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  #21  
Old 08-29-2009, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by David Gretzmier View Post
I agree that with an established reputation, and a visable passion for what you do, sales can be made over the competition. I am living proof of that over on the Christmas light side. I consistantly close jobs at prices well over my competitors. I have name recognition. But I remember very well how it was 9 years ago. same passion, no reputation, still lots of competitors. I closed less than a third of what I do now. When you start off a business, as in Dave's case, he will be competing with with others who have name recognition, and in this business, That is a very, very hard thing to do. I'll repeat and rephrase. If you have 100k in the bank to start, you can build this business through marketing in a tough but large enough market. whatever your passion is, you have got to get in front of clients to show it. getting those face to face bids/demo's is very expensive. If you spend 10k per month for 3 years, you will see 40 k per month in sales. if you can get in front of enough folks, you can build the reputation you need and then probably slack off to 3-5 k per month.

All of your quotes have been right on.* We have spent a good deal of cash in the direct marketing this year with mixed results.* The home shows and RSVP have been by far the most successful.* Our big direct mail pieces and our magazine adds produced very lackluster results.* We are also seeing a large surge in leads here in the last 2 weeks also which has been favorable.

Starting a business from scratch is not easy, Especially a lighting business.* Face it, we are offering a luxury item to potential clients; many of whom have cut their spending on non essentials out of fear or necessity. Location and saturation of competion is key to success in this biz. Like David said, competing with established companies that have been doing this for years is not easy. Most of the jobs you get you will ;have to buy through direct marketing, along with aggressive networking, late night demonstrations, and creative marketing that is outside the norm. When you are just starting up, nobody knows you exist to offer them these services....so how do you make yourself known to the public on a consistant basis? It is not easy. The company I am working for has been fairly aggressive in marketing and we have had to buy all of our current jobs and for the most part this lighting division is still very new and most people just looking for lighting still won't find us if just doing a casual search in the phone book or on the web. (this won't be for long). It is all about staying in front of the public and becoming memorable. Tommy Herron has done a great job with this in his area, which is a very large community, but even he was not unscathed by the slowdown.

I guess in summary if you are going to start a new lighting biz, know your area,(can it support another lighting company?) Know your competition and what they are doing to market to your potential clients and how you can supercede them, offer some additional services until you get all the way up and going. I agree with David, unless you have some deep pockets for advertising initially to get some work or you have a deep past client base to work from it will be difficult to get a new company going right now, (NOT IMPOSSIBLE THOUGH if you are tenacious enough to see it through).

I wish you the best of luck in your endevour!
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  #22  
Old 09-05-2009, 04:22 PM
lx665 lx665 is offline
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David G.

I totally agree with your posts. There is a very small percentage of the population who can afford quality landscape lighting. My wife and make very good money and I have a hard time justifying landscape lighting at my own home. I am installing at cost using my own labor and have over 8 grand in materials. I could NEVER afford having a system installed by someone else.

I love landscape lighting and wish I could make a living do it. Take what you read on these discusion boards (any topic, not just lighting) with a grain of salt. If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it.

john
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  #23  
Old 09-05-2009, 05:58 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Originally Posted by lx665 View Post
Take what you read on these discusion boards (any topic, not just lighting) with a grain of salt. If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it.

john
I am not sure that I understand your comment. What should he be taking with a grain of salt? Are you suggesting that it is not possible to build a business in the Outdoor Lighting Market?

As for easy. Well no one is suggesting for a minute that building a sucessful business of any kind is easy. It takes sacrifice, commitment, risk, perserverance, talent, skill, and spriit. Finding a bit of luck along the way helps too. If you don't have the entreprenurial spirit in you then I would suggest you find a great employer.
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Last edited by INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting; 09-05-2009 at 06:03 PM.
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  #24  
Old 09-05-2009, 10:18 PM
lx665 lx665 is offline
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James,

No, I am not saying that is impossible to start a successful landscape lighting company. I understand that it takes hard work.

What I am saying is the cost of landscape lighting is extremely expensive. Only a small segment of the population can afford landscape lighting which limits your market. There are also others who blow smoke (discussion boards in general) and nowhere as successful as they represent themselves to be. There are others who are selling their products and make it sound so easy to money.

