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  #21  
Old 02-08-2011, 05:39 PM
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The Lighting Geek The Lighting Geek is offline
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I simply point out to my client early on, that fixtures don't matter. They are the paint so what do you care what color the paint can is? If I do my job correctly you probably won't see most of them anyway.

I always talk about the effect, how light should flow, and how easy it is on your eyes with no glare.
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  #22  
Old 02-09-2011, 06:07 PM
steveparrott steveparrott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indylights View Post
I do not use online suppliers, so I am just asking the question. What do they offer in terms of design, troubleshooting, or field support if you actually need someone in the field with you? Do they offer ongoing, hands-on training in your area? If you have a warranty issue, how long does it take to get replacements? Outside of giving you a cheaper product, what value do they offer? Again, not talking down about them, just trying to see what they bring to the table outside of a cheaper product. Because if all you care about is a cheaper product, which is fine, there will always be someone cheaper in a few months. Manufacturers who base their sales model that way will quickly find out that the Chinese have absolutely no loyalty when it comes to who they sell their molds, designs, etc to and guess what, sooner or later they will just eliminate the middle man all together and you'll be buying directly from China. I'm not saying you have to buy the most expensive product out there, but if your attitude towards the fixture is the same as the customers attitude towards the installer, you're all in for a serious pay cut. There are many reasons why we each choose to buy from who we buy from, but some things are worth an additional 5-10% in my opinion. I'm off my soap box now.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes
I must say that I don't like the direction that this thread has gone. In the above quote, Scott really nails it on the head. The value of a brick-and-morter distribution chain is real. The value of sales guys in the field (hands-on support) is real. The value of lighting fixtures that are not nearly identical to those from a dozen manufacturers (differentiation) is real. The value of fixtures manufactured in plants owned by the manufacturer (quality control) is real.

Recognizing the real value in the fixtures you install is critical to your long-term success - because the bottom line is that you are staking your reputation on the products you install. Your reputation is your most valuable asset.

Ok, I'm getting off the soap box now
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  #23  
Old 02-09-2011, 06:46 PM
Lawnman90 Lawnman90 is offline
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I have used the Volt fixtures and they are good quality. We have used Unique and Alliance fixtures also. I have tried the path lights, well, and small rectangle fixture(can't remember the name). They are good quality and seem to hold up well. As far as the customer service it's outstanding, fast shipping, and very willing to help you solve any problems. We had an issue where the client did not like the cap on a path light and they where more than fair in selling us new caps at a very reasonable price.

I'm with you Jim, if you are selling a premium fixture it needs to be built well and look good. Along with others I agree you sell the lighting effect, not the fixture but, many of the fixtures you do see. I have sold many jobs with Unique just by letting the client see the fixture and feel the quality. To me it's not so much the fixture but, the fact that the fixture will still be working in the next 5-10 years because of the quality.

Five years ago I would have argued the point about buying local and customer service but, not as much now. As the economy has gotten worse our suppliers don't have as much in inventory and usually end up ordering fixtures for larger jobs. So, why not cut out the middle man.

I don't like the fact that they advertise the wholesale price on the web but, none of my clients are going to DIY, most of the time I don't put the brand on the estimate just a description.

Well I've said enough, oh and I have only tried the MR16 with an LED for moonlighting, worked well.
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  #24  
Old 02-09-2011, 07:36 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lighting Geek View Post
I simply point out to my client early on, that fixtures don't matter. They are the paint so what do you care what color the paint can is? If I do my job correctly you probably won't see most of them anyway.

I always talk about the effect, how light should flow, and how easy it is on your eyes with no glare.
Tommy, your response here surprises me. "fixtures don't matter"? Really? Do you really believe that?

Thankfully there are a large number of designers and product manufacturer's out there who do not share this viewpoint. I sure don't subscribe to it. The fixtures sure as heck DO matter, both to me and to my clients. You can put all of your energy, passion, talent (and quality lamps) into installing marginal fixtures and end up with a mess after only a short while.

Besides that... using low quality and low cost components makes building a successful and profitable business quite the challenge. I have said it for years; If you want to make more money (and build a better reputation) in this business one way to ensure that is to install better quality products. You make more on the installation and you have a more satisfied client in the long run as maintenance and repairs are significantly reduced. I will not even begin to talk about aesthetics, product differentiation, and the ability to accessorize / specify, but all are big considerations for pro designers and installers.

"See the effect, not the source" is a concept I have built my business on, but is sure doesn't mean that the fixtures we use don't matter.

Regards
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  #25  
Old 02-09-2011, 07:38 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveparrott View Post
I must say that I don't like the direction that this thread has gone. In the above quote, Scott really nails it on the head. The value of a brick-and-morter distribution chain is real. The value of sales guys in the field (hands-on support) is real. The value of lighting fixtures that are not nearly identical to those from a dozen manufacturers (differentiation) is real. The value of fixtures manufactured in plants owned by the manufacturer (quality control) is real.

Recognizing the real value in the fixtures you install is critical to your long-term success - because the bottom line is that you are staking your reputation on the products you install. Your reputation is your most valuable asset.

Ok, I'm getting off the soap box now
Well stated Steve. I agree with you 100%
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  #26  
Old 02-09-2011, 07:40 PM
bcg bcg is offline
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James, I don't want to put words in Tommy's mouth but, I think what he meant was that as long as you're using a quality fixture, their aesthetics really isn't of any importance.

BTW - It was nice meeting you at the show. If you don't mind, I'm going to give you a call soon and finish our discussion on "The Purple Cow" since we ended up at different tables during the round table discussions. I'd hoped to get with you Saturday morning but I gather you left on Saturday.
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  #27  
Old 02-09-2011, 07:52 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcg View Post
James, I don't want to put words in Tommy's mouth but, I think what he meant was that as long as you're using a quality fixture, their aesthetics really isn't of any importance.

