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Old 02-18-2015, 03:55 PM
Alan B Alan B is offline
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What is the definition of the "Landscape Lighting Industry?"

I'd like to start a dialog on what people think the Landscape Lighting Industry is. The reason I'd like to do this is because I believe that much of the debate and conflict on this site has to do with each persons definition of the "Landscape Lighting Industry."

What is your definition of "The Landscape Lighting Industry?"
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Old 02-19-2015, 02:39 AM
Chris J Chris J is offline
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I will be happy to submit an opinion on this but, personally, I feel that the question is a bit vague as presented and I don't want to bore this audience with my long winded ramble. Are you asking about the lighting industry in terms of the end users expectations, the typical contractor's standards for installation, the expectations and/or business ethics that we believe should be upheld by manufacturers or suppliers; maybe how we feel about the opportunity for young entrepreneurs to enter into this arena as a stand alone business or an additional service to an existing business such as irrigation or landscape maintenance?
As I said, I could write an entire book on this subject but I'd rather address your question with a reply that will best answer your specific question. See..... I'm already rambling!
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:19 AM
Alan B Alan B is offline
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Is this forum and or the landscape lighting industry restricted to "architects, specifiers, lighting designers and dedicated landscape lighting designers?" Or are green industry trades included?
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:21 AM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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I agree with Chris on this. The question is simply too vague and broad to answer concisely.
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:29 AM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Clearly the 'landscape lighting industry' is not restricted in any way. You can see this everywhere. If someone has access to the product and can install it and re-sell it for any amount of profit, they can lay claim to being involved in the 'landscape lighting industry'. This is not unlike any other pursuit or industry out there. Where the real question lies is in the definition of "Professional". Our friend Mark Carlson recently published a couple of excellent articles that delve into the question of professionalism in our industry and I would encourage you all to read them. He has some excellent points.

http://www.countdown-blog.pld-c.com/?p=2789
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:50 AM
Alan B Alan B is offline
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James,

I agree with both you and Mark as it relates to your needs. Both of you consider yourself lighting designers. In fact in Mark's blog his first paragraph references "The Lighting Design community" must define itself. LAter he (and you often do as well) talk about "as lighting designers" we need to...

One large point you are missing... this is NOT the lighting designer forum. This is:

LAWNSITE
The Green Industry's Resource Center
(look at the header of Lawnsite)

You are in the wrong forum.

Everything you say is very fitting and correct for a specifier and lighting designer forum. I even see your point and agree with you ... for your market and niche. However this forum serves green industry contractors and those who install landscape lighting. The overwhelming majority of landscape lighting that is installed by contractors is done by landscapers, irrigation contractors, green industry contractors, general contractors, electricians and others who install it not as their primary business but as a complimentary service.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:14 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Alan I am fully aware of how this industry operates, who the players are, and what gets done by whom and for whom. So your 'point' is moot as far as I am concerned. As for this forum: "Architectural & Landscape Lighting Landscape Lighting Designers and Contractors Discuss a Full Spectrum of Issues Involving Outdoor Lighting." I think that sums it up pretty well. I actually can lay claim to coming up with the tag line of this forum many years ago.

I have always put the pursuit of excellence and integrity at the forefront of my business operations. I truly believe that you should only do what you love and are passionate about, so that you do it well and success will follow. I also try to carry that philosophy through in how I consume products and services. I would much rather hire a separate hardscaper, softscaper, irrigator, and lighting installer than look to a one stop shop / jack of all trades contractor. I know, and thankfully more and more consumers know, that you end up with a better final product that lasts longer and is backed by better service. Same holds true for the products and services that I use inside of my business.

My industry: The Outdoor Lighting Industry, has suffered for years from an identity crisis. There have been long debates and discussions as to what we should call ourselves... endless ones as each practitioner operates slightly differently. Also lacking is an overall guiding / governing / regulating body that could help define us. For my part, I describe my business as being a Lighting Design/Build Company. That seems to adequately cover the realm of services that we provide; which include lighting system's design, specification, consultation, installation and maintenance.
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Old 02-19-2015, 02:16 PM
Alan B Alan B is offline
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The reason for the identity crisis is because very few in the population are dedicated landscape lighting designers/installers/contractors. That market is too small to support its own distribution chain, and to have its own identity. If it wants an identity the one of "lighting designer or specifier" doesn't apply to the majority of the market and that's why it hasn't taken.

