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David Gretzmier
08-07-2008, 08:12 PM
I gotta tell you, I am developing a love/hate relationship with my demo kit. the more I use it, the more jobs I get, which i am thrilled to say i have picked up 3 landscape light jobs in the past week, after doing 6 demo's. after a dead time of a month, I am happy to be doing at least part time lighting work again before the big christmas light work starts September 15.

my love hate thing goes like this- I love having 4 75 ft runs of multi-plug cord, 20 brass mr-16 uplights, 5 deck lights with clamps, 2 600 watt trans, and a few paths and a few extension cords. really everything you need for a decent medium home demo.

my hate thing is weight. I have maxed out 2 very large ice chests on wheels w/ collapsable handles ( like luggage) , and I keep the paths and deck lights in a seperate box. each ice chest easily weighs 65-75 lbs, and I am tired of loading and unloading these things in the back of my truck.

I know that firefly does awesome demo's, and probably easily doubles the weight of mine, but I am also curious about the rest of you guys- what do you bring and how do you lug it around? how much time do you give yourself to setup, bid and load back up a demo? I am taking about 35-45 minutes to setup, 15-20 to write out and bid, and 20-25 minutes to load up and go home. all by myself. some demo's take longer if the customer wants me to move around lights, but a single demo typically takes me from 7:30 pm leave house time to around 9:30-10:30 get back home time at this time of year. February is much easier as you can get there at 4:30 pm and be back home by 6:30 pm. let me know if my experience is normal, or what you guys are doing different.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-07-2008, 08:15 PM
I am also curious about the rest of you guys- what do you bring and how do you lug it around?

I like to bring a spiral bound notebook and a pen. :)

JoeyD
08-07-2008, 08:51 PM
You need a trailer w/ a ramp door!!! We use the stanley black rolling tool cases they work really well.

I think Tommy The Lighting Geek was awarded a Trailer by John Deere and Unique through the Hitch and Grow Program.

The Lighting Geek
08-07-2008, 09:34 PM
The entire bed of my truck is a giant demo kit. I keep 4 840 transformers in the little stanley boxes with wheels. I have about 25-30 assorted brass fixtures and 60 or so well lights in groups of 4. I have a couple extension cords and a couple path lights with 24" stems. I also have it on a pull out bed so I can pull the whole thing out and get to all the stuff.

The time you listed is about right. I usually use about 12-20 lights depending on the situation.

David Gretzmier
08-07-2008, 09:47 PM
Dang james, you carry an entire notebook ? I just carry 2 sheets. I know you've reached celebrity status for lighting, so the demo is not for you. I'm there on Christmas lights, but it will take me a few years on landscape lights. until then, demo, demo, demo !

Mark B
08-07-2008, 10:46 PM
I have the cast demo kit. It is heavy and PITA to setup. But I find myself just meeting the victim and they normally take my word. But once they call me they have seen my work, or they have been refered by a previous victim. I"m getting like James I just bring a notepad or whip out the Iphone. I'm a really KISS when giving a price.

Lite4
08-07-2008, 10:52 PM
Ha, I don't even need two sheets of paper. I just show up on the doorstep and they fall at my feet! Ok...well maybe not yet, I still have to demo like a mad dog to generate interest. It is then easy to upsell. We have a funny market here and my company is new to the game so I have to "buy" my credibility with blood, sweat and tears. Hopefully someday people will start giving me referral business so that people will start trusting in my abilities without always questioning my prices. Ahhhh....a guy can dream can't he.

Mark B
08-07-2008, 11:02 PM
I have left the demo for a week then go back and pick it up. That has worked good as well. I will also use my gut feeling IF I charge them or not. Now I know that will open a can of worms.

Chris J
08-08-2008, 06:46 AM
I have the cast demo kit. It is heavy and PITA to setup. But I find myself just meeting the victim and they normally take my word. But once they call me they have seen my work, or they have been refered by a previous victim. I"m getting like James I just bring a notepad or whip out the Iphone. I'm a really KISS when giving a price.

Man, will you stop referring to your customers as victims? This is the second time I've seen you do this, and it really bothers me! Not only are you giving yourself a bad name, you are potentially discrediting all of us by possibly making readers believe we share in your discription of them. STOP IT!

Mark B
08-08-2008, 06:53 AM
Chris go drink a cold Sam Adams and chase it with a beam bomb. Then take a deep breathe sit down and relax. Loosen your belt when you do it.

