Anyone Using Volt Light Fixtures with LED Lamps?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by JimLewis, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I was checking out the Volt series of solid brass fixtures on LLW and dang those things look pretty nice! Very close to same quality and look as Unique, which I already love. I got to thinking to myself, "Maybe I could get the best of both worlds! The look and quality of Unique, mixed with the [labor and wire] savings and longevity of LED technology" by using these fixtures combined with, say, the Illumicare LED spots.

    I am kind of starting to like this idea.

    The problem currently is that it's very hard to find an LED fixture that is really high end quality (e.g. brass) but also with an LED lamp in it. By the time you add LED lamps into a Unique fixture, you're REALLY expensive. But this could be a really good solution to that problem. Best of both worlds.

    Anyone already doing that? Feedback on how LED lamps work with these units?
  2. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Have you looked at the Kichler or Vista brass LED uplights? And how about DG Lights or Aurora?
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Yah, I've looked at Kichler Brass LED lights. And just about fell out of my chair when I saw the price. My customers have trouble swallowing the price of a Unique fixture. Much less another $60 or more for these fixtures. They're not going to go for that price.

    I haven't looked into Vista, no. But I can't imagine most of the big suppliers are going to be very affordable for a really nice brass fixture with LED. The great thing about the Volt Line is you can get a great looking solid machined brass spot light for like $44 and even after you add in shipping and an LED lamp, you're still WAY under what you could get a comparable Unique or Cast brass or bronze fixture for, with LED lamps. And it's also still under what you'd pay for even a Kichler plastic fixture.
  4. indylights

    indylights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 179

    So after raving about how much you love the new Kichler LED line, and then complaining about how they wouldn't give you a demo kit, you just now realized what their pricing is? Why don't you do yourself a favor and go to Home Depot, buy one of their $20 uplights and $10 LED lamps and just be done with it? It seems pretty obvious your biggest concern is price over function, so just go totally low end and compete on nothing but price, and see how long that works for you.

    Scott Maloney
    Sunflower Landscapes
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Wow. That was rather rude. Oh, wait a minute. I see you're from Indiana. Ok. Makes more sense now.... :rolleyes:

    I understand your rush to judgment given where you're from. But next time try reading more than one of my posts before you pipe off with your assumptions. You'll end up looking a little smarter.


    If you ever read any of the other hundreds of posts I've made in the lighting forum over the years, I've always been a huge fan of Unique. I love the look. Love the warranty. Love the quality. Love the service.

    I only recently I said that I was impressed with Kichler LED lights and was considering switching to them. If you had bothered to read what I wrote, you'd note that what I was impressed with was the fact that they don't fade at lower voltages like every other manufacturer's lamps did in the test they were showing me.

    But I'm not impressed with how all of their fixtures look.

    This fixture (at $145 list price);


    Just doesn't look anywhere close to as nice as this fixture (at $108 list price);


    And I've actually had customers chose Unique over Kichler LED in the past few months specifically because they really didn't like the look of the Kichler fixtures. I know it shouldn't matter what the fixture looks like. And that's a great theory and all. I agree with it, to an extent. But the problem is that many clients actually DO care about what the fixture looks like. They also care about things like quality of the product and warranty.

    So unless I'm missing something, the Volt product looks pretty dang nice, is made of solid brass, is less expensive, and has a lifetime warranty. I admit I haven't used their product. So if you got a stick up your butt about their product (equating it to home depot crap) then do tell! Tell me why you think going to the Volt line is so unprofessional, Mr. lighting genius of Indiana.....

    Anyway, I wasn't saying I'm ditching Kichler. I'm just at a juncture this year where I'm seriously looking at going to LED and not installing as much Unique lighting as I have in the past. I was pretty interested in Kichler just based on what they showed me. But I was thinking to myself this might be another way to go.

    Again, if you got a problem with why that's not a good idea, do tell. It would be better than just piping off like an ******* without explaining yourself.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011
  6. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    "See the light, not the source" - Bill Locklin
  7. emby

    emby LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 380

    Well said and right to the point.

    The above quotation is REALLY important within your compositions. It makes it look amazing when it has been done properly.

