Anyone on here familiar with VOLT Lighting

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Wbcousins, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. Wbcousins

    Wbcousins LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Hi, I'm just starting out with LLV and I'm looking for advice from any professionals who want to help the newbie. Mostly I'm just checking out different lighting companies. Where I'm from there are not a lot of people who can shell out big money for a lighting system so I'm looking for something a little cheaper than what I've seen on here. I have found VOLT and I was wondering if anyone here has experience with them such as pros/cons, or problems arising from the lights.
    Blake Cousins
    Owner/Operator WBC Landscapes
  2. jana

    jana LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

  3. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Blake, please see my comment here:

    A lot of your component decisions could be determined by what distributors carry in your market. I would recommend you look to Vista. They have a very broad, complete line of well designed, good performing fixtures and components. All made in the USA and all properly listed. Look and see if you have a John Deere Landscapes distributor on the island or nearby as they are a master distributor for Vista. (You might have to bring your product in from Halifax) There are a number of other excellent manufacturers of quality lighting products, but not so many that offer quite as much section for a guy just starting out. I would also recommend you look at Coppermoon and Focus for decent quality products at reasonable prices.

    Be very wary of those products that do not offer a proper electrical safety listing... they may appear to have attractive prices, but sooner or later you will get caught using them and it could cost you dearly.
  4. Wbcousins

    Wbcousins LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Thanks guys for the advice, I have checked VOLT out and their products carry a UL safety listing. I can easily get their products here as my father has a business partner in Florida and they run trucks home during the winter and spring months and have said they can bring them up for me. I have also contacted some more local distributors (NS, NB) to try and find pricing and availability information but they have not been in touch with me.
  5. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    If in fact they carry a UL listing, well that is news to me. They certainly do not make any statement to that effect on their website or spec. sheets. Its a good step for them to take... however it will not suffice for you. The listing must be applicable to Canadian standards. As I stated previously, the listings you are looking for include: cUL, cETL, CSA, cMET, cTUVus. The first three are the most common. You must ensure that the product listing has the little 'c' in it, otherwise it is a USA only designation. The fines are pretty steep if you get caught, it simply isn't worth the trouble.
  6. Wbcousins

    Wbcousins LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Okay thanks, my next question is do you need to be a certified electrician to install LVL? From what I've read you need a contractors license here on Pei to sell the fixture which requires 2 years as a certified electrician but on their sites they seem to only consider electricians as someone who does electrical for buildings.
  7. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    The rules on licensing and certification vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In most cases, the authorities in Canada have not considered LVL to be a specific or stand-alone trade. I would recommend you talk to your local electrical inspector and ask them what they might require in terms of permits and inspections. My guess is you will be allowed to sell and install low voltage landscape lighting systems without being a licensed electrician, but you might have to apply for and have an inspection done for each new installation.
  8. Wbcousins

    Wbcousins LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Thanks a lot man you have been a great help so far I never would have thought of these things until it was too late. I guess that's why I joined is to learn from people who know what they're doing so thanks man.
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876


    I've used Volt before in the past. I like their prices on transformers. I do not think the transformers are UL listed though. At least not the multi-tap ones that go over 15v anyway. But I liked them nonetheless. We fried one (probably our fault, wiring issue) and they still replaced it anyway. Which was very cool.

    I have to be careful because Volt is a sponsor of this forum/site. And we definitely appreciate sponsors here. That's what makes the site possible for all of us!

    So that being said, I think you'll find there's a little bit of animosity toward Volt around this forum and in the outdoor lighting world in general. For a few reasons.

    1) Their fixtures are pretty much a straight knock-off of the Unique Lighting products. I think some people think it's not cool to just copy other company's stuff like that.

    2) There is no wholesale & suggested retail (& MAP) pricing with Volt. There's just one price. Homeowners and contractors all pay the same, low price. (more on that issue below).

    3) They do not sell through distribution, like most other brands do. Which means it's cheaper to the contractor, but less money and less jobs for the local distributor.

    So the issue with #2 is sort of a big deal for contractors. Most brands have a wholesale price and a retail price. So let's say the "Bullet" light from "Company A" has a retail price of $150.00. Well, as a contractor, you might be able to buy that product for 50% off retail, at $75.00. But you only get that discounted price because a) you're a contractor and it's a trade discount. and b) because of the volume of sales your company does each year. You can determine how much you sell that fixture for. But since your homeowner can't buy it from the distributor for less than $150, then $150.00 is a perfectly fair price for you to charge, if you want to. Thus, you are able to make a 100% mark-up on the fixture (Costs you $75, you sell for $150). There is a little bit of a problem though. Due to a thing called MAP pricing, which dictates what the minimum price that online retailers can sell for, your customer is able to find that same product online for $120. So now it's a little tougher sale at $150. You may decide to bring your price down to $120.00, to remain competitive with internet pricing. which is still okay, because that still equates to a 60% mark-up. Now 60% isn't nearly as nice as 100%, but either way, that's good profit. That's in ADDITION to price your charging for labor and other job materials. So this makes lighting one of the more profitable parts of our industry. In what other part of our industry can you make a 60-100% mark-up on the materials and still be competitive? None, that I know of.

    So the problem is that because Volt doesn't have any kind of contractor discount, they take all that mark-up away from the contractor. Now, instead of making 60-100% mark-up, you're making 0%. I don't care what product you're selling in what industry, 0% is a crappy deal for you. Sure, your bids are a lot more competitive now. Maybe that equates to you landing a few more lighting jobs. But at what cost? At HUGE cost to you. While the rest of us are making good money at lighting, you're making a whole lot less.

    Some contractors are okay with that, because they are just having trouble selling lighting as it is. Their customers cannot afford the $150 per fixture brands. I relate to that. I was there about 5 or 6 years ago. Had real trouble selling it. But the solution for me wasn't to go with a cheaper brand that brought down pricing and eliminated profits. The solution for me was more marketing, working harder at attracting more high end customers who could afford the good stuff, and working on getting some really great photos of our work so people felt we were worth paying more for. That worked well for us.

    Anyway, I'm not making any personal judgements here. I like Volt and I've been happy with what I have ordered from them as well as their warranty. I'm just spelling out what I feel the arguments for and against them are. Hopefully that helps.
  10. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,247

    I feel the same way about the pricing structure with them. I really want to get into lighting and was looking at some of their gear and was impressed with the pricing till I took notice that there was no contractor pricing.

    FWIW I have a customer that has a complete Volt system and she is pleased with it. It was put in by a local company and they did a quality install.

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