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LightYourNight
12-17-2008, 04:42 PM
I have a customer from out of state who wants to light a deck. Here is the email from him:

"Thank you so much John Paul. I attached 3 pictures from different views. To give you an idea, I took some measurements. Ideally I want to add step lights but if you think I need to add something more please let me know. I am looking for something elegant and low key but that makes it pop without looking tacky. I would also add a light to illuminate what I am cooking on the grill you see on the left, change the lights on the walls, and maybe add a new one by the table for night dining.

First step is 28 feet and until the end of the main deck is 25 feet. See how it wraps around with the second, smaller deck.
Second, and third are 28 feet.
Fourth is 15 feet
Fifth is 5 feet

All the steps are under 1 foot tread. Rise is about 5".
Please let me know if you need any other distances.

I rather stay away from LED lights. They are too "cold" looking. Power access is not an issue.

Appreciate any help you can give me."


Now first off we've done a lot of decks and we think of ourselves as experts on standard decks. Most decks we light have railings though and not sharp drop offs. Any input on how to light the edges would be great. Maybe some kind of surface mount directional fixture set into the deck? The deck supports will be an issue as always so the smaller the recessed bit the better.

I attached 3 pictures from the homeowner and one that shows where we plan on placing the louvered step lights(probably kichler 15072co)

Thanks for the help guys. Ive been doing lighting and electrical for a long time and have enjoyed all of your posts... when Ive had time to look through them. I'm happy to finally be participating. Thanks again!!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-17-2008, 05:12 PM
1: Steps lights as illustrated work for that area.
2: Advise the client that they need a railing around the elevated area of the deck to meet basic building code. Around here, any more then two risers from grade to deck requires a railing structure. Bottom line is if a lighting guy does try to make that area safer after dark, and and the client does not install an appropriate rail structure, then I would bet the lighting contractor will be accepting some responsibility in the event of a slip/fall accident off that deck. Personally, I would stay away from the job until it meets code.

3: Once a rail or appropriate barrier (bench with a back) has been installed you can carry on. It could be very effectively 'moonlit' by installing a few directional bullets on the fascia of the dormer (one with a tight spot on a switched circuit just for the grill) shining down onto the dec surface. This in conjunction with a few postlights or underbench mounted niche lights would work out.

Bottom line, think ahead as to what you are getting into in terms of responsibility and liability on each job. Adding light to that deck is fine, until someone walks off the edge of it and then claims they could not see the drop as the deck was well lit and the surrounding landscape completely dark. Be careful out there.

LightYourNight
12-17-2008, 05:31 PM
Good Call. Im not doing the work just the design. But I will make sure to tell him to do something about that drop off and not make any suggestions for it as is. Thanks for the warning!!

Chris J
12-17-2008, 06:44 PM
John Paul, I just visited your website. Very impressive. Is the home on the home page your work or one of your customers?

LightYourNight
12-17-2008, 10:30 PM
Kichler Photo.

Pro-Scapes
12-17-2008, 11:16 PM
wow that pic looks awfully familiar. Where have I seen that before ?:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Chris J
12-17-2008, 11:40 PM
Kichler Photo.

Good answer my friend. Either you are real intelligent, or just plain honest, but either way I like your honesty. Take a look at my website and you will see what I mean. My homepage has the same photo. It was one of my first jobs, and although I'd like to think I've progressed in lighting design I haven't changed my site in several years. (I should though). I can't say that I agree with what you are doing business wise by selling to DIY'ers, but in this economy, I guess you have to do what you have to do. As a suggestion, I would recommend that you use your own photos to display your work. This thread alone will probably hurt your business as you have now been exposed as someone who uses other peoples work to portray your business. Not Good! I know it's hard with a start up business, but you must strive to be individualized (is that a word?). Whatever, thank you for the honesty. Just to clarify a lot of other conversation, did Kichler give you that photo or did you copy it out of the catalog?


Regards,

LightYourNight
12-18-2008, 12:09 AM
i would say its hard to take good pictures... and thats a good picture kichler sent me on a marketing cd

NightLightingFX
12-18-2008, 01:12 AM
OK, I have to jump on my soap box for a moment.

I am by no means anywhere as successful as some of the professionals that contribute to this forum so what I have to say probably doesn't carry as much weight as it would coming from someone who has proven themselves financially successful in this business.

But as someone who considers himself as a quality outdoor lighting professional & artist. I would be ASHAMED and EMBARESSED if anything other than my work was promoted on my website. I think a quality outdoor lighting professional has to have a cetain amount of pride and ego in their work in which they are proud to display THEIR work vs. just throwing up anything that looks good.

I realize that when you are just starting out you my not have much work to show. That is where demos come in to play. Do a demo and take pics. I have to admit, when I first started out I did experiment with some of Uniques promo pics they had on a CD. But I personally think that if you are at a stage in your business where you have a website, then shame on you for not using your own work:nono:

The bottom line is in my humble oppinion: if you can't create a demo that looks good and take good pics of it. Then you aren't qualified to market yourself as a Professional Outdoor Lighting Contractor.

That is just my opinion, OK I am off my soap box now.
~Ned

TXNSLighting
12-18-2008, 01:35 AM
OK, I have to jump on my soap box for a moment.

