ok, the idea is to maximize the profit in a job, without sacrificing quality. many times just the thought of saving money means cutting back on quality. but many times, it means cutting back on quantity. It means cutting waste. It means making better choices and making decisions that has very little to do with what your effect looks like when your done, or the lifespan of the product you just installed. it means watching dollars on key items and sewing up the "I want it" problem that comes with every new job. I get a 5000 buck landscape lighting job on monday, aprox 19 fixtures and have to buy materials for that job. many of you guys keep trans in inventory, probably different sizes, but I do not. one of the choices I make is when I get that 1st daw is where am I going to get that trans. many of you know I am not married to any particular manu, I have tried many that work excellent and have proven themselves in the field for years. The ones that have not, well, I don't buy them, and the ones that work as well as the others that are pricey...well, I don't buy them either. That is no secret. So I have a choice of about 4-5 different places I can buy a trans, and they are all priced pretty similar. and here is where it get's interesting. shipping matters to me. some folks charge you shipping, some do not. many times the cost of X trans is lower, but not if you compare it fairly with Y trans, which has free of nearly free shipping. also, if you buy the wire from some folks, it will put you into a price range whee shipping can become free. it can even get complicated to the point of fixtures, where buying that may get you into free shipping. see, here's where a lot of you guys and me diverge. I have tested probably a dozen mr-16 sealed mr-16 bullets over the years, and used 4-5 pretty regular. the idea that you guys would shop for your bullets may rock your world. but like trans, i am not married to 1 or 2 bullets. if it has worked for me, it is on the table. The light that comes out of that lens of each of those looks pretty similar to me. I will agree the convex lens bullets do seem to spread light a bit differently on narrow beam mr-16 bulbs. but 30 degrees and up looks the same on floody bulbs. anyway, I look at the total cost and make a few judgement calls, one of which is at what point do I upgrade to a larger trans. I am curious when you guys do it. when I sign a contract with folks, I kinda know whether they are going to add on. do I build that in the trans and wire now and enjoy higher profits later? If I feel confident this is a one and done, do I go ahead and load a 600 watt trans with 480 watts and walk away? or do I bump them to 900 and pay the cost, hoping I am wrong? This decision, and how you regularly answer it, actually can affect your yearly bottom line way more than you'd like to admit. the cost to move up to the next size can be small, maybe 50-80 bucks, or maybe more get your attention 120-200 plus bucks. and also, do you really need or can even use a 22 volt trans here, or will a 11-14 or 12-15 do? is the yard even big enough to justify a 22 volt trans? can any customer actually see the lumen difference a laser accurate .5 volt step trans gives you ? because those are items that cost you money. You may think you can pass them on to the customer in terms of value and higher prices, but if they are not needed and cannot be seen, are you? Those dollars, llike the shipping dollars, like the 10-25 dollar difference in wire spool prices, COUNT. the overall cost of your connections, and yes, if the fixtures all work the same, perform the same, and last the same, the dollar differences count. I will completely agree that many fixtures are not the same. paths, wall washers, those all behave so violently different with the same bulb it is unreal. but bullets for me, there are some to choose from that work for me and perform the same. so those dollars count. on my mythical 19 fixture job has a mix of 4 paths, 14 bullets and 1 wall washer. The lady is older and wants very bright paths and 3 of those need to be 35 watt g6's. the home is one story, so all my uplights there are 20 watts, the trees are all ornamental, so I am planning on all my mr-16's are 20 as well. the washer is probably a 20 watt g6, but maybe a 35. so we are at 105+20+280+20 =425 plus maybe another 15 if you bump the washer. so at 440 watts I would stick to a 600 watt unless I knew she was adding on in the future. That decision is made easier if your cost of trans difference is less than 40 bucks. but that 40 bucks is still 40 bucks . I would not really consider 2 300's unless it was a clean split front and back design, even if I have to go over a drive way or run another 100 ft of cable, the labor cost of an hour or two or 20 bucks on wire would no way justify for me 2 different photocell "on" times every day. further, and more important to the point of this thread, is cost. 2 300's are always going to be higher than a single 600. and usually by more than a little bit. For me, I am also careful on my wire use and overuse. I run my loads mostly on 12 huage and 10, but I only use 10 on the longer runs and I have used 8 on rare crazy long runs. I hate any wire pieces I cut off when we overestimate height of trans mount longer than 2 feet. and the final place your money is going are the toys. You know it, I know it and lets admit it. how many of us buy a new tool or gadget every time we get a decent size job and chalk it up to business? you have a corded hammer drill, but you get a 8000 buck job. now you can finally buy the cordless dewalt 18 volt lithium xpg kit with the hammer drill for 499. ooh, it comes with a flashlight ! Your old scratchy greenlee rms clamp meter works fine, but that 600 amp backlit fluke 400 buck job down at grainger sure looks easy to buy when you have that draw money from the 11000 dollar job. need new cutters, yours has a nick in it? how about a new 6 in one screwdriver, or your strippers are starting to stick. 25 bucks, 10 bucks, 5 bucks. maybe you do this every 2 jobs, every 3 jobs. but it adds up. quick. how quick? On every job, without the toy intervention, I can honestly say I could either go with the most expensive choices on superflex wire, pay the highest for a 22 volt watt trans rather than 12-15 and pay shipping, buy the highest cost bullets and paths in my stable, ( although that is just for me. some of you guys need way higher cost than even I will buy ), and on top of that , be a bit wasteful with wire here and there, or go the other way- be careful what you spend. I ran the numbers on the mentioned mythical 5000 buck job, and the difference is staggering when I shoot the works versus be careful. it is 580 bucks. even one loose choice here was 50-100 bucks. a ten dollar difference fixture cost can cost you 200. I am trying to do 70 jobs this year, this size. many of you do more volume than that. I cannot in good conscience take 40 grand this year not pay attention to it. So be honest, look at the numbers, and ask yourself where you spend your inventory/1st draw dollars. you know you have choices and you can make wise ones on dollars. where's your spread on what you could maximum spend and minimum, even within your favorite choices?