Mark B
08-08-2008, 07:19 AM
if you need to you can repeat the above steps until you feel better. But do not exceed 8 repeats. have grove day.

NightScenes
08-08-2008, 07:45 AM
I agree with Chris, I really don't like the idea of calling a client a victim unless you really are making them victims by not giving them their monies worth and ripping them off in which case they would be victims. I'm sure you're just joking but this is a public forum and you don't know how a potential client might look at it, especially if they just got a proposal for $20k worth of lighting.

Mike M
08-08-2008, 08:39 AM
I have to "buy" my credibility with blood, sweat and tears.

Amen! Takes me 2-3 hours to set up. I am now bringing some LED's on batteries for quick "let's see this illuminated, too."

I use 2 transformers and boxes of fixtures, and only 1 stanley roller. I need another roller.

I am now using the Firefly method: haul a bunch of stuff over thrown in boxes, use regular twist-on connectors, keep a spool of #12 handy, no short cuts.

I set up in daylight, return at night, with a fresh start.

Demo set-ups suck at 2-3 hours, especially in this ridiculous heat. I need to hire help, but I'm keeping expenses low.

I always make myself climb trees if applicable and hang a few by bungee cord, and do some pita stuff as if it's an install.

Mark B
08-08-2008, 09:13 AM
Hey Mike what type of twist connectors do you use? The type of connectors that are on the cast use will not last. I have had issues with the hub that comes with the demo.

And yes Paul I am joking. But this is public forum if I choose to call them victims I will. What a homeowner reads here should have nothing to do with if you get a job or not. Remember you are selling your design and art.

Lite4
08-08-2008, 09:17 AM
Thanks Mike. Ahhh....Misery loves company. My demo "kit", if you want to call it that consists of 2-600 watt transformers 2-300 watt transformers, about 35 mr 16 spots, 8 path lights, 25 par can or 'turd' lights as Eddie likes to call them, about 4 regular old t-3 floods and 6 underwater MR 16 spots. I keep a large storage container with me of various wattages and spreads of bulbs and a whole array of lenses. Not to mention also about 200 lbs or so of various 12-2 and 16/2 lengths of wire. It is not a fun proposition going to do a demo, but I do go prepared for just about anything.

TXNSLighting
08-08-2008, 09:20 AM
I gotta tell you, I am developing a love/hate relationship with my demo kit. the more I use it, the more jobs I get, which i am thrilled to say i have picked up 3 landscape light jobs in the past week, after doing 6 demo's. after a dead time of a month, I am happy to be doing at least part time lighting work again before the big christmas light work starts September 15.

my love hate thing goes like this- I love having 4 75 ft runs of multi-plug cord, 20 brass mr-16 uplights, 5 deck lights with clamps, 2 600 watt trans, and a few paths and a few extension cords. really everything you need for a decent medium home demo.

my hate thing is weight. I have maxed out 2 very large ice chests on wheels w/ collapsable handles ( like luggage) , and I keep the paths and deck lights in a seperate box. each ice chest easily weighs 65-75 lbs, and I am tired of loading and unloading these things in the back of my truck.

I know that firefly does awesome demo's, and probably easily doubles the weight of mine, but I am also curious about the rest of you guys- what do you bring and how do you lug it around? how much time do you give yourself to setup, bid and load back up a demo? I am taking about 35-45 minutes to setup, 15-20 to write out and bid, and 20-25 minutes to load up and go home. all by myself. some demo's take longer if the customer wants me to move around lights, but a single demo typically takes me from 7:30 pm leave house time to around 9:30-10:30 get back home time at this time of year. February is much easier as you can get there at 4:30 pm and be back home by 6:30 pm. let me know if my experience is normal, or what you guys are doing different.

when i do demos, it always takes me about 1 hr+ to set it up, cuz well im a designer and im never satisfied. But yeh one of my boxes (from unique) weighs in at over 100 pounds. bad times there. But hopefully before long i can stop using the demo kit as much. Thats when your known well.

Mike M
08-08-2008, 07:01 PM
The twist-ons I use for demo's are regular non-direct-burial stuff. The red ones with the wings are best and cheap.

I bought the cool kwick clips like the ones Uneek uses in their demo kit (ignore my spelling, I have no working "cue" on my keypad). Only problem is that I keep cutting wire and making new connections, so I found it's easier to just cut-and-nut when hooking up demo's.

I laugh at my ultimate laziness--does anyone take the time to measure and tweak voltage at the lamp?? I just guestimate.

