Installation Price and Fixture Question

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by mmarks3141, May 20, 2008.

  1. mmarks3141

    mmarks3141 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I'm a homeowner in the Cleveland area who has been following the threads here and coming to appreciate the difference between the "Home Depot Specials" and quality lighting. My wife and I have decided to take the landscape lighting plunge, and got a recent estimate from the same company that repaired and restored my irrigation system. I had a couple questions:

    Is $3580.00 a reasonable price for the following installation?
    13 Vista 6222 path lights (walkway and front of beds)
    6 Vista 2216 lights (Uplights for bushes and house)
    10 Vista 5241 lights (backyard pool area)
    Two 600W transformers (presumably one front and one in the back)
    About 350' of 10 gauge wire

    As a "bonus", they'll also throw in repair of an existing photocell fixture and move three sprinkler heads that need relocating for me at no charge if I take the lighting job.

    Second question - how do Vista fixtures rate in terms of quality and longevity?

    Many Thanks for the assistance
  2. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    Sounds a little low. Be careful who you purchase through. Remember they are an "irrigation" contractor not a lighting designer. Yes, there is a difference. To be perfectly honest with you, probably 30% of my business is following irrigation contractors like this who have given the homowners a "good price", only to have it begin failing in a year or two. So, if you are ok with probably paying to have it installed twice, go for it. My advice would be to seek out a lighting professional. It may cost a bit more initially, but the design will be much better and the installation will be solid.
    As far as Vista goes, They are a mid grade fixture. I use a lot of their copper and stainless fixtures. I don't use the aluminum which is primarily what they sell. However, what I have used from them is very solid and they have fantastic warranties on their products. Good luck on your project.
  3. MarkOlex

    MarkOlex LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Messages: 28

    The contractor is definitely losing money on this deal. This job using a quality fixture (I am not saying Vista is not good quality, I am just not familiar with it) would probably be closer to $6.5-7k plus. This guy is either new and trying to get some jobs under his belt, or he will not be in business long.
  4. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    My guess is that you are getting ready to be taken for a ride. Remember the old saying: "The bitterness of poor quality will linger long after the sweetness of a good price."
    The price is way too low. Something just doesn't smell right with this deal. I'd run for the hills if I were you, then I'd find a reputable LIGHTING contractor.
  5. mmarks3141

    mmarks3141 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Many thanks to those who took the time to reply. Being new to this and having no previous estimates to go on, I had no idea whether the price was fair, too low, or too high. It sounds like it's too low, and I'll look into some other options before making any final decisions.
  6. Bill S

    Bill S LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    Sir -

    Many people are going to tell you to hire a lighting professional. This guy is an irrigation specialist, so he obviously doesn't know what he is doing!

    It's embarrassing how people automatically come to that assumption. Why not ask him to set up a demo for you. See how he utilizes his lights. Ask him what type of connections he will utilize. Ask him about service, warrantees, etc. Make an educated decision based on his answers and his past performance. We have all started out a little wet behind the ears, no one was born a lighting God -- maybe except for The Lighting Geek - his work his very impressive.

    I am still new to the lighting scene and I work dilligently to educate myself on techniques, installation procedures, etc. I use only top quality products and won't compromise on this front. I did discount my first couple jobs. They were installations for two long time clients that have spent large sums of money with me in the past. I am proud of the work I did for them and I have not had any problems. Not all new people are incompatent. Not all new people will run away from problems. Most will use the opportunity to learn and adjust how they proceed in the future. You know this contractor, you be the judge.

    Best of luck...
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    That does sound really low. I would assume there will be some corner cutting at that price.

    Another thing that strikes me is that sounds like an awful lot of pathlights as compared to bullets. I can count about one job where