I am by no means anywhere as successful as some of the professionals that contribute to this forum so what I have to say probably doesn't carry as much weight as it would coming from someone who has proven themselves financially successful in this business.

But as someone who considers himself as a quality outdoor lighting professional & artist. I would be ASHAMED and EMBARESSED if anything other than my work was promoted on my website. I think a quality outdoor lighting professional has to have a cetain amount of pride and ego in their work in which they are proud to display THEIR work vs. just throwing up anything that looks good.

I realize that when you are just starting out you my not have much work to show. That is where demos come in to play. Do a demo and take pics. I have to admit, when I first started out I did experiment with some of Uniques promo pics they had on a CD. But I personally think that if you are at a stage in your business where you have a website, then shame on you for not using your own work:nono:

The bottom line is in my humble oppinion: if you can't create a demo that looks good and take good pics of it. Then you aren't qualified to market yourself as a Professional Outdoor Lighting Contractor.

That is just my opinion, OK I am off my soap box now.
~Ned

Thats how i did it! I only used my work for pics! The first ones were demos. Luckily i sold my third demo and got pics of a actual install! I never even considered using someone elses work on any of my advertisements.

Eden Lights
12-18-2008, 01:55 AM
Ok guys, for any of you that are still buying Kichler you should be calling 1st thing in the morning and demand that this guy lose his dist. privileges right away. His states right on his services pages that he is double dipping.

http://www.lightyournight.com/content.php?content_id=1002

If any of you need the big boys phones numbers pm me and I will forward them right along.

indylights
12-18-2008, 01:12 PM
I don't understand why any contractor would buy product from a direct competitor, considering they can bid on the same projects you are with significant cost advantages if they want. I know a couple manufacturers like Kichler and Touchstone (I'm sure there's more) who let big customers become distributors but still install, and I know some guys on the hardscape side of things who have similar deals with their suppliers. I, as a contractor, will never buy a product from someone I compete against on a daily basis, and don't understand why manufacturers act surprised when I get mad about it.
If I was in Michigan, I sure as hell wouldn't be buying product from this guy.

JoeyD
12-18-2008, 01:53 PM
In our opinion it is a huge conflict of interest to sell lights to a person who doubles as an installer. As Indylights stated it is unfair to the other customers using said product. It bothers us just to have people selling products online period, especially hearing that so many of these sites knowingly sell to homeowners.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-18-2008, 02:58 PM
Perhaps look at this as an example of why our industry needs to update and change.

Ask around and you will hear that the Lighting Industry has one of the most convoluted and archaic supply chains of any industry out there.

For example. (this is a real example of what occurs here in Ontario.)

Product A: Let's for the sake of argument call it a CrapCo BS616 Bullet Style Fixture (bottom of the barrel stuff) is required by a contractor for a job.

Contractor Calls local Distributor for the product

Local Distributor Calls CrapCo designated Master/Regional/Canadian Distributor for the Product (Not in stock imagine that!) (Master Distributor has agreements only to sell to other Wholesalers, to "protect the supply chain")

Master Distributor Calls Ontario Regional Agent with an order. (The Regional Agent "represents" the CrapCo line, along with a number of other competing product lines.. they work from home a lot, or their car... no warehouse, no overhead)

Ontario Regional Agent places order for product with USA Master Distributor (sometimes this step is missing and Agents can "Rep" the line directly from the factory)

USA Master Distributor orders product from Manufacturer and tells them to Ship it directly to the Contractor's Distributor! (By not having to handle the product, operations expenses go WAY down don't they?)

Contractor receives the product 4 to 6 weeks later, looks at it, looks at the bill and shakes his head vigorously!

I Kid You NOT!

By the time the Contractor gets that $15 piece of crap fixture he is paying $80 for it and then has to turn it around and sell it to the final customer, and some how justify how that piece of crap can possibly cost $120 + Lamp, Mount, Connection, Cable, Labour, Delivery, Etc.

Admittedly this is a worse case scenario, but it does happen, and more often with the "Big Name" manufacturers products. Try as you might, the contractor cannot get within a couple of steps of the Manufacturer, even if he is purchasing large volumes of product. Each step in that chain adds their 10% to 30% onto the cost of the product.

So, is this right? Is this really a 'fair market'? Why do so many people have to have their finger in the pie? All the middle men, doing literally nothing, could easily be removed from the scene and the entire supply chain would run a lot more smoothly.

So, should Contractors be allowed to sell product direct a retail market? I don't see why they should not be allowed... If they can find a market and do a good job representing the line, then let them be. If their business develops into a volume outlet for the manufacturer then they should be given all the advantages of any other distributor. It isn't like the product they are handling hasn't already been bought and sold a number of other times.

This notion of protecting the long standing, archaic and outdated supply chain has got to go. It is inefficient and ineffective and results in largely trumped up prices for the customers.

Is it any surprise that so many new Manufacturers are developing "Factory Direct" supply chains?? It must make them crazy to see the product that they sell to the supply channels at $20-$30 end up costing the end user (contractor) 4 to 5 times that amount.

