Our business, located in a midwest smaller town has until recent years relied mostly on "word of mouth" for gaining new projects. It's the most efficient form of advertising, requires quality work and happy clients. about 6 years ago, when I studied for an took the c.l.v.l.t. I became part of a fraternal group (those I took the test with) and learned much about the technical side of outdoor lighting installation, design, and service. For our company, we used pretty much the same equipment and designs were pretty much peat and repeat. We were comfortable in our old shoe. We were in a rut and didn't even know it. The clvlt compelled me to learn about other types of equipment, design techniques and service issues which had a positive impact on our businesses growth in the years to follow.
When I returned home, having passed the test, certificate in hand (so to speak), talking to anyone about it who would listen....few cared. Kind of a let down. I naively assumed work would come at the mention of my clvlt certification. It didn't. What did happen though was a few people called about lighting systems they had installed by others some time ago and couldn't get them to work, that company wouldn't or couldn't help them anymore. I was a little nervous but went out to have a look at there system. my clvlt started paying off. No, I wasn't a master at repairing poorly installed systems right out of the gate. In fact, that first one had me stumped so I called one of my classmates from Texas right from the job and together we figured out the problem over the phone. I started keeping my study guide handy and had about 10 of my clvlt classmates in my cell phone to call if I needed help. It was so valuable to me that I volunteered to be on the clvlt committee to help with future test but also keep up with the changing environment. Fast forward to the last few years...The outdoor lighting market is expanding faster than simple word of mouth can accomodate. we have to advertise to take market share. More and more of our clients now only know us thru an add or website, yellow pages, door hanger etc. Having the clvlt certification is now an asset for us. we advertise that fact and we send our technicians to get their clvlt certification. We are finding that it is seperating us from others who have no non affiliated certification. The AOLP clvlt certification is the only non affiliated low voltage lgithing certification available to my knowledge.
We never know what tomorrow holds but it appears the outdoor lighting industry is growing. If you want to position yourself or your company to take that market share you have to be different/better than what potential clients will perceive to be your competition. This percieved competition can talk the talk, create flashy websites, adds, create buzz on social media but where I believe the rubber meets the road is design, installation and service. That's what the clvlt is about. It will help you and your company perform these processes better. You will gain friendships with a group of professionals that can help you get the tools to create better systems to gain business. Last thought. if you have other competitors in your area that you respect, share the AOLP and clvlt certification with them. I call it "coopetition". Even in a town of 50,000 that I live in, we can't do all the lighting jobs. I would rather have someone out there doing professional installs creating more market than someone creating unsatisfied customers who look down on the outdoor lighting industry because of poor design, installation and service. I want competition that is elevating the market, helping each customer understand that a truly well designed and installed outdoor lighting system requires a professional to design, install, a service in the years to come.
C.O.L.D. (Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer)#1112
C.L.V.L.T. (Certified Low Voltage Lighting Technician)#0639