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millenniumlandscape
02-25-2009, 12:14 PM
I have just recently started offering landscape and outdoor lighting to my companies services. I am looking for any information on where to order the materials and fixtures for this work. Does anyone have a reliable wholeseller or any other ideas for me? Thanks

Lite4
02-25-2009, 12:40 PM
Your local irrigation distributor will probably offer some choices for you.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-25-2009, 01:04 PM
Check out the thread here titled "Manufacturer's Compendium"! Most of the larger landscape lighting manufacturers distribute their products through a network of green industry and electrical industry wholesale distributors. It is just a matter of finding a local distributor who will provide you with the products you need. There are also a couple of National Landscape Lighting Distribution specialists that you might look too; Namely CLL (California Landscape Lighting), Terradek, and FOLD (Florida Outdoor Lighting Distributors). All of these have websites.

Regards.

Tomwilllight
02-25-2009, 01:19 PM
Hi Millenum,

I've reviewed your posts and it is clear you are a landscape contractor who is both interested in providing your clients quality services and a very competitive business person.

I strongly urge you to learn as much as possible about landscape lighting design and installation before you go searching for the least costly supplier of product. Landscape lighting is not the simple, stick some lights in the ground and twist some wires together process it may seem to be. If you haven't already devoted considerable time to prepare yourself for the move into landscape lighting, you may want to slow down a bit and find out something about this complex field.

There are numerous opportunities for you to receive quality training in the essentials of of our art and craft. All of the major manufacturers now offer excellent training, there are several books available that will greatly assist you. My web site features reviews of the commercially published books on the subject <www.wlld.us>

You should also look closely at the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals - <AOLPonline.org>. Their CLVLT (Certified Low-Voltage Lighting Technician) is widely recognized as proof of a commitment to quality work. It's a tough test and those who pass are justifiably proud of their achievement.

In addition, AOLP's certification of lighting design is off to an excellent start in providing training as a designer of landscape lighting. It is starting it's 2nd year and improving all the time. Again, those who complete this training will have good reason to brag.

Excellent advanced training in design is offered by Janet Moyer in her Landscape Lighting Institute. <www.janmoyerdesign.com> Those who have attended will tell you it is a mind-blowing experience. Her book, THE LANDSCAPE LIGHTING BOOK, 2nd Edition, is considered rightly by all to be essential reading.

There is a lot more to this business than buying low and selling high. Landscape Lighting, properly designed and installed, is both an Art and a Craft and you owe it to your customers to offer your services only after you have brought your skills up to a professional level through serious study and hands on training.

Tom

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-25-2009, 01:50 PM
Another excellent post by Tom! Great starting off info for any interested 'newbies'.

That being said, I wonder how many of us "pros" got into this business by going through the recommended process of education, training, certification and included the development of a workable business plan? My suspicion is that few of us did it this way.

I am not about to sit here and discount a formal training process as it is a prudent way to enter into any new venture. However, there are still those "A-Ha!" moments that happen in life, moments when your passion is discovered, moments when the stars all align, moments when you realize that you have found what you were meant to do! Don't for a minute second guess these moments... for they are fleeting, and can lead you to fabulous new places and opportunities.

Tomwilllight
02-25-2009, 05:01 PM
James,

I agree that the "A-Ha" moment is an important part of any artist's growth... But I think someone going into this business should have a pretty clear idea of what they are doing before they charge for their services. They should be able to install a stable low-voltage system and to produce a design that achieves reasonable goals of glare control, efficient use of power and meet IDA Dark-sky standards. I hope they've spent some time thinking about what I call Responsible Design.

I've seen too many installations that do not meet any professional standards to be comfortable suggesting anyone should jump right in with both feet for the transcendental joy of the experience.

The joy of discovery you celebrate should happen at Dog Park under Jan's tutelage or while studying for the CLVLT or COLD at AOLP or any of the several excellent manufacturer's work-shops. Not while working; not while they are, in effect, representing our art & craft to their client. I've seen enough hack work. We need more pros in our industry.

Tom

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-25-2009, 06:50 PM
No, I am not yanking your chain at all Tom. I am 100% sincere in all that I posted here, both in response to your suggestions and in my aside notes that illustrate that there are more ways than one to get involved.

