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steveparrott
05-31-2011, 02:39 PM
There have been many posts about itemizing the (marked-up) cost of products in a proposal vs. submitting a non-itemized bundled proposal. Most of us favored the bundled proposal. But there's a problem. . .

There's a rapidly growing trend that sees homeowners less and less willing to let anyone in the supply chain add mark-ups to products they purchase. They wonder, why should I pay A + B when A is the real price, and B is the contractor's product mark-up? It's very easy for them to search online and find (what they assume) is less than retail price and they're savvy enough to know the contractor gets a discount from that.

They're very willing to pay for design and installation, but if they think the proposal is being fattened by product mark-up then they suspect they are being overcharged.

This kind of thinking is not new, but savvy business forecasters predict that this thinking is becoming the norm and that homeowners are becoming much more aggressive and smart in searching for lowest-possible prices for everything they buy.

Now, I'm not ready to suggest a departure from a fully bundled quote. But has anyone considered itemizing products at a lowest-advertised-price, then providing a bundled quote for design and installation? Design and installation are the areas where you can make a case for prices based on your unique values as a company.

Like it or not, lighting designers are not fixture salesmen, and the days when they can expect to extract a profit from products are probably numbered.

Thoughts?

Richie@
05-31-2011, 04:57 PM
I am using a new price model which is 5% mark up on fixtures an lamps then I start my bid on design - trenching - cable install - hubs an connections - transformers - power for GFCI receptacles with in use bubble covers - night aiming - control panels if desired and other Incidentals , will update how it goes.

Richie

bcg
05-31-2011, 07:33 PM
My feeling is that the service I provide after the install and my warranting the labor on a filed fixture increases the value of that fixture and I deserve to collect that increased value when I sell it. I think if I'm warranting an install for 10 years then I need to make enough on the install to insure that I'll still be around to honor that warranty.

Zohan
05-31-2011, 08:39 PM
If they want a shopping list and pick it apart they can go with that and get joe schmoe to install it....when things go awry it will cost them just as much for the professional to come in and either fix or redo......on the other hand if they want it designed and installed correctly with quality product and a company that not only knows what it's doing but also stands by their product, then they can hire us....you get what you pay for.....I tell clients that my proposal is not broken down into a shopping list because I am not selling parts, I am designing and proposing a lighting SYSTEM as a complete package....

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-01-2011, 11:13 PM
"Like it or not, lighting designers are not fixture salesmen, and the days when they can expect to extract a profit from products are probably numbered."

Although we are not 'fixture salesmen' there should be no reason what so ever for Lighting Systems Contractors to forego making a profit on the products that they handle and install. Why should the contractor be the only one left out of the supply chain business? I would argue that the contractors should realize a higher profit on component delivery than the manufacturers or the distributors. Do people really think that procurement time/procedures, inventory control, storage, and accounts payable time / expenses are free and have no value? It takes time and money to order, receive, store, assemble and ultimately pay for all of the components required in a system. To suggest that the contractor should only rely upon billing for design and installation time is simply not feasible.

If you are operating your business and not recouping the 'soft costs' of operation, then you are doing yourself no favours and might be jeopardizing your long term viability. Recouping the true costs of operation by making profit on the materials that you supply is absolutely necessary.

All that being said, there is a way that you can protect yourself (somewhat) from 'value seekers' who are looking to pay wholesale prices on materials and then tack some labour on for you. Simply stop promoting the brands of products that you install. I see it all the time... Contractors trucks emblazoned with Manufacturer A, or promoting Manufacturer B in their proposals. Why, I really have no idea... I am pretty sure the Manufacturers are not paying for this prime positioning. By removing all reference to the make and models of the components you are using and focusing your marketing on your self, you will streamline your proposals so that "fixture shopping" is not possible. Basically, take the opportunity to promote your self, your design, your installation, your service and your reputation. Believe me, the client is not too interested to know that you use A-brand transformers, and B-brand path lights and C-brand connectors, and D-brand wire, etc. They simply want a great system, that looks amazing, performs flawlessly and lasts indefinitely! It is your job to figure out what components you need to satisfy the client's needs wants and desires.

If you are in the habit of using catalogs to showcase the products you supply and install, well simply stop. Take some time and build your own catalog. After all, the client is not looking for an A-Brand lighting system (if they were, they would probably call the A-Brand company) They have you there because they are interested in what you do. We don't sell Auroralight, BK, CAST, Hunza, HK, Nightscaping, etc systems... we sell INTEGRA systems! Try it out yourself... you will be doing yourself a big favour in the long run.

