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JimLewis
03-09-2012, 10:38 PM
Well, I haven't been in this forum for a while. I was chatting with a regular member of this forum and he asked why I haven't been in this forum for a whole. So I figured maybe I'd pop in and say hi and give a little report of our lighting sales / changes over the last year or so.

2011 was another great year for us. We do all phases of landscape, irrigation, maintenance, hardscapes, lighting, etc. And overall, sales grew by $500K last year. A 33% increase in sales for the year. Two years in a row we've grown by about that same dollar figure. And we're expecting that this year as well.

But the lighting part of our company is what grew by the biggest %. Lighting sales grew by 60% last year, over 2010 sales. It went from being something wee did once in a while to something people were specifically calling for us to do and something people were specifically asking us to add on (to larger landscape installation jobs). It's something we're now doing on a weekly basis for much of the year. Loving it!

Some of you will remember that a little over a year ago I was struggling with which way to go with lighting. Would I stay with Unique, who I have always loved? Would I switch to Volt, who seems to make a fantastic product very similar to Unique but allows for much better profit margins? Would I finally go with LED? And if so, what brand? I loved a lot of the things the Kichler Pro LED series offered but some of the literature and so forth bothered me with them. Would I mix it up? I was at a crossroads.....

Well, I finally ended up deciding to go with Kichler Design Pro LED. And except for one job, that's all we installed last year. I've found their product to be really great, their support to be fantastic, their warranty in the LED line to be great, and I like the color temperature too. The new lenses and snap-on cowls are nice too. But one of the best things about them is they are really easy to sell.

So far this year, sales of lighting is up again. About 40% over last year so far. So it continues to be a big seller.

Loving lighting. That's for sure. Better profit margin than most services we offer. And I've never had a customer who wasn't just totally stoked when we were finished. I love that feeling.

So that's my report on lighting and what we've been up to over the last year. Other than that, just crazy busy keeping up with business growth. Hardscape sales are also way up. Just staying busy all the way around. Hope you're all doing well.

NightScenes
03-12-2012, 04:58 PM
Way to go Jim, I'm really glad to hear that you are doing so well in lighting. I know we had a great year last year as well and this year is looking pretty darn good so far.

Outdoor Advantage
03-13-2012, 11:38 PM
We are off to an amazing year as well! My hats are off to you guys. We will have been in business 2 years this April and really look to quality contractors like you to shape and mold our business after in our Atlanta market.

Light design/built, but with lighting being the cornerstone of our business, we have really seen some positive movement with buyers in our market!

Wishing both of you prosperous year!

David Gretzmier
03-14-2012, 11:37 AM
Jim, glad things are going well for you. we too have had a great 2 months with the warmer winter, and it seems the spring calls are coming very early. good luck to you and everyone else !

TRowe
03-21-2012, 11:57 PM
Jim

Thank you for your support and loyalty to the Kichler brand. We would love to have you back for a factory visit to solidify your confidence and support of our brand. Talk with you soon!

JimLewis
03-22-2012, 12:19 AM
Thanks Tom. I was just talking to Glenn about that the other day. I'll look forward to it.

I'm just meeting with a client this Friday to ink a deal for a really nice lighting-only job. Will be the 2nd biggest lighting job we've landed in several years. I'll be placing the order on Monday. So I'm excited about that!

Zohan
03-22-2012, 09:54 PM
What are you doing to make the lighting grow

Zohan
03-23-2012, 07:23 AM
Thats great info, i appreciate the response.....i am trying to grow the lighting part of my business also and was looking into SEO, did you do it yourself or hire someone? If you did yourself how did you do it?

Do you take your own pictures or hired someone for that? I tried, but nighttime lighting photos aren't my thing and I dont have time to learn so I havent gotten any nice photos, even though I have a couple of really nice projects i've done.

LED. Keeping costs down....Isnt LED 3x the price of the same job using halogen?

Zohan
03-23-2012, 03:02 PM
Great info Jim, thank you

ps. you have a pm

JConner
04-16-2012, 11:47 PM
That sounds realy awsome i would love to grow the lighting portion of my business if you could give any info on how to grow i would really appreciate it. Thanks

starry night
04-17-2012, 08:43 AM
JConner: I hope you don't mind if I step in here to be one of those who might answer your question. You grow the lighting business just like you grow other aspects of your business. Advertising, marketing, networking, and personal selling.
I don't want to assume you are just starting to do lighting but if you are......learn all that you can about the profession. I was in the landscaping business for 28 years before I became interested in lighting. I read 90% of the threads on this forum archives, going back to 2005, I think it was. I read books, magazine articles, and information on the internet. I studied catalogs for information on fixtures, bulbs, LEDs, wire, and accessories. I even went to a "one-day" seminar by one of the manufacturers. (That wasn't very helpful because I had already done so much studying that I didn't learn anything new.) I never touched a job until a year of study. Then I started with some maintenance jobs and small upgrades just to gain some basic experience. Now, after a year and a half, I just did my first full install.

Again, I don't want to assume what you, yourself, have done with lighting.
This was just directed at any reader who is just starting.

Now, after laying the groundwork with learning, I can sell and advertise with some confidence. I say "with some confidence" because I don't think you can learn everything until you "do" some of it. I have found that there is so much to learn about applications: what fixture works best for a given application; which light beam spread and intensity; how light reflects from various kinds of surfaces; which positioning to achieve a certain effect, etc.

Just my take. Learn first, grow second.

David Gretzmier
04-18-2012, 10:35 PM
I would agree with 100% of the above post. read, learn, repair, add-on, then advertise, then install.

as far as growth, we have grown the landscape light side of our business by 10's of thousands of saturation route mail postcards, google adwords, yard signs, truck graphics, yellow pages, etc. referrals do come over time but do not keep us busy enough. The yard signs generate neighborhood referrals when installing that is worth every penny.