I'd like a system to gather/contain fixture wire that is easier than velcro straps.

Mike M
08-08-2008, 07:10 PM
Hey sleepyhead--I'm with Paul and Chris. The only victims are the people who go to misguided installers. There are bad lighting designs and corroded/failed materials everywhere around here.

Chris J
08-08-2008, 07:17 PM
Thanks for the support Mike and Paul. I was beginning to feel all alone in this moronic discussion. If sleepyhead would check his PM we might be able to settle the dispute without reliving the Pete Scalia episode all over again.

S&MLL
08-08-2008, 07:30 PM
Hey where is Pete? But anyway to call a client a victim is just all around stupid. Sleepyhead you might be an amazing designer/installer but it doesnt show by your constant reference of clients as victims.

Chris J
08-08-2008, 07:37 PM
Another Thanks to S&MLL. Without the advice from good people, any Jackass would continue to do silly things. sleepyhead, don't take it personal. We are brothers helping brothers (for the most part). Let's keep the organization on that level, OK?

Mike M
08-08-2008, 08:02 PM
To all those concerned about my (q) problem, I have fixed it. My apologies to Uni(q)ue.

Chris J
08-08-2008, 08:16 PM
:laugh: Sorry to hijack the post with this silly stuff, but in all fairness it wasn't your post to begin with. It was about heavy demo kits. BTW, I use the plastic tubs w/ wheels you find at HD and Walmart. I find the Stanley's are heavy by themselves, so I stay away from that as I don't need the added weight. As you know, I'm one of those who don't do demos anymore but as the times get tough, you have to do what you have to do. Demos always sell better than you can IMHO. Best wishes to all for a prosporus fall! (dang that rhymes)
Can't get no lightin without a little fightin. :laugh: Now I'm a rapper? :cool2:

Mike M
08-08-2008, 08:27 PM
Chris, I tried some large plastic tubs from lowe's to save money, and they are in pieces on my garage floor.

Also, for what it's worth, anyone planning on purchasing the cool opening tool chest from stanley (upright, expands outward, several drawers, on wheels), beware that it is not even close to rain proof. That being said, it's an awesome way to instantly organize. I use it for installs and try not to leave it in my truck overnight for threat of rain.

For demo's I like the stanley roller that is at h-depot & lowes and plan to get a second one.

Chris J
08-08-2008, 08:53 PM
I don't know what your buying, but the tubs I bought are 8 years old and still going strong. I haven't done a whole lot with them in the past few years, but when I did I worked them hard. Blue plastic with tan lids. Very light, and wheels too!

irrig8r
08-08-2008, 09:00 PM
I get the feeling Sleepyhead enjoys the freedom of expression he is able to exercise behind a mask of anonymity.

irrig8r
08-08-2008, 09:11 PM
The best demo kit IMO is the one that Vista sells. Heavy duty rolling case. Portable transformer on a stand. Six uplights.

http://www.vistapro.com/files/inst/pdk-250-inst.pdf

I picked up extra trailer connections at my local NAPA store and made up addiitonal pathlights and downlight demo samples.

My thought is, as far as the uplights go, it doesn't matter whose fixtures I use if I mainly want to demonstrate what the various lamps can do..

As far as the other fixtures I use , it's a mix of NS, FX, Vista and a handful of others.

PeteScalvo
08-08-2008, 09:41 PM
Hey where is Pete? But anyway to call a client a victim is just all around stupid. Sleepyhead you might be an amazing designer/installer but it doesnt show by your constant reference of clients as victims.
I don't know about Pete Scalea but Pete Scalvo is here.

Chris J
08-08-2008, 10:45 PM
The best demo kit IMO is the one that Vista sells. Heavy duty rolling case. Portable transformer on a stand. Six uplights.

http://www.vistapro.com/files/inst/pdk-250-inst.pdf

I picked up extra trailer connections at my local NAPA store and made up addiitonal pathlights and downlight demo samples.

My thought is, as far as the uplights go, it doesn't matter whose fixtures I use if I mainly want to demonstrate what the various lamps can do..

As far as the other fixtures I use , it's a mix of NS, FX, Vista and a handful of others.

You are exactly correct Gregg. It doesn't matter what fixture you use for a demo. The lamp is what does the work. so the "holder of the lamp" is irrelevant. Even if you use pars for demos, which I would not, your intention is to give the client an "idea" of what is to be expected. I always explain what's going on, and I make the client very aware of the issues with the demo, ie, not the correct voltage, no lenses, no consistency, etc...

