Feeling throttled

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by pete scalia, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. pete scalia

    pete scalia LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 960

    Have you ever or often gone on an estimate with a prospect and all they keep talking about is money and saving it. They make comments like- Oh I don't need Disney land, Take it easy on me, I don't need the best materials , don't use too many lights, Are there cheaper materials available etc. Then you look around the interior and exterior of the home and you realize these people have purchased the best and can afford it. Just the same you find yourself doing things a little differently then you ordinarily would have just to save them money possibly at the expense of the project. Maybe your downgrading materials, putting 2 instead of three lights on a certain tree because you believe they will balk and not hire you unless. I guess what I'm asking is this
    ultimately what wins out
    Business or Art?
    Would you walk away from a project because you thinks it's under serving a client and will not make them happy. Or do you do as asked and sacrifice and cut back on fixtures risking the conclusion that they won't like what you've done and think of you as less of a professional because you didn't insist on the correct amount from the start. In addition what is more important to you,
    That the client is satisfied with the results or that you are or both?
  2. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

  3. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Tough call Pete,
    It is easy for me to sit here and say I would never compromise, but when your looking at a 15-20k project, and the customer is asking for fewer lights, it is hard not to swallow hard and take the contract. Every situation is different and you just have to try and feel out the customer and explain to them the reasoning behind needing the extra lights. You are the expert when it comes to lighting, that is why they called you to come to their house. As Joey said, demos are a great way of convincing someone about the need for supplemental lighting. When it comes down to it though, unless your job schedule is totally slammed, it is hard not to give them what they want if they continue to insist upon it. We all dream of being booked out 5-6 months to give us the luxury of being selective about what jobs to take and which to reject, but some of us aren't there yet.
  4. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    I always encourage my clients to do the same thing... Install as much top quality lighting as they can afford. If this means that only 5 of the 7 zones goes in initially, then so be it. I would rather see them with 5 zones done top of the line, then the entire project compromised by fixture quality or by pulling fixtures out here and there.

    It is a modular approach and the clients seem to appreciate my flexibility.

    Have a great day.
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    IF they give me an initial budget and I know this will never cover the property I take James approach. I have had some pretty good success with giving the initial "show" then allowing them to add on zones and I clearly outline the options for those in my bids.

    Such as... this is quoted from a proposal we did last year.

    "The system is estimated to take 1 day to complete. Minimal property disturbance is expected. Included will be all installation materials, labor, night time system adjustment after installation and trimming of plants necessary to install lighting without blocking the lights. Estimated total for front phase of project $5,994.00

    Options: We can alternately add the Oak tree as discussed with 3 uplights around the base and 4 lights mounted within the tree now for a total of $1,735.00 or you may choose to add this zone at a later date. The transformer is sized accordingly to handle this zone."

    The client had a 6k budget. I did shave a few hundred off the initial install to meet thier budget but amazingly they installed the oak tree as well at the same time.

    planning in zones for clients on a budget can often generate business that would otherwise not be there. Its often the case the client does have the means to do it now but they are afraid to let it go. I am the same way sometimes.

    DEMO... Since you know the client is serious and is only doubting the design and number of lights this is the perfect time for an above ground install or demo. If you tell a client you will above ground it with a deposit and take it away if they hate it it may ease your clients. I have yet to hear of someone who had to take it away.

    This works EXTREMLY well for clients who wish to be involved with the design.

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