I too see the hack jobs, I see them all the time and it is a shame that there are those who get away with doing that type of work. I am all for industry standardization, training and even certification and registration (primarily for those who require it). However, if someone truly does have the passion, and the 'art' resides deep inside, and they posses the mechanical aptitude and an ability to learn on the fly, then they should not be dissuaded from getting involved at a pace that is right for them. Everyone is different and not everyone will respond positively to a long course of education and training. Some of us just need to do it and in so doing, we obtain the satisfaction and challenge that propels us to get better educated and involved in the industry, thereby advancing our understanding, knowledge and ability.

I spent the first 30+ years of my life listening to those who instructed me as to the 'correct path' to success. I have diplomas, certificates and degrees marking my way down those paths... for the most part all of little value now. Nobody ever stopped me and told me to find my passion, to seek out that which I truly enjoy and thrive on. Each of us should be so lucky, for finding your passion in life is a huge step towards satisfaction and success.

Regards.

Tomwilllight
02-25-2009, 07:36 PM
No, I am not yanking your chain at all Tom. I am 100% sincere in all that I posted here, both in response to your suggestions and in my aside notes that illustrate that there are more ways than one to get involved.

I too see the hack jobs, I see them all the time and it is a shame that there are those who get away with doing that type of work. I am all for industry standardization, training and even certification and registration (primarily for those who require it)....

I spent the first 30+ years of my life listening to those who instructed me as to the 'correct path' to success. I have diplomas, certificates and degrees marking my way down those paths... for the most part all of little value now. Nobody ever stopped me and told me to find my passion, to seek out that which I truly enjoy and thrive on. Each of us should be so lucky, for finding your passion in life is a huge step towards satisfaction and success
.

James,

This discussion is not about you... It's not about your journey to find your passion... Obviously your picked up some valuable information while finding your way and if no one told you to "go to the light"... join the club man. We all have to find our own way.

What I've found in this thread and your other with the poll, is that there are people out there right now who want to learn how to do a good job. They may be blown away with light - just as you and I were as some earlier time - and they want to know more about it.

My long journey and your long journey are probably best shared over a couple of tall cool ones at the next AOLP or LightFair. No one else cares.

Here, now, I want these young people who have discovered light to know where they can go for help mastering this difficult trade/craft/art.

And Good Luck to them.

Tom

MAGLIGHTING
02-25-2009, 09:18 PM
Tom,

Nothing wrong with your recommendations and they are commendable but we are nowhere living in a perfect world when it comes to this industry where even a small percentage of newcomers will follow your way.

Unfortunately it's way too easy for one to get their hands on electical equipment , install it in a haphazard and potentially unsafe manner and get a check for it. I'm not even talking about poor design but they go hand in hand.

This industry has been built on the occassional installer, the landscaper who may or may not have a knack or a skill for it. Why do you think manufacturers and distributors are fighting so hard to protect the novices right to install in states with pending legislation. It's because that group constitutes most of their buyers.

Initial seminars will give you enough info to get you started but most of the motivation is based on how much money you can make as a sideline to your primary business with very little capital outlay for tools or equipment. Many of these money motivators go out and leave a trail of poor decaying projects in their wake. In fact there is way more failed lighting out there than high performing, high quality systems that are worth maintaining.

When so called "pro" equipment can be bought over the internet by DIYers from the same distributors that supply the so called "pro" then we've got a problem. What kind of message does this send? It says that if a DIY er can do it then why not a tradesperson who is handy with other trades other than LV lighting. It must be easy right. Easy Money.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem has been around since before I started and I don't ever see it improving until there is regulation that will make it mandatory. Something as simple as a loose 12V connection can potentially cause a very bad result. That fact often is overlooked.

MAGLIGHTING
02-26-2009, 01:36 AM
James,


The joy of discovery you celebrate should happen at Dog Park under Jan's tutelage or while studying for the CLVLT or COLD at AOLP or any of the several excellent manufacturer's work-shops. Not while working; not while they are, in effect, representing our art & craft to their client. I've seen enough hack work. We need more pros in our industry.