PeteScalvo
08-08-2008, 10:54 PM
You are exactly correct Gregg. It doesn't matter what fixture you use for a demo. The lamp is what does the work. so the "holder of the lamp" is irrelevant. Even if you use pars for demos, which I would not, your intention is to give the client an "idea" of what is to be expected. I always explain what's going on, and I make the client very aware of the issues with the demo, ie, not the correct voltage, no lenses, no consistency, etc...


different fixtures give different effects. specially those with deep or no glare shields

Chris J
08-08-2008, 10:56 PM
You are a drunken fool. Please go to bed and sleep it off before I go off and get kicked off the forum.

PeteScalvo
08-08-2008, 10:58 PM
I come in peace

Mark B
08-08-2008, 11:14 PM
:dizzy: You guys are a trip.

David Gretzmier
08-09-2008, 01:12 AM
I'd have to agree with the rest of the folks about the victim thing. I refer to my clients as blessed, as anyone else would have done a worse job no matter the cost. If you're so confident about what you say, then change your screen name to your real name and business, then speak as you wish. When folks google me, they can read all my posts. I'm proud of them.

I'm also pretty sure a 20 watt 60 degree ushio in 10 different fixtures gives pretty much the same effect, given the glare shield difference. some fixtures may put it deeper in the fixture, but for the most part, you can't se the difference in the demo. I use brass fittings because they can get scratched up and still look good to the consumer. I'd never use pars in demo's becasue I don't install pars. I've tried a dozen different par bulbs, and they just don't last a year no matter the hour rating or what voltage I feed them.

2-3 hours for a setup? I need work, and man, are those demo's beautiful, but I don't see myself going that far. I felt pretty good setting up 20-25 fixtures.

TXNSLighting
08-09-2008, 03:05 PM
I'd have to agree with the rest of the folks about the victim thing. I refer to my clients as blessed, as anyone else would have done a worse job no matter the cost. If you're so confident about what you say, then change your screen name to your real name and business, then speak as you wish. When folks google me, they can read all my posts. I'm proud of them.

I'm also pretty sure a 20 watt 60 degree ushio in 10 different fixtures gives pretty much the same effect, given the glare shield difference. some fixtures may put it deeper in the fixture, but for the most part, you can't se the difference in the demo. I use brass fittings because they can get scratched up and still look good to the consumer. I'd never use pars in demo's becasue I don't install pars. I've tried a dozen different par bulbs, and they just don't last a year no matter the hour rating or what voltage I feed them.

2-3 hours for a setup? I need work, and man, are those demo's beautiful, but I don't see myself going that far. I felt pretty good setting up 20-25 fixtures.

All my pars have lasted well over a year...i have some over a year and a half old.

TPnTX
08-10-2008, 02:44 PM
I've been using a borrowed vista kit and I'm WAY overdue returning it. Its nice but I did have to modify it some for it to be really useful.

What I did was take the trailer light connectors and male 120v connectors and made some little converters. I hook the trailer light end to the fixture and then run an extention cord to a multiport surge protector. I hook the surge protector up to the TF using a female/trailer converter.

I works really well.

As far as the box I'll be making my own demo kit so I'll look for something similar to the vista minus the fitted foam insert.

TPnTX
08-10-2008, 02:51 PM
Something else I thought about doing. Call it a drive-by demo. or just a dumb idea.

If I had a 10gauge line ran from the battery of my truck to a multi-plug in the bed area. take 4 maybe 6 spooled extention cords run them from the truck be to the front area of a house. Hit the house in a few places do a couple of trees. How fast could you do that?

When youre down unplug the lights, roll the cords back in and move on down the road. Thats after you sign a contract of course.

I need to figure out how many lights I can run off the truck. The lights will do fine on DC for a demo purpose.

David Gretzmier
08-10-2008, 03:43 PM
I've never run lights on dc, so I would not know, but maybe...?

TXNSLighting
08-10-2008, 03:49 PM
Something else I thought about doing. Call it a drive-by demo. or just a dumb idea.

If I had a 10gauge line ran from the battery of my truck to a multi-plug in the bed area. take 4 maybe 6 spooled extention cords run them from the truck be to the front area of a house. Hit the house in a few places do a couple of trees. How fast could you do that?

When youre down unplug the lights, roll the cords back in and move on down the road. Thats after you sign a contract of course.

