Anyone Using Volt Light Fixtures with LED Lamps?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by JimLewis, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. indylights

    indylights LawnSite Member
    Posts: 166

    I have never seen a collective group of professionals so afraid of competition. Why would it bother you that manufacturers put on training? Do you think manufacturers who don't put on training sell to only you? You do realize manufacturers are in the business to sell product and make money, right? Did no one from a distributor or manufacturer ever teach you anything? The very manufacturer this thread is about sells direct to homeowners for almost identical pricing as contractors, so how well do you think they qualify who they sell to? How is that not as bad or worse than others putting on training? Most guys here brag about how they rip out and replace systems by these amateurs. Then you should view it as job security. Should technical colleges, trade schools, colleges, and on and on stop educating people because they are training current professionals competition? Is no one who has no knowledge of a trade not allowed to seek education from a manufacturer or distributor? Do it better, run your business better, market better, take pride in your work, and control what you do and stop worrying so much about what seminar some other guy has attended. If you think a contractor who has attended a one day seminar can take away your business, you aren't doing your business very well. I don't care what my competition does or who has trained them.

    Scott Maloney
    Sunflower Landscapes
     
  2. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 381

    Scott, great points you make there and they are all very valid. I will respectfully continue to disagree with the shotgun marketing and the "anyone can do this in a 4 hour seminar, plus get a free lunch at the end" seminar. The regulations for this differ across the country. In my state, it is a felony if you are doing unlicensed electrical work. Landscape lighting falls into this category. I have been in these seminars and if there were 15 installers in there, maybe 2 were licensed to do the work. I think we can all agree that landscapers who install or have installed low voltage lighting understand this product better than 90% of electricians. I am not going to run out and tell on these installers, it is doubtful anything would happen anyway. I am just saying that the individuals who frequent sites like this are a step ahead of the general competition anyway, wouldn't you agree? What if we all collectively raised the bar of landscape lighting, wouldn't that be great?
     
  3. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    I don't think anybody here is afraid of competition. What we are concerned about is underprepared contractors who are tempted to adopt a trade they don't really understand because someone, who should know better, told them landscape lighting is easy.

    Landscape Lighting is a trade that requires an artistic eye, a mastery of the craft and a commitment to quality that is often inconvenient. It is not possible to do quality landscape lighting and get off work before sunset.

    At our best, we are Artisans. We are masters of both the art and craft of outdoor lighting. At our worst, we are cowboys who think that anybody who can twist low-voltage wire together is a Landscape Lighting Contractor.

    I agree with Bob, the solution involves the manufacturers. I believe they should get out of the business of "certifying" contractors after a single 4 to 6 hour workshop. I think we should continue to make every effort to collaborate with Manufactures to establish the AOLP certification programs as their Gold Standard. The AOLP should continue to work with Manufactures to explore the practicality of their meeting our instructional/professional practice guidelines for the benefit of our profession and the growth of a qualified a pool of contractors who are a credit to the profession.

    Most professions require Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for continued membership and participation as a member of those professions. Architectural Lighting does it and the IES administers and supervises the award of credit. It is an excellent model.

    The CLVLT is a step and the COLD program is a giant step; both are in the right direction...

    Tom
     
  4. indylights

    indylights LawnSite Member
    Posts: 166

    I agree that I would not consider anyone who attends a one day seminar an expert or a qualified installer. What I am saying is that I do not begrudge anyone who goes to these seminars to help them get better educated or as a starting part for their landscape lighting career. Everyone starts as a novice, it is what you do from that point to make yourself a true professional that sets you apart. I went to pond, paver, and lighting seminars as my first point of education when I first started offering these services many years ago, but that's not where I stopped my education and training. Industry standards would be great. I would like to see all fixtures UL listed. We all know that doesn't happen, yet many contractors still buy and install them. I would like to see all installers certified. Same thing there. The question is not only how it's standardized but who enforces it, and as always, who pays for it.

    Scott Maloney
    Sunflower Landscapes
     
  5. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    I agree everyone should start somewhere in lighting, but around here, most folks just start doing it by trial and error or they go to the seminar and then do it by trail and error.

    I want great competition that does a great job and charges a fair price. Please, give me someone who owns a clamp meter and understands placement and shadow. I can bid against that person. The client wins with either of us.

    my biggest problem is the fact that these folks that go to the seminar then poison potential clients on landscape lighting. they present themselves as a person who knows what they are doing, charge very little, and then do a poor job. They may hire a pro the next time, but only if they become aware it can be better and they are willing to pay, usually, considerably more. I would rather folks not get it at all than be ruined by someone who does it badly. I can't bid against a person who charges less than half what I do.
     
  6. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 381

    David
    ditto, well said
     
  7. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Posts: 1,836

    I can only speak for myself but, the jobs that these guys that took a 1 day seminar and are installing for less than 1/2 my bid aren't stealing my customer. Neither are the customer's that are going to go look up Volt or whatever other manufacturer online to compare my material costs (which isn't itemized anyway). My customer is someone who wants something special and is willing to pay for a quality design and installation from a professional that will be around to service it for years after the job is done. I don't really care how many guys the distributors or manufacturers train, I don't see 99.9% of the "graduates" as my competition anyway and those that do take those training classes and rise to the level that most on this board are at, I welcome to the industry. They won't be the guys racing to the bottom, they'll be the ones we welcome to this forum and encourage to join AOLP.
     
  8. indylights

    indylights LawnSite Member
    Posts: 166

    Agree 1000%

    Scott Maloney
    Sunflower Landscapes
     
  9. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 381

    I just did a Garden show a month ago. There were 4 of us (lighting installers) there. Three of us there are members of the AOLP and frequenters of this site. I had people coming up to me and asking what makes me better or worse than the other guys. I told them they could not go wrong with any of the 3 of us. It was simply artistic interpretation and what is most along their levels of desire. I assumed that our prices would be roughly the same. I assumed that our equipment is the same. Most importantly, I knew that our skills and our passion was the same for the most part and while I would be happy if they hired me. I would be content knowing that the client was getting a solid, professional installation from either of the guys (who are great guys by the way). The fourth guy, another real nice guy but our philosophies are not in synch. I had asked him if his wife minds that he has to go out to do night time aiming sessions. He informed me that he does not do that. He installed enough so he can set it up during the day and it will be spot on. If anyone is at that level, let me know. If that is the case I underestimated that contractor and I would essentially HAVE to refer people to him because I know that I will not be able to get to that level. At least not for decades anyway. I had one of my friends (not in the industry) with me while I was talking with him. As we walked away, he said that guy has to be full of baloney, right? I just replied with a shrug and said "Or the absolute best"
     
  10. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    I've been focusing lights for... well... 40+ years and.... well... I sure wish I was as good as your friend.

    It'd be nice to be home with my wife, drinking a brew, watching the tube and knowing my lighting looks good without having to bother with going out in the dark and looking at it.

    I think you got it dead right Bob... He is the absolute best!

    Tom
     

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