New lighting companies

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by bumper, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Posts: 187

    Went the California Landscape Contractors Association Show this past week. Have been there many times before but was amazed at the number of low voltage lighting companies there to show their products. Seemed like lots of start ups competing for the low voltage market.

    Leaving the name of the company out, this rep with one brass fixture for each hand bangs them together and states, bet FX cannot do this. Wonder if that company will be around in a couple years to honor their "lifetime" warranty on fixtures.

    Anybody notice the quick increase is low voltage suppliers??
     
  2. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    It seems that there is a new manufacturer every other week. I think that there are now over 120 of them but I bet there aren't more than 12 that are worth using.
     
  3. High Performance Lighting

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

    The increase has not been quick it's been going on for several yrs. Bumper I was there Wednesday too and every year I come away saying pretty much the same thing you did. However I have been wrong. I don't remember 1 company going out of business in the 17 yrs I've been around. I guess that's a good thing since it shows there is a strong demand for lighting.

    There are few true manufacturers who actually manufacturer their own products these days(Nightscaping,F/X, Vista( aluminum) to name a couple do most of their own). Many who call themselves manufacturers are really distributors.

    There are plenty of gardeners and low end landscapers out there all too willing to use the cheapest materials they can get there hands on. They don't service what they sell so they won't be around when it falls apart. This creates an excellent opportunity for a quality contractor to come in and replace the whole thing with something that performs and lasts. The consumer takes it in the shorts because they generally don't know the difference between a $30 bullett and a $100 one.
     
  4. ChampionLS

    ChampionLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,066


    One thing I have to say, is I see the marketplace through two eyes. On one hand Im a contractor, and have been since 1991. On the other hand, I represent a lighting manufacturer and not everything that revolves around dollars has to do with quality. There are many lighting fixtures on the market today that are imported and made overseas. The low end ones are aluminum and go right up through brass, copper, and stainless. Some of the popular manufacturers private label these with their own colors/ powder coating and retail packaging. If you look closely, you'll see some familiarities between brands. There are many $30 dollar fixtures that are equal to $100 dollar ones, but people will still think higher price means higher quality- not necessarily true.

    There are exception companies that go out of their way to manufacture their own brand, and time has proven their products to last. In our contractor clinic seminars, we always have an individual who claims they make good money on service calls. While these guys are going out and charging $75 for a service call plus parts, The smarter contractors are busy with new installations, making several thousand dollars a day with no callbacks. I would leave the servicing for the homeowners who chose the cheap way out.
     
  5. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Posts: 187

    No need for me to switch loyalties at this point. Quality of the fixture and or components is just one part of the game. Customer service is the other. Given a choice between the two companies I generally use who've proven themselves time and time again vs . some yahoo banging his fixtures together to make his point.....in front of which customer would I put the latter, the competitions of course :clapping:
     
  6. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    Champion, are you saying that as contractors, we should not be interested in service? We should put our focus on new installs only? Please clarify this for me.
     
  7. High Performance Lighting

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

    If you want to achieve any kind of long term success in the business of low voltage landscape lighting design/ build then I suggest you offer maintenance programs for the systems that you install. Even with the finest products available your design will go to hell in a hand basket in no time without follow up maintenance. Gardeners cannot be trusted to keep plant materials clear of lenses. lamp Burn outs that are not replaced in a reasonable amount of time will lead to more burnouts. What you're left with is a portrait that's missing teeth. You should be selling most of your work from your previous projects. You can't do that if they are not looking as good as the day you installed them. Clients who are plunking down $25,000 want to know that you're going to be around to support them and their lighting system as time goes on.
     
  8. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Posts: 187

    Lets say you install 30 lights in combination of pathway, downlights and uplights, cost of the install was 6.5k. What dollar amount would you be looking at for a yearly maintenance contract or would you do T & M for items not covered by the manafacturer or your warranty?

    And Champion there is good money to be made in both arenas...sometimes I prefer installs, other times I like hit and run. Combination has worked well thus far.
     
  9. High Performance Lighting

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

    T & M for all maintenance work with a $100 minimum. Some others may have a set price formula that works for them but I haven't figured it out yet. T & M for maintenance only. Lump sum bidding for everything else this way you are not working by the hour for all other more profitable work.
     
  10. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209


    Besides these things that Mike is saying, you also are building a business. I plan to retire one day by selling this company that I have worked so hard to build. One of the most important selling points for my corporation is going to be the yearly maintenance contracts. Those are money in the bank to a prospective buyer of a company.

    I think the maintenance area of the business is an extremely important one. We do many thousands of dollars a year just in maintenance and we are working to develop a separate division that is dedicated to maintenance only.
     

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