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Old 10-24-2014, 10:32 PM
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LLC RI LLC RI is offline
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So I've been "Volted"

I haven't been on Lawn site for a while as I've been extremely busy this season. I recall a lot of discussion about volt lighting and how it hurts the contractor. Now I want to share my experiences with this very factor.

I was asked to design and build a job involving a pool in the patio through a team of professionals who I work with often. Initially I was given a certain budget which later was cut in half. I designed and installed the system to the best of my ability into cover the majority of all the important areas.

As the project nears completion the client explained that he want some additional lighting to fill in some areas. I explained to him that the budget was cut in half and I focused on the patio and pool area predominately and that I would be happy to design and quote himfor some additional lighting as he requested.

Today I received an email from the architect Who quoted the email from the client,with the listing for a particular volt fixture at the client says he will buy 10 of for 39.95 each.

Against my better judgment and in order to keep the peace I have no choice but to agree to install these fixtures for him to fill in the areas that he wants more light. I explained to the architect that in no way shape or form will I guarantee these fixtures or the lamps that they come with.

Now I see firsthand the quandary that having a discounted supposed "professional grade" product available on the market easily accessed by anyone.

If I didn't have so much respect and professional connection with the architect and the pool contractor, who brought me in on the job, I would just walk away.

I just wanted to share this with the group because I know there was lots of speculation as to the "volt effect", but now I see it play out in my own world.

George
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:09 AM
Chris J Chris J is offline
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I'm not sure I understand. The architect quoted the price to the customer, or the customer found the materials online and stated what he would pay? In either event, where is the problem? All you have to do now is simply explain that the fixtures cost 39.95, the lamps or LEDs are $xx.xx each, the connectors and additional wire required is $xx.00 and the labor is $xx.xx, bringing the total cost of the job to $xx.xx. By the way, you can use any manufacturer or brand of bulbs you wish. Volt's fixtures do not "come with the lamp" unless you are using the integrated fixtures. Also, now that you have the system installed with the wire already in the ground, how long will it take you to add 10 fixtures...... 1 hour? Exactly how much profit would you like to make if you could hide the true expenses?
Am I missing something? Are you saying that you are somehow being prohibited from charging for the rest of what will be needed as well as labor cost? If that's the case, either you are doing something very wrong or you need to get far far away from these business relationships. For that matter, the architect has no materials to purchase whatsoever so how does he get paid for his services on this job?
I'm not trying to be rude to you or come off as a smart-ass, but I'm really not getting the point here.

Peace!

Last edited by Chris J; 10-25-2014 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:28 AM
Barnabas Barnabas is offline
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Wont you still make the same profit? Your numbers wont change just the customers numbers. Even better for you if you dont offer a product warranty.
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:38 AM
Barnabas Barnabas is offline
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And like ChrisJ said volt doesnt included lamps so you can control that side as well (unless he orders them as well)
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:48 AM
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LLC RI LLC RI is offline
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I guess I wasn't clear enough. I've already done the bulk of the job. They want additional lights. The client went online and found the fixtures we are talking about. The architect simply sent me a copy of the clients email showing the architect what he was going to purchase and then have me install. So I've done the bulk of the job with high-quality fixtures that I use that I sell that I make a profit on, now I am only making my labor cost installing something I really don't want to install that I did not provide to the client myself. Additionally, when the client requested more lighting I gave him a price to do that extra work including fixtures and wired in labor installation. So now out of that whole project I'm only able to charge for labor and that's not how my business is set up to run. I have been doing this business for over 26 years, in the business model is such that we make money on materials in the form of profit for us to acquire the materials and set them up and install the lamps and obviously the warranty aspect of it should there ever be a problem.

Last edited by LLC RI; 10-25-2014 at 12:53 AM.
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:49 AM
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LLC RI LLC RI is offline
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Further, when we quote lighting systems , we use higher-priced fixtures , and install the appropriate lamp for each application.
now a consumer sees these professional grade so called fixtures and wonders why they paid what they paid to purchase mine from me
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Old 10-25-2014, 01:07 AM
Chris J Chris J is offline
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Now I understand what you are saying but I will respectfully disagree with what you are saying. No company that sells to the public should be blamed for this predicament that you are in. That client could have just as easily went to the Home Depot website and made his choice there. This kind of thing happens.... it's just one of those unfortunate and aggravating aspects of business. Personally, I would have liked to have seen you stand your ground and protect your integrity a bit more regardless of any friendships with the other business associates. I believe they would have more respect for you if you had insisted that you wouldn't do that...... especially because you used a high-end brand for the bulk of the project. Personally, I wouldn't have done that (mixed manufacturers that is). I would have found a respectful way to decline the work based upon that fact alone with the explanation that you take greater pride in your work and won't jeopardize your reputation. My 2 cents.
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Old 10-25-2014, 01:38 AM
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LLC RI LLC RI is offline
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Well this was just dumped in my lap this evening. I met with the architect this morning and I agreed to a budget amount to do some of the additional work. And then tonight I hear about him buying his own fixtures. So yes I agree fundamentally that what you say, as well as I don't like the idea of mixing brands and things like that, but I feel that I'm so done with this job that I will do whatever they ask of me so I can be done get paid and Move On. There is a difference between what volt is doing and what Home Depot is going. Home Depot doesn't sell high-end landscape lighting. If they do, they get a better price for it. My criticism of volt is that they charge The contractor and the consumer the same price and that I feel is not a good move in this industry.
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Old 10-25-2014, 01:40 AM
Chris J Chris J is offline
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Just one more thing, and I'm not trying to start a fight with you, but the insinuation about the manufacturer is that they are doing something immoral or unethical in this industry by selling direct? You just stated that you like to charge more than the "true" cost of materials simply because it's a way to hide additional charges that the client would not normally find out about; therefore making your profits larger. May I ask how ethical is that practice? Moving forward, would it not be a better idea to simply charge what it cost and increase your labor charges so that you come out the same in the end?..... If you had done that from the beginning on this job, would that not have prevented you from painting yourself into this corner?
Again, not trying to fight but I did find this post to be very unfair. As I said, your client could have just as easily gone to the Home Depot website and you would now be forced to install that...... And I assume you would have because you just said that you'd rather hurt your integrity because you were afraid of upsetting your architect friend.
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Old 10-25-2014, 04:42 AM
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When did we start discussing pricing information on this forum against our tacit policy? So, George, the client, who is fond of the internet, searches for Landscape Lighting Concepts and comes up with this discussion.
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