Kichler Trip

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by LightYourNight, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 875

    Having just had a meeting of several lighting professionals here locally, It was a consensus of opinion that the future of AOLP rests in the development of local chapters and districts. We (CA chapter) really want to educate the consumer and the typical landscape contractor about quality lighting. We want certification to be locally proctored. What benefits us is influencing our local business environment. I believe local involvement would benefit each of us.
     
  2. MAGLIGHTING

    MAGLIGHTING LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248


    I just see things from a different point of view. All the power in this industry is controlled by the manufacturers and distributors. They have all of the money and they make all the rules. They decide who you are going to buy their product from. They do the lion's share of the instruction to new comers. There interests are to generate as many contractors as they can who will hopefully be brand loyal to buy their product. To them the more the merrier, it's a numbers game. Same thing with distribution, the more outlets you have your product in the more chance of making sales. The industry is so fragmented and contractors are mostly small mom and pop shops who have no power , little money or say so.

    It is very very difficult to establish a lighting only design/build business anywhere in this country. Succesful niche operations are very very rare. The system is not set up to support niche businesses. How can it be when manu's and distributors are looking to turn every landscaper, irri, masonry, handyman, gardener into a lighter. What other industry does this?

    Very few manu's and distributors care about protecting their golden goose who is the contractor. Many encourage retail sales at close to contractor prices. Many rely upon it because competition , with there being so many product choices, has become so fierce it's a matter of survival for some.

    The LVLIA/AOLP was intended to be a contractors organization. A contractors organization for the benefit of contractors. I didn't see too many benefits for the contractor in this organization in 2001 or whenever it was founded. In 2009 I see even less with the proliferation of manufacturers and distributors who have become members. Now it's becoame a place for them to market and sell to a captive audience.

    Janet Moyer has never paid a penny to be a member of AOLP. She is paid to come to conference. I highly doubt she would be a member if that arrangement she has with the association changed.
     
  3. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Hey Mike, I have to ask you;(Tongue planted firmly in my cheek.) If the AOLP were to decide to change poster children, and named you as their next 'Cellebutant Lighting Guru', offering you all of the sames benefits and glamour as the current arrangements offer others, would you accept? :)
     
  4. MAGLIGHTING

    MAGLIGHTING LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248


    Tommy what is your plan? How will you go about educating the consumer and the typical landscape contractor? Who is going to pay the high cost to do this? The manufacturers and distributors? And whose "better high quality" system ( aluminum, brass, copper, halogen, LED, incandescant, 1838, 24 V, hub, Tee, etc.) is going to be promoted since there is no unification to speak of ? How is this any different than status quo? Wouldn't the CLCA which is a state organization be a better organization to partner with than the AOLP which has no local presence?

    Thanks I look forward to your response.
     
  5. MAGLIGHTING

    MAGLIGHTING LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    Glamour that's a good one. It may appear like mentioning Janet's deal is sour grapes but Not a chance James- honestly. I mentioned it only to state that the AOLP pays for her membership and implied endorsement and I'll bet they would never get it without pay. That's my point.

    I think you can tell that I'm not out to win a popularity contest and not afraid to speak my mind. I can afford to pay for membership and to attend conference if it were worthwhile and I don't make my living as an educator as Janet does. Janet is smart and I don't begrudge her deal. She's a savy business woman and gets paid for what she does and deservedly so. I'm not a speaker or educator or polished in that manner. I'm a hands in the transformer blue collar contractor .

    How about you-the same question?
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102


    Sure looks that way Mike.

    I seem to recall, going way way back now, a certain guy named Bill who told/warned all who would listen, that if they allowed manufacturers into "their association", then it would change the nature of the beast for all time to come.

    There are some out there who will try to claim that Bill was trying to 'corner the market' and start an association for contractors that would simply exclude any competing interests. If that were so, would he have established it in the nature that he did? Would he have set it up to run democratically or would he have set it up more as a private club with a sole leader?

    Anyway, that is ancient history now. Not much can be done about it. And with Manufacturers, Distributors, and Direct Sales Agents forming the largest revenue stream of the current AOLP, it is likely to not change in the near future.

    Join it if you need to, and if you must. There is some good there for some. Perhaps this move to regional chapters will signify a major advancement for the needs of the contractor members.

    Then again, maybe not. Our group here at Landscape Ontario (The second largest green industry association in North America) recently tried to partner with the AOLP in offering the CLVLT program, tailored specifically for the Ontario marketplace. Rather than see this as a huge opportunity to branch out and spread the realm of influence of the AOLP, they shortsightedly saw this as potential stream of revenue. Rather than allow us to moderate and deliver the current program to our members here, for a modest fee ( LO does not use certification and testing programs as a profit center) The AOLP insisted on having us charge a large, significant fee for using "their" (and I use this in quotes for good reason!) program and would require us to pay a 'renewal fee' for each certification too. Ultimately this was unattractive to us here, so we have decided to 'break ranks' and go it alone. We are now in the midst of developing our own training and certification program and the interest level of our members in joining or maintaining their relationship with the AOLP is at an all time low.

    Have a great day.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  7. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Naw, it's not for me either Mike. I am just a lighting guy from the North Woods. I mean really, what do I know about any of this? :laugh:

    I can stand up and pontificate about the importance of environmentally friendly outdoor lighting practises, or vehemently debate the technical merits of LED lamps, but I think I lack that 'celebutant status' that would be required for the job!

    Now someone who gets flown across continents in a private jet.... That is the person for the job! :clapping:
     
  8. MAGLIGHTING

    MAGLIGHTING LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    Bill's brainchild ,What had become LVLIA, was originally intended to be a manufacturers association and not open to contractors. Not one manufacturer would join Bill in spite of his best efforts over the years. Bill paid for the bylaws to be written with his own funds. This is what he told me. Since he had the investment already made and not one manufacturer would join he decided to make it a contractors association.

    I think his feeling towards fellow manufacturers was somewhat jaded when they wanted to join after making it a contractors association and not before.
     
  9. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 875

    Mike, we are formulating a plan as we speak and working out details. I don't think it will be simple nor easy. Quality is not just components necessarily, but the other things you and I know makes a quality install. The tentative plan is to work through the local distributors equally to work with contractors. Consumers, we are looking at possible doing some charity work. We will be discussing some sort of involvement with APLD and CLCA in the future, as you have pointed out is already in place and has many ways for us to plug in so to speak.
     
  10. MAGLIGHTING

    MAGLIGHTING LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    So you want to work with the distributors to help them build your own competition by way of training landscape contractors so distributors benefit from increased sales? And this benefits the member contractor how?

    I think I like the current system better where the distributor gets the landscape contractor all pumped up to add lighting to their service mix. Then when the landscape job is coming close to finish and the budget has been stretched so far that lighting is what is significantly cut back on. Cheap fixtures are used, questionable installation technique and the whole thing turns out a mess and a huge headache for the homeowner.

    Then the homeowner after becoming totally frustrated a year later and a few dollars more calls Tommy Geek to give them what they originally wanted. And everyone lives happily ever after.

    My kids college funds are invested in this system.

    If it isn't broken why fix it?
     

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