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Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by pete scalia, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. pete scalia

    pete scalia LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    I read alot of guys imposing their personal preferences and opinions and saying that this or that way is the best way to go. ie- uplighting /downlighting or fixture/manufacturer choice etc. You can argue amongst yourselves all day and it doesn't make a difference if the only person that counts doesn't agree. That person is the customer.:cool2:
  2. sprinkler guy

    sprinkler guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 223


    Great post! Some of the postings on this forum are downright angry if you disagree with their idea or methodoligy. Some of the supervisors at the landscape company I'm partnered with have a saying. It's about those things they don't like on projects, but a customer wants and loves, so they do it. "I can't see it from house."

    I designed an extensive project for a 5 acre estate a couple of years ago. There were lots of different gardens and walking paths, so I tried to give each little region its own distinct flavor. I had nine differnt pathlites laid out next to my truck for him to reveiw and make final choices on finish and style. The homeowner hated my fixture choices (alot of copper and brass, with some powder coat for a couple of specific things). He sees a couple of beat up old fixtures in my truck, something I had taken out of a job the day before and just hadn't disposed of yet. They were FX Della-Ribattas, a pagoda style fixture, but with a 10" top hat peice. He loved it and asked for all black. Needless to say, it is probably one of my least favorite projects, yet one of the most profitable I've done to date. The customer loved it, and I can't see it from my house.
  3. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Ultimately, if the client is happy then you have done your job. Not every installation can be your personal favourite. Q. Did you de-rate your warranty coverage on the fixtures that the client picked out? We offer a 2 year, no questions asked, blanket warranty on all of our installations (including lamps) but I would be hesitant to provide that on fixtures that were not recommended (client's choice).

    Have a great day.
  4. sprinkler guy

    sprinkler guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 223

    James ,

    I get what you are saying. In this particular case, the client chose a fixture that is still a well made product and does a good job of lighting the walkways and beds. It just happens to be one of the ugliest fixtures on the planet in my opinion.

    If I remember correctly you've mentioned in other threads that you are a fan of Nightscaping. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I'll use them as an example here. If your potential customer picked out a N/S fixture (via online or a catalogue, or however) that was aesthetically hideous, but could still do the job, you'd recomend something better right? But if they insisted on said particular light, you would relent, install it, please the client, and hopefully be well paid for it. On the other hand, if they insisted on a brand that you know wouldn't hold up, or couldn't do the job properly, you would probably do what I have done on at least three occasions in the last year that I can remember. Politely say "I am not the guy for you, your gardener can probaly help you in this case. Please keep my number handy and I will be happy to come back and perform service on the system if you start running into problems." I really hope they never call, beacause the satisfaction of 'I told you so' doesn't outway the headache of someone elses half a$$ed install.
  5. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    I'm afraid I have made some potential customers unhappy. My reputation is more important that what one customer wants. I have had numerous customers request the wrong plants ( shade for sun and vice versa ), the wrong lights ( malibu anyone ), the wrong materials ( can't you use this wire...) The wrong fertilizer- ( this 13-13-13 is fine) and just things I can't do anymore-pagodas.

    At Christmas lights I give customers some slack because it is a temporary up/down, but even then I am running into trouble- " oh look can you get me that 15 foot inflatable santa you put over there?....sometimes when you agree to do something you don't want to do, it comes back to haunt you to repeat it. you guys can do whatever the customer wants, but I got boundaries.
  6. pete scalia

    pete scalia LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    It's your duty and responsibility to give them what they want not always what they ask for. Think about that carefully and you'll get my drift.
  7. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    I get your drift pete. I've been in the lawn business for 25 years now, and I gotta tell you, I've gotten in trouble for giving what they wanted , and gotten in trouble for giving what they asked for, and it is sometimes just easier to not do some jobs. My energy is often better spent making money on other jobs than educating the consumer.
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I often find that alot of times a what a client asks for and what they want are not the same thing. Its up to you as the lighting professional to determine what they are asking for and deliver.

    Path lighting is the only fixtures I generally ask clients thier prefference. If they freak at the price I show then the difference between a cast or kichler light thats been in 1 year vs an imitation. The often silents the price questionif they can infact afford it. I carry some failed copper lights of the "good kind" with me I replaced at a clients house after less than 2 years.

    Let them see the difference between a malibu and your offerings. Often times when a client is spending this kind of money they want to see what they are getting for it.

    Try not to give them what they ask for unless they are asking for what they really want. Too many clients ask for 1 light shining up at a large tree or 2 lights for the whole side yard. Your clients will be happier if you deliver what they really want. If all else fails give them what they ask for then let them know there will be a fee to re-do it if they are not thrilled with the results.

    Im sure we have all had the client who moves/readjusts lights for us or changes lamps.
  9. pete scalia

    pete scalia LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    Read the power of positive thinking by Norman Vincent peale. It will improve your negative attitude.
  10. ar-t

    ar-t LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    If the customer insists on installing pagodas. and you can not "educate" them to use something else..........well, if you can afford to turn down the job, then turn it down. Your happiness and peace of mind is just as important as money and a "positive attitude".

    I guess I must have a negative attitude as well. Maybe I should start to change by adding some smiley faces.........

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