I think the ideal situation (and admittedly one that does exist) would be to have a short supply chain. Manufacturer - Regional Distributor (One who actually carries inventory and supports the Contractors with info, edu., etc)- Contractor. These Agents, Reps, Master Distributors, etc etc need to go. They don't do anything other then shuffle paper and jack up prices.

Whew... That was a bit of an effort.

NightLightingFX
12-18-2008, 04:08 PM
Poor John Paul,
I am guessing he didn't expect this kind of negativity, and he kind of got blind sided with the kind of response he has gotten. First, he has a hard time posting to the forum because he created a competing forum on his website. Second, he gets challenged as a competent outdoor lighting professional because he is not using pictures of his own work. Third, he is openly admitting to being a distributor and contractor which are conflict of interests. I am guessing he must be VERY niave to the industry.

As far as gaining respect among your peers in the industry you kind of dug yourself a hole right-off-the-bat. I personally don't have any problem with you doing all these different little business ventures - Capitalizm at its best. However, it can be perseaved to be kind of sleazy. If you want to capture the whole market you should be smart about it. You should create different entities so it isn't SO obvious what you are doing - Create a separate forum; create a website for your distributorship and a different name; create your outdoor lighting website - promoting your own work.

I also think you better get a little more savy about things. Why would any contractor want to buy from you since you may also be a compeditor?

irrig8r
12-18-2008, 04:27 PM
So it sounds like John is catching flak mostly because he is being open about what he is doing (and also for misrepresenting his work by using "stock" photos given him by a manufacturer.)

Is there also some jealousy involved here?

As in "Dang, why didn't I think of that?"

I don't think many contractors will buy product that he's offering because they can get better deals elsewhere.

Allow me to play "devils advocate" for a second.... Why not sell to DIYs? I think it's kind of an interesting idea in that he offers design assistance and a DIY forum too.

And remember.... some of the bigger distributors we regularly deal with have online retail divisions. How is that any different? Sounds to me like he might offer those homeowners a more complete package.

I'd suggest he clean up his site... remove pictures that aren't his own and post those that are, use a danged spellcheck for his content, and separate his different business operations...

I admire his ambition and enthusiasm though.

indylights
12-18-2008, 04:38 PM
Ned, agree with you 100%. If you're going to double dip, you have to be a little more subtle about it, especially if you are selling to homeowners.

James, a lot of points you make are very valid, but I will repeat, I will never buy product from someone who I am very likely competing with on the same bid. I have a local guy who sells the kind of stone I like to use in my hardscapes, but he is also an installer. I drive an extra 25 miles to buy this product from a distributor only. Why should I strengthen my competitors financial well being while at the same time he has a competitive advantage on me if we go head to head on a project. Will never happen. Fortunately, the company I buy my lights from are distributors only, and yes, your ideal distribution model already does exist in many places around me, so that is who I buy from. And don't take this personally, but if I was competing against you in Ontario, I surely wouldn't buy lamps from you. I don't begrudge you the ability to do it, but I certainly wouldn't help your bottom line if I was competing against you.

JoeyD
12-18-2008, 04:40 PM
James......I thought most Manus had a simple form of getting products to the end user. Our system is Manufacturer to distributor to contractor. No lighting rep agencies, no master dstributors, etc.........

We do have some spec reps for the Specification market but thats another monster.



Gregg,
Where we have a problem with selling to the DIY market is we build our products for the professional. As you know even a low voltage system can be screwed up to the point of causing damage to the products or home

NightLightingFX
12-18-2008, 05:19 PM
Allow me to play "devils advocate" for a second.... Why not sell to DIYs? I think it's kind of an interesting idea in that he offers design assistance and a DIY forum too.

It is a GREAT idea, but can you get enough people to buy from your website to make it worth while. I really doubt it.

I am kind of taking an inverse approach for the DIY. I am offering a fee for my designs & expertise if they want to buy equipment from me they can, but I tell them if they want to shop around for something less expensive be my guest - I will consult with them as to the pros & cons of what they are thinking of using. My oppinion regarding selling equipment is that it isn't worth it to carry inventory and try to push product and compete with low ballers on the internet.

FYI,
I have sold some fixtures over the internet from my website. I guy came upon my website and e-mailed me for advise on an outdoor kitchen. I recomended Uniques' Centaurs with hubble accessory. Next thing I know he is asking me how much is it and that he wants to buy it from me. So I sold him a couple. He bought with a credit card from me and I orded the product from my distributor (Terradek) and they dropshipped the order to the customer. I was mostly flattered that someone went to my website and was open to my advise. Lets face it most internet customers aren't going to buy lighting fixtures like that. I charged these Unique fixtures at retail cost-not cheap. Most internet DIYer are looking for bargan basment prices.
~Ned

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-18-2008, 11:54 PM
A multi quote below... edited but I hope you all follow along. :)

Third, he is openly admitting to being a distributor and contractor which are conflict of interests. Why are these "conflicts of interests"? I don't understand that at all. If someone happens along this guy's site and chooses to purchase products from him vs. choosing to purchase services that include products from him, how is one different from the other? The only real difference is that HE chooses to offer products only for sale. Big deal. Look how many Bricks and Mortar Distributors out there operate retail stores and sell direct to the consumer via online stores. Similarly, have you never seen a plumber who sells faucets and fixtures from a showroom... is that a conflict of interest? No.

