style and good quality components and still be proud of them.

HOWEVER.....

as a business model I would not want to get involved with this as my main line of work. Quite simply put, how many systems would you have to sell and install in a year to make a net profit of $100K? The answer is hundreds!

Now to sell hundreds of smaller systems like this you need to spend money on marketing. You generally have multiple sales calls as these clients are not the easiest to convince at times, you then still have all your fixed costs to cover like truck, tools, phone, insurance, fuel, etc. You will be driving more, you still have to complete purchase orders, receive inventory, and process A/P every month. You then have to collect on the invoice and that can actually take longer and be a hassle with smaller jobs.

Overall the cost of operations is a bit more then serving the high end sector and you have way more selling to do.

Work smarter not harder!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-05-2008, 12:40 PM
okay forget the word malibu for just a moment

Now this isn't a multi tap. However considering the objective. Isn't there a way to wire this up with 6 20 watt lamps. Maybe you won't get 4000hrs but come on we're on a budget.

Not sure about your area but around here a paid contractor cannot hook up a transformer like that.... It doesn't meet the code requirements!

Dont ask me why Mr. Homeowner can buy that crap and hook it up on their own... it has always baffled me.

extlights
05-05-2008, 02:51 PM
Either way it can be done. Like I stated earlier and Joey also mentioned it, you can get a great look with using well lights if positioned correctly. You can still get a 300w pro grade transformer for a decent price and you're not going to use much wire if you're just uplighting a basic home. So with that in mind...what goes wrong with well lights besides nothing? (unless mulch or something gets in there...just put some covers on them.) There is no reason you can't install a 6-7 light system for under $1500 bucks that will last a long time. He is a service company....not a full time lighting guy, so what does it matter if he's offering a service to his customers that otherwise a high end lighting guy wouldn't be targeting anyway? It can be done, and it can definately help his bottom line at the end of the year. As far as marketing.....there's not much marketing involved if he's pitching this service to his existing customers anyway.

TXNSLighting
05-05-2008, 04:01 PM
Bam!
Im sure if I look hard enough I can get a better TF. Or at least loose the M word model.
Whats the loose standard? double your costs or is that not enough?

Im just joining this thread and dont want to read everything...but what the hell is this? Do you actually do jobs that consist of only 6 lights?! And wanting to use malibu equip? This service is not meant for the low end market. its for the highend. let lowes and home cheapo handle the low end market.

TPnTX
05-05-2008, 07:28 PM
Ryan...nevermind.

TPnTX
05-05-2008, 07:37 PM
Everybody calm down........

I just came here to ask a question and some of your guys want to fan your tails over something. Very very amusing but It's cool.. I'll figure it out... and I wont take anyones lunch money.

Holy cow!

NightLightingFX
05-05-2008, 08:30 PM
I am a little different from other outdoor lighting professional. I'm not offended at all if a contractor tries to build a business with cheap material. And just because a contractor decides to use Malibu products I am not worried about it effecting the industries reputation or mine. Everyone knows you get what you pay for. A quality outdoor lighting professional should be able to distinguish themselves from the low end providers. If you really love the industry like I do it, will be obvious to your customer - I (like most of the guys in this forum) take a lot of pride in our work and we take pictures and we provide as builts and etc. Things the Low end provider will never do. It is comparing apples to oranges. TPnTX you should go for it. I just think over time cheap materials will catch up with you and you will find creating the "affordable lighting system" is more of a hassle than what it is worth. I personally think the outdoor lighting market is for professionals that LOVE outdoor lighting and would do it for free if they could - People who are happy to find a passion that they can make a living at. (It is hard to make a living at it. I am still struggling to get my business going). But if you are going to do it just because you think there is money in it. There are way to many things that can go wrong with a lighting system to make it worth your while. Just my .02 worth Good Luck
~Ned

TXNSLighting
05-05-2008, 10:13 PM
Ha i thought you may like it.

TXNSLighting
05-05-2008, 10:14 PM
Ned hit it!