I need to figure out how many lights I can run off the truck. The lights will do fine on DC for a demo purpose.

that just seems unprofessional

Mike M
08-10-2008, 04:47 PM
Fact is, you will still need to mess with many main runs and leads at various unpredictable lengths, and need time to plan a design, position and aim fixtures, lamp properly, climb trees maybe, etc. etc.

There are freakin wires everywhere, man. No short cuts.

The best thing I came up with to save time and stop sweating so much and to feel less stressed out, was to be organized. Figure your lighting plan. Unload the fixtures. Place the fixtures. Extend the leads. Unload the transformers, place them. Unload main wires, lay them all out on the ground first so you can see them. Select your wires for runs, hook them up. Hook up your hubs.

Whatever the system, just stick with one task at a time and try to be organized. I also learned to clean up my demo kit the same way, focussing on one area at a time, grouping the stuff I collect on the lawn, and putting it all away neatly, so my next job is faster (everything where it belongs, no tangles, etc.).

While setting up or breaking down, I tend to lay-out and organize lots of stuff on the lawn so I can readily know what I have and get it quickly.

This keeps me from changing my mind, running back and forth to the truck for each specific item, and it keeps me from being distracted or overwhelmed. It also keeps me from "jogging" around. I take my time, relax, and practically go into autopilot.

My first demo's were unfocussed and made me worn out, creatively and physically.

A great idea my labor guy had for me was to use a checklist before going. So I hung a white board in my garage, and wrote checklists for "Installs" and "Demo's" ... No more, oops, where's the ladder?

Oh yeah, I'm still learning--I'm not an expert. By the time I master them, I probably won't need to do demo's anymore. hehe.

Chris J
08-10-2008, 06:09 PM
I have one of those white boards. I bought it a long time ago when I arrived at a job site, for the second time, without any transformers. Guess my mind isn't what it used to be.

TPnTX
08-10-2008, 06:16 PM
unprofessional? not if it's done right, anyway its just an idea. I would hate to think how limited I would be without ideas.

I do know the lamps work fine with DC. Of course it doesn't take long to find the limits of DC.

Has anyone seen "downlights with "moonlight" pole " from the FX demo kit?

Mike M
08-10-2008, 08:43 PM
I have one of those white boards. I bought it a long time ago when I arrived at a job site, for the second time, without any transformers. Guess my mind isn't what it used to be.

hahaha

I can relate to that!!

The Lighting Geek
08-10-2008, 08:50 PM
Something else I thought about doing. Call it a drive-by demo. or just a dumb idea.

If I had a 10gauge line ran from the battery of my truck to a multi-plug in the bed area. take 4 maybe 6 spooled extention cords run them from the truck be to the front area of a house. Hit the house in a few places do a couple of trees. How fast could you do that?

When youre down unplug the lights, roll the cords back in and move on down the road. Thats after you sign a contract of course.

I need to figure out how many lights I can run off the truck. The lights will do fine on DC for a demo purpose.

I think you should show up in a monster truck like the grave digger and power 75-100 lights!

Mike M
08-10-2008, 08:57 PM
"Has anyone seen "downlights with "moonlight" pole " from the FX demo kit?"

Hey TP;

I'm not positive of what you mean, but I got an extension pole idea from Joey and Billy that sounds like what you are talking about.

I made a mount on the end of an extension pole to put mini-wall washers or a spot on it, to demo hitting upper building surfaces, I suppose you could invert the light to show downlighting, too. I only used it on my own house to experiment.

But for downlighting during demo's, I just use a bungee cord on a tree and hang one of my bullets upside down, but I use at least one or two actual tree lights to hide the source.

Chris J
08-10-2008, 09:17 PM
I think you guys are putting way too much effort into your demos. Yes, I know that your demos would be better than mine, but your purpose is simply to show an "example" of what could be done. You can explain the rest verbally. To a potential client, they have no idea of the power of our systems. Even one light looks pretty to them. If you set up several, then your case is closed. You don't need to go through the effort, IMO, to make it look exactly like the final install. Besides, wouldn't it be better for your image to install "more" and "better" than they expected? Some of the descriptions I've heard so far about what you guys go through to set up a demo just kills me. Granted, they do offer the opportunity to take a picture, but what are you trying to prove. I'd be awfully ticked off if I went through that much trouble just to have the client explain what was done to his landscaper and have them do it for cheeper. In my opinion, these full blown demos are giving away your talents and secrets beforehand. Unless you're getting a sizable fee for the demo, I would not do it so inexpensively. I'll explain my effective demo later, but you guys are just expending too much effort and time.
Just my opinion, so don't get mad and start calling me names!

