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System Maintenance

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Equinox Lightscapes, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. Equinox Lightscapes

    Equinox Lightscapes LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 15

    Anyone care to share what exactly they do on a regular maintenance schedule, or better yet post their version of a lighting maintenance contract. I noticed in searching past threads that some people include a year or two maintenance in the original price, seems like a great way to build a relationship with new customers.

    I was also wondering if different parts of the country maintain their systems and write their contracts differently.

    IRRITECH LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 931

    For me, we give a one year warranty on all lighting systems including bulb replacement. (Which means if I haven't designed it right I' screwed). Towards the end of the year we run through and make sure everything is working. We then offer a twice a year service. Before July 4th and before Christmas. My 2 cents.
  3. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    On a full year maintenance plan we replace all lamps on the first visit (spring or fall), clean all lenses, adjust fixtures, check wires that are going up trees and make adjustments as needed, check transformer lugs and voltages, check timer and photo control for proper operation, check voltages at lamps, check for any wires that might have become uncovered and trim any vegetation that is blocking the light (with clients permission). On the second visit, whether it is in the fall or spring, we do everything that is mentioned again except the changing of the lamps.
    For this service, the client pays a pre-determined fee in advance.
  4. jdgent

    jdgent LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    Paul, you said you replace all lamps on the first visit. I maintain a system that has fifty plus fixtures that have expensive usio (phonetic) lamps. To replace all these lamps with their equivalent would cost over $500. I don't think that my client would want this expense. Why would you change lamps that seem to be working fine? I am new to the low voltage lighting arena and can see this question being asked of me if I suggest replacing all lamps.
  5. niteliters

    niteliters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    you replace all the lamps so that your not coming back in a week to replace one that burns out, then in another week when 2 more burn out which is what will happen when the lamps reach their life limit. jdgent, I don't do maintenance contracts..We have offered but no takers. Paul offers it in his deal for a year or two which is great becuase it lets the customer know that you are doing something of value without them having to deal with more cost right away. Someone who has just spent ten of thousands of $$$ (usually way over what they thought it would be) isn't going to be excited to hear it's going to cost them x amount of $$$ per year to maintain....Let the frost melt on that pumpkin...understand???
  6. niteliters

    niteliters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    your deal with the guy and the expensive lamps...He can pay you to install them all at once, know that there all new and that you will come out at your own expense if something goes wrong with them for an agreed amount of time or you can come out everytime a lamp burns out charging him for your time. It's a fact that as a lamp burns it loses it's ump or lumeness and that's a good reason to change them every year to keep the job looking like it did the first time he saw it. It can be tuff to get the point across, especially if he has had the system for some time and hasn't noticed anything different in the look. The other reasons, trimming, fixture cleaning, checking transformer are all very important in maintianing the logevity of the system. I tell people this and they just say, come out and do whatever you need to do whenever you need to do it..so we do.
  7. jdgent

    jdgent LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    Niteliter, the account with the expensive lamps is one of my lawn maintenance accounts that has accepted my platinum contract that includes lighting maintenance. The owner informed me that he was burning out lamps in a couple areas very quickly. When asked for an as-built, he told me he didn't get one from the lighting company. I told him that in order to do effective maintenance I would create an as-built with voltage drops, lamp description, wire runs, etc, for x amount of dollars. While doing this, I found that more than half the lamps were at 12.5 to 13.1 VAC....hence his lamp life issue. Anyway, I am at this home a few times a month, so it's easy for me to do replacements on an as needed basis.
  8. Mike & Lucia

    Mike & Lucia LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    I finally got it written and out to clients. Have had a great response so far. These are the tasks we perform:

    Adjust, and straighten fixtures,
    Wipe and clean all fixtures and lenses,
    Trim or prune any interfering plant material,
    Reset and reprogram timers (to adjust for DST / EST changes),
    Replace battery in digital timers,
    Lubricate gaskets and sockets,
    Check voltage and amperage readings,
    Check every bulb and replace if necessary,
    Tighten all transformer connections,
    Re-cover any surfaced wires.

    Any expired bulbs beyond the one year warranty period that we included, are changed out and charged for. There is no additional labor charge if done while we are there for scheduled visit. I offer and recommend a group re-lamping every two years. I feel that is the fairest value to the client, makes the most sense to me, and is easiest to explain (4000 to 5000 hours, etc...)

    Nine out of ten of our maintenance agreements are money makers. And they ALL are great for maintaining a client relationship. After all, your client list is your best source of future biz and referrals.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  9. niteliters

    niteliters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    good job checking the system out...I like you go to people's homes frequently. customers seem to like that kind of treatment..seems more person than another contract they have to sign.
    do you find that to be the case with some of your customers?
  10. jdgent

    jdgent LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    I have twenty-one maintenance accounts and I am like family with all of them. During the summer months I swim in their pools and eat lunch on the cabanas. They give me tickets to football games, invite me to dinner, take me for 140 mph rides in their BMW M5's....you get the picture. I haven't done a lighting install yet, but I have four homes that want it and two that would like to see my down-lighting ideas. Seems that everyone around here doing lighting up-lights architecture and trees, puts in a few path lights, and charges several thousand dollars. Then I come through and figure out why they're burning lamps out too quickly, create an as-built, and ask why there are so many dark spots in the lighting plan. I haven't done an install, but I have looked very closely at a lot of designs and know I am ready to do installs.

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