1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

local resturaunts

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Pro-Scapes, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    For thoes of you that do new construction lighting at local resturaunts and such how did you get in with the contractors ? I have seen some really crappy jobs done and i know we could far surpass them.

    Case in point. We just had an olive garden open here. Way under lit. Some of the spots were pointed nearly directly out into the walkways... some were pointing near horizontal at the walls with nothing more than a hot spot... Then 3 lights within 6 ft then 25 ft with nothing.

    I would really love to do places like this and really show our work off.
  2. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Posts: 326

    This is an interesting thread Billy since last saturday night when I left a corporate chain restaurant I couldn't help but notice the plastic solar lighting stuck in the ground lining the pathways to the parking lot. My wife commented to me that I should speak to the manager about doing something over there. The only way it would be worth my while or yours or anyone else's is if you were able to place a small conspicuously placed lighted sign where people would notice it. Otherwise it will bring you very little. Also they would have to be 100% commited to allowing me to have my druthers with regard to design and make a real showcase out of the property which means they would have to have a significant budget. Some would say why not do it for cost. I don't believe that's fair since the value and return on investment the restaurant would receive by enhancing their image and improving their property would far out weigh the cost of the project itself.
  3. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Posts: 326

    In addition you'd want to make sure the restaurant is frequented by your target market.
  4. Flow Control

    Flow Control LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,267

    Any type of lighting (wired, not talking about solar) would be most likely be included in the initial design of the store, rarely will it be a design build type of project. If you want to bid on stores before they are built join a bidding service or just call the GC's direct and ask them to put you on their list to bid. The solar lights that you noticed were probably an afterthought and fit the budget of store since it was already constructed. I would guess it would be next to impossible getting a lighting job after the store is complete, unless it is not corporate owned and if it is is not not part of a large chain.
  5. niteliters

    niteliters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    the icing on the "what's the cons of commercial installation" cake is, dealing with general contractors. they're looking for the lowest bid. Does this mean that one can't find the engaged owner who then hires and conveys his vision properly to an engaged contractor who recognizes the cost/quality concept of quality outdoor lighting?? Certainly not, when you do find them..especially the owner, you'll be on your way to some exciting and fulfilling work. At the present time, however, they are the perverbial needle in a hay stack. There might come a day, hopefully thru the continued success of the LVLIA, when it is common knowlegde to look at lv lighting for commercial projects and beyond that an exceptional designer.
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    some valid points taken mike.

    I was looking more for repeat business from the GC's rather than targeting clients. I doubt any chain resturaunts are going to let me put out a sign unless I dontated lighting which aint going to happen to a profitable business.

    I know GC's are going to be looking for the lowest bids. Im not the lowest. Usually about the highest but I offer something extra and my service is 2nd to none.

    A client last night (happens to be one of my doctors) told me he was taking bids on his lighting and I polietly informed him I would not be the cheapest game in town nor do I offer competitive bids but I would however offer him more and also a very fair deal as he has always taken excellent care of me in the past.
  7. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Posts: 326

    True of GC's building tract homes but If you are looking into the New construction/re-model market, Custom builders are the ones you want to approach because if they are succesful they certainly do not look for the lowest bid when selecting a subcontractor. They will choose someone who will offer the best value and make them look good in the eyes of their clients. Furthermore most work on a percentage of or cost plus basis meaning the higher the cost of the project the more money they make. So it is actually in their best interests to maximize the dollar amount set aside in the project budget . It's a matter of you informing them and that's a whole other issue because I have found that some builders are so out of touch with quality LVL that the amounts budgeted to such projects are miniscule. I've seen jobs where the landscape budget is 1 million dollars and the lighting budget $10,000 and even as low as $5,000.

    I have been very succesful working with landscape architects and FEMALE designers. You can thank the major manufacturers and lighting distributors in your area for taking away the potential possibility of working with landscape companies. Via their seminars and marketing materials they have most of them believing that it's such simple work and so profittable that if they are not doing it they are complete idiots and are losing money. Many end up never making any money from landscape lighting and create ill will with their clients over the failure of the system and their unwillingness to maintain it. How do you explain to a client that the lighting you put in last year will never perform the way they want because you have no idea how to bring 12 volts to the lamp and the equipment you specified has failed because it's junk .

    On the other hand though I'd like to thank those same manufacturers and distributors for creating such a lucrative market for those like me. Probably 80% of my work is removing, disposing of and designing and installing a new system for homeowners who have been unsatisfied by what there non specialist trade installed for them.
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    again some great points.

    I find here that custom high end home builders leave most anything exterior to the landscape contractor. They are given a list of whats desired and a budget and they go to work.

    Even with a LVL warehouse and showroom right here that sells to only contractors with a pretty fair stock no one is buying locally. I am having a hard time retraining the market to accept the amounts that a quality system costs.

    All to often I run into "we are taking bids" or well the landscaper is half the price of you. This coupled with clients wishing to dicate what goes where is about enough to drive a design orientated contractor nuts.

    Hopefully with a little help I can finish breaking into this market and have the problem of being backed up like alot of you are. I would really love to walk away from the landscape scene as its getting stupidly competitive (ie guys putting in 25 gallon trees at 30 bucks over cost.
  9. jbone

    jbone LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    I think thats a great consideration, but......how?
  10. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    It would have to be an upscale establishment, not Chili's but a restaurant that you have to make a reservation or at least is in a very upscale neighborhood.

Share This Page