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Curious how you handle this

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by RLI Electric, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    I did a job today for a client. I installed 2 tree lights about 28 feet to 30 feet in a tulip tree. I was not able to make it back to aim and adjust tonight but we used lasers to site in the lights. Should be about 99% there. I am going back tomorrow evening to see how everything looks. I spoke with the client tonight and her husband thinks the lights should come down 5 feet. I told them I will look at it but we usually try to do a certain height to keep the source as far away without being ridiculous. If you were to go back and the client insisted that they come down, would you charge for it? I am against the idea of them changing my design (of course I say again, I didn't see it) but I am pretty sure that I will still disagree when I get there to drop the fixtures. For anyone who says the customer is always right, would you charge for the "change order"?
  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    What clients ask for and what they want are often not one in the same thing. When he says come down 5 ft he could be talking about adjusting them because of a glare factor or perhaps there is a hot spot on a lower branch you thought would be ok ? In answer to your question. I commit to satisfying my clients. If they are unhappy with the finished product I do what I can to make them happy. If they want to add to the system or make a change requiring a great deal of effort then a change service order would probably be in order. Rememeber I often do not bury my systems until the client has seen the finished install. Some people just feel inclined to be a part of it. Meet with your client and find out why they feel that way and if it is feesible before you jump to conclusions.

    I always ensure I am there the night the system is turned on. I usually try to do a quick adjust before the clients even see it.

    Make sure your client knows that lowering the light will in fact decrease the coverage and/or increase glare. Educating your clients on why things should be done a certain way is often times part of the job.
  3. klkanders

    klkanders LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 849

    Same here. On a recent Install I didn't follow my usual routine however.
    On the front of a brick home I washed some walls with light leaving a center area unlit because I was waiting on another wall washer and some other fixtures to arrive. Well I was excited to see what I had done so went ahead and set system to come on that evening. When I arrived after dark the customer loved what I had done. I mentioned It was not complete quite yet and explained what else we had talked about but customer insisted it looked fine as is. It did look good but not exactly what I had envisioned. Lesson learned.
  4. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    Been through this before and more than once, for me it depends on why the customer wants the adjustment, a discussion at night on location would take place. If it was clear he for what ever reason could not be convinced otherwise then yes of course the 5 foot adjustment would be made absolutely without question. Most of my work is obtained by word of mouth or more often by them having "seen" my other work. A truly satisfied customer is more important to me than keeping the integrity of a original design. Now a change that would incur a obvious and unfair expense.. that would certainly be discussed in detail. When I drive away I need to know they are happy. Most likely they will be showing off their property to their friends and family my future customers.

    Sometimes it is just easier to do what they want.... as apposed to convincing them what they don't like is something they actually do like.
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Again educating your clients as to why things are done a certain way becomes important here. He may be asking for the light to be lowered but he is trying to accomplish something else.

    Trust us on this one Bob. Make your client happy either via education and explanation /adjustment or move the light. a happy client is sure to be worth an hour of your time and provided you need to return to the job anyways it is most certainly worth it.

    I have gone so far as to tell people I would take everything away if they were not 100% happy. Never had 1 person ask me to remove it.
  6. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    Thanks guys, I am doing my aiming tonight. Couldn't make it last night, kid obligations. Needless to say, there was no trace of attitude, I am wondering if they are concerned about changing lamps on the trees. I suppose when they watch me go up a ladder tonight in the dark they will think twice about trying it themselves. Maybe I will even ham up the "danger" aspect:)
  7. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    a customer becomes a raving fan if you go above and beyond what they ask for and expect. I have found that you can educate and inform, but in the long run you need the reputation that is built by folks talking about you exceeding expectations. I would move the lights if they want it, even if the effect is worse. and not charge. I might even add a light for free at the same time that they wanted but could not afford to do at this particular time. that always freaks out people. 200 bucks spent on wire, connectors, light and labor is the best advertising you can spend for creating a raving fan.
  8. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    Just a follow up. I did go to the house and it was actually right on. I had another guy with me for the install so when I aimed the laser at his gut at my intended target it worked out perfectly. I need one of those kickin lasers they have at Jan's class, not a free one from a manufacturer. We walked the yard and they were in love with everything. I think he was concerned about the height of the fixture for changing lamps more than the effect. They were in love with it and wanted to do some more. I guess this thread was moot but thanks for the input everyone.

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