I also like what Zohan has to say above: "I tell clients that my proposal is not broken down into a shopping list because I am not selling parts, I am designing and proposing a lighting SYSTEM as a complete package.... " A system is truly worth more than the sum of its parts. There is inherent knowledge, skill, experience, and performance that is built into any well designed system. I think that these inherent factors should be rewarded by realizing some profit on the components used in the system.

emby
06-02-2011, 12:34 AM
Well folks, James has just posted the best comment on this forum since its inception. Read it, think about it and implement what he has just shared becauase it works 100 percent.
Very well said James.

Ken

Will P.C.
06-02-2011, 12:35 AM
I am a consumer who will pay for high quality, reputable services and fixtures. My father is a consumer as well who will pay for the absolute best system/products for whatever job we are talking about.

I can get on the internet or call some friends and find out what each fixture/part costs and spend a ton of time breaking it down figuring out what the contractor is taxing me. I prefer a bundle estimate w/o itemized listings. I am paying YOU to deal with everything and I expect YOU to make your money.

If I wanted to take on the headache of going through someone and ordering the parts myself and calling in some cheapo to install everything, I have far too much time on my hands or am trying to live above my means.

I am all for getting things done at a bargain or buying products at a bargain, but this comes with time and work.

A 10 year warranty on parts and labor doesn't mean anything to me. How will I know you will even be around in 3 years? I have had too many jobs done where I have paid extra for that extra warranty only to find out that once that person gets their money and 6 months down the road, they barely will return a call.

The internet/media has created a DIY type mentallity for the people that make a decent salary, but aren't millionaires.

INTEGRA pretty much hit the nail on the head. They simply want a great system, that looks amazing, performs flawlessly and lasts indefinitely! It is your job to figure out what components you need to satisfy the client's needs wants and desires.

Alan B
06-02-2011, 11:55 AM
"
Simply stop promoting the brands of products that you install....
By removing all reference to the make and models of the components you are using and focusing your marketing on your self, you will streamline your proposals so that "fixture shopping" is not possible. Basically, take the opportunity to promote your self, your design, your installation, your service and your reputation. Believe me, the client is not too interested to know that you use A-brand transformers, and B-brand path lights and C-brand connectors, and D-brand wire, etc. They simply want a great system, that looks amazing, performs flawlessly and lasts indefinitely! It is your job to figure out what components you need to satisfy the client's needs wants and desires.

If you are in the habit of using catalogs to showcase the products you supply and install, well simply stop. Take some time and build your own catalog. After all, the client is not looking for an A-Brand lighting system (if they were, they would probably call the A-Brand company) They have you there because they are interested in what you do. We don't sell Auroralight, BK, CAST, Hunza, HK, Nightscaping, etc systems... we sell INTEGRA systems! Try it out yourself... you will be doing yourself a big favour in the long run.


Excellent advice. Sell yourself, your service, your design, your quality, your expertise-- not fixtures. Don't even bring brands into the equation or your emphasis is in the wrong place. Believe me 95%+ of your good prospective customers have no idea who ANY of any of these brands anyway. If they've heard of a brand it will likely be a consumer lighting brand.

If brand comes up or system quality, simply say:
"we only use top quality professional fixtures (with a lifetime warranty if that's the case). Here is an example... (and hand them 1 or 2 samples of your heavy weight cast brass fixtures so they can see and feel the quality--nothing beats holding a quality fixture). State some of the features (such as solid cast brass, tinned copper wiring, beryllium copper sockets, pre-greased, silicon sealed, heat shrink tubing over internal connection, no powder coating to flake off, water tight, etc.). When they feel a true pro grade fixture and see your professionalism-- that's all they need to know. If they push, tell them you select the best fixture for each lighting application. Nuff said. Fixture is now out of the selling equation... go back to selling your exclusive service, your expertise on creating a beautiful result with the proper layout and connections that will provide a trouble-free system.

Emphasize not just the importance of using quality products but that with outdoor lighting, due to the harsh environment, quality installations are almost more important than the fixtures. This puts the focus back on you. (use this time to discuss Direct burial connections so they can see your expertise and how important the intangibles they can't see are. This will let them realize they will probably get what they pay for if they get a cheaper quote).

Customer don't know brands. Sell your expertise and professionalism... they are buying your service and trust. Sell the complete package.

