cheapskates

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Malibu landscape, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. Malibu landscape

    Malibu landscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    Got a call from a customer I put some lights in for along with a small landscape job spring 07. This guy has chosen to change his own bulbs so I haven't seen the system since I left it. he calls complaining that he has several broken glass lenses on MR-16 fixtures. Wants to know why that happened and why he should have to pay for me to come and fix them. I get there and I find 50 watt bulbs where I had 20 watters. He has a habit of running his sprinklers in the evening with the lights on regardless of the fact I advised against it. this business requires alot of patience some times. I'll wait to see if the check comes in the mail.
    PS- I see the backyard which I gave him a proposal for at the time was done by someone else (probably his gardener) using Home depot lights. Fixture types are in most of the same locations where I proposed them to go.
     
  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    This is why we offer a free rebulb service warranty period for one year from installation, and give them a price to rebulb each year after that with the same warranty. If you agree to replace bulbs for free in the 1st year of ownership, when you come back you can talk with them about adding those extra lights or whatever. sometimes just being in front of the customer ( like the gardener was) can cause folks to go ahead and do work.
     
  3. Malibu landscape

    Malibu landscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    You obviously build your "free" rebulb service into your initial installation cost. Doubtful this customer even had the gardener do it. In fact I'm sure he did the back himself. I'm in business to make a living and grow my business not to give away "free" rebulb services serupticiously built into the cost of the initial system under the guise to come out and sell more lighting.
     
  4. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    You are really missing David's point.
     
  5. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,112

    Completely missed it! Wow!
     
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Yep, not only did you miss David's point... but you also sound a lot like someone we all know and 'love'.

    Perhaps it is just the fact you work the Left Coast and in particular LA/Malibu area? Not sure, but sure sound similar to a former contributor to this forum who comes from the same area. Amazing how geographic/social similarities can be recognized isn't it?

    In any case, I offer my clients a no questions asked, 2 year comprehensive warranty that includes lamps. I have even been known to offer free service on minor issues for years following the installation. It is a VERY cost effective way of building a great reputation with your clients... one that they are sure to comment on to their peers, colleagues, friends and family.

    Think of it as a method of sure fire "network marketing". In fact, a good accountant can even show you how you can "write off" your time and materials spent in servicing your clients as a marketing/promotional expense.

    Have a great day.
     
  7. Malibu landscape

    Malibu landscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    I see . So you advise working for free even when unwarranted on the hope that your customer will appreciate that and recommend you to others who also appreciate and expect things for free. Doesn't sound like a sound way to do business.
     
  8. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535




    See, here's what I mean about missing the point. :rolleyes:

    Don't advertise it as a "free" service... Just tell your prospective customers it's included in the initial price.

    Tell them you like to create long term relationships with your clients and make sure they're happy because you know that word of mouth refferrals are your best source of new work.
     
  9. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    I would at minimum offer them a lamp package to purchase that would include replacement lamps for all the different fixtures you used. Tell them at minimum buy lamps from you. And explain the importance of not installing lamps with higher or lesser wattages! This will keep them from going to home depot....HOPEFULLY!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2008
  10. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    Let's see if I can be clear. I give a one year labor and parts warranty on my bulbs, transformer and fixtures that I install. If there is a problem, I come out and fix it for free. If I installed it properly, there should be very few issues. I don't add any money to jobs for warranty work because I rarely have any. I think I did a total of 3 warranty calls this year on the 50 or so active systems I am on a rebulb rotation on.

    If I come and discover vandalism, or lightning issues, irrigation issues or a customer has installed higher wattage bulbs that damaged something, that is not warranty work and I won't do repairs without a signed work order for the cost. A bill unpaid does not a court case make.
     

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