Tom

Tom are you yanking our chains now?:laugh:

I guess I must be the exception to your rule because I've never been to dog park (I don't even own a dog), will never be a CVLT or COLD or anything that has to do with AOLP.( I did win an award which they will not publicize but that's another story). Now you or anyone else could argue with me but the fact is that I could retire tomorrow at the ripe age of 44 and live comfortably for the rest of my life off what I've earned in less than 20 yrs in landscape lighting. What cannot be challenged is the success I've achieved in this business all self taugh. Every system I've ever installed is still in operation so I've never installed hack work even from the start with no formal training.

Am I particularly intelligent? No, just slightly above average in school. You don't need to be a Rhodes scholar to succeed.

This is not brain surgery. As much as I or you or anyone else would wish it to be it's not. This is something that can be mastered by keen observation, experimentation , exhaustive practice and sheer passion and implementation. It's a difficult business to succeed in for other reasons. The mechanics of design and installation are replicatable. Every designer must develop his or her own unique signature style. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Success can only be measured by our clients in this business and not by our peers. I have been very fortunate for the most part to have my druthers and be trusted with huge budgets to work with . Others who may be as equally talented may not have been as fortunate.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-26-2009, 02:58 AM
James,

This discussion is not about you... It's not about your journey to find your passion... No way... Really Tom? Here I thought it was all about a relative new-comer to the lighting business asking about how to get a good start in the business. Did I miss something? After you chimed in with your direction and advice, which I clearly supported, I thought it might be of interest to share some alternative views. An opportunity to start a discourse. Not every single person out there is going to respond positively to a process of technical and artistic direction and training Tom... we are all unique and individual. It is possible to enter, survive and thrive in this industry without following any one specific course of action. I thought 'my story' was worth some bandwidth here as it might just inspire some to follow their dreams. Remember those.... dreams, hopes, aspirations... the stuff of life! Live and let live.

What I've found in this thread and your other with the poll, is that there are people out there right now who want to learn how to do a good job. They may be blown away with light - just as you and I were as some earlier time - (I don't know about you, but I still am!) and they want to know more about it. Of course they want to learn, I never have, nor ever will discourage anyone from learning, discovering, inventing or improving themselves, their art or their ability. My objective is simply to illustrate that there are alternative paths to success.

My long journey and your long journey are probably best shared over a couple of tall cool ones at the next AOLP or LightFair. No one else cares. I would like that very much Tom, however, call me an egotiste if you must, but I think that there are others out there who actually do care, others who actually do get inspired by the experience and paths of others. After all, History is not only of interest to Historians.

Here, now, I want these young people who have discovered light to know where they can go for help mastering this difficult trade/craft/art.

And Good Luck to them. Amen to that.

Tom

I am not here to do battle with you Tom, or to suggest that 'your way' or 'my way' is the right way for anyone else. I just think that every once in a while, it doesn't hurt to be candid and to offer some alternative viewpoints. You never know how you are going to affect others on your path... so what is wrong with trying a little inspiration here and there?

Off to watch: " It's a Wonderful Life" :) (just kidding, although it is one of my all time fav. films.)

NiteTymeIlluminations
02-26-2009, 11:03 AM
lol

this is going to be great to watch...all we need to throw in the mix is that dude from the east coast that everyone ousted a few months ago...

you guys get your panties in a bunch way too easy...lol...

JoeyD
02-26-2009, 11:56 AM
Geez, a simple question turns into a theology and ideaology debate!!

Like Mike G. eluded too, some people love to over complicate what we do. Some people feel the need to justify all the time they have spent going to classes and schools and seminars so they like to make Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting seem like such challenging and complicated work. This is not rocket science......

Grant it a high end commercial or residential can get quite complicated but we are not trying to engineer a dam or send someone to the moon here.

There are plenty of places for you to purchase your products. FOLD (Florida Outdoor Lighting) is a good one as is Terra-Dek. But like Tim mentioned, do contact your local Irrigation and electrical supply house as they should have some options for you! If you have any other questions you may contact me directly.

