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Would you start a lighting business right now?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by seolatlanta, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. seolatlanta

    seolatlanta LawnSite Member
    Posts: 176

    Hi Guys,

    Long time no talk here on Lawnsite!

    I wanted to run a few questions for you guys and get some feedback.

    1. Would you start a new lighting company right now , considering the lame economy?

    2. If yes , what would you do first to get business and what would you do in your first year marketing plan?

    3. What are some things you definitely would NOT do again. !!

    4. How would you approach setting up your bookkeeping , answering services , etc.

    I should add I have been in the business for 9 years or so. A contractor for 7 and was working for a distributor for 1 1/2 years or so. I know about design and installation , but I was looking for good insight as far as running a real professional lighting business.

    Thanks in advance
  2. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    Whats up Dave! Good to see you here again. Call me if you need anything!
  3. seolatlanta

    seolatlanta LawnSite Member
    Posts: 176

    I wanted to clarify a couple of things regarding my post. I could not figure out how to edit my post.

    First , I was a lighting contractor for 7 years and I did run a professional lighting biz until I tried something different.

    I am just looking for input on how to restart my business , and restart it without too many mistakes.
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Dave long time no talk hope all is well.

    How did you start it before ? Did you feel you did it right the first time ? Since you are already licensed in GA thats a good start of course. Since you already know what to do as far as installations that is a huge help too.

    You live in a lighting hot spot. There is a ton of business there obviously and also a huge amount of competition. I know of at least 6 guys who are stand alone lighting guys in the metro Atlanta area.

    I know there are post card decks and all there that can be cost effective means of advertising and I know others in your area use em. I for one keep things lean and have not had much of an issue surviving and even thriving in tight times. Certainly in 7 yrs in business you made some contacts and did work for alot of clientel. Try to start with them maybe with a mailer letting them know your back and ready to serve thier needs should they need service or additions to systems. Email me when you get a chance there is somethings we can discuss in private.
  5. seolatlanta

    seolatlanta LawnSite Member
    Posts: 176

    Hey Billy,

    I guess what I am trying to get at is what marketing is working for you guys?

    Do you get more results from your website and such than direct mail?

    What else is getting the phone ringing for anybody ?
  6. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,943

    Here's a boring response from someone with less experience than you.

    I recommend an evening scrolling back the last 12 months.

    I would not recommend jumping back into lighting with a big marketing budget, but rather with a gradual, crafted approach. You have previous accounts, and that would be a great re-entry if you plan to return to that region; focussing on service, add-ons, referrals, etc.
  7. emby

    emby LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 380

    Hi Dave,

    I am really new, you could call me an apprentice. One thing I had in my mind when first starting out was that I was going to be the best at what I do. I wanted to focus on one thing and thats lighting and I will succeed. I am neat, precise and I ensure that the customer gets what they want and thats a professional landscape lighting system that is going to be there for many years. Give the customer that with a maintenance plan and they are happy campers. When they are happy they will talk to other people and then they will call you and so on and so on. Networking is great and the harder I work at being precise and professional the more people talk about it. They will wait for a good thing.
    I often find when I am waiting to do final adjustments that you get to conversate a lot with the customers. I really pay attention to those conversations. One customer commented about a particular restaurant that his wife and him like going to. When the job was done and cheque in hand I handed him a thank you card with a gift card from that restaurant. To me thinks like that go along way. I try to do something like that for all my new customers small or large. Whats a couple of hundred bucks towards the great marketing that they are going to do within there network.
    Just a different aspect form a new guy.

  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102



    Ken you are going to be just fine. Keep up the winning attitude, keep doing a great job, keep impressing those clients, and keep those referrals rolling in.

    Sounds to me like this guy has taken the time to do some reading, maybe even a bit of Purple Cow? Being "Remarkable" is not all that difficult when you understand exactly what it means. I think Ken has it figured out so far.
  9. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    Good stuff Ken!
  10. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    Dave, I honestly would not reccomend starting this business even if the economy was booming. Firefly just started up a low voltage division up in Indianapolis within a very successful electrical contracting firm. with a great exzisting reputation and a fairly staggering marketing budget, they are making a dent and getting sales. there is another thread through here detailing the amounts spent and sales got.

    After 3 years of trying, I can say that Landscape lighting is a very difficult business to establish with modest marketing and word of mouth, even though I have a very sucessful Christmas light business. we have 500k population here, and I am the only "lighting only" company, and I have struggled to stay busy 1, 2, 3 years ago in the non-holiday season. I truly could quadruple my lighting business now and still only have 1 employee to help me from Feb 1-Sept 15.

    if you are determined, and are willing to spend 10k per month to get 25-40k in sales, go for it. I don't have the margins or the deep pockets to do so, so I just look in awe over the folks who can and do. bear in mind you will be competing with the same guys who spend mucho bucks to get the same customers.

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