UNIQUE I've been pretty much a Unique Lighting guy for years. I just love the quality they put into their product. And with everything we do (irrigation, landscaping, lighting, hardscapes), I pride myself on using the best quality products I can find. So Unique seemed to be the obvious choice. Recently, I am having conflicts with my loyalty to that brand and I just wanted to brain storm a little with you guys and make sure I end up making the right choice. First, I don't do lighting every day like some guys here. It's just part of what we offer our landscaping clients. But we do a decent amount of lighting every year. Enough that I consider myself more educated and experienced than most of my competition (landscape contractors). The reason I mention this is because for those of you who do it every day, brand may be less important. It might be easy for you to have and even memorize price lists for several different brands. For me, it is not. I am giving 3-5 bids every day - all kinds of bid, not just lighting. I don't have too much time to look up prices and monkey around looking through several different catalogs finding fixtures from several different brands. I want something that I can bid quickly and simply and feel good about it's quality too. One thing I really love about Unique is their list price is the same for almost every fixture. That saves me tons of time right there. The one downside to Unique Lighting is the price point. They are quite a bit more expensive than most other brands on the market. And that makes my bids almost always higher than my competition's bids are. It puts me in the position of being the highest bid, typically. Now I am no stranger to selling quality over price. I still land a decent percentage of bids, despite being the highest. But it does get discouraging knowing that I am often losing jobs just because another contractor comes in with a cheaper bid because he's using Kichler or Focus or some less expensive material. KICHLER So that's what's got me thinking. Plus, I am being pressured by suppliers like crazy to look at other brands they sell. One brand I always get pressure about is Kichler. I don't know what I think about them. But overall, I am not a big fan. Their prices vary WILDLY from one fixture to another. Some are under $50, others are over $500. And there are just SOOO many fixtures it's kind of a circus. Then, to show the customer their brochure and have to look up prices on every single fixture they chose just drives me crazy. I don't have time for that crap. Plus, I have questions about Kichler's long term quality. It's obviously not as sturdy as the brass and bronze fixtures by Unique and Cast. Finally, I don't understand the crazy lamp thing they got going on. Some lamps are 12.4 watts, others are 17.2, others are 15.4. WTF, man? Ever heard of just using a regular 20w lamp or 35w MR-11??? But Kichler's prices are lower, on average, than other brands. And that would make me more competitive. So that's one good thing. FX LUMINAIRE Another distributor is encouraging me to look more at FX Luminaire. And I've always liked that company. To me, they are like Unique but not quite as sturdy, not quite as long of a warranty, and not quite as expensive. But I've been favorably impressed with FX. Good quality for a little less buck. Plus the support I get from the distributor and local FX rep. is pretty awesome. I could switch to FX and still be selling a good quality product, still be offering a good 10-year warranty, but just be a little more competitively priced. That's something I'm considering. CAST Then there's CAST. The main supplier I buy 90% of the stuff we use just started carrying CAST and have been pressuring me to take a look at that brand, knowing I am a big fan of Unique. They don't sell Unique so they know I'm taking my lighting business elsewhere so they're trying to get me to add lighting to what I already buy from them. So I've been researching CAST lately. Seems to be pretty high quality. Sturdy fixtures. I love that. I don't like the original color they come in, compared to the nice brass Unique lights I usually use. But I guess they'll patina fast so initial color won't matter so much. I like their transformers. I like the No-Ox wire. I like the way the transformer powers up slowly to help prevent power surge. I like the fact that they don't try to make 500 different fixtures. But they seem to be even MORE EXPENSIVE than Unique. So why would I switch to CAST when I am already happy with Unique??? Seems like almost the same thing, just a little more expensive and a few more added features. It would make my bids even higher than they already are. But the distributor is offering to set me up with a demo kit for CAST for next to nothing. Just to get me to switch. So that's tempting. We don't currently have a demo kit. Currently, if we do a demo., I just call our FX Rep. and he comes over and loans us his kit for the night and helps us set it up. Anyway, I am just confused now. I am pretty happy with Unique. But not happy always being the high bid. So I've been considering looking at less expensive brands to make myself more competitive. For those of you who have experience with all these brands, what do you recommend I do?