Why would any contractor want to buy from you since you may also be a compeditor? Now the first part of this is a good question, but one of little concern to anyone here. If another contractor chooses to purchase his materials from this company then so be it. Could that contractor get a better deal elsewhere? Maybe, but last time I checked we have no idea as to what services are bundled along with the product that might justify the added expense. Heck, if ABC Electric wants to pay a bit more to support a guy in his local market, so be it. I live in a tiny village... around here we support each other all the time because that is how you make it through together. The local hardware store sells me products I can get at HD cheaper, but I like Dean.. he is my neighbour, a good guy, and is supporting a family too. Someday he will buy a lighting system from me. As for "may also be a competitor" that may or may not be true. I have often told people that we don't have competition... not if you are doing your job right!! Was Monet a competitor with Renoir?

I don't think many contractors will buy product that he's offering because they can get better deals elsewhere. This is probably true, but perhaps the products come with added service that the local distributors do not offer. Then the price differential would be justified.

And remember.... some of the bigger distributors we regularly deal with have online retail divisions. How is that any different? Sounds to me like he might offer those homeowners a more complete package. Exactly!

If you're going to double dip, you have to be a little more subtle about it, especially if you are selling to homeowners. He is not double dipping! My goodness, so the guy has decided to offer multiple layers of goods and services... its called Vertical Integration and it is all around us (and most don't even know it). I would suggest however that some thought be given to opening distinct divisions of the company. This can be as easy as opening a "registered operating name" under the parent company. You see this all the time... ABC Company o/a ABC Lights. Or ABC Lights (a division of ABC Company)

James, a lot of points you make are very valid, but I will repeat, I will never buy product from someone who I am very likely competing with on the same bid. I can understand that if you are actually directly competing against another business in a bid process, but really, how often do you guys actively bid, actively compete for a job up against another contractor at the same time for the same work? This happens in commercial and civic jobs, but not so much residential. If you are tightly bidding for jobs, I would suggest you alter your sales approach and convince the prospects that you have no competition!

And don't take this personally, but if I was competing against you in Ontario, I surely wouldn't buy lamps from you. I don't begrudge you the ability to do it, but I certainly wouldn't help your bottom line if I was competing against you. LED Lights Direct Inc. has sold a bunch of lamps to a number of lighting contractors right here in Ontario. Perhaps it is because we don't all see ourselves as direct competitors the way you do. There is plenty of market, geography and customers to go around and we don't pile up on each other to get work. I regularly meet up with my "competitors" here, share notes, solve problems and genuinely work together to help each other out. We each offer the market a slightly different approach, different interpretations, different products and services and cater to different customers as a result.

Through my LED Lamp business, I am offering my "competition" (now known as my customers) a unique product line that they cannot affordably obtain from any other channels. From my understanding of it, these guys are happy to be able to buy the product at the price I am offering it, direct from the factory. It is a bit of a different set up then me trying to sell them a ubiquitous brand like Kichler or Hadco, what with all the layers of middlemen to deal with. (see my rant above).

It is a GREAT idea, but can you get enough people to buy from your website to make it worth while. I really doubt it. That is pretty much up to Him to decide or make happen. I took a really good long look at opening a lighting fixture retail website, catering directly to DIY'ers. I even had the website under development. Then I determined that it would be more headaches then I was interested in and I stopped the project. Doesn't mean it isn't viable for someone else in a different market though. All the more power to him.

I do agree completely that the stock photos should be replaced with images of your own work. Or, at the very least put a disclaimer on them, something like: "These images are representations of the type of work that we do."

Regards.

indylights
12-19-2008, 12:45 AM
James,

All your points are valid, but I do not live in a "tiny village". I live in a large industrialized city whose economy is being decimated by the auto industry. On a daily basis for my lighting, landscape, and hardscape jobs, I am competing against franchises (both lighting and landscaping), individual companies who do outstanding work, individual companies who do crap work but do it basically for free, and everything in between. I read a lot of your posts about remarkable advertising, etc., and those are all good points. I do outstanding work, have great referrals, and a large networking foundation, but so do several other outstanding companies in my area. And yes, because of the shrinking market, we do compete quite a bit head to head. I do not live in a resort or vacation or lake town, so the majority of the jobs we do are for folks everyday homes, and those jobs are shrinking in my area, even in the upper end areas I cater to. So yes, you better believe those guys are my competition, and I repeat, I will never buy a product from someone I am competing against. I personally don't care if they sell and install, they just won't be selling to me. I have been in business for 19 years, installing lights for 7, so I'm one of the ones who is going to make it through this, and I hope everyone else does too, but I will not add to their bottom line at the sacrifice of mine.

LightYourNight
12-19-2008, 01:44 AM
<H1>I'm not a distributor!!</H1>

I order a ton of product from my local distributor right down the street from my shop. Im buying it for the same price you guys are then marking it up. Don't draw assumptions. I can't believe this forum.