    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
  8. fxcraig

    fxcraig LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Interesting Thread. As an outdoor lighting designer in the Dallas Fort worth area I have found that offering a variety of led fixture options is very advantageous. Most mfg's are offering 15 year warranties with their led lines, and a 40,000 hour life. Most are in the same competitive range of pricing. So that being said, I demo several options depending on the clients specific application(s) for their property.

    The design aspect is what I believe adds the most value in developing a true custom led outdoor lighting system for a client. Color temperature is key. For example, lighting the exterior facades typically will require a consistent warm color temperature for best effect. Normally I demonstrate a slightly cooler temperature when tying in the landscape. In Dallas, the moonlighting capitol of the world, most of my clients prefer a 5500 kelvin led to produce a moonlighting effect.

    So, with all that said, my imput on the thread is this. Sell design, not fixtures. I use 3-4 different mfg's and they all have strengths and some weaknesses. I tell the client upfront, that I am not married to one particular mfg and I choose the best light source based on the application(s) per their property and I know which mfg's are up to the task. Very seldom does the look of the fixture come into the equation. If you are timid about selling led lights at 275-350 per installed price, then you may have a rough go at succeeding in this industry. I never ever discuss fixture price, only installed price.

    I hope this has been helpful.

    Craig Smith
    Dallas Fort Worth Outdoor/Landscape Lighting
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876


    I really appreciate your well thought out response.

    A few questions though; when selling a lighting system, the kind of lights you're going to install never comes into play with your customer? They never want to see how the fixtures are going to look? Because you must have different customers than I have then. That seems to be one of the main things I get asked. At the price we're selling lighting for, most of the people I talk to want to see what the heck it is they'd be paying so much money for. So when I bring out a solid brass Unique Pulsar light and show them that fixture in one hand and give them another plastic fixture from some off brand in the other hand, all of a sudden they perceive the value.

    Sometimes even before I get a chance to show them the sample fixtures, people are already asking me about what they're going to look like.

    So either you don't get that same experience for some reason, or you just try to change the subject and explain that it really doesn't matter what the fixture looks like? To me, that just seems odd. Marty Grunder has a great column in the current issue of Lawn & Landscape magazine on the subject of "What Customers Want". And his main point in the article is that we all need to do a much better job of listening to what our customers are asking for rather than telling them what they want. To quote from his article, "I am amazed at the number of sales professionals that go right into making suggestions and assuming they know what the client wants before asking questions."

    So with that in mind, when someone asks about the the fixtures and what they look like, I feel like I should show them. I've always been proud of what we sell and haven't had any need to hide it. The stuff looks nice as well as being functional! You're saying I should just tell them, "Um. Don't worry about what the fixtures look like. That's not important. What's important is the effect. You're not really going to be seeing the fixtures anyway."

    Well, I think a lot of customers would probably just go along with that, just because they don't want to be rude. But inside I bet a lot of them are thinking, "Really? I shouldn't care what they look like??? I'm not ever going to see them?? Huh??? Actually I am going to be seeing the path lights all day, and probably a lot of the spots too. It may not matter to you, but it kinda matters to me. If I'm going to be dropping several thousand dollars I'd like to at least make sure the stuff I'm buying is going to look nice too....." You don't think customers are ever thinking that?

    I do agree that customers will often follow your lead. Most of my customers really respect our company and trust me a lot. So most of the time I can steer them whatever direction I want in terms of brand, etc. because of that trust.

    I'm not saying the looks of the fixture are the absolute most important thing. I think they're just part of the equation. But to say that the looks of a fixture doesn't matter to customers at all.... my experience says otherwise.

    So I started this thread just thinking maybe I could find a way to deliver both - something that looks great AND provides a very efficient and lighting system.

    I'm just thinking through different options here on the forum. That's all. I appreciate everyone's input.
  10. emby

    emby LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 380

    Hi Jim,

    I totally respect your thoughts but one way that I handle that is to educate my customers on how important the design is and not the fixtures. Having more confidence in your design expertise will help you portray that amazing scene you are creating. Make the design the star of your business not the fixtures.
    All my clients call me back year after year to enhance their outdoor world and believe me its not because they like the look of the fixtures and I know for sure that its that beautiful lighting atmosphere that I created.


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