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  #21  
Old 06-18-2012, 09:15 PM
muddywater muddywater is offline
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Maybe there is just not enough demand for lighting in my area. Population of my town is 300k, so its a big enough town but is only 2% of my total sales. I really would like to do more. The few systems I have bid on in the last couple of weeks seem to be hinging on price point. They will spend 3 grand on irrigation but not $1500-2000 on a small 6-8 light job. The last client we did last week spent 5 grand on plant material which was an add on to the 40k worth of 20' palms, waterfall and other landscaping we did last year. BUT you cant see any of it at night!! He wouldn't spend 5k on just lighting the palms. I guess its just not that important to people here. Which brings me to my next question.

How do you reach people that WANT to spend money on lighting? Direct mail? google? what? I am in the yellow pages, first on google for lighting in my area, and hell I even have one 14' side of my one of my maintenance trucks wrapped in a full color lighting job and two tailgates of other trucks wrapped in landscape lighting photos.

I don't get it. From my other landscape advertising experience this year, direct mail seems to be going down the tubes, it works but I am not getting even a 1-2% return. Yellow pages is crap and I have the biggest full color ad in the primary book. Haven't got any calls off of google for lighting... plenty for irrigation, landscaping and maintenance. It seems like you really have to build a base of clients to get the referrals... at least that seems to work on maintenance, irrigation and landscaping.

I have some new ideas I am going to try in the next couple of weeks. I am going to donate the labor to rehab a halogen lighting system with led at a college entrance on a busy street... probably 25000 cars per day. And I got some nice signs made that are going to be uplit at night. So maybe that will help. And I have a full color insert going in the paper that seemed to work for landscaping and irrigation.

What else can I do? If I had to survive off of lighting, I would starve.
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  #22  
Old 06-18-2012, 09:31 PM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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Location: Fayetteville,AR
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muddy- folks on here are happy to help, but remember that your potential and current clients may read your posts here. so I would be careful about profanity and your costs of material.

we only do Christmas and Landscape lighting in an area of about 500k folks. we get our lighting clients from various areas- yard signs, post cards, truck graphics, yellow pages, referrals, website, and Christmas light customers turn into landscape light customers. we spend probably 20-25k yearly in dual Christmas and landscape light marketing, we still only are able to be part to full time landscape lighting for 2 workers and me from march 1 to sept 1.

I offer LED if the customer asks, but most don't. more ask not to use LED, I have given uop overcoming objections on it because after years of testing, I am not sold on it myself. in 5 years I may change my tune.

we offer seperate prices for front, back, add sides, etc, and then the customer can jump to 3k, 7k, 10k, or whatever.

I would find a very good fixture, trans, and stand behind it. installing items with no warranty just does not sell you as a professional. even if we are testing a new item, as long as we maintain the system with rebulbs and cleaning, we warranty all items-wire, connections, bulbs, etc, forever.
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  #23  
Old 06-18-2012, 09:45 PM
muddywater muddywater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Gretzmier View Post
muddy- folks on here are happy to help, but remember that your potential and current clients may read your posts here. so I would be careful about profanity and your costs of material.

we only do Christmas and Landscape lighting in an area of about 500k folks. we get our lighting clients from various areas- yard signs, post cards, truck graphics, yellow pages, referrals, website, and Christmas light customers turn into landscape light customers. we spend probably 20-25k yearly in dual Christmas and landscape light marketing, we still only are able to be part to full time landscape lighting for 2 workers and me from march 1 to sept 1.

I offer LED if the customer asks, but most don't. more ask not to use LED, I have given uop overcoming objections on it because after years of testing, I am not sold on it myself. in 5 years I may change my tune.

we offer seperate prices for front, back, add sides, etc, and then the customer can jump to 3k, 7k, 10k, or whatever.

I would find a very good fixture, trans, and stand behind it. installing items with no warranty just does not sell you as a professional. even if we are testing a new item, as long as we maintain the system with rebulbs and cleaning, we warranty all items-wire, connections, bulbs, etc, forever.
As far as profanity, my company name will never be mentioned because I know the power of google. And I am who I am, sorry to offend you. This is a contractor website with people that deal with the public 12 hours out of the day right? I have never said what my cost of materials were except some of the stuff I have bought on ebay which accessible to every consumer in the world. I missed out on a Vista ct600 tonight that sold on ebay $100 unfortanately!

