View Full Version : What makes someone buy outdoor lighting?

01-04-2010, 05:19 PM
In looking ahead to 2010, Iím trying to figure out what makes someone decide to buy a lighting system and increase my sales efforts on those areas. Iím trying to determine which professional relationships to concentrate on first. I am relatively new to this business and would love to hear what your experiences are. I have come up with some questions to consider. Here goes:

What is the triggering event that causes the sale?
Was it the purchase of a new home?
How long have they lived in the home?
Was it a redesign of the landscape?
Was it an addition to the house?
Was it replacing an existing system (big box or solar)?
Was it a pool installation?

Thanks in advance for your comments,

Alan B
01-04-2010, 08:06 PM
Of course there are lots of reasons, and all of your scenarios are likely triggers, however from my experience the biggest triggers lately have been:
-replacing/upgrading existing system
-redesign of landscape
-purchasing of a (new to them) home

Let There Be Light
01-04-2010, 09:31 PM
In my area, people unable to sell the homes they're in, so lot's of upgrading both in and out of home. Clients are saying they're staying put so why not enjoy what they have...

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-05-2010, 05:49 AM
The three main triggers in my market are:

1 - Beautification; improving on the look of the property. Focused squarely on the client's perspective and not creating show pieces for the community at large.

2 - Safety; Improving the safety of owners and guests while traversing a property. We have large to huge size lots here with tons of elevation changes, rock outcroppings and difficult terrain. Safety, especially for house guests is a strong motivator for outdoor lighting.

3 - Security; Most of the properties we light are 'cottages' or vacation homes. These recreational properties are seldom occupied. There is no better security system for a property than a comprehensive, efficient outdoor lighting system. It gives that lived in look that sends theives and vandals to the unlit property down the road.

01-05-2010, 06:52 AM
disposable income helps as well...:)

01-05-2010, 07:52 PM
I'm with James.

David Gretzmier
01-06-2010, 01:54 AM
really, 2 types of folks- 1- those who know they want lighting, have wanted lighting awhile and they have just decided to spend or investigate how much spending it will take.

2- folks that just became aware of the darkness. either through a system that no longer works, or they have seen a well lit system, or they fell, had a robbery or one nearby, etc. This new awareness that thier property is too dark, causes them to call.

RLI Electric
01-06-2010, 02:14 PM
Is this real popular in other areas of the country? I am in CT and it is not incredibly popular yet but that is due to the swamp Yankee mentality I am sure. I have a client who relocated here from Ohio and I did lighting for him. He was amazed that no one else here has it.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-06-2010, 05:41 PM
Is this real popular in other areas of the country? I am in CT and it is not incredibly popular yet but that is due to the swamp Yankee mentality I am sure. I have a client who relocated here from Ohio and I did lighting for him. He was amazed that no one else here has it.

Yo - Bobbyho... Are you serious? Are you asking if LV outdoor lighting is 'real popular' ?? And you are in CT???

A few years ago I was chatting with a couple of guys from CT, they were partners in a stand-alone outdoor lighting company that was doing well into the 7-digits in sales each year. I was dumbfounded that such a small company could be so successful. I chalked it up to the density of their market and the fact that they were essentially serving the suburbs of Manhattan. But still they remained in my mind and help me set my goals. In 2008, working in a seasonal tourism based market I broke through the 7 digit sales goal. In 2009, a troubled year to say the least, we managed to stay above that magic 7 digits in sales. I would suggest you take a good look around and see the potential that this industry has in your area. I think it is probably much better than you think it is.

This industry has grown over the last 60 years to become a significant business across the continent and further abroad. Each year there are more and more contractors getting involved in the business and more and more manufacturers offering products. I would say without a doubt, LV Outdoor Lighting Systems are 'real' popular!


INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-06-2010, 05:51 PM
Ok, so I just earth-googled Durham CT... not exactly the 'suburbs of Manhattan' there. Hartford and New Haven are not too far away though, and if you carve a niche into some of those shoreline communities (bound to harbour all sorts of top tier properties and clients) I would think you could do pretty well from there.