In my humble opinion is is somewhat out of touch for industry people to think that consumers have heard of any of these niche pro outdoor lighting brands. Customers want to know you are using quality product but they don't know it by brand-- put a 4 lbs fixture in their hand and they'll know it. Secondly any wealthy homeowner is buying your service and reputation.

Self-promotion disclaimer.... I recommend to our contractors to bring a VOLT® Tank or VOLT® Big Splash that weighs 2-4 lbs and say "this is an example of the top quality fixtures we use. I will select the appropriate fixture for each application." When they see/feel it (without mentioning the brand) it puts aside all questions about system quality. A builder isn't selling 2 x 4's. An irrigator isn't selling pvc pipe, and even a landscape installer isn't selling plants. Likewise you are not selling fixtures. Use any brand you like-- choose one that is heavy and clearly pro grade.

The only part I disagree with James (and only in semantics) is his first paragraph. That is because I think it should be taken a step farther. Contractors are not in the business of making money on the fixtures mark-up-- no more than a builder is in the business of making a mark up on lumber. A contractor should have a big enough margin that its not based on fixtures, its an overall profit on the job.

Fixture manu's want you to focus on brand because it empowers them. You should focus on selling your reputation and expertise because it empowers you. Sell quality and build a great reputation. Don't be convinced by what a fixture salesman tells you is best for them, do what is best for you and your customer-- high quality for the customer and your reputation, high profit for you and your family.

Sincerely,

steveparrott
06-02-2011, 06:28 PM
Believe me 95%+ of your good prospective customers have no idea who ANY of any of these brands anyway. If they've heard of a brand it will likely be a consumer lighting brand...
In my humble opinion is is somewhat out of touch for industry people to think that consumers have heard of any of these niche pro outdoor lighting brands.


I disagree strongly with this. There are tens of thousands of homeowners who have come to know our brand and recognize the quality we represent. many of them specifically ask contractors to install our fixtures. For them, the brand is very important. They've done the research and made their decision. Their final step is to find a contractor who will create the design, provide the fixtures, and install them.

It's true that many prospective clients primarily research lighting installers and take their advice. But a growing number also research lighting brands and installers. I know from looking at our stats and taking calls from homeowners that a lot of them spend hours on our website and our competitors' websites.

It's time to stop under-estimating the intelligence of the consumer. There are a lot of smart ones, and their numbers are increasing.

I've heard many stories about contractors trying to change the minds of homeowners who request our products. Does that piss me off? Sure it does - not just because we lose a sale, but also because I don't believe that the homeowner is well served.

steveparrott
06-02-2011, 06:57 PM
Sorry, but my blood is still boiling.

The past ten years have been an intense effort from all the CAST staff (including the 50 dedicated workers in our foundry). We've worked night and day to produce the highest-possible quality products at affordable prices. We've amassed perhaps the most comprehensive landscape lighting knowledge base, put on extensive trainings, and worked hands-on with hundreds of contractors. We continue to develop new products, to innovate, and to never compromise.

This is what's behind the CAST Lighting brand (one of the strongest and most distinctive in the industry). That's why I can't stay silent when someone suggests that brand is not important, and that contractors should not respect a homeowners request for a specific brand.

Alan B
06-02-2011, 07:43 PM
Steve,

It is not a commentary on Cast but rather the very specific, ultra targeted niche of the high end, pro-grade landscape lighting business.

The context was about how the contractor should SELL... not about whether your brand was important. Should the contractor focus on selling a fixture brand (or put a brands lowest advertised fixture cost as you mentioned) or promote their own company and expertise? That is what I believed the context of this discussion to be. I don't see any mention of suggesting contractors not honoring a customers request for a specific brand either.

I will tell you that my own landscaper barely knows the quality brass landscape lighting brands and my neighbors certainly do not. Those are the facts. If you don't agree, I guess we will have to respectfully be in disagreement.

Alan B
06-02-2011, 08:18 PM
Like it or not, lighting designers are not fixture salesmen, and the days when they can expect to extract a profit from products are probably numbered.


Steve,

That's a bold statement for a co that sells 100% to the contractor market. Especially coming from their Communications and Marketing Director. If you don't think contractors will be able to make money reselling your fixtures... who does Cast see as their future customers? Why is a contractor supposed to buy a product if that very same co is saying they won't be able to make a profit from it?

It will appear that I am bringing on some very provocative questions, because I am. It was a huge statement you started the thread with and I think you should explain. If you really believe that, what is the future of distribution? With your background and position it could be very telling of the future of the industry.