Until the price of landscape lighting becomes more affordable it will be extremely difficult for someone to start a company and make a descent living. I am not a know it all and have been wrong before...so take my advice with a grain of salt...just as you should with all advice!

john
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  #25  
Old 09-06-2009, 01:13 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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John makes a good point. excellent Landscape lighting is an expensive product. When you look at the food chain of landscape businesses, Landscape lighting seems to be at the absolute tops of two lists- income/home value of average client and by extension, smallest size market base.

I'd say the market for mowing is huge. lots of available clients at many different income ranges. many widows on very tight fixed incomes pay for mowing by necessity. most businesses hire this out as well.

chemical lawn care, tree work, bed maintenance and landscape install limit your market from there, but still, lots of work in many income ranges from middle class up. many and most businesses are available to you as well.

irrigation install and maintenance is more limited still, but irrigation is really common in the upper middle class, and fairly common in business, still a pretty large market.

fountains and water features less so. This is pretty limited to creative upper middle class folks and the wealthy. You do see an occaisional water feature at a business. I would say a water feature business is a very similar market to landscape lighting.

You don't see much landscape lighting at businesses unless it is the line voltage floods. It really is fairly limited to the wealthy or very upper middle class, or what I like to call the top 1%'ers. Christmas lights falls in this category too. but I do plenty of business's On the Christmas light side. not so much landscape lighting. but probably 90-95% of my customers on both sides of the lighting biz are the top 1%'ers. And from what I can tell driving through the neighborhoods I work at night, Only about 1-3% of that top 1% have good to excellent outdoor lighting.

Since I know I have postcarded most of the top 1%ers, multiple multiple times, I know they know about this service. It is my opinion that the vast majority of the people who CAN buy this product or service, don't care or don't want this service. Otherwise 50-90% of the really nice homes would have it. Think about it. How many of the top 1%'ers have REALLY nice kitchens. professional level appliances, etc. 75-95%, right? How many have huge plasma TV's, more $50,000 plus new cars than they have drivers, again, probably 80-95% of them have these things, because they think they NEED those things and they are willing to pay a premium for them. Until the people that can afford this service feel like they NEED it like the above listed items, This is a really, really tough business.
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  #26  
Old 09-06-2009, 09:25 AM
lx665 lx665 is offline
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To all,

A finial thought...Many of the high-end clients that I have worked for have cut way back on spending. There are loads of high-end clients that are up side down in their mortgages in the area I live. Until their property values increase, they are not spending money. The point being, the limited market is even smaller for landscape lighting or any other high-end service.

John
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  #27  
Old 09-07-2009, 02:00 AM
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It's not about "needing" anything rather more about the advantages of having it. Do our customers really need to drive a Lexus or Mercedes? No, but the advantages of driving one could be chalked up to more safety options, quiter and smoother ride, and better resale etc. You could look at everything the upper class have and ask yourself if they "need" it.

The word "need" more often than not is a perception, not a reality. There are very few material things in this world that people actually need. "Needing" something is an idealistic way for people to justify having something that isn't completely necessary.

What it comes down to is this. There are many, many high end products and services out there on the market that aren't "Needed". Show the value, the quality and all the advantages of a top of the line lighting system and soon they will realize that IT is something that they WANT.....and it'll be YOU that they need.
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  #28  
Old 09-07-2009, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by extlights View Post
It's not about "needing" anything rather more about the advantages of having it. Do our customers really need to drive a Lexus or Mercedes? No, but the advantages of driving one could be chalked up to more safety options, quiter and smoother ride, and better resale etc. You could look at everything the upper class have and ask yourself if they "need" it.

The word "need" more often than not is a perception, not a reality. There are very few material things in this world that people actually need. "Needing" something is an idealistic way for people to justify having something that isn't completely necessary.

What it comes down to is this. There are many, many high end products and services out there on the market that aren't "Needed". Show the value, the quality and all the advantages of a top of the line lighting system and soon they will realize that IT is something that they WANT.....and it'll be YOU that they need.

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  #29  
Old 09-07-2009, 05:44 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Originally Posted by extlights View Post
Show the value, the quality and all the advantages of a top of the line lighting system and soon they will realize that IT is something that they WANT.....and it'll be YOU that they need.
He speaks the truth!
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