How do you pick a good lighting company

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by dave k, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. dave k

    dave k LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,177

    How do you know if your getting a good landscape lighting contractor? What do you look for or better yet what questions should you ask? I am interested in having my front yard done and money permitting the back as well, if not need it so it can be added to in the future.
    Thanks for your help
  2. BPC

    BPC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 119

    Normally I would just say call me but you are in Georgia and depending on were in Georgia it would take a few hours to get there.

    Try calling some of the local supply houses out there and asking for references. That would be a good place to start. They normally won't refer out anyone who is going to do a crappy job.

    First off you want to make sure this is something they do on a regular basis. Do they have insurance? Find out if they have any systems in your area that you can drive by at night and look at. Ask for references. Ask what brands they install. Make sure they are installing good quality products. Do they warranty their installs? Do they honor manufacturers warranties? Some contractors will do a demo so you can see what your property will look like at night.

    I am sure I missed a couple things but I am normally at the receiving end of this conversation.
  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Dave. If I wasnt a contractor I would definatly look for someone who knew what they were doing. Someone who could provide you with the answers you seek. Someone with good refferances and a strong background on service. I know there is a few contractors on here who are in GA and very proffesional and take gret pride in thier work.

    Besides knowledge and work ethics you would want to look for some one who uses a quality brand with a warranty in writing. Be sure your willing to pay what it will cost to have a well qualified designer and installer perform the work. You will always be able to find someone cheaper but often times you will make sacrafices and pay more than you originally saved to correct a poor installation.

    Above all be sure your contractor of choice addresses any concerns you may have and also listens to your input. If this is a seasoned designer with a great portfolio and track record then highly consider thier input as well. If you let us know where in GA you are maybe one of us can reffer you to someone who services your area.
  4. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    Here's a suggestion. Ask them what the maximum wattage requirement for 12 guage wire is. Or, what is your formula for calculating voltage drop? This would be fun to do if I were a homeowner, but if someone did it to me I'd probably think they were trying to get enough knowledge to do it themselves. However, if they know this kind of stuff at least you will know they have some basic knowledge anyway.
    Your probably better off asking for references and view some of their work. Check the references that are at least a few years old. Don't worry about the brand new customers because they probably haven't had the chance to test the guy's work ethics yet.
  5. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Great responses from BPC and ProScapes there....

    My advice is to get referrals and references, and then be sure to follow up with them. I would ask for at least three to five. Then if that checks out, ask them to take you by one of their installations that is similar to yours. (at night of course). This will give you a very good visual understanding of their design and installation abilities.

    Remember that most great outdoor lighting comes down to the artistic ability of the designer combined with the technical aptitude of the installers to interpret and create the designers vision. That being said... look to smaller operations with fewer staff. The owners of these companies tend to be very passionate and take pride in their work with no communication gaps between designer and installer.

    I would NOT try to start testing the contractor with technical questions.

    Have a great day.
  6. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    I agree with all of the above- I'd check the yellow pages of all towns withing 60 miles of you, there may be several landscape lighting companies to choose from. you need to see their work, and jobs they dis 3-5 years ago if possible. call those folks and ask about any problems and how they were solved. a job may look great, but if it is running to high of voltage those bulbs will burn out fast.

    I wouldn't do the technical thing, there is not a very strong agreement on maximum load stuff at low voltage any way, even among literature published out there. there is a range, and he may be out of it, but try to focus on what his jobs look like at night and what his customers say about him.

    take a look at his fixtures, he should bring a sample. buy the heaviest lowes or home depot low voltage spotlight, compare it, and the contractors STILL should feel heavy and substantial. I could get technical here, but weight is a good indicator of how much money is going into that fixture.

    you can also check at the better business bureau if you have one to see if anyone has lodged a complaint against that company.

    good luck. and I hope he/she lights your home well

    dave g
  7. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    You know, some of you guys can be so uptight sometimes. As I said, the technical questions would be fun, but probably not the best thing to do... forget I said it.
  8. dave k

    dave k LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,177

    Thanks Billy for the heads up, I live in Statham Ga not far from Athens Ga. I have been reading some posts and saw a post from South Eastern Outdoor lighting in Atl. I'll give him a call and see if he can help, any other contractors you can recommend would be appreciated. Thanks
  9. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    David H at south eastern outdoor lighting would be a soild choice. He is on the AOLP board of directors and a real proffesional. I dont think you can go wrong with giving him a call.

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