add-on, and on. And on.

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,947

    Okay. I will have to be much more aggressive during my demo's. I now have a customer realizing I was right about the total needed fixtures. I now have made my third order, will pay extra for shipping, gate passes, windshield time, etc., and pricing at one fixture a time, which goes against the "I design and install systems" thing and makes me have to itemize my parts in ways I don't want to.

    How do you guys deal with this?
  2. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,830

    Materials plus labor and include a hefty trip charge each time. Another way to do it is simply divide the original sales price by the number of fixtures to determine a per fixture cost. Then tell the customer that is the only fair way to price it with out charging the trip fees.
    That scenario is always a pain in the rump, but you simply have to explain that your time is money and you have to charge that much for one lousy fixture. Think about how much time that fixture cost you: youv'e got to order it and go get it or have it delivered; you have the travel time there and then back, and you have the time on site. This is a few hours worth of your time, so that one fixture should cost at least $300, wouldn't you think? Don't be afraid to tell the customer this if they question it either. If they do, you can always remind them that you wanted to put the fixture in with the rest of them at the same time so they could avoid this extra cost.
  3. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 875

    I don't run into this problem much because I am managing expectations from moment one. My marketing sets the attitude and I don't leave opportunities for them to question details. Details don't matter, the end effect is what matters and that is what I am focusing the client on. I believe there is something to say for being in front of the right customer. My customers don't call me to bid a job, they call me to create magic in their landscape. I get most of the jobs I demo, I don't care if other bidders are involved and I don't know if there are or not. It doesn't matter. I come to the client's home and I create magic. I sweep them off their feet with my enthusiasm and passion for what I do. They tell me sometimes that I am infectious. At this moment, the details don't matter, they just have to have it. I believe in my heart that I am showing them a glimpse of something they didn't know existed. It IS experiential.

    It comes with time, practice and experience. There no better high in the world than to expose someone to what we as artisans do.
  4. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,947

    I think both Chris and Tom nailed this.

    1. Do my best to sell the whole portrait as is.

    2. If they want another fixture, let them know the rate/formula up front, or what the rate is for a service call, and let them know it changes voltage configurations, more trenching, wire, soldering, etc.
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    There will always be a time where you need to make the trip to add just one. I had to go add 2 yesterday but I was already in the area and had the fixtures in stock and it took all of 1.5 hours.

    I have almost always in the past broken the job down in phases and 99% of the time seperate the front and back yard lighting systems. I would rather do a few zones complete than make swiss cheese. Add the additional zones later and not just put the job together piece by piece.

    If a client doubts your design or the number of fixtures needed to get the job done then either do the demo, offer the above ground or just move on.
  6. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    I dont think I have ever been apart of a project that the homeowner or property manager didnt add 2 or 3 lights I recommended at the beggining. This is usually what the Demo saves you from because they see the importance of every light. You are able to turn over and eliminate lights they have in question only to watch them tell you to turn the light back over!

    Bid it in, let them know there will be a slightly higher charge to add to the system once you have made your connections and set your transfomer voltage. In most cases if you have the lights in stock like Billy eluded too and you are using a Hub wiring layout then as long as you have room on your TF which I hope we all upsize in case of addition, and you have room left on your wire, which I hope non of us ever fully load then you shouldnt have too much of an issue adding the light or lights in. Heck in some cases you can look like a hero by saying no problem mr or mrs. homeowner I can add the light right now!! Only charge them the standard price per fixture and see them happily cut you that check!!!
  7. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,947

    Good points Joey, I do what Billy told me to do, when I solder my hubs, I leave a pig tail, and use 10 gauge when in doubt for my run. I also make sure the trans can handle some more wattage.

    I'll just swing by and connect a couple at retail, but I will be more prepared with explicit rates for add-ons at each particular area in the future, and offer incentives for completing the whole zone appropriately in the first place. I do this with zones as well, if I think they can budget two zones, I offer them both at a discount, explaining to them that I save on labor.

    I am also going to be wise and keep a few extra common fixtures stocked at all times.

    I did this with irrigation parts, too. I just picked up several parts (slip fixes, etc.) so I don't have to waste windshield time driving to the irritation supplier.
  8. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,947

    Okay. Newcomers, please refer to Mike's Splice Thread first.

    Now that Eddie has me wanting to advance my methods to all T's and no amateurish hubs (lol), I want to ask people what they like best for T's specifically.

    I will still use hubs & solder (which I love), and I use ace connectors for adding leads (very nice, I use an electric heat gun).

    For quick add-ons and splits to two fixtures, my choices are silicone-filled twist-ons, ace connectors, or buchanon crimp and grease tube.

    I've been using the Ace for splits/T's.

    I'd like to use the Buchanon for the T's, especially for service repairs, add-ons, and any quick connections.

    I will then officially be using (1) solder for hubs, (2) crimps for T's and service work, and (3) ace connectors for inline extensions and above-ground T's.

    Today was a day off and I had time to reflect on my details, inventory, needs lists, etc., and I'm bored.

    The Buchanon crimp seems like the perfect service method.
  9. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,830

    I used to be strictly cut and nut, and I have explained why in the "splices" thread. I do use the buchannan crimp now, as I believe this is the best connection method available. Ace connectors are superior also, but time consuming and more costly.
    So, at this point of the game, I use the crimps for the T's. King connectors for the fixture splices and if I have to do an inline add-on or repair (or tree mount) I will use the Ace. I'm slowly moving towards all buchannan crimps for fixtures and T's, but I will still use the Ace for tree mounts and in-lines. I'm also still trying to convince myself to try the hub method on a few installs, but I'm a stubborn guy. Once I find something that works well, it's hard for me to change. I live by the old saying "if it aint broke, don't try to fix it."
  10. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    I use Ace connectors on all new installations and wherever I am adding a new run. They make less sense to me where I'm just adding or replacing fixtures, because I don't know what other splices are in the ground already. In those cases i favor Dry Conn with a zip tie about 4 inches away from the splice in case the wire gets pulled on.

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