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Mark B
07-27-2008, 11:32 PM
Ok here is the situation. I just finsihed a job where I used 4 well lights per tree. 6 trees total. I can pull 1 12ga or 1 10ga to each tree and be ok with that 1 wire per tree. So would you still get that 200per fixture price? Even though that 1 wire will work for all 4 lights.

TXNSLighting
07-27-2008, 11:54 PM
no i would get $260... How else would you power those lights?? its called a hub. one wire powering the 4 lights...i must be missing something

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-28-2008, 12:20 AM
Don't sell your self short.

What is with this constant "Race to the bottom" that I read and hear about?

Stop pricing by the fixture.
Stop 'competitively pricing' against your 'competitors'.
Stop racing to the bottom line.

Instead design something unique, uncommon and remarkable, and then price it based on the value (look up the definition of value if you must) that your creative solution provides to the client.

This race to the bottom, and worrying about function over form is going to be the end of many a lighting company.

I hope this helps someone out there.

Litewerks Expert Lighting
07-28-2008, 12:21 PM
Picassos paintings are worth a ton of money and some of which took very little time to create. Thats what were doing here -painting portraits with lights.

irrig8r
07-28-2008, 01:25 PM
That's a pretty bold statement... somehow I have a feeling Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Boticelli, Caravaggio, Leonardo, Michelangelo or any of the other acknowledged masters with whom you might dare to compare our work would tend to disagree...

Artists may use paint and brushes to create an illusion of light.... While we use light to create an illusion of art... (too bad Thomas Kinkade has already trademarked the phrase "Painter of Light")

JoeyD
07-28-2008, 01:53 PM
Picasso is painting a picture in a square during his prime. A young woman walks up to him and comments on how beautiful his painting is and asks if he would mind painting her portrait. He says "of course", so the woman sits down and Picaso goes to work. After about 10 minutes he says he is finished and shows the woman his portrait of her. She is amazed and asks how much she owes him.......he says "$10K", and she says "$10k? but it only took you 10 minutes".......And he replies back, "no it took me my whole life."

Litewerks Expert Lighting
07-28-2008, 04:10 PM
Would that be a valid comparison for us lighting guys? It was more about stating that you cant base pricing on how long it takes, or how few runs have to be installed, but base it on your knowledge, and skills. Thats after all why a customer is paying you to install his lights.

JoeyD
07-28-2008, 04:25 PM
The customer should be highering you for your experience, your skill, your ethics, your reputation and the feeling you are going to create with lights. In return you should be selling them on these qualities. Otherwise you are just selling lights and materials.

This is a big reason we have always stressed installers to stop condsidering themselves Contractors who isnstall but rather consider themselves designers that also install. You should be selling an effect or a feeling and not materials.......

David Gretzmier
07-28-2008, 05:40 PM
good night guys, tell him how you really feel !!

To answer his question ( like majestic did, thank you ) It depends on the wire run from the trans to each tree, which you neglected to include. If I am 100 feet or less from the trans, then 200 per fixture for 4 lights( simple uplights)at each tree is fine to charge the customer. as far as guage of wire, if each light is 20 watts, then at 80 watts and 100 feet, you are fine at 12 guage. if you have 35 watts each, you are looking at a 3 volt drop at 12guage and probably need to bump up to 10 guage above 100feet, and maybe 8 guage if you get closer to 200ft away from trans. I've done many tall tree uplights with 50 watt mr-16's, and that get's into 2 runs of 10 guage, more bucks, so be sure to measure, as trees can eat wire like crazy. I'd bump up the price as you get further than 100 feet from the trans, or as watts go up. timewise you'll be taking longer and costwise more bucks too. I'd be at 220 per fixture at 125 feet, 250 per fixture at 150, etc.

at 6 trees, 4 lights per tree, 200 bucks per fixture, 4800 bucks is a pretty good sum for a homeowner to spend to make 6 trees look good. We could get into "art" and climb the tree and do some really cool effects, and maybe charge more, but the reality is 95% of the folks I deal with would be happy with 4 well placed uplights. the other 5% I climb.