Tomwilllight
02-26-2009, 12:35 PM
I think we are all saying the same thing, each with their own slant. Here goes...

“Did I miss something? …Not every single person out there is going to respond positively to a process of technical and artistic direction and training Tom... we are all unique and individual. It is possible to enter, survive and thrive in this industry without following any one specific course of action. I thought 'my story' was worth some bandwidth here as it might just inspire some to follow their dreams. Remember those.... dreams, hopes, aspirations... the stuff of life!” JAMES

“This is not brain surgery. As much as I or you or anyone else would wish it to be it's not. This is something that can be mastered by keen observation, experimentation , exhaustive practice and sheer passion and implementation. It's a difficult business to succeed in for other reasons. The mechanics of design and installation are replicatable. Every designer must develop his or her own unique signature style. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Success can only be measured by our clients in this business and not by our peers.” MIKE

All three of us followed very different paths to get where we are now. The advantages we all bring to the table are just as individual. There still exist deep similarities among us.

We have had the luxury to grow as the industry rapidly expanded.

Practices and equipment have profoundly improved in the last 20 years and with that, expectations of what constitutes professional practice and equipment performance have changed.

We learned how to design light with a multi-level approach with a large dose of experimentation while those professional practices were evolving.

We started with much less competition than exists now and in a mostly expanding economy. We have had the opportunity to establish ourselves professionally and had the native ability to define our professional achievements in various ways.

I am not saying it was easy for any of us. It took work, persistence and no small amount of talent to get here. We all know the names of good people who failed.

Today, we, as an industry, are standing at a professional crossroad and I believe the way we address the issues we all face will determine if our industry will survive the next 20 years.

Nobody NEEDS landscape lighting. Landscape lighting is an enhancement to a particular life-style and that life-style is in the process of evolution. The push behind that evolution is the sustainability revolution and all the changes that will bring.

The three of us have pushed that revolution in our own ways. My assessments may be less than exact and I hope you will correct me if I am inaccurate or incomplete:

James, you have adapted to and developed an under-served resort community that has very strict limits on outdoor lighting in place. In addition, you have pushed the envelop on retrofit LEDs in the landscape. Your clients have rewarded you for your innovations and energy. There is much you can teach us.

Mike, you have worked diligently to discover ways to increase the reliability of the methods and equipment we install in the landscape. The quality and reliability of your designs and installations has allowed you to build a significant client list. There is much you can teach us.

I have attempted to communicate the need for us to adopt an approach to landscape lighting I call "Responsible Landscape Lighting Design" and to participate in expanding the opportunities for practitioners, new and old, to receive quality instruction in the art and craft of landscape lighting.

We now live and work in a time of a shrinking economy and face a future in which the "waste" of energy will be increasingly condemned. These changes in the economy, energy market and the growing public awareness of threats to our nation and climate are combining to fundamentally change the way we do business.

The use of landscape lighting is essentially a "public" use of energy. It is very easy to identify who has it and how much they use it. As a result, we must become much more proactive in our efforts to demonstrate that Landscape Lighting can be "Green".

I certainly am not the first to make this suggestion or to notice the changes in progress. All of the major manufacturers of LSL product are making headway in this area. It's us, the practitioners of landscape lighting, who must lead the way with the APPLICATION & INSTALLATION of energy conserving lighting.

I'm certain that you have noticed that as the economy tightens, many portions of the OLD green industry are be forced to attempt to increase their cash flow by taking on additional services.

Frankly, this is fine by me provided they are using responsible "Green" techniques and technologies. And if they apply professional design, installation and maintenance practices. If they don't, they are a drag on our industry and need to be brought up to speed ASAP.

I have no proof, but I believe that communities who have restricted landscape lighting have done so because of serious abuses by unqualified, unscrupulous or simply careless installers who have paid little to no attention to glare, light trespass and maintenance. After our clients' eyes, the most important set of eyes we design for are the neighbor's. Disaffected neighbors are the ones who clamor for an end to outdoor lighting.

It is our responsibility (shared by the manufactures and distributors) to make every effort to insure the newbies enter our industry with a baseline of information.

And this is the crux of my concern.