Respectfully,

David Gretzmier
06-02-2011, 08:30 PM
I do bring in a fixture and let folks hold it and point out the features and why I use it. I never use the brand name. this is true this year and 10 and 20 years ago, regardless of the brand.

I have had a few landscape architects spec some really obscure fixtures with brands I have never heard of because they liked the way they looked. These fixtures always ran 3x-8x what I normally pay to do the same job.

I have had a few homeowners spec a brand they had researched, but I never got those jobs. no offense, but it has never been Cast. I have always bid jobs in which I don't provide my fixtures the same. I do the bid as if I used my fixtures, subtract my cost of the fixtures I would have used and submit that bid.

while I agree that folks are more savvy and can find out what fixtures cost, and wire, and connectors, and even what you pay your guys, in the end I can't worry about it. I cannot change the behavior of my potential customer, all I can do is price my services, do the best job, and market my company enough to get me enough work.

The homeowner that is willing to research to find the cheapest price for fixtures is also always willing to find someone cheaper than me to put them in. My customer only researches with thier friends or on the internet who does an excellent job.

I did a bid last week where the folks were in love with a certain fixture from a popular brand and I gave them two estimates- one for my services and one for my services and using my fixtures. They mentioned today they were getting another bid, which will probably be from a landscaper who will most likely be cheaper. The only reason anyone pays more for a certain item is if they believe there is more value to it. it is my job to communicate this value, but that is much harder for labor than with labor and materials bundled.

steveparrott
06-02-2011, 09:01 PM
Steve,

That's a bold statement for a co that sells 100% to the contractor market. Especially coming from their Communications and Marketing Director. If you don't think contractors will be able to make money reselling your fixtures... who does Cast see as their future customers? Why is a contractor supposed to buy a product if that very same co is saying they won't be able to make a profit from it?

It will appear that I am bringing on some very provocative questions, because I am. It was a huge statement you started the thread with and I think you should explain. If you really believe that, what is the future of distribution? With your background and position it could be very telling of the future of the industry.

Respectfully,

You're right, this is a provocotive topic. And, as you say, we have been, and will continue to be, a big supporter of bundled quotes and the distributor model. I bring up this question because the business world is changing very, very, fast.

Of course, the contractor can make money selling fixtures. My only point is that consumers have much more power, much more knowledge, it's all at their fingertips. They are less and less willing to purchase a product (in a bundled quote) without knowing what they pay for it. Before long, nearly everyone will be savvy at getting the best prices for everything - in a matter of seconds. It will become so easy that they will do it for every purchase. You can already scan a bar code with your i-pod and instantly get competitive prices from other stores.

I just think that every person who bundles products with services will eventually (perhaps soon) find the need to become somewhat transparent with pricing, consumers will demand it.

Maybe I'm wrong, I'm not giving advice here, just ruminating.

indylights
06-02-2011, 09:46 PM
Interesting points by everyone. I would say in the last three years of doing lighting (of the roughly 8 years I have been doing it), I have found consumer knowledge and interest in what products I am using going way up all the way across the board, whether it's water features, pavers, or lighting. While I always try and sell what I feel is the best product for the job, if the homeowner asks what materials I am using, I feel it is not honest to say I am installing a "Sunflower Landscapes" system because I don't make the products. I have also had homeowners request specific materials, and that frequency is going up rapidly. Anyone who thinks high end clients are too busy, they just want the best, and don't care what you are putting in, I think that's naive at this point. It is too easy to get information on anything now. And if I am using what I feel is a high quality product, you better believe I make that a part of my sales pitch to the client and go into the specifics as to why I feel it is the best and why I charge what I do. If a landscaper doesn't know anything about the products he is installing and isn't proud to promote and qualify why they use those products, I would question why they are using them in the first place. I agree with promoting your company in total as a complete design and system install source, but the products you use help make your company what it is, and I think the consumer should know that.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

emby
06-02-2011, 10:59 PM
In my opinion fixtures are very important to "me", as I want fixtures that last and are trouble-free (a good warranty also helps). A life time warranty would be the ultimate for me and the client!

