Question....

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by worx, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. worx

    worx LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    How would you go about convincing landscapers to be proactive in pitching lighting to their clients? What about trying to get involved with the landscaper early in the project by creating a lighting design based on the landscapers layout and offering it to the client as a complete package.

    I feel if I can make this process simpler for the landscaper they may be more proactive with their clients. I already pay a referral fee to some and swap referrals with others. Perhaps putting educational material together along with other promotional propaganda.....?
     
  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I have a couple of guys who hand thier clients my brochure and give me a whole hearted reccomendation. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesnt. One guy I send work to for landscape and irri calls me in before he starts the irrigation so I can work 1 on 1 with the client. This is perfect because I am allowed to prewire difficult areas and conduits with the irrigation system and niether of us are cutting eachother.

    I really do not think it works well when you give the landscaper your proposal or a design then pray the homeowner says go. As the specialist you need to work one on one with the homeowner MOST the time. Some exceptions do apply like when the landscaper or another project manager has been given the power to make decisions and works as a liason to between the homeowners and the sub contractors.
     
  3. worx

    worx LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    I agree Billy and that is the way it works for me most of the time, landscapers call me in to work with the home owner. But I get the feeling there are alot of lost opportunities between the landscaper and the homeowner. Maybe the LS feels he is being too pushy to ask the customer about his or her lighting interests.
    I guess the best option would be the LS presenting the client with an amazing tri-fold brochure about lighting containing your contact info. and hoping you get a call......
     
  4. Classic Lighting

    Classic Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 487

    In the past, I have found it difficult to work with landscapers/designers. They want to do it themselves which boosts their profit. I can think of a few jobs that I bid on with a landscaper and did not get the job. Go by in the future and lighting is installed with Malibu.
     
  5. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    That has been my experience as well.

    landscapers in general don't like other folks on the job making money on job sites they see as "thiers". irrigation, ponds/water features, concrete/stone/pavers, pools, lighting , even outdoor kitchens and pergolas, retaining walls, french drains, landscapers cannot keep themselves to just LANDSCAPING - sod, trees, plants, flowers, living things !

    This seems to be a growing trend among landscape designers and architects as well. there just is not enough folks willing to pay them to draw, so they have to take on building things. and lighting is one of those things that gets snapped up.

    and of course, all of the above folks do lighting poorly. My wife and I drove through a hgh end neighborhood this evening to touch up some aiming on a job i have been installing this week. not one house in the neighborhood had what I would even call decent lighting. pretty much all bad or none.
     
  6. Tim R.

    Tim R. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 87

    Well, I can speak from experience on this one having been a landscape designer and installer in the past. Most times you are working with a limited budget and are trying to get all of your design objectives in within the budget numbers. Lighting often is just usually icing on the cake when what the homeowner really wants done is the cake. Often times the landscaper will have the opportunity and will know they are working with a client or budget that will permit lighting, but most of the time, they just want to get as much of their own work in as possible. If it is a matter of doing a 25k landscape remodel and really tricking it out so he can use all 25k on pavers, plants, fountains, etc.. he is going to do it as opposed to cutting his design back to 20k and giving up 5k to us. I feel it mainly just comes down to them having the right opportunities to share with us, when budget numbers are not as big of a concern as the final outcome and getting it done right.
     
  7. worx

    worx LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    This is true in some cases, but in other cases it's alittle different. I work with a landscaper that owns a nursery and tree pruning outfit. Most all other trades they sub out; pavers, lighting, ponds..etc. I wonder if setting up some lighting at the nursery would get the client thinking about lighting while they are shopping.....?
     
  8. worx

    worx LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    Tim I think you have hit the nail on the head! Fortunately for me lighting requires a license in the state of Florida and not many landscapers have one. Now that doesn't mean they won't go ahead a do it anyway but it does help. So unless the customer is asking for lighting from the start they are attempting to all the available budget themselves......makes since. So again I guess I need to influence the customer while they are meeting with the landscaper by having something set up on-site at the various nurseries. This will sort of bottle neck approach would be more efficient than just fan casting marketing material abroad to the masses.......What do you think?
     
  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    I agree it may be a budget issue. my gripe is the landscape does still try to do it all within the budget, rather than doing fewer things properly. but it seems the lean is towards doing many things poorly to save costs to give the homeowner what they want.

    Take stone pathways- how many properly done pathways have you seen? you know, where they actually level and set each stone, chisel and fit the stones together, use proper base and topping mix as mortar, and took the time to size the stones that look good tegether? I usually comment on it to the homeowner, because it is so rare. I would say most of them are just put in the dirt, maybe sand and then halfway fit, set and barely level. they move when you walk on them. they sink, and it shows it was done cheaply. In lighting, this actually works to our advantage, because it is so easy to run wires under ugly pathways- the rocks come up and you don't have to work that hard to make it look like you were not there.

    I could go on and on about 2-3 year old retaining walls, irrigations systems, that are falling apart etc. while I can see how on 100k to 200k homes the budget may be tight on some projects, it amazes me that these newer 1.2 to 2 million dollar new homes have junk. and that includes lighting. In that same neighborhood there was several houses that had quality fixtures and trans, but yellow bulbs and weird ideas on where to put lights. budget is one thing, but spending money and time doing something and not knowing what you are doing is another.
     
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Do you think they are plant shopping at night ? I have brochures on the counter at the local nursery and it has brought me 1 job in 3 yrs

    On another note. If lighting does not fit the budget now offer to prewire the mains and leave the wire sealed up in an irrigation box. I am doing one next week that I prewired nearly 2 years ago. At the very least offer to ensure all the conduits and power sources make it in so there is little to no disturbance to the landscape when lighting is done at a later date. Do not forget you should be of course charging a fee for this.
     

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