I sell to all the landscape companies in my city and help them design and in install landscape lighting. I get most of business from designers of some of the most expensive houses in southeast michigan. I gave those images to my web designer cause I don't have any great pictures of my work. Ive done a ton of jobs and have been present on everyone of my jobs to place fixtures. I design beautiful lighting systems for tons of houses in one the worst economic areas in the country and every homeowner is blown away. I'm sorry if I misspoke or was misinterpreted!! Sorry guys forgive me?? I havent read all your posts yet. You should feel free to ask me questions. Please don't assume.
I just wanna help people. Please let me know if you have advice to help me. It sucks to be attacked.

Im sure you smelled fresh meat and jumped at the board newbie... who could blame you.. I would have done the same..

Later

LightYourNight
12-19-2008, 01:51 AM
Kichler sent me that cd and told me I could use all the images for my website. I had no idea it was your work. If I would have had a more hi res images of my work for that open screen i would have had her use those. I had a pro photographer take a bunch of pics but they didnt turn out they way I wanted. The work was beautiful but not high res enough for that area of the site. You may notice that it rotates images if you refresh the site.

Thanks for the advice I am going to make it priority to get that pic changed!

LightYourNight
12-19-2008, 02:22 AM
I drop ship all kichler items from my website. This summer after a homeowner in NY saw my site they had their electrical company call me. I answered a bunch of questions and made some suggestions to pass on to the architect. After an hour on the phone I had an order for $20,000 that I drop shipped from the kichler factory... That order paid for my website with some left over. My average ticket off the website is 500-1000 including wire and fixtures which i just drop ship or slap on a fedex tag. I'm buying the product at contractor prices but still able to make some money.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-19-2008, 08:17 AM
Good for you John. You have found a niche in your market and you are working to fill it. Keep on trucking. I don't see anything wrong with what you are doing and I wouldn't take much of the bellyaching you read hear to heart. Just because you don't operate exactly the same business model as the majority of Landscape Lighting Contractors does not make it wrong.

You really should get some of your own photos though. When I started out, I bought the best digi-cam I could afford at the time (Canon G1) and I learned how to use it ASAP. Having your own photos in your promotional materials will not only be more convincing, it will boost your pride when you are in front of a client, allowing you to wax poetic about this detail or how you achieved that look etc.

The guys here can be a rough bunch at times... lord knows I have some experience in that! Stick with it, abide by the (rather stringent at times) rules about advertising, competing boards, etc. and you will probably learn a thing or two here along the way.

Have a great day.

indylights
12-19-2008, 09:08 AM
John,

I don't care if you are a distributor or not, but you claim here you aren't but on your website you claim you are. You just need to be consistant.

James, if he does what he says he does a few posts up, this is exactly the kind of middle man, just tacking on their percentage, guy you were complaining about earlier in this thread.

As far as Kichler drop shipping "all" orders off your website, and then saying you either drop ship or put a fedex tag on it, again, when telling your story, just be consistant.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-19-2008, 12:36 PM
James, if he does what he says he does a few posts up, this is exactly the kind of middle man, just tacking on their percentage, guy you were complaining about earlier in this thread.

If John is indeed simply tacking on a % and having the product drop shipped to his customers, then you are right, that is a middle man, and the fewer of them in this business the better. However, if John is adding value to the basket of goods and services, as in design, spec, proj. mgt, training, education, stocking levels, etc etc... then I don't have any issue at all with his model.

NightLightingFX
12-19-2008, 12:43 PM
John Paul,
I agree with James, it sounds like you found something that works via the internet. All the power to you.

I have been spending more time on the computer lately due to very bad weather so I have been very long winded lately. I thought I would expand on your situation more.

My only beef against you is the picture issue. The professional outdoor lighting community is pretty small. If you use other people's work on your website you will get burned.

Regardless as to what some people will say, I don't think it is very hard to get good pics. Most of my pic were done with a basic piont and shoot camera & a tripod. I have graduated to a DSL camera now and there is no doubt a lot more you can do with a DSL. In my personal oppinon, if you want to be in this business you NEED to learn how to take pictures. Professionals are expensive and a lot aren't experienced with night time portraits. You already have experience problems with having someone else take your pics. Learn how to do it and do it yourself. There has been some past discussions on picture taking on this forum.
~Ned

LightYourNight
12-19-2008, 12:55 PM
Regardless as to what some people will say, I don't think it is very hard to get good pics. Most of my pic were done with a basic piont and shoot camera & a tripod. I have graduated to a DSL camera now and there is no doubt a lot more you can do with a DSL. In my personal oppinon, if you want to be in this business you NEED to learn how to take pictures. Professionals are expensive and a lot aren't experienced with night time portraits. You already have experience problems with having someone else take your pics. Learn how to do it and do it yourself.
~Ned


Hey Ned Thanks a lot. I will make it a priority to start taking pictures of my work. And to get that tainted picture off my site.

The pictures in my design gallery were the photos that the photographer took. They lost some resolution. But even before that they werent the best photos. Could you guys give me any tips?

JoeyD
12-19-2008, 01:56 PM
The way I understood it was that John here was buying direct from Kichler and also installing. If that is not the case then what he is doing is clearly his decision. I see no conflict with that.

LightYourNight
12-19-2008, 02:02 PM
The way I understood it was that John here was buying direct from Kichler and also installing. If that is not the case then what he is doing is clearly his decision. I see no conflict with that.

I had mistakenly included the word distributor in my services section of my site. I changed it today. You live you learn I guess. Thanks guys.