David Gretzmier
05-06-2008, 12:02 AM
it's not really about anger, or fanning our tails, or showing off or anything like that. It is the reality that we collectively, have cleaned up thousands of the mess you are talking about creating. But hey. Don't listen, Go ahead and install hundreds of those aluminum lights and malibu transformers. go ahead and set your bulb voltage at 12. go ahead and do what you want.

but if you want advice from professionals, and you ask, then LISTEN !!!. there is a reason most of us use expensive transformers. they break and fail ALOT less. there is a reason to use heavy, solid, waterproof copper, brass or bronze fixtures. They last ALOT longer. and good bulbs, correct loading, etc. We don't want to go back and fix our stuff. 2 big reasons why- #1 - you not only don't get paid to fix stuff you did wrong, you are not spending time doing what makes you money. #2- when your stuff breaks and fails alot, your reputation is bad. and with a bad reputation, your referral's suffer and your business will ultimately fail.

irrig8r
05-06-2008, 01:16 AM
In your heart you know he's right.

TPnTX
05-06-2008, 03:22 PM
David frankly your other post just ridicule. I don't think you listen to yourself. :) This one was somewhat informative and I am listening so thanks.

And thanks also to the PMs that I have gotten. Very helpful.

ccfree
05-06-2008, 11:22 PM
David frankly your other post just ridicule. I don't think you listen to yourself. :) This one was somewhat informative and I am listening so thanks.

And thanks also to the PMs that I have gotten. Very helpful.

Rich is a great guy and I know him personally. Why don't you come over from the dark side about a block East to the big green sign.

NightScenes
05-07-2008, 05:51 PM
I consider Rich Swor a good friend and I do a lot of business with Longhorn so I would say he's top of the heap and not on the dark side!!

ccfree
05-08-2008, 09:36 PM
I was a joke Paul. You know...like ha ha.

NightScenes
05-08-2008, 09:57 PM
I know, I'm just joking too.

ccfree
05-08-2008, 10:09 PM
Good. I thought I might of P'ed you off. That says a lot about Rich and Longhorn

Desertdweller
05-09-2008, 10:09 AM
After running some numbers it may not be a bad idea. If you install a quality system (copper, brass, 10 year warranty etc) and limit it to 5 lights and maybe 120' of wire and a 300W transformer. No climbing in trees, no multiple call backs to reaim, no boring drives etc. You should be able to knock a job out in a few hours tops and walk with $300-$700 depending on what you set your price at. You then sell a yearly maint. package to keep the warranty up and do that during the slow times. It would be like the pool guys do here. They have a base package but everything added is $$. You have some people who will take the base but many will upgrade once you talk with them. If they like the work then you sell them on the backyard next year. It does seem to be an untapped market. Here it's either cheap or expensive, not much in between.

David Gretzmier
05-10-2008, 07:59 PM
5 lights? I am trying to think of a house I have uplighted with 5 lights. If you have 3 windows in front of the house, and you hit the "columns" of brick/siding, You'd be at 5. I've never done or bid one with that few on the home. If I did though, and one 300w. trans, 5 lights, I would, truthfully bid it at $1200. I would expect it to be a few hours at most, and would be a profitable job. sad to say, time wise, once you set trans, run your wire, set your lights and go under/ or in the crack of the sidewalk, time wise I can set twice that many uplights on a larger home in about the same amount of time. That's my job and above.

Like James has said in the previous post- you'd have to do Hundreds of these jobs to make a living at it. Further you'd have to bid 3-400 for every hundred you get if your close ratio is 25%-33%.

Since I've added 4-6 lights to many jobs I've done, and added trans, and etc, and charged about that above , I can't really say I'd turn down this work. I can say that I've never gotten a closed job in the lower and even lower middle neighborhoods. my work always seem to land in the upper middle and honestly mostly upper neighborhoods. the 200-250k house seems to be the breaking point. above, they buy, below they "think about it" ( that's american for no)