Propriety Fixtures

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Pro-Scapes, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Since another thread was getting off topic about one having thier own line of fixtures I am starting a new thread. I know its not for everyone and I certainly do not yet do the volume to justify my own line but I was wondering if Mike G would share more pictures of his line and how he went about developing it. From the 1 or 2 pictures posted before it looks like these things could be used as jackstands while changing the tires on your nearest 18 wheeler.
     
  2. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,955

    Oh great, I was about to start a new thread too for the same reason, good thing I didn't. Please see my last response to Mike G's thread on professionalism. I'm a new lighting guy, but I'm developing my business model as strongly as I can, as early as I can.

    Mike M
     
  3. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,955

    Interesting, what would be one fixture for most applications? With today's MR 16's, you have the variety built into the bulbs for degrees and wattages. Use a frosted lens and ya have a little flood.

    I would have one decent-sized cowl or have it be attachment-ready for hoods (hey, I'm lost without the barn doors we use in broadcasting/film). I'll crimp my own leads, etc., which will be better for efficiency in wire length.

    CAST already has this whole thing figured out, you don't need multiple finishes, bronze is like Khaki, it goes with everything, and if you want, you can treat it yourself to look antiqued.

    Just drive up to your prospect and say "here's my fixture," it's custom made to the spec's I want, and I offset the price by simplifying and eliminating the middle guy.

    We don't have to reinvent the wheel here. Many manufacturers in many industries produce the same stuff with custom logo/branding. You would just need to be an established business with enough sales to go past the break-even for the large custom order.

    If I can't buy direct from the manufacturer in the long term, I will follow Mike G's business model.

    Sorry again for getting way way way ahead of myself, but that's how I make and revise my business plan.

    Medium-term planning includes simplifying fixture selection and bulk-ordering as soon as I can (when I get some sales momentum). Kichler offers this kind of pricing, I hope CAST does, too. I'll have to ask a distributor.

    Vista charges the same price for black as they do for verde. So every job is priced as custom powder-coated? Here's an idea: www.vistadirect.com. Why should I have a distributor with no inventory? They should call them lighting brokers. And UPS should offer us frequent flyer mileage. The whole UPS market growth in America has been based on direct sales, not redundancy. Unfortunately, each purchase I make from my current distributor is shipped twice by a premium shipping service.

    Just some ranting.

    Mike M
     
  4. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    mike g talked to me in a private message about this some time ago, he may chime in here or not, I don't know. I know for me the volume to do this seems huge compared to what I am doing now. It is at least a few years away for me, but I am going that way as soon as possible.

    My distributor is nice, but not very knowledgeable. I ask a question, they go to the book. I order something, it takes 2 weeks plus. The wire is higher that lowes or home depot. They stock FX bronze spots and paths, and some bulbs, but every thing else is special order. what good is a distributor that doesn't, well, distribute?

    I really only want a hald dozen fixtures: good mr-16 spot with removable shroud, good mr-16 well, a tulip path and a china hat, a good downlight/tree with long shroud, and a small decklight. those 6 in a cast-like finish cover 98% of effects that I do. With a double o-ring and bulletproof socket, I am spending the next 3 years figuring out what I want.

    Cost wise you gotta think container loads. ( like a 40 foot long, 8 foot wide and tall container)- a years worth of fixtures, that is a lotta dough to lay out. also, what happens when they get to the shore- customs, train, semi, unloading, storage, all these things cost money. that fixture that costs you 15,25 bucks at the factory, ( and more) may cost you double that once shipping and logistics gets the fixture to your hands for use.
    The volume has to be very high for it to make sense.

    when I reach that point, not so much for the money, but for the knowledge that no one can buy a fixture on the internet with my name on it unless I sell it.
     
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Sounds like you need a new dist.

    You state a fixture may cost 25 at factory then end up costing you double that your still in line with a off the shelf fixture. m thinking its gonna cost ya a bit more than that. I am years from thinking about my own line. I am just curious as to the procedure and how one goes about this. I know he said he paid for the tooling and all so im sure the intial cost alone is prohibative all but the most dedicated. We are dedicated but just have not grown to thoes proportions. Im one of thoes guys always looking for ways to improve my gig. Yes its slow... Yes I have a few disadvantages namly being my hearing but i am determined to be the very best that I can be.
     