Those who are that end of the industry should have their own brand(s) that protect them, their own forums and their own ideals. Or let me clarify, everyone can participate in a catch all landscape lighting forum but those who are dedicated landscape lighting designers shouldn't profess that what is good for them must be adhered to by everyone else.
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:07 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Interesting. Although it is true that there are relatively few stand alone lighting design/build businesses when compared to say electrical contractors or landscapers, it is also important to note that there are at least several such businesses located in every urban and regional market across the continent. When you look deeper into this category, you will learn that these outdoor lighting specialists account for a very significant volume of sales in each of their respective markets. I.E. Although a small market might have 20+ businesses involved in the installation of product, the few that are stand alone lighting companies will account for a majority (in some cases super majority) of the total sales, and purchases, in this category. So it stands to say that although our numbers might be few, our impact is mighty.

As for your claim; "That market is too small to support its own distribution chain, and to have its own identity" I say hogwash. There is a long history of many successful manufacturers and wholesale vendors who have operated successfully for decades in this industry and that market continues to grow each year. Consumer awareness of "landscape lighting" as a stand alone product/service category also continues to grow year after year, thanks to the tireless efforts of engaged entrepreneurs, vendors and manufacturers. Consumers are also slowly getting the message that, like so many other highly technical systems, there is much to be said for hiring a professional designer and specifier to plan and build their systems, rather than just having some handyman slap some lights in.

Thankfully, we professionals do have our 'own brands that protect' us and produce superior quality products while responding to our needs and long term industry goals. In that way, we are all in it together and can provide our clients with the systems that they need, expect and deserve, while enjoying the ability to succeed, profit and grow, thereby continuing the cycle. A symbiotic relationship that is a win, win, win in the long run.

"but those who are dedicated landscape lighting designers shouldn't profess that what is good for them must be adhered to by everyone else." Similarly, I would add, those who are importers & direct to market vendors shouldn't profess that what is good for them must be adhered to by everyone else.

Obviously there are many ways to exist in this industry. I pride myself on trying to help others 'see the light' and build strong, long standing, successful and profitable businesses based on tried and true business models and protocols. In contrast; It would appear, in your world, only those who line up behind your brand and your philosophy should be allowed to have a voice in this industry we all call 'landscape lighting'. Thankfully there are more who would dissent with your opinion than agree with it. Freedom of speech is a lovely thing when it is allowed to flourish.
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  #10  
Old 02-19-2015, 04:17 PM
Alan B Alan B is offline
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Interesting indeed. This is what you say in above:

Quote:
Originally Posted by INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting View Post
"I pride myself on trying to help others 'see the light' and build strong, long standing, successful and profitable businesses based on tried and true business models and protocols. In contrast; It would appear, in your world, only those who line up behind your brand and your philosophy should be allowed to have a voice in this industry we all call 'landscape lighting'. Thankfully there are more who would dissent with your opinion than agree with it.
However today in the other thread about lighting an oak tree, where I try and help a contractor this is what you post...

Quote:
Originally Posted by INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting View Post
Hey great thread here! Wow, just awesome... Now our 'manufacturer's' who supposedly are fully in support of the professional lighting design/build industry (but will also sell to anyone with a credit card at the same price as their contractor customers) are fulfilling the role of designers and specifiers too. Why bother hiring, and paying - heaven forbid, those pesky lighting pros out there who buy tens of millions of dollars of product each year and form the bulk of the market when you can just ask these guys for the answers?

The better, and 'right' way of handling this would have been for Alan and Steve to refer this inquiry to one of their loyal professional customers. But that is not how they roll....
Sounds like I am the one trying to help others and you are the one putting people down who don't fit the mold you want.


James, people are smart, they realize that you live in a world where you have a great profitable business serving Lake Muskoka. Clients in that area who have $10,000,000 second home "cottages" are willing and happy to pay a top dollar for a very high quality project (and that's a good thing). It is in your best interest to keep things a secret, to have less competition and less access to product-- you know the ropes. I get it. It is in your best interest to have fewer contractors and have few people gain access to quality product. That protects you, your market and your personal profits. I understand why you are against me and VOLT. Your world would be served better if only the privileged few could buy quality landscape lights and if people had 1 choice -- crappy big box fixtures or pay $300-$450 per fixture for you.
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Last edited by Alan B; 02-19-2015 at 04:24 PM.
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