The Lighting Geek
07-29-2008, 12:27 AM
I think what you charge has a lot to do with which fixture you are using as well. I would charge no less than 250 per fixture these days as a general rul

I had to think about the discussions concerning fixture price and I agree with James. After having been in the business for over 25 years, I do things that I would not recommend for a newer person. Part of that is just knowing my market, business, etc. I do price myself by the fixture, but I generally have the job before costs come into the conversation. They do hire me for my expertise and quality of work. I don't sell fixtures, I sell portraits. I use the fixture price because it helps with phasing jobs and ease of billing.

I do not recommend selling by the fixture price. Does that make sense?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-29-2008, 01:20 AM
The customer should be highering you for your experience, your skill, your ethics, your reputation and the feeling you are going to create with lights. In return you should be selling them on these qualities. Otherwise you are just selling lights and materials.

This is a big reason we have always stressed installers to stop condsidering themselves Contractors who isnstall but rather consider themselves designers that also install. You should be selling an effect or a feeling and not materials.......

I agree with Joey 100% on this.

Great post Joey!

Mark B
07-29-2008, 07:57 AM
I hear what you are saying. But this was a simple little job. I used well lights. The longest run was 2 runs 180' of 10 ga. The shortest was 2 runs 50' of 12ga the other was about 100' of 12ga.

Plus this was and exsisting customer and a upgrade. It was a super simple add on. It makes 3 transformers on his vacation home.

Litewerks Expert Lighting
07-29-2008, 10:04 AM
I would just kind of base it on what you charged the customer previously then. They should be ready for that.

David Gretzmier
07-29-2008, 11:29 PM
I agree that art and expertise can come into pricing if you are using art and expertise to achieve a certain look. But I agree with the above, a simple uplight job, 4 lights per tree, is pretty straightforward and should be priced as such. if however, the homeowner wants options on those trees, and you can show those options on other projects, such as moonlighting and multi-story uplighting, THEN you can get into charging for skill. further, It is harder and more time to climb anyway.

as far as 250 minimum per fixture, my market won't support that unless they are difficult placement or far from transformer. most of my bids over 225 per fixture average get rejected. I am typically 200 on the easy ones, 225 medium, and 250 on the hard ones. If the homeowner specs expensive stain glass fixtures, 200 feet plus away from trans, etc, then that is a different story. but bread and butter copper/brass bullets and paths are in that range above. I'd love to be higher, but most folks won't pay it. :cry:

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-30-2008, 01:23 AM
David, the reason that "most folks won't pay it" is because of the way you are delivering "it". Time to educate your marketplace. Stop selling fixtures and wire and transformers and labour and start selling "Systems" that are "Custom Designed & Installed".

Sounds impossible? It really isnt, and until you figure that out, you will not see any increase in your revenues and will probably be hurt by the 'race to the bottom'. I have been beating this horse for years now. Some listen and learn and others don't... what you choose to do is up to you.

Why not try it another way and see? I too was a disbeliever once, and then a group of highly influencial friends, colleagues and associates convinced me of the errors of my ways. Start selling on the VALUE that you add to a property and stop focusing on components, labour and building the cost from the bottom up.

Hope this helps.

klkanders
07-30-2008, 01:34 AM
Do you ever get asked? What is included with this "system" you are proposing? What am I getting? Break this down for me....
Just asking.........want to know what everyones responses are?

Thanks,
Keith

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-30-2008, 01:42 AM
I provide a full specification with every contract Keith. In that specification you see each zone, the fixture number, the fixture location, the fixture type (generic) and the desired effect.

I rarely get asked to go through these specifications and it is my belief that not a single client has ever walked through at the end to compare the system installed to the specification. It does make the contract complete though.

Have a great day.

klkanders
07-30-2008, 01:48 AM
Ok here is the situation. I just finsihed a job where I used 4 well lights per tree. 6 trees total. I can pull 1 12ga or 1 10ga to each tree and be ok with that 1 wire per tree. So would you still get that 200per fixture price? Even though that 1 wire will work for all 4 lights.

Sorry, Maybe even my previous post was steering away from what you were truly asking.
How is this for a simple answer. Mark up your product like any other job. You have to make money on the products you are selling and installing. Do the job with the right materials. Charge overhead and for your labor according to how long it will take you. Forget about thinking of it as a per fixture price. Collect money!