  6. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,955

    I think we're just frustrated because we know there can be a more efficient model for getting us a product: bulk orders and/or direct from the manufacturer. Let the lawn and landscape guys (no offense to me) get their bullets and wire special-ordered from the irrigation distributors.

    I'm getting nervous. JDL is taking over Lesco. Does this mean I'll have to special order fertilizer, too, and have it delivered in several 50 lb. bags via UPS? (ha)

    I say we start installing Gambino lights if we can get them straight from the source, lol.

    I mean think about, any industry where you need a distributor there are distinct reasons/advantages, such as experience and expertise, shelves full of various products, installation tools and materials, multiple accessories to see in person and from which to choose, and all the basics that they bought in bulk have broken down in smaller units. Without the inventory and specialization, they may as well do away with the counter, and the store front, too, and have workers in India taking our calls, brokering, and making arrangements for our UPS deliveries.

    Mike M
     
  7. High Performance Lighting

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

    I'd like to dispell any idea that what I am doing and have done is simple and easy and within reach for anyone to do. In fact most people in their right mind wouldn't do this. That being said I do not intend to discourage you as it has been a huge part of my success and for some others it's probably the right way to go. I will tell you it has required a tremendous investment in time, effort and a significant financial investment as well. This process is not for the squemish. I'm attaching a slightly edited edition of an e-mail I got today from the agent who handles my fixture line. I have designed a new fixture and I'm trying to get it built. This will give you a fish bowl look of what goes on behind closed doors during this process. keep in mind that there have been engineered drawing charges paid for this proposed fixture to get to this point. Just be aware if you are a small timer like me be prepared to get bent over a chair. :dizzy:

    Mike,
    Not the news you were looking for....
    A very capable factory (not the one who makes your other fixtures) that has begun the mold process for the new fixture has come back to us mid-way...and told us the cost will be higher.
    They can do the casting. we can do the finish, packaging and assembly at our own shop .
    Price is coming out to you at $XX.XX
    In addition....I can't commit to enough volume to get the mold for free....and that is costing us an up front $X,XXX.XX!

    I know you are not going to be happy on this one....but it is what it is.
    No one wants to touch brass casting without mold fees for these low volumes right now...and you designed a really heavy/beefy fixture .

    Now...relatively speaking....no contractor in the usa will be buying a better value than you will be.
    I know you are used to your $XX.XX price....but that was becoming more and more unrealistic as prices have gone up on me(brass and copper material) and I have absorbed much of them.
    Anyway, I do think this will be a great product when done...and you will be the one to approve the samples.
    I will only be acting as your "agent" on this of course as with the others this will be your proprietary product line in which you own the molds and designs.
    I can trust this source. they do not cast for the industry...and are not tainted...for now..

    If you agree...I will get you the mold invoice and tell them to resume.

    Actually....to be safe...for you...I Will tell them i will pay 50% of mold up front...and balance when we approve samples! they should be ok with that.

    let me know...and then i will continue on .
     
  8. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,837

    Mike,
    You know you are my friend, but I don't know what the heck I can get out of this xxxx. Put some Freakin numbers in there! I guess I'm just a nosey Axx, but I can't deal with a bunch of fxxxxxg x's! Come on Man! Spill the Fxxxing
    beans!:blob2:
     
  9. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 805

    Please guys, this is crazy! If you don't plan to sell the design, the fixture, or install a lot more than one guy can install this will not provide a return on the investment. Spend your time growing your business and put your ego's aside. Yeah it would be cool and might make you walk a little taller but that's about it. Sell the BK brass line which cannot be shopped and it's a fine machined jewel, not something that popped out of a mold. I could go on and on why this is wrong. Please don't take my comments to heart, we are all in this together.
     
  10. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,837

    Eden, I have to say I agree with you. The majority of the guys who will ever visit this forum will never reach the ability to even consider a proprietary line. There are a few manufacturers out there that no one can compete with in terms of quality. For those of you who are not too squimish, we can talk about these companies. For the rest of you (us) we should just keep ourselves grounded and focus on the business at hand which is selling high quality lighting and talented techniques with the products available to us.
    I never told anyone, but when I grow up, I want to grow boobs and change my name to Janet Moyer;...........
     

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