Bidding projects.

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by extlights, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 439

    I was just curious on how others in the business go about bidding/pricing projects? Also what about pricing strategies? I've been in the lighting business for a quite a few years now, and we've found what really works great for us, but I know different things work for different companies.

    Better yet, what is your normal routine from when you get a call from a potential customer all the way through the whole sales process?
     
  2. desert night light

    desert night light LawnSite Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 215

    $250 a fixture
     
  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,180

    whatever. You cant just go per fixture.. What if the fixtures are so far from the trans you gotta run 2 strands of 10ga 400 ft. You gotta go more than that. It totally depends on so many factors. 250 may be a good starting point but i doubt this guy is charging that because he cant even afford a digital camera to take pics of his "superior" work.

    I use the chuck link method for marketing and sales. So far we have not had any cold calls but we tend to pre profile over the phone. Offer above ground installs with a 50% deposit INSTEAD of free demos. We may invest in a demo kit later if we find a need for it.

    Basically if they are serious we will install the system but not bury it with a 50% deposit. If they hate it we will take it away and give thier check back to them. If they want to see some changes we will adjust the system as needed to make them happy.... they sign off on the above ground and we bury it the next day and solder all connections. No free demo for someone whos just curious and you know your clients are serious if they are willing to hand you 50% up front.

    we may change our practices later but as for now thats how we would work a call. Pop by asap if you feel they meet your profile when they call... there is more to it I would go into details about but being this is in public and there are certain people here that are annoying thats as much as I will get into it here. Its a proven method tho thats for sure.

    so far all our work has been for existing maint clients or refferal
     
  4. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 439

    I'm a little confused about your above ground install. When do you do the above ground install and what fixtures do you use? What if the client wants to use different fixtures, or how about the transformer location? Do you use just a portable transformer for the above ground install?

    We do free demos. I have 15 flood lights, 10 path lights, a couple of deck lights, an underwater light and a few specialty lights in our Kit. I have a
    900W transformer on a little pull cart, and 4 300' rolls of cable with outlets placed every 4 feet. I will not do any install without doing a demo first unless it's replacing an existing system and the customer wants the lights to stay in the same location. We do pre qualify over the phone before we set anything up, but I will say this. There have been over 20-30 occasions that we've sold a project to someone who didn't really meet our pre-qualifying criteria due to the demo.

    We've also gotten many many jobs from customers who had 4-5 quotes before us because of the demo. Not only have we gotten the jobs, but 95% of the time we were able to upsell the customer and they end up going with more lights than previously quoted by the other companies. Also, there have been times where we are doing a demo for a potential client, and the neighbor comes over and we end up doing a demo on their home that same night. Offer a discount if they both sign up with us, and we just booked two jobs on the same night. Everyone has different practices that work for them...this has just worked for us for the last 7 plus years.

    As far as pricing goes....it depends on the amout of lights, runs, difficulty of job etc. We usually start around $200 per light, plus wire, transformer, timer photocell and dedicated outlet( if needed.) Pricing is a tough thing though. Everyone gets different contractor pricing, so some might have to charge more if their costs are more.... Along with overhead and everything that needs to be taken into account. With some of the pricing we get, I will with out a doubt sell a job at $140 a light plus the extras if it's a fairly easy install. This year we are averaging almost $185 a light plus wire, transformer etc.
     
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,180

    We use the actuall fixtures going in for an above ground install unless its a special pathlight or something that would need to be ordered. I do like the idea of the leads with connectors every 4ft and we do not have thoes yet.

    I have thought long and hard about the demo kit and will probably get one soon but basically what we do is place all fixtures where they are going. Make all wire runs to trans in its proposed location. It would basically be like your demo but we would have everything in place ready to bury if they decide to keep it.

    Whats your closing rate with a full demo ? There is another member of this board who has a good tatic as well. They ask high end maint clients if they can light up a portion of thier property for photos for thier portfolio. 85% of the time the clients love it so much they decide they want to do it.

    I guess there is many ways to be sucsessful at closing. Down here it seems people wanna feel comfortable with you and make sure your a good local guy. Still too many out of state contractors lingering from katrina doing shoddy work.
     
  6. desert night light

    desert night light LawnSite Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 215

    "Basically if they are serious we will install the system but not bury it with a 50% deposit. If they hate it we will take it away and give thier check back to them. If they want to see some changes we will adjust the system as needed to make them happy.... they sign off on the above ground and we bury it the next day and solder all connections. No free demo for someone whos just curious and you know your clients are serious if they are willing to hand you 50% up front."

    What kind of flawed logic is this?

    You won't give free demos
    but you will install a system without burying wires which means cutting cable and making connections and installing fixtures
    And if they don't like it you take it out and give them their money back.

    Aren't you doing much more work than a demo? And then what do you do with the cut cable after that? How about the fixtures you have to clean them up to sell them again (stakes at least)

    Dude you have been very critical of me but at least my momma didn't raise no dummy. You have no clue and are poised and positioned for failure.
     
  7. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 439

    We are at about a 45% closing ratio with the demo. With that said though we do 5-6 demos a week. We spent around $2500 on building our demo kit and to me it's worth twice that. Not only does it really help with the design process, but it's a great form of advertising as well.

    Not only are we showing the potential client what we can do during the demo, but their neighbors, the people down the street, the people walking around the subdivision, the people driving by...etc. They all see our truck, and like I said in my previous post....there have been many many times where we end up doing a demo on that same night for a neighbor.

    It takes 35-45 minutes total for us to get there, set up, and get the people a price quote. It works for us.
     
  8. desert night light

    desert night light LawnSite Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 215

    What's your average project cost extlights? Sounds like you have a winning system.
     
  9. Mr. Vern

    Mr. Vern LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 632

    On the average; how many lights do you use in a demo, and how long does it generally take you. I can see the logic in both approaches, but I tend to think that if the demo goes in quickly it would make sense to have a kit. I guess it depends on the close rate.

    Thanks
     
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,180

    cast sells a nice demo kit which is supposed to go up very quickly. I just cant swallow chasing free demos. Some guys advertise no obligation free demos.

    I might or might not. Im sending out some huge post cards soon and am taking a slightly diff approach including some different offerings that have been proven to work.
     

Share This Page