Ubiquitous Lighting Fixtures - Exposed!

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    I have been doing a lot of research on foriegn sources for all of these Ubiquitous products like bullets, path lights, step lights, deck lights, that the likes of Alliance, BQL, Cucamonga Products, VOLT, Clarolux and so many many others are "manufacturing".

    I have developed my leads to the point of having documented communications with the factories and their local (Asian) agents who have provided me with wholesale price lists for many of the products that you will find available through these companies. You would be amazed and perhaps even shocked if you saw the pricing.

    I have decided not to post the pricing here in this public forum as It serves absolutely no purpose what so ever for the Professional Lighting Company that uses Professional Grade components that are fully listed and guaranteed by actual manufacturers.

    I firmly believe that we MUST stop this race to the bottom in terms of component costs.

    You get what you pay for guys. It is an age old rule that applies not only to our services but also to the components that we use in our systems. Let's stop this race to the bottom... it is only going to hurt the Professional designer/contractor and only going to propel the Direct Sales Importers of offshore products.
     
  2. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    What was the name of the Chinese province or city that we found where a lot of the import lighting is produced James?

    Seems that one could get these things so cheap (in cargo container quantities) that they could still make a profit at $29 for an uplight....and a huge profit if they're marking them up from that.

    It's no wonder so many "manufacturers" are popping up, and that so many of them look like they rolled out of the same factory...

    Did Unique get the ball rolling by contracting with factories in China a few years back?

    I think they call this unintended consequences. Weak patent laws, cheap labor and lax environmental standards all contribute to the problem.

    But not all Chinese manufacturing is the same. I've held some hefty and nicely finished brass fixtures from Unique, Coppermoon and a company that doesn't get mentioned much here, and whose fixtures I haven't seen copied, Atom Lighting.
     
  3. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    All of our products are now obtaining Over Seas Chinese Patents. We hosed ourselves years ago by not protecting ourselves and then a bunch of others saw that we were on to something easy to duplicate in their eyes and fast forward and we are where we are today. But that is why we are continuing to re-design products, make them better, and innovate new products and systems to better the industry and force the copy cats to play catch up. China can produce some quality products but to this day I will tell you that trusting China's QC is suspect! Big reason why we do all of the Assembly, Packaging, QC, Marketing, Design, and Sales here in the USA! Increases overhead costs but ensures quality! Something else that gets dismissed is all of our hard R&D work in figuring out how to make these products correctly has just been capitilized on by these factories and by these importers. Before buying a knockoff product you have to ask yourself what went into the design and did they do the work or did someone else!
     
  4. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    There is more and more excellent quality product being produced in SE Asia and China. Heck turn over your Ipod, your Motorola cell phone, your Canon DSLR camera, etc etc. There are even some excellent LV lighting products coming out of China as you noted. The key seems to be the level of involvement that the 'parent' company is willing to invest with it's offshore factories.

    All of these knock off lighting "Manufacturers" are not investing that same level of involvement and commitment to quality. They are simply attending massive trade shows, finding the manufacturers and vendors of these ubiquitous lines, and then importing them by the container load. The products arrive without listings (the N. American distributors are left to submit for and obtain the necessary listings) and are generally 're-branded' and repackaged for sale here as something 'new and improved'.

    The products might very well be of decent quality, and they might stand the test of time. The real uncertainty is going to be in the distributor being around for the long haul to back up the warranties.

    The thing is, you don't have to purchase a container load of product to get the insanely low prices... you can work through a local vendor /agent / distributor in china and get nearly as low prices for this stuff by buying case quantities. Of course they will not be listed for use here, which will pose an issue for the professional installers. But when you see the prices that these products cost these distributors, and you see what they are charging for them... well let me tell you, the spread more than accounts for the 'inconvenience and expense' of shipping, importing and listings!

    As for your question re: China it is the Guangdong Province and specifically Zhongshan's Guzhen township which is the lighting capital of the world, with 1,800 companies employing 40,000 people and making all manner of lighting products.
     
  5. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    I've been complaining about the race to the bottom on line for years.

    All you have to do is to collect catalogues and just start matching product. It's no accident the "bargain brands" out there look alike. Most is spun or very thin die cast. Very little is actually machined from bar stock.