It's a fine thing to help a new guy find the best deal in wholesale equipment but it is even more important to make it clear that there is more to this work than sticking a light in the ground.

We need standards of professional practice and there are many good people are working on that. That is why I support AOLP.

Now, since I have preached to the congregation, I think I'll go back to work.

Thanks for the opportunity to get these ideas out of my head,

Tom

irrig8r
02-26-2009, 02:46 PM
We started with much less competition than exists now and in a mostly expanding economy.

That one statement says an awful lot.

Anyone that can start up and succeed in these times will probably do so by listening to and responding to market demands, finding creative ways to get that market's attention and keeping a tight rein on overhead costs.

These are all skill sets that will do any business good, but are even more crucial in a tight market/down economy...

Mark B
02-26-2009, 07:57 PM
Will someone pass me the jim beam with the red bull?

trailboss
02-28-2009, 12:06 AM
Man, all this time I've been ranking myself right up there with "Rocket Scientist".

David Gretzmier
02-28-2009, 05:13 PM
not to wade too deep into this, but I would love to have more folks out there that know what they are doing as well. I agree with the statement that most of the lights sold and installed out there are done by folks who do not know what they are doing, EVEN THOUGH THEY COULD.

That last statement speaks volumes- yes, there is training available out the yin yang, along with many books and websites that will tell you exactly what to do 90 % of the time. I've seen lots of guys with passion about this work that wreak havoc with voltage. I took the time to learn how to do this before I discovered the passion in it. I expect no less than that of others.

get training from your local irrigation store and read up on voltage. then get your hands dirty. good luck.

MAGLIGHTING
03-01-2009, 11:48 AM
To succeed with landscape lighting you need to master three very important skills.

Business- If you can't sell profittable projects and manage a business then whatever else you do won't matter.

Art-Design projects that are received well by your clients and suit their likes and needs.

Science- Engineering a system with quality products and proper techniques such that it holds up over time.

The fastest way to success is to model after someone who has mastered this formula already and continues to be successful.

Send a check ahead for $10,000 American dollars and Get yourself on a plane to Canada :canadaflag: and spend a week shadowing James. He'll teach you how to be remarkable. That's the best advice I can give you. To be transparent he didn't put me up to the endorsement so I'm not getting a cut of the 10K (unless James cares to share a bit :waving:).

With little exception, Manufacturer and distributor seminars are taught by sales reps who are not currently practicing in the trade. Some are taught by ex-contractors who may or may not be good for technical (science) and design (art) advice. But, If they had the full package then why are they no longer practicing?

Be very careful who you get your education from.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
03-01-2009, 12:31 PM
Send a check ahead for $10,000 American dollars and Get yourself on a plane to Canada :canadaflag: and spend a week shadowing James. He'll teach you how to be remarkable. That's the best advice I can give you. To be transparent he didn't put me up to the endorsement so I'm not getting a cut of the 10K (unless James cares to share a bit :waving:).

I'm sure we can come to some arrangement Mike. :clapping:

Plenty of time to make your plans people, as our installation season usually kicks off around the 2nd week of May. The J.S.L.L.I. offers exclusive, one on one, hands-on training for motivated wannabe lighting professionals. You will receive complimentary airport transfers, accommodations, and meals. Just don't expect much entertainment as we go pretty long and hard once the snow melts. We cover everything one needs to succeed.... Business, Art & Science is broken down into Marketing, Sales, Design, Specification, Installations, Maintenance and all of the sub-functions that go along with those categories. You get it all in an intense, one stop shop! Only 20 spots available per year, so sign up today!

(You know Mike, this might be one of your better ideas to date! :usflag: )

MAGLIGHTING
03-01-2009, 12:40 PM
That's what this small industry needs more of cooperation and endorsement.

David Gretzmier
03-02-2009, 11:56 PM
Oh great, yet another business that james can have up and running. As long as you don't baptize folks in your LED river, I can wholeheartedly reccomend the INTEGRAgated school of light. tuition of 10 grand? that's cheap.

JoeyD
03-03-2009, 10:52 AM
That was pretty funny David..........LOL James what color is that LED River? Blue or yellow? LMAO

I am only kidding..........