Mark B
08-10-2008, 09:29 PM
Large Demos are a PITA in my opinion. But hey I still have a 20 light demo kit, so go figure.

When I first started I would show up with 1 uplight, 1 pathway light, 1 bullet, and truck battery booster. I think that is what it is called. One of those gozmos that you hookup to the battery. Me and the customer would walk around the yard and light different things up.

everyone should have a beer I didn't use "victim"

Mike M
08-10-2008, 10:39 PM
Oye.

Big demo for me = nice size job. But, like Chris suggests, I leave some stuff out if it is already represented in another area.

The demo, like Joey will tell you, pushes the scene to a full portrait, and keeps them from thinking just 4 fixtures will do the job.

Chris, this is important to newer guys, since most peeps are merely responding to a postcard and not a referral.

Also, it helps me to position things "just right" as I am still learning some tricks of the trade.

That being said, I hate demo's. haha.

The Lighting Geek
08-10-2008, 11:11 PM
I think you guys are putting way too much effort into your demos. Yes, I know that your demos would be better than mine, but your purpose is simply to show an "example" of what could be done. You can explain the rest verbally. To a potential client, they have no idea of the power of our systems. Even one light looks pretty to them. If you set up several, then your case is closed. You don't need to go through the effort, IMO, to make it look exactly like the final install. Besides, wouldn't it be better for your image to install "more" and "better" than they expected? Some of the descriptions I've heard so far about what you guys go through to set up a demo just kills me. Granted, they do offer the opportunity to take a picture, but what are you trying to prove. I'd be awfully ticked off if I went through that much trouble just to have the client explain what was done to his landscaper and have them do it for cheeper. In my opinion, these full blown demos are giving away your talents and secrets beforehand. Unless you're getting a sizable fee for the demo, I would not do it so inexpensively. I'll explain my effective demo later, but you guys are just expending too much effort and time.
Just my opinion, so don't get mad and start calling me names!

I use about 12-20 lights, uplighting only. I can set up in about 15-20 minutes and be knocking on the door for them to come out. I usually can wrap it up in another 30 minutes depending on the customer. The customer needs to see enough lights to get it. As you get better you can use less lights. When I was new I used more lights to offset my skill level. The sheer number of lights was always breath taking. My best demo ever was 4 lights. Understanding the right vocabulary is equally important to me. Read Nate's book and use the jargon and people listen. Part of a great demo is listening to the client. I get put in check every once in a while by a client whom I was listening well enough. The best demo fits the way the client uses the yard and their lifestyle. I have done hundreds of demos and I will continue to use demos. The role of a demo has changed for me and it will for you as you do more of them. I don't demo every job, but I know exactly which jobs need a demo and that comes from experience.

I would say that I am the lighting professional that I am, more from all the demos, than all the jobs i've done. I learned more from the jobs I didn't get than the ones I did. It is the process not the demo. To me doing a demo is like being a waiter. You don't get a tip if you don't get it right, just like you don't always get the job if you don't get it right. Just like the waiter gets bigger tips from polishing his craft, you will get more jobs as you learn your craft. I am not referring to you people who don't do demos here, just casting a different light (pardon the pun) on the subject of demos.

Mark B
08-10-2008, 11:43 PM
Well said. Think about this. For the demos that you did and DID NOT get the job. When you ride by the house on a later date,either to be nosey or you happen to be in the area do you see your design by the HO or someone else or no lighting at all? For me I mostly see no lighting at all. I also use my gut feeling if I charge them for the demo or not.

Mike M
08-11-2008, 06:54 AM
Spreading out the "weight" of the demo (think of this as mental mechanical leverage).

Most classical artists throughout history used to sketch their landscapes/portraits on separate paper until they studied the scene long enough to get it.

Until I get a lot better at planning, it helps me to show up for a consult on one day, go back to set up the demo on another, and go back to flip the switches in the evening. I gives me time to notice and think, and then each return I come back with a clean (dry) shirt and a fresh start to "see" again and have the energy to care about making some changes or additions.

I also like the consult out of the way, so I can concentrate on a set up without distractions or pressure.

After the demo, I just leave the stuff there and break it down another day. This allows me to see everything in the daylight, and to have a fresh start to carefully put it all away properly.

Oh yeah, I almost have to spread the time to do the demo's this way; I can't bring a commercial truck inside the communities in the evening.