    You have to buy American to get quality metal and finish and that kind of quality is not cheap.

    Tom

    Now I'm all grumpy again.... and I'm really looking forward to seeing a Broadway opening tonight....
     
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    I would appear that my post here struck a nerve as I received a call from Chris Walden from Alliance Outdoor Lighting today. We shared a rather long, in-depth conversation about the state of the lighting manufacturing industry today. Chris had some interesting insights and viewpoints.

    I have taken another look at their product line, and although it does have a number of rather familiar looking products, there are also some that are different enough than the rest to make me consider that they might do business a bit differently than some of the other direct to market distribution companies that are posing as manufacturers.

    Check them out for yourself, and draw your own conclusions. I encouraged Chis to come onto the site and post in his own defence.

    Regards
     
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I just got an email today

    Dear Sir,



    This is Robert from China, live and work now in Guzhen ( the lighting capital of China), ZhongShan City.



    I am already in the foreign trade field of lighting and furniture(exportation) for nearly 7 years, to give good

    services and with high work abilities for foreign customers as requested. Care more what customer needed

    is my aim.



    As now more and more foreign customer comes to China searching for good production supplier(products)

    or establish factory(company) in China local to achieve more profits by their own, this is a trend on new type

    of business extension,and I am honourned willing to serve you as your company staff or agent(if you need to

    hire the one like me), to make matters easier and convenient.



    For more details,please feel free to contact with me!



    I have attached my resume, please kindly review once you are available.



    Thanks for your attention and waiting for your highest comments!



    With all best regards!



    Sincerely Yours



    Robert


    Not sure but he even attached his resume. I for one appreciate a company who does R and D. Companies like Coppermoon and Unique will adjust things as needed. 2 weeks ago I needed special mounts from Unique. DONE right away. 3 weeks ago I needed a custom riser fabicated by Coppermoon and a special request on some ordering. DONE and shipped in the same day even.

    On another note alot of these guys are popping up with lifetime warranties. That does me little if there is a high failure rate besides hurt my business and cost me any money I may have saved.

    I do agree some of the quality we are seeing from overseas is improving over things I saw 3-4 years ago. You do really have to watch what you get from over there. Some is paper thin like Tom said and some is much thicker like Unique and coppermoon.. This race to the bottom will definatly kill the industry. Its just another reason we need licensing and better education for it.
     
  8. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    ah, the new world order. it is only a matter of time before the guys that install alot of lights will bypass the distributor and go directly to the Manu in china. This is not a matter of a race to the bottom, as I think that light guys will demand high quality fixtures and sockets. but rather this will be a squeezing out of distributors. I am already at container volume for my Christmas light biz, when I hit container volume for my landscape lighting biz, I too will be seeking a way to get quality at a lower price. Heck, if I can get my lights branded with my name and phone number on it like Mike G, I'm all for it. I've always stood behind whatever I sell, why not brand it?

    Warranty issues can be discussed all day long, but the reality is I repair/replace all my lights out there now at my cost anyway. who doesn't carry spare sockets,lenses, and o-rings on thier truck? the only real warranty I use is on the trans, and with FX, I have only had one or 2 warranty issues in ten years.
     
  9. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,173

    David Alliance told me that they're more than happy to have your name branded on the fixtures. of course you'd have to buy in larger volumes than little ol me... but it's good to dream. I think as most companies have found manufaturing in china the problem lies in the lack of protection for intellectual property. Lets say unique has some new lights made there, its VERY common for the factory to run that order and then in the off hours or after that order is run make a bunch more and sell under another name. GM has learned this the hard way because on of china's most common cars is pretty much a grey market chevy aveo. of course they cheapen the steel, change the badges but supposedly you could take a door off the aveo and put it on the chinese version it's that an exact a copy... until you get in a wreak.
     
  10. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    this is still several years away for me. It took me 8 solid years in my area to reach container volume in Christmas Lights. Although I have dabbled in LV lighting for 15 years or so, I did not get serious about it until a few years ago as a stand alone business. I figure in 5 years I will be at container volume, but dang, that will be a buncha bullets .
     

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