I am a "lighting designer", and what I use to create landscape lighting scenes are lamps and LED arrays (the light source). The manufacturer should engineer and build a fixture that protects and conceals this light source and allow it to function as it is designed to do. It would be nice if they also provided us with extra attachments such as louvers and lenses to help us create the lighting scene. One tool for adjusting is helpful, not two or three while sitting up in a tree. I recall a thread that covered a lot of this a while ago.
I can understand a client wanting to provide input on fixtures that are visable, such as path lights, but do you really think that they care about a fixture that is 30 to 40 feet up in a tree? They want it to work and they want the light source to provide the effect...period.
I will work with any client that would like to specify a manufacturer, but at the end of the day, it is my design and the light source (lamps or LED array's) together that completes the lighting scene. Clients seem to get that.
Selling fixtures does not provide the client with a great landscape lighting design.
While the internet will provide a small component of the knowledge required to create a great landscape lighting design this must be supplemented by both education and hands-on training. An artistic flair also helps!

Just my two cents

Ken

The Lighting Geek
06-02-2011, 11:14 PM
I just had a client buy a house and pay me to evaluate the lighting system. It was interesting to me on several levels. I asked why she chose me, unaware of my appearances on TV, she said because she has seen my work and the artistry involved. She also said that I must really understand what I am doing in order to do that kind of work.

The point is I placed myself in the market as an artist, designer, and expert in my field. I rarely discuss brands as much as the quality i use. I gave her an explanation of what she had in terms of product, ie: level of quality, the quality of the install, and current overall condition of the system. We discussed her options and she happily paid me for my time. I would probably not have had that opportunity if I was selling fixtures. I am often times the most expensive bidder for different reasons, but my client choose me for my artistry, professionalism, and my body of work. (another validation for good photography of your work) They want that 'feeling' not that fixture.

David Gretzmier
06-03-2011, 01:38 AM
I do believe that people are more able to do research if they wish. I have had folks mention they have hired me based on what they read here on lawnsite. Looking at every job I closed since Jan 1 this year, all of them trusted my judgement and all were very happy with the results. But not one asked what brand of lights I use or how much I pay for materials.

Much of the element of closing new work is getting folks who have never met you before to trust you. many times a demo can do that, showing a customer you are serious enough about this business to show what you can do with 15-20 lights spread around. many times referrals do that, or a yard sign at a job you just finished.

I know this much- several of my builder friends bundle thier pricing and have no problems asking for 3500 to drywall and mud a living room, or 1800 to wire a house for sound. rarely do the specify how much the drywall cost, the compound, the tape, the screws, or the wire for speakers, etc. most say that when they have line itemed things, then folks go out and shop the prices.

sprinklerchris
06-03-2011, 11:10 AM
The higher-end kitchen and plumbing remodeling industries have long ago moved to showroom sales. The homeowner picks what they want and pays the contractor to install it. No mark-up on product for the contractor.

Alan B
06-03-2011, 01:28 PM
The higher-end kitchen and plumbing remodeling industries have long ago moved to showroom sales. The homeowner picks what they want and pays the contractor to install it. No mark-up on product for the contractor.

True, but I think it needs more explaining. Those are very much personal taste items and items that the homeowners touches and looks at inside their home. The woman of the house or an interior designer will want to pick out very specific designer high end faucets for the bathroom and it would not be appropriate for a plumber to make that design/taste decision. Same for the kitchen -- the woman of the house really wants and should pick out the appliance and cabinets they like-- its probably the most important room in the house.

Outdoor lighting fixtures generally are hidden and its the effect not the fixture, so the artistry of illumination and functionality/durability of the fixture are paramount -- making the buying decision appropriately put on the installer/contractor. (Pathlights can be an exception).

Lastly if you are just installing faucets or appliances they will only get labor and no appliance/fixture mark-up, however my friend just had his kitchen remodeled and spent over $50,000... I'm sure the there was plenty of mark-up in the project whether it be on product or labor.

Sorry for debating every point... I need to get back to work :)

Cheers!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-04-2011, 12:07 AM
I have said it for years, to you guys here and to my clients: "A system is worth more than that sum of its parts". We focus on selling lighting systems and it has worked out very well without people thinking we are doing anything different than any other trades. For example:

When buying an installed deck, does the carpenter break down the cost of the lumber by type, joist hangers, screws, etc and then add labour? No.

When buying a kitchen cabinet system does the cabinet maker break down the cost of the panels, slides, hinges, handles, installation and then add labour? No.

When commissioning a family portrait does the artist break down the cost of the canvass, brushes, paints, frame, and then add labour? No.

Do all of the above mark up the materials that they purchase to do their jobs? Of course they do... and if they don't they are missing the opportunity to re-coup the very real costs of procuring, handling, storing, delivering and researching.

Is this going to change anytime soon simply because consumers are empowered with more information and access to wholesale prices online? Well it all depends. I don't think it will have any effect on those who use a systems based design/quote/sales approach but it sure will be devastating to those who are working on a Time & Materials basis.