JoeyD
12-19-2008, 02:12 PM
You will also live and learn around here...its a tough crowd at times!! LOL I have had my share of lynchings as well!!

Welcome to the club!! Post up some of those pictures you got! Even a bad quality photo can still give us an idea of your talent.

NightLightingFX
12-19-2008, 02:20 PM
Yah, I got RAZZED! for using Duct Tape:hammerhead:
It is good to have input that reflects high standards. When I finish a job, I always have in the back of my mind what would my peers think about my work.
~Ned

NightLightingFX
12-19-2008, 02:25 PM
Hey Ned Thanks a lot. I will make it a priority to start taking pictures of my work. And to get that tainted picture off my site.

The pictures in my design gallery were the photos that the photographer took. They lost some resolution. But even before that they werent the best photos. Could you guys give me any tips?

I don't know how to paste past threads. But there has been a lot of good past discussions RE: photography. Most of them headed by Steve Parott. I started on thread last 9/10/07 "Photo Geeks-Advise Please" which would be a good place to start if you have a point and shoot camera. You can go to my personal info and find the thread there.
~Ned

JoeyD
12-19-2008, 02:27 PM
The search bar above is really helpful!

NightLightingFX
12-19-2008, 03:22 PM
The search bar above is really helpful!

:confused: I still can't figure it out :confused:

JoeyD
12-19-2008, 04:13 PM
just type in some key words you are looking for.........

Chris J
12-20-2008, 01:43 AM
OK, I have to jump on my soap box for a moment.

I am by no means anywhere as successful as some of the professionals that contribute to this forum so what I have to say probably doesn't carry as much weight as it would coming from someone who has proven themselves financially successful in this business.

But as someone who considers himself as a quality outdoor lighting professional & artist. I would be ASHAMED and EMBARESSED if anything other than my work was promoted on my website. I think a quality outdoor lighting professional has to have a cetain amount of pride and ego in their work in which they are proud to display THEIR work vs. just throwing up anything that looks good.

I realize that when you are just starting out you my not have much work to show. That is where demos come in to play. Do a demo and take pics. I have to admit, when I first started out I did experiment with some of Uniques promo pics they had on a CD. But I personally think that if you are at a stage in your business where you have a website, then shame on you for not using your own work:nono:

The bottom line is in my humble oppinion: if you can't create a demo that looks good and take good pics of it. Then you aren't qualified to market yourself as a Professional Outdoor Lighting Contractor.

That is just my opinion, OK I am off my soap box now.
~Ned

I blame no one for using my pics that I gave away my rights to. As I was trying to explain to you earlier Ned, this is the thing that happens when you put your photos into contests. You sign a form for every entry that makes you give away your copyright. What happens later, after the contest is over, is up to who ever has a copy of your photo. Your famous tree photo would be a good example. I would think that would be somewhat of a "branding "thing for you. In fact, I might just start using that on my business cards as well! What are you going to do about it? Now, I should also say that I'm moving next month to your area (within 30 miles of your address). You have now got a big problem, don't you think?

Chris J
12-20-2008, 01:48 AM
Ok guys, for any of you that are still buying Kichler you should be calling 1st thing in the morning and demand that this guy lose his dist. privileges right away. His states right on his services pages that he is double dipping.

http://www.lightyournight.com/content.php?content_id=1002

If any of you need the big boys phones numbers pm me and I will forward them right along.

I don't have the time to read this entire thread, but I will say that this is the same jack ass that has one of my pictures on his home page of his website. I'll also state that every other picture I've seen on his site is from someone elses effort. I don't think he has any of his own work displayed on his site.
I'd like to kick him in the butt, but I don't know where he lives.......yet.

Chris J
12-20-2008, 01:58 AM
So it sounds like John is catching flak mostly because he is being open about what he is doing (and also for misrepresenting his work by using "stock" photos given him by a manufacturer.)

Is there also some jealousy involved here?

As in "Dang, why didn't I think of that?"

I don't think many contractors will buy product that he's offering because they can get better deals elsewhere.

Allow me to play "devils advocate" for a second.... Why not sell to DIYs? I think it's kind of an interesting idea in that he offers design assistance and a DIY forum too.

And remember.... some of the bigger distributors we regularly deal with have online retail divisions. How is that any different? Sounds to me like he might offer those homeowners a more complete package.

I'd suggest he clean up his site... remove pictures that aren't his own and post those that are, use a danged spellcheck for his content, and separate his different business operations...

I admire his ambition and enthusiasm though.

Your serious, aren't you? Damn.

Chris J
12-20-2008, 02:02 AM
I drop ship all kichler items from my website. This summer after a homeowner in NY saw my site they had their electrical company call me. I answered a bunch of questions and made some suggestions to pass on to the architect. After an hour on the phone I had an order for $20,000 that I drop shipped from the kichler factory... That order paid for my website with some left over. My average ticket off the website is 500-1000 including wire and fixtures which i just drop ship or slap on a fedex tag. I'm buying the product at contractor prices but still able to make some money.

I'll just say this: You are a disgrace to this industry. You don't use your own photos. You don't pay proper royalties, and you give the industry, in general, a very bad name. You might be making a generous salary off of it, but I can promise you this: Your income will not be as high next year as it was this year, unless you find another product to pimp. I Promise you That!