BTW - It was nice meeting you at the show. If you don't mind, I'm going to give you a call soon and finish our discussion on "The Purple Cow" since we ended up at different tables during the round table discussions. I'd hoped to get with you Saturday morning but I gather you left on Saturday.
You may be right, but I would still argue that the aesthetics of many/most fixtures surely does matter. Right up there with their performance and quality of construction.

It was very nice to meet you at the AOLP Conference, and Congratulations on your Awards! You have done some lovely work. Well done! I would enjoy continuing our conversation but will not be available until late this month, when I no doubt will return to a mountain of work. Best would be to give me that call one evening in early March.

Kind regards.
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  #28  
Old 02-10-2011, 11:57 AM
Alan B Alan B is offline
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It's interesting. As a sponsor, I make a strong effort not to comment on threads about other sponsors. I would rather promote myself that criticize others. Even if its not a direct criticism, I do not want to even cast a shadow on anything related to them since i know they are a fellow sponsor -- it's not a rule, it just my style. However I am not going be attacked without defending myself either. I will do my best to be as subtle (not get too deep into details) as possible...

In short everyone has an agenda, that is life.

Mr Scott Maloney has a family member who works in the established distribution chain and is threatened by our model. I do not believe he has ever bought, installed or handled a Volt product yet has very strong words against them.

Casts is not only sold thru distribution but was started by the owner of a large of chain of irrigation stores. The owner of Cast has a double investment in the distribution network. It is bad for Cast and their distribution chain if contractors start buying direct.

James, is attempting to market his products thru distribution and it will not be good for him if contractors start comparing his LEDs to any other LED that comes up on the internet-- better for him if he only has to compete with products that are in the controlled arena of outdoor lighting distribution.

I respect all of the above. There is a big need for distribution and they offer a value as mentioned above and I wish them well. There is also a great value, niche and need for what we do. We offer ultra high quality, solid cast brass fixtures, shipped out the same day, always in stock, uncompromising service, for significantly less than anywhere else.

Make no mistake about it, the established industry that makes money off charging contractors higher prices -- every manufacturers, distributor, dealer, sales reps, employee (and as we've seen, even family members of the aforementioned) hates us. But the reality is we are empowering the contractor. No one benefits more from reducing the cost of high quality landscape lighting supplies by 20-50% than the contractor. Also make no mistake about it, our contractor customers (people who have actually dealt with us, bought our products and seen our service) love us.

The people who bash are not contractors who have used us or know our product and service, they are people who are get hurt by us being here. No one can say anything bad about Volts quality or service -- they don't like our prices (too low) or our model -- it has nothing to do with quality.

I don't want to spend too much time on this because i believe people can see thru the two sides--- the people who have answered the OP's original question were people who had actually bought and tried Volt products like OP asked-- and they all loved them/had positive things to say. All the posts against Volt were people who had not ever used them.

Lastly to clarify something from an economics stand point, "race to the bottom" is such an awesome catchy phrase but all to often is getting used incorrectly. If you lower your prices because you are lowering your quality "Race to the Bottom" applies. If you are lowering your prices because you are lowering your profits, it applies. If you are lowering your COSTS because you cut out mark-ups from MIDDLEMAN -- that is NOT a race to the bottom. If you are elevating your quality and paying lower prices for it -- that is NOT a race to the bottom.

I wish everyone well. It is a big world out there and there is room for all of us. I hope I did not offend anyone and I know it is a passionate subject. We can not please nor be the perfect solution for everyone. Our mission is to be the best at what we do -- ultra premium quality, always in stock, shipped the same day, uncompromising service for the best price in the industry for what we offer. And we will continue to be focused on delivering our mission.

Respectfully,

Alan
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  #29  
Old 02-10-2011, 02:26 PM
indylights indylights is offline
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Alan,

In direct response, yes I do have a family member involved in a large irrigation distributorship. I do not live where he has a branch, so I do not buy from his company. I have no idea if they feel threatened by you or not. Judging by what he tells me are the sales volumes of their lighting lines, I doubt it.

I have not bought or installed your product, but I have handled it, and was not that impressed. To me it was just like every other fixture in that same mid to low range category, (which in my opinion there are too many of in the first place) and therefore I felt very indifferent about the line. I don't hate you or your company. I have no vested interest in your success or failure, and would not be affected one bit if you went on to be a billion dollar business or went bankrupt. It's great for you that other contractors use your line, but that is irrelevant to me.

Again, outside of offering a cheaper product, you still haven't answered the question as to how you bring any value to the contractor, or answered any of the questions I asked for that matter. Again, if everyone wants to continually lower their price, more power to them. Even in 2009, I did not, and I will not. But please remember to expect the corresponding decrease in pay.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

P.S. And Alan, I can site numerous times where you bad mouthed another manufacturer or had threads or posts deleted. Please don't get on your high horse about that, and your agenda is just as transparent as everyone else's.
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  #30  
Old 02-10-2011, 02:38 PM
indylights indylights is offline
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And Alan, after re-reading this entire thread, not one person who responded to the original question mentioned using or loving the Volt line. I did not mention you or your company when I asked my questions about online dealers. There are numerous online dealers out there who sell any number of lines, and I was just asking to get feedback from contractors who have used them so they could answer some questions that I had in terms of the value they added to their company. When you start making personal attacks on people and their family members, it's best to have your facts straight.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

Last edited by indylights; 02-10-2011 at 02:43 PM.
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