RLI Electric
01-06-2010, 09:24 PM
James, 7 figures? Before the decimal point? Just kidding, that is awesome and you deserve a big congratulations. I would love to hear more ideas from you, in fact I just PM'd you, so if you get a chance send me a reply, thanks.

David Gretzmier
01-06-2010, 10:52 PM
That 1 mill number is enticing.

breaking the 1 mill mark has been my long term goal since talking with a company up in chicago that has been doing landscape and christmas lighting for quite awhile. they have a 2 man crew that works on a percentage basis and they do all the landscape light installs. Those same 2 guys have been doing installs for him for several years, the employees make over 100k per year. They work about 46 weeks a year. they were doing around 1.2-1.3 mill in landscape light installs and rebulbs last time I checked.

They do an equal amount of Christmas light install sales, but it takes 20 guys over a period of 3 months. much crazier.

I would settle for keeping a 2-3 man crew busy from March 1- Sept 15, and let those guys be 3 crew foremen for 3 Christmas Install crews Sept 15-feb. 1. we all take a carribbean siesta for February.

RLI Electric
01-07-2010, 10:48 PM
I'd do cartwheels for just 1/5th of that. Especially if it didn't require service changes and ceiling fans anymore. Lighting and maybe a few theaters, that would be cool. To all those in areas of frozen ground, what do you do now. I spoke with a friend of mine who also does some landscape lighting and he was saying he is cutting through the frost line and using torches to heat the ground. I have to call BS on that but who knows maybe he is. If that is what you do then I must have been a wimp so far. I keep telling clients "lets wait till the ground thaws"

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-07-2010, 11:00 PM
Bob, there is no way that you can effectively install lighting into frozen ground. If people claim they are using torches to melt the frost then they are not working in truly frozen ground.

Just before Christmas, as a favour to a great client, I tried to install two floods to light a new stone entry sign. I used 2LBs of MAP gas and still did not get the ground thawed deep enough to install a couple of ground stakes! We ended up heaping rocks around the fixtures for now, leaving all wire on top until spring.

Winters off were novel and fun for the first couple of years... but I grew tired of 4-5 months with no revenue. That is why I diversified into commercial, interiors, and LED lamps. www.ledlightsdirect.com The interior work took off right away and really helped us get through the long winters.


RLI Electric
01-07-2010, 11:05 PM
James, just curious, how big is your crew?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-07-2010, 11:10 PM
Last year I had myself and two full time installers/service tech's. I have kept my lead hand on full time, year round salary, cause he is awesome, and I hope to hire back my 2nd installer come April 1st.

01-08-2010, 07:29 AM
We tried a few days back to get wire in the ground for a project, but with over an inch of rain last week followed by single digit temps this week, there isn't enough MAP gas in INDY to get into this ground. Will have to wait until later next week when temps will be back up into the high 30s and low 40s. I don't mind a little down time. It lets me catch up on back burner projects.

01-08-2010, 11:35 AM
Hello Tim, Bobby, and James,

We just worked yesterday in NJ digging through permafrost 6" to install a job that was half completed before the 26" of Christmas snow. The snow is gone. It was 20 at night and 30 during the day (F not C) The conditions were less than optimal, but work could happen in our area. The midwest and Canada are solid right now, and I guess the downtime in those conditions would drive me crazy. I haven't moved totally inside as James did a while back, but I am eager to expand my interior lighting design horizons. I have completed some small interior jobs. Lighting is the best profession I could have. I am new to this forum, but I can tell you that lighting is what James said it is. For our company and clients, lighting is a lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that people become addicted to with the emotion that it evokes. Our lighting division has grown because people want to be safe, love their space when the get home after work, and enjoy the beauty that lighting brings to their world. Most clients would love a piece of custom art that comes alive after the sun sets, and that is what we try to bring to the table.

Talk soon.

Best regards,

Tanek Hood