Customer wants cheap lights

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by lawnspecialties, May 17, 2006.

  1. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,513

    First off, please don't blast me. This was not my idea.

    I am a full-time firefighter with a pretty successful lawn maintenance business. As is so often the case, I have a customer who lives in a half-million dollar home, is as nice as can be, but is just as cheap as they come. He and is family are from China and they have the worst case of "keeping up with the Joneses" I've ever seen.

    Well, last week his next door neighbor installed some Lowe's/Home Depot lighting in their front garden area. Basically five or six small lights shining up at the house, mostly the windows. Now, my customer has to have some as well. He knows his neighbor paid just under $200 for the set and really doesn't want to go much more than that, plus what I charge him for the labor.

    Finally the question: Should I just go ahead and get the same stuff from Lowe's or is there some other alternative. I look forward to the install and learning a few things, but is there anything better I can get from my suppliers (Lesco, John Deere Landscapes, etc.) but at a similar price. Thanks ya'll :)
  2. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    Hello Lawnspecialties,

    Your not going to find any professional lighting equipment that compares monetarily to the Malibu stuff at the home cheapo store. If this client wants the look that his neighbor has (it can't be good) and your not going to have to warranty it, let them buy the stuff and you charge them a few hundred to install it. Keep in mind though that when that stuff falls apart, he might not be very happy. I would explain to them that there are quality lighting products out there that will blow that cheap stuff out of the water and you can make his home look like it should be in a magazine. He might want to show up his neighbor. What ever you do, don't daisy chain the install and try to make it look as good as you can make that stuff look.

    Good luck,
  3. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,513

    Thanks a lot, Paul. I figured this to be the case but I had to at least check.
  4. desert night light

    desert night light LawnSite Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 215

    Your wasting your time on that material. when it fails it will make you look bad. It will make you look bad long before it fails too. all around it's a losing proposition. some people just won't pay for good lighting. just move on and deal with those that will.
  5. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Posts: 1,196

    If you do want to go ahead with these folks, be sure to explain to them that the average life of these fixtures is less than a year. They will chip, corrode and break. Explain that if they want a system that will continue to function for as long as they live in their home, they will need to invest in quality fixtures and system components. Tell them with certainty that their neighbors will be dealing with a broken system in the near future, and that you don't want them to have the same problems. To cap it off, present them with an old broken cheap fixture (if you have one) and a new quality fixture (preferably a solid bronze one - yes, I'm biased).
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I wouldnt touch it. I have done some years ago with homeowner quailty stuff and just as everyone says... a year or less maybe 18 mo depending where you live.

    I would take a few photos of proffesional quailty lighting and snap a quick pic of the nieghbors and let him compare side by side. Since your night a lighting installer I would find someone in your area and reffer to them and if they are a fair contractor you will get a spiff (I pay 10%).

    We just finished an install today with all cast components (1st phase 15 lights) at a home surrounded nieghbors with malibus and flood lights. We go back in about an hour to check it out and attempt to take pics.

    Its your call what you do. Personally I would tell him to install it himself as you dont feel its safe to install substandard fixtures.
  7. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    Remember guys, this guy is an lco. This is a lawn maintenance client of his. He does not install lighting for a living or even as a side line. He has a client that wants him to do a small side job of putting in some lights. My first job was the same thing. I didn't even know that there was good quality stuff out there until after the fact. After the bug bit me so to speak.
  8. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,513

    Thanks everybody. I'm just going to go ahead with the cheap stuff if that's what he wants. But, I'm definitely going to tell him beforehand what he's getting (or not). Thanks to all for the input.
  9. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    Just remember, the work you do and the product you install will reflect back on you. If the fixtures fail and the system fails to perform up to expectations of a "professional" installation, the clients never blame the substandard product, but they will blame the installer or the industry. Sometimes you are better off walking away or giving them the option of a quality system installed in phases as they can afford.

    Start with a high quality transformer and wiring system and place inexpensive fixtures for the effect today with the intention of replacing the fixtures in a set time, maybe 1 year from now. Show them the difference between big box store brand quality and photometrics before they spend any money. A cheap tool is an expensive tool, when it keeps breaking and you have to replace it, the same adage goes for cheap lighting products. Before you know it, they have spent more money to band aid the cheap stuff, when the could have purchased quality fixtures, transformer and wiring in stages. Whatever you do, will reflect back on you for a long time. Install quality correctly and you will be know for professional installations, and be able to charge accordingly!

  10. Travisty

    Travisty LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    I got a question. I just pulled a bunch of malibu out of a yard and put in Kichler.
    I noticed you said not to daisy chain the lights paul. If you put everything on a hub do you still get a huge volt drop?? I guess the quesiton is without a multi-tap transformer can you get around the volt drop... or would you have to use like 8 gauge wire for runs at a certain length?
    I think the end fixture on a long daisy chain was at 9.1 volts!
    Wow, it was dimm..

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