Chris J
12-20-2008, 02:18 AM
Perhaps look at this as an example of why our industry needs to update and change.

Ask around and you will hear that the Lighting Industry has one of the most convoluted and archaic supply chains of any industry out there.

For example. (this is a real example of what occurs here in Ontario.)

Product A: Let's for the sake of argument call it a CrapCo BS616 Bullet Style Fixture (bottom of the barrel stuff) is required by a contractor for a job.

Contractor Calls local Distributor for the product

Local Distributor Calls CrapCo designated Master/Regional/Canadian Distributor for the Product (Not in stock imagine that!) (Master Distributor has agreements only to sell to other Wholesalers, to "protect the supply chain")

Master Distributor Calls Ontario Regional Agent with an order. (The Regional Agent "represents" the CrapCo line, along with a number of other competing product lines.. they work from home a lot, or their car... no warehouse, no overhead)

Ontario Regional Agent places order for product with USA Master Distributor (sometimes this step is missing and Agents can "Rep" the line directly from the factory)

USA Master Distributor orders product from Manufacturer and tells them to Ship it directly to the Contractor's Distributor! (By not having to handle the product, operations expenses go WAY down don't they?)

Contractor receives the product 4 to 6 weeks later, looks at it, looks at the bill and shakes his head vigorously!

I Kid You NOT!

By the time the Contractor gets that $15 piece of crap fixture he is paying $80 for it and then has to turn it around and sell it to the final customer, and some how justify how that piece of crap can possibly cost $120 + Lamp, Mount, Connection, Cable, Labour, Delivery, Etc.

Admittedly this is a worse case scenario, but it does happen, and more often with the "Big Name" manufacturers products. Try as you might, the contractor cannot get within a couple of steps of the Manufacturer, even if he is purchasing large volumes of product. Each step in that chain adds their 10% to 30% onto the cost of the product.

So, is this right? Is this really a 'fair market'? Why do so many people have to have their finger in the pie? All the middle men, doing literally nothing, could easily be removed from the scene and the entire supply chain would run a lot more smoothly.

So, should Contractors be allowed to sell product direct a retail market? I don't see why they should not be allowed... If they can find a market and do a good job representing the line, then let them be. If their business develops into a volume outlet for the manufacturer then they should be given all the advantages of any other distributor. It isn't like the product they are handling hasn't already been bought and sold a number of other times.

This notion of protecting the long standing, archaic and outdated supply chain has got to go. It is inefficient and ineffective and results in largely trumped up prices for the customers.

Is it any surprise that so many new Manufacturers are developing "Factory Direct" supply chains?? It must make them crazy to see the product that they sell to the supply channels at $20-$30 end up costing the end user (contractor) 4 to 5 times that amount.

I think the ideal situation (and admittedly one that does exist) would be to have a short supply chain. Manufacturer - Regional Distributor (One who actually carries inventory and supports the Contractors with info, edu., etc)- Contractor. These Agents, Reps, Master Distributors, etc etc need to go. They don't do anything other then shuffle paper and jack up prices.

Whew... That was a bit of an effort.

I'm not trying to be funny here, just curious: Having said all of the above, why do you like Nightscaping products? Can Canadians somehow get NS products over the border cheaper/quicker? I really don't understand why, with all the nonsense involved with shipping, why anyone would chose that brand as their first choice. I wouldn't buy that product if the shipping was free. In fact, I wouldn't buy it if they shipped it free of any charge (including cost).

Chris J
12-20-2008, 02:36 AM
OK, I have to jump on my soap box for a moment.

I am by no means anywhere as successful as some of the professionals that contribute to this forum so what I have to say probably doesn't carry as much weight as it would coming from someone who has proven themselves financially successful in this business.

But as someone who considers himself as a quality outdoor lighting professional & artist. I would be ASHAMED and EMBARESSED if anything other than my work was promoted on my website. I think a quality outdoor lighting professional has to have a cetain amount of pride and ego in their work in which they are proud to display THEIR work vs. just throwing up anything that looks good.

I realize that when you are just starting out you my not have much work to show. That is where demos come in to play. Do a demo and take pics. I have to admit, when I first started out I did experiment with some of Uniques promo pics they had on a CD. But I personally think that if you are at a stage in your business where you have a website, then shame on you for not using your own work:nono:

The bottom line is in my humble oppinion: if you can't create a demo that looks good and take good pics of it. Then you aren't qualified to market yourself as a Professional Outdoor Lighting Contractor.

That is just my opinion, OK I am off my soap box now.
~Ned

On the other hand, Shut up Ned! You are setting yourself up for the same thing.

irrig8r
12-20-2008, 01:16 PM
Your serious, aren't you? Damn.

Which part Chris?

Like I said, I was playing "devil's advocate"... in other words trying to look at the argument from the other side, and not from the point of view I would normally take.

I don't want to react knee-jerk to the idea, but try to think it through.

The problem with just selling fixtures online is that the internet is the great equalizer, and it's a race to the bottom, both price and profit wise.

If on the other hand you add value by way of design services and consultation, then maybe it's a model that works, at least as an add-on to a local hands-on business.