Keith

klkanders
07-30-2008, 01:52 AM
I provide a full specification with every contract Keith. In that specification you see each zone, the fixture number, the fixture location, the fixture type (generic) and the desired effect.

I rarely get asked to go through these specifications and it is my belief that not a single client has ever walked through at the end to compare the system installed to the specification. It does make the contract complete though.

Have a great day.

Thats right I remember you stating you include a spec. sheet. Good idea.
How about everyone else?

David Gretzmier
07-30-2008, 01:53 AM
james, for what it is worth, I agree with you. As far as I can tell, I am the most expensive light guy in my area. there is a landscape architect who does much more than lights, and charges more in general, but compared to every other irrigation or landscape guy, lightwise I am at the top of the expense chain. if anything, i have raced to the top rather than the bottom !

I put the fixture count and tranformer specs on my bid to establish what they are getting for the price for one key reason. when I have neglected to do this, folks have expected more than was originally discussed. It protects me in the event they thought they were paying for another 4 or 7 lights. I closed a job tonight and barely mentioned the lights, trans, wire or bulbs. It was really about creating the desired effect. They wanted a certain effect in thier landscape and they had a price in mind it was worth to them. my price was within thier budget. The fixture/dollar count thing is also a check for me to make sure I am bidding high enough to make a proper profit on each job. I don't put in my bid x fixtures at x price per fixture. As I continue to explore other ways to light, it takes more time to do some fixtures, and I do try to increase my price for the increased time spent.

Chris J
07-30-2008, 08:30 AM
I provide a full specification with every contract Keith. In that specification you see each zone, the fixture number, the fixture location, the fixture type (generic) and the desired effect.

I rarely get asked to go through these specifications and it is my belief that not a single client has ever walked through at the end to compare the system installed to the specification. It does make the contract complete though.

Have a great day.

What happened to simplified quotes? I put all this info on one contract, and you tell me my life would be easier if I didn't? Isn't that a bit contradicting?

David Gretzmier
07-30-2008, 03:17 PM
It is only contradiction because it applied to you. in the mirror, it is not contradictory, it makes sense?

Chris J
07-30-2008, 03:26 PM
I don't know if it's your grammar or your punctuation, but I don't have a clue as to what you are trying to say. Care to elaborate David?

JoeyD
07-30-2008, 05:36 PM
Bottom line is there is more than one right way to bid and to sell a job. Some jobs require a different techinique, the job described for example with 4 lights per tree. Simple home run to hub and done. Those are the jobs where maybe a priced out list of materials isnt such a big deal but the guys I see (and I talk to lots of guys obviously) making the most money and who are the most succesful do not sell materials and do not break it down this way. They sell effect and design. They sell quality and placement. They sell longevity and reliability. In essence they sell themselves and their work. The materials they use are going to be the best and the homeowner to hire them or as Nate would say for the Contractor to hire the homeowner has to trust eachother. Dr. Patient relationship!! They dont care if its 20 lights or 200 they treat each job as if it is going to be a permanent show piece for them and their company. If they cant signature that job they wont do it and if they cant get paid what they feel it is worth they wont touch it.

Weather you sell per fixture or per the job it doesnt matter, to make more money you need them to know that you are the best and that they need to do nothing more than to trust you. You have to do what it is YOUR comfertable doing to get the customer to sign on with you.

Chris J
07-30-2008, 07:36 PM
Nicely done Joey. I agree 100%!

David Gretzmier
07-31-2008, 11:54 AM
well said.

Mark B
07-31-2008, 04:53 PM
I agree. Again this is was a simple job. The homeowner knows what he wants. Like I said I already have 2 900 watt trannys on his house. So he knew what he wanted, I did talk him into adding 4 lights instead of 2 lights per tree (palm trees). Also this HO never ask for a price. There is alot of trust with this victim. Also he is my best salesman. He tells all of his friends about me with the lighting and irrigation sevices.

I'm in a smaller town here in NC. So my prices are not what others are getting. But it working for me.

Chris J
07-31-2008, 08:50 PM
Careful sleepyhead. This is a public forum you know. Your customer might not be to excited about referring you anymore if he happens upon this site and sees that you are calling him a victim.