And if consumers knew our cost on materials... I think their reaction would be... WOW this stuff is expensive!

Price point seems to be a hinging factor here so that is why I am trying to get creative. Some people seem to care about warranty some just care about price. Either way I am giving them all the options. Maybe I should include a one year warranty on hadcos.

How do you charge for maintenance of a lighting system?

Last edited by muddywater; 06-18-2012 at 09:52 PM.
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  #24  
Old 06-19-2012, 12:27 AM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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Location: Fayetteville,AR
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I am also who I am, yet since I never try to convince folks to take on Christ in baptism on this site, even though I love the idea of eternity in heaven and all, I'd like to keep it somewhere neutral if possible. I am happy to offer advice if you can keep the profanity down. Its also against the rules of the site itself.

we charge 10% of the original install cost for yearly maintenance. that includes extending the warranty for another year on all items. we trim back foliage that blocks any lights, we install a new bulb and grease o-rings, grease sockets, clean the lens, re-aim, clean out bugs in transformer, back out any screws in tree lights and on the zip ties. On LED retrofits we charge 8-9%, we still do everything but replace the bulb, we still grease the socket but use a different grease for bi-metal corrosion. LED sealed fixtures I charge 6% since we do not replace bulbs or grease. The foliage, the aiming, cleaning the lens, transformer, tree light stuff still has to be done.

But that 6% carries a much larger risk than I like. There is really not enough warranty money there to replace multiple fixtures if they start going out en masse. not a financial worry in years one through 3 based on the last 4 years of testing I have done with LED fixtures. but all the data I have beyound year 3 and 4 is really ugly. Everyone talks about me funny and also talks like I have grown horns when I mention this in other threads and forums, but I try to learn from history rather than just hope the future will be 100 times better than 4 years ago.

and even if manus replace them, customers and manus will not want to pay you labor to replace them. put another way, oddly, on a $3000 LED job, $180 is probably enough to do the maintenance service but not enough to also honor the liability labor side of the warranty on LED fixtures. but on a $3000 halogen job, $300 easily covers the cost of the extra time and materials to grease and bulb, and cover your time for an extra service call or 2. In the end, halogen fixtures will last a lifetime if maintained properly. LED's will not. but nearly everyone is jumping on the LED train to avoid the maintenace of halogens, and nearly everyone is ok with the clock ticking on the fixtures. I am fairly alone on it not being ok with me.
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  #25  
Old 06-19-2012, 12:52 AM
muddywater muddywater is offline
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I just wish i knew how to get in front of people that had money and wanted to spend it on lighting. There is a secret somewhere... I am just not seeing it.

I even have worked on getting reviews on angies list. I have 300% more reviews than my nearest competitor.

What other kind of advertising is there to do? Something to get in front of people with discretionary income. Part of the reason the newspaper has worked for me is that it reaches people that are educated intelligent people. I think direct mail goes straight in the trash. Yellow pages doesnt even make it the house, mine didnt make it in the house and i paid 12k to be in it!

What are jimlewis' secrets? How do you increase sales by200-300%?
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  #26  
Old 06-19-2012, 02:31 AM
INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting's Avatar
INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Location: Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
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Muddy:

Start searching the contents of this forum as contains hundreds of discussions on marketing, advertising, and selling lighting systems. Everything you need to know can be found in here. You just have to commit some time to read it.

As for not publishing your identity here, I would recommend you reconsider that. There are a lot of successful and talented people here, but most prefer to know who they are dealing with before they help out.

From reading your posts, it sounds like you have some work to do in order to establish yourself as a lighting professional in your area. I would recommend you start reading (a lot), attending seminars when offered, and investigating the AOLP. And don't forget to do a lot of experimenting at your own home and on promotional jobs that you should consider offering to groups and associations around your primary market.

Best of luck.
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  #27  
Old 06-20-2012, 08:37 PM
muddywater muddywater is offline
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Well I ended up buying the 10 new hadco lights on ebay for $275 shipped and I bought 10 earlier from the same person for $225 shipped.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/150836119672...84.m1439.l2649

Also bought these used fx path lights for my home.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/221049968177...84.m1439.l2649

And I bought 5 of these new volt led lights for $50 each shipped. He ended the auction and sold 5 to me.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...vip=true&rt=nc

I also bought a 250' roll of 12/2 for $50 shipped.

Last edited by muddywater; 06-20-2012 at 08:42 PM.
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