NightLightingFX
12-20-2008, 04:20 PM
I blame no one for using my pics that I gave away my rights to. As I was trying to explain to you earlier Ned, this is the thing that happens when you put your photos into contests. You sign a form for every entry that makes you give away your copyright. What happens later, after the contest is over, is up to who ever has a copy of your photo. Your famous tree photo would be a good example. I would think that would be somewhat of a "branding "thing for you. In fact, I might just start using that on my business cards as well! What are you going to do about it? Now, I should also say that I'm moving next month to your area (within 30 miles of your address). You have now got a big problem, don't you think?

Chris,
How many times do you want to beat a dead horse. You are FLAT-OUT-WRONG in your argument of the AOLP awards contest. Comparing the the AOLP awards contest to Kichlers constest is like comparing apples to oranges. Kichler's goal is to sell as much fixtures as possible. They use the pics that they get from SUCKERS like you to help promote hacks or guys just starting out. The AOLP doesn't give their pic out to anyone who want to use them. Name one situation where there has been abuse of someone picture in the AOLP contest - C'mon BIG BOY I am challenging you!!!

And now the AOLP is taking the possition of only to have the right to "use" these submitted photos for educational & advancement purposes of the AOLP organization--to market our abilities as outdoor lighting designers. The AOLP The AOLP will keep the images you submit, on file, for records and awards verification proof. The AOLP will not distribute or release these photos to anyone asking....that is completely up to each of you.

NightLightingFX
12-20-2008, 04:41 PM
Chris,
I wasn't able to finish my response.

Dude, you can't get my pic of my tree from the AOLP. Tell me how you are going to put a pic of it on your card? You can go to my website or the AOLP's website and download the picture. But you can't get my tree pic from the AOLP.

Lets face it, members of the AOLP are quality professionals. An AOLP member would be ASHAMED & EMBARREST to use a fellow members picture of their work. There are a lot of quality professionals that use Kichler, but you also know there are a lot of hacks that use kichler. Hell, Kichler will hand to picture CDs out like candy to any hack who wants to use it. Just because you are BITTER that Kichler is allowing hacks to use your work to promote their business doesn't mean all negative about a completely different situations like the AOLP Awards Contest.
PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT!
~Ned

Chris J
12-22-2008, 08:55 AM
Ned, you are walking a fine line right now. I don't appreciate your comments, and I really don't feel that I should be wasting my time with the likes of you. I'm not bitter at Kichler for anything. As I said earlier, I can't blame anyone because I told them they could use it when I signed the entry form. Sooner or later, this conversation will come back to haunt you. Until then, I ask that you simply realize that this whole conversation was started on the AOLP forum when you asked "why don't more people participate?" Don't shoot the messenger just because you don't like the answer to the question.
You wouldn’t know this, or anyone else, because they show no record of it anywhere but Mike Gambino was the first to win any design awards given by the aolp (lvlia). Not only do they not acknowledge him but they used his photos for years on the brochure they printed, past PDF files for conference sign up from the website. The website itself until this very year etc. Not one photo gives him any credit for his accomplishment or even mentions his existence. How’s that for abuse and misuse of photos, "BIG BOY?"
I think you might want to get a couple more years of experience under your belt before you come spouting off at me. You'll eventually find out who the sucker is when you stop being so naive.

NightLightingFX
12-22-2008, 07:11 PM
Chris,
Regarding this topic on the AOLP forum we agreed to disagree. I am sorry "you don't appreciate my comments," but by revisiting this topic on this forum and mentioning my name I got the impression you were calling me out.

I still feel the AOLPs contest is a very different situation vs. the Kichler constest. For me personally, I have no problem with an organization that I am proud to be a member of display my work for their benefit. When an organization uses your work that means you are a respected professional in your industry. This turns into another credibility building issue. I have a page on my website titled "Featured Work." This is a great opportunity for me to show people that visit my website that I am a recognized and respected professional in my industry.

I on the other hand, I would be kind of bitter, if my work was put on a CD and made available for all kinds of hacks to have so they can take credit for my work and to help promote their business. I 100%agree with you regarding Kichlers contest and I will NEVER participate in it.

Are we done beating this dead horse?
~Ned

Lite4
12-23-2008, 11:41 AM
Hey John,
Looking at the photos you posted. I like the idea of lighting those stairs. James once posted a link on this product which I saved. I like it a bit better than those typical step lights. Much more even illumination.

http://www.robertssteplite.com/Websites/RSL/Files/Content/products_9-08/rr-series_9-08.pdf

I would mount a flexible BBQ light on top of the counter for direct illumination. Maybe use Joeys quick connect mount if they don't want to leave it up. I would also mount lights under the BBQ counter lip and down light the area around the chairs and BBQ. I would also mount some "light source concealed" sconces on the wall to downlight the deck on that side. Should be pretty well iluminated but not overly done and best of all No Glare. Just some of my thoughts. Good Luck.

I noticed you also have some deciduous trees adjacent (somewhat) to the deck. You could make the suggestion for downlighting the treads also. Might create some neat shadowing for them, but I couldn't make that assesmant without seeing the trees in relation to the deck first hand on site.

irrig8r
12-23-2008, 12:02 PM
I never saw that link before...... thanks Tim (and James).