TPnTX
08-11-2008, 08:02 AM
So many different mind sets on this. I plan on turning it up a notch this fall on the demo.

"Learning from the demos" best thing I've heard yet.

The Moonlighting pole is listed on the Cast Demo Kit, thats why I asked if anyone had seen it. I doubt I make downlighting a big part of my demo routine. I do have a demo this week where I specifically have to convince two people about downlights using LV. I'd like to use a pole and not a ladder.

This thread started about weight of the demo kit. Then time was mentioned. If you shave 5 mins here and there and make it require less labor then you may be on to something. That is why I think a power source on your truck would be beneficial.

Think of this. You pull up ,"Professionally Ryan", and pull out a large cord with a multi connector end. Maybe its on a autowind spool mounted to the truck.
You then quickly unroll 4 to 6 cords. There are many ways to do that quickly.

Place the fixtures, plug them in and position. You may now choose to move a few lights to different areas as you continue to convince the home owner.

Now if they choose you can offer to leave it overnight. That is a whole other talk show. Regardless if they go for it. Then you pull our a TF.

IF not you roll up and boggie to the next place. Of course the monster truck would help.

TPnTX
08-11-2008, 08:18 AM
BTW if a car battery is rated at 50ah and a 20watt lamp uses 1.6 amps @ 12v, this should be fine for as long as you need it especially with the truck running.

The biggest obstacle would be voltage drop on the extension cord.

The Lighting Geek
08-11-2008, 09:48 AM
transformers work better for me because I always leave the demo for about a week if I can. A larger demo benefits from this because they are used to coming home to it and then it's gone.

Lite4
08-11-2008, 09:59 AM
You can't manage voltage drop off a car battery. Why would they buy dimly lit lights from your demo when they can buy the dim ones at home Cheapo? Use the equipment you are going to install dude. Do it right.

TPnTX
08-11-2008, 10:06 AM
you make a point however, the vista demo kit has one TF a 250watt singel tap. So while your point is valid, it suggests also that the demo kits will not do.

Tommy Wow, learning you may leave them for up to a week is surprising. I figured you had it down to demo/signup/check all in one visit.

irrig8r
08-11-2008, 11:26 AM
My evenings are more valuable to me for other things than doing large scale demos. I don't use them to show the customer what the total finished job is going to look like.

If the customer doesn't "get it" with a handful of fixtures placed appropriately, then I'm not selling myself well enough.

I'll usually give them a couple choices when it comes to pathlight styles and effects... and I like to try out different wattages and beam spreads of uplights to get a feel in a particular situation.

I know that a white birch is going to reflect a lot more light than a redwood, or bricks will "soak up" more than a light colored stucco... But sometimes you run into a client that thinks that silhouetting the shrubs around the foundation, or uplighting lapped siding looks too "spooky"...

Sometimes it's an opportunity to weigh their expectations against what I can achieve or mine against what they can (or say they can) afford... better to know these things early on.

Did I count on the streetlight (that I didn't see in the daytime) filtering though the trees on the sideyard? How much do the neighbors' security lights hit the driveway from one side?

Often doing a demo reveals these and other factors that cause me to change the design I sketched out on a quick daytime visit.

JoeyD
08-11-2008, 11:36 AM
The case that the Vista kit uses is called a Pelican Case. We use them for all of our camera equipment and for our special tradeshow items. They are nice but also very pricey cases that dont allow for much demo product.

I would put money against anyone who thinks another manufacturer has a better demo kit then ours. If it's the Par lamps that keep you away from our kit then custom order the kit with brass or copper bullets instead. You can customize a kit anyway you want from us. And unlike those trailer connectors you can buy our quick connectors and adapt any fixture you like in the field.

The stanley cases are a little heavy, especially when fully loaded. But they do have a large retractable padded handle, heavy duty rolling wheels, and a strong hinged and lockable lid. Plus they have a tray on the inside which works well for holding spare lamps, lenses, tools, flags, and tape.

I dont know why anyone would waste time messing with battery's or building a kit according tot he job they are demoing. For a little over a $1200 you can have a fully working kit with 16 lights, a real transformer, extension cord, flags, tape, lamps, lenses, case, home runs, everything color coded and pre wired and be done with it. The first job you sell it is paid for and is now a free salesmen from there on.


http://www.uniquelighting.com/education/Powerofthedemo.htm

irrig8r
08-11-2008, 11:54 AM
My Vista kit cost me less than half that Joey....