Pricing is one reason why it is critical for you to focus on selling lighting systems. You cannot simply remove components to adjust the price down because when you remove components from a system it fails to operate as designed. When you focus on the system based approach you are given much more latitude on how you generate your profit. Is your piece of the pie generated by marking up the components, or by labour alone, or some other formula of your choice? That is for you to decide.

In 13 years of doing this I have only been asked once for an itemized quote that breaks down the system price into per component costs + labour. This was the request of a general contractor on a new build. I refused as I knew that they were simply looking for me to generate a materials list that could then be shopped around to the lowest bidder. I prefer to work for clients who value time, effort, commitment, passion, creativity, talent and design. They are intelligent and savvy consumers who understand that the less tangible things do not come for free. Nor do they seem to be very interested in knowing the particulars behind how we generate what we need to keep on doing what we do.

Position yourself as a professional and a specialist. Focus on promoting your business and not those of your suppliers. Promote a systems based approach to design and installations. And, by all means, when a client asks for more information on the components that you use (and if you have done all of the above well, it will rarely if ever come up) provide that to them... by showing them your in-house catalog and physical samples. I have pulled out the different fixtures on many occasions, mostly to show the client the difference between what we use and what the (less expensive) competitors use. Some do like to see the stuff but never ask about part numbers or manufacturer information. If they do ask for part numbers etc. let that be a flag to you: you are being price shopped. Let the 'other guy' have that job, because in the long run it will probably end up costing them money and headaches, things that you can do without as you continue to sell complete, in-house systems.

(Apologies for the rambling nature of my post... it is Friday night)

GreenLight
06-04-2011, 08:03 AM
One thing I find myself torn over is the contractor pricing that most of the high end distributors provide (don't get me wrong, I like the wholesale cost!). I don't deal with many customers that I knowingly am aware go online and shop around my fixtures, but I suppose it could occur. Well as the contractor when I purchase a fixture from ewing I can see the price I pay vs. the "list" price or "retail" price, but what is the mythical term "list" or "retail". All of the nicer commercial line distributors don't show "retail" pricing on their website or even sell to homeowners (Hadco, Vista, Cast, Unique, FX, Etc.), in fact there is no pricing whatsoever. Who pays "list"? Does this term really exist or carry any true weight or is it simply a built in crazy number that makes the contractor think we are getting a steal because of how much we are saving vs. this number?

Example, there are certain fixtures I use quite regularly I pay roughly $65.00-$70.00 for. The "list" price on my invoice says $210.00, which is all fine and great but if you aren't selling to the general public at that price then "list" or "retail" really doesn't have any true market value. I know this has been a practice of commercial product lines for years that sell only to contractors/businesses.

Ultimately, here is where im torn. Im a licensed business and I regularly buy large quantities from many distributors and I get the "contractor wholesale" price. That's great, but in some ways I feel like if this wholesale price really meant anything then these distributors would be much more open about sharing the retail price to the general public (and I know that most will argue that "we don't share any pricing info because we are protecting contractors", which I can appreciate). If im buying a fixture at $70.00 that retails at $210.00, then I have no beef with the distributor showing that retail price on their website. "List" or "Retail" only carries weight if you are selling these products to the "retail" market at retail price. My point is, IF NOBODY pays retail, then it doesn't exist. If everyone is paying wholesale across the board and there is no retail market, then I think it is fair to say that the suggested high end savings that contractors receive is a bit of a sucker ploy.

Lite4
06-04-2011, 09:41 AM
So true, I have thought that the same thing for years. If the public can't see a list price, hen it really isn't list or retail. Especially when the homeowners can walk right into deer or Ewing and get nearly the same pricing on products as you and I do. Seems bogus to me to. If homeowners can buy from a distributor at the the same price points, the "wholesale" pricing is a phantom and we all pay retail price.
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NightScenes
06-17-2011, 04:46 PM
I agree with James on all fronts. In all of the time I've been doing this I have yet to have a client that has asked me for a certain brand of fixture or know what brands of fixtures that they want. Though that may change in the future, my clientle are more interested in me and what I can do for them.

I do not use brand names or part numbers in my proposals and don't intend to in the future. I charge a design fee which if paid by the client, means I'm probably going to do the project anyway.

Sell yourself, not lights. Sell your craft, not installations. I'm a lighting designer, not a lighting contractor. Although I do have lighting installers who are very qualified to install my designs.

You go James, keep it up.