And I have a Stanley box and a Gatemouth bag for others...

I haven't seen your connectors Joey, but I used to use Radio Shack's solderless banana plugs, and they worked OK, but once I discovered these two pole trailer plugs I can't think of anything simpler or more reliable.

JoeyD
08-11-2008, 12:09 PM
My Vista kit cost me less than half that Joey....

And I have a Stanley box and a Gatemouth bag for others...

I haven't seen your connectors Joey, but I used to use Radio Shack's solderless banana plugs, and they worked OK, but once I discovered these two pole trailer plugs I can't think of anything simpler or more reliable.

It cost half but you get half or less what our kit comes with. Plus it takes atleast 15 lights at minimum to usually demo a scene. Not smashing the kit, I have seen way worse, at least it doesnt use a Battery. and I do like the post they supply for the TF.


We call our connectors the Power pole connectors, theya re similar to those trailer connectors but they are made of plastic. Not as water proof as those but they are easily installed on fixtures in the field.

It is a preference thing. If your not a Unique guy you probably wont ever use a Unique demo kit but if your not partial to any one company or company's then our Demo Kit is definitley one that should be considered. It is in our opinion the best most usuable kit on the Market! The first of its kind!!

Click the link below and you can see the clips I am talking about that are attached to the wire runs on the right. Everything you see in the pciture is also what comes along with the transformer and 16 lights.

http://www.uniquelighting.com/education/DemoKit.pdf

TPnTX
08-11-2008, 12:16 PM
demo kit envy :drinkup:

irrig8r I can see you side for not spending your evenings making as much money as someone say like uh... the lighting geek. of course I've been wrong before.

irrig8r
08-12-2008, 01:11 PM
Just came across this Stanley box while looking for other Stanley products on the HD website for $80.

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/300/26/26769739-72e2-4acb-9d92-2e3ecdadcbee_300.jpg

FatMax Mobile Work Station
Model 20800R

This workstation is 4 storage solutions in one. It includes a toolbox, part bins, portable tray and an oversized lower bin for larger items.

The patented tier cantilever multi-level rolling system allows for easy access to all 4 storage areas at the same time.

The workstation is made out of durable structural foam construction and has a telescopic handle for easy maneuvering.

Large, heavy duty rubber-coated 7" wheels for maximum stability

irrig8r
08-12-2008, 01:18 PM
demo kit envy :drinkup:

irrig8r I can see you side for not spending your evenings making as much money as someone say like uh... the lighting geek. of course I've been wrong before.

I'll raise my glass in honor of Tommy's artistic, technical and revenue producing abilities....:drinkup:

However, there are two distinct sides to my business.... And I'm sure glad I don't need to go out and do nighttime demos for sprinkler repair, troubleshooting and upgrade work.... :laugh:

Mike M
08-12-2008, 06:19 PM
Gregg,

I mentioned that Stanley upright thing. I have one; it makes good use of vertical storage in my truck, and it's awesome for being organized. I open that up on the job and I'm good to go.

One problem: Not at all weather-proof.

I also have a Stanley storage box, white/clear lids, that's opens butterfly style, and has several trays on the middle section. I use this for connectors, screws, anchors, etc.

Again, one problem: not weather-proof.

irrig8r
08-12-2008, 09:33 PM
I thought you meant a different Stanley box Mike. I hadn't seen this kind before.

irrig8r
08-12-2008, 09:42 PM
Got a private message asking about the 2 pole trailer connector , so I thought I'd answer it where anyone interested could see...

It's Napa part #755-1598. They call it a " 2-flat electrical connector loop -12"... "

Cut it in half and you have two 6" M x F ends that you can attach to your fixture leads or lengths of cable (I used NS quarter ace connectors).

They're a perfect fit with the Vista demo kit connectors.

Mike M
08-13-2008, 09:55 AM
The quick connects that Unique uses are also a good idea, I bought 100 pairs from allspectrum.com; however, I find that I just revert back to the Tim method while setting up demo's. Just cut and nut with regular red twist-ons.

The product is called Anderson PowerPoles. The trick is in making a good connection, and I highly recommended buying the special tool for the job unless you feel like wiggling a lot of connections during your demo.

Unique sells all the stuff you need for this, including the special crimper, but Joey is telling us they will put all those connectors on for us. Their demo kit comes with them on the fixtures and the transformer. I think the Unique kit is a great starter kit and recommend it for that purpose.

Be forewarned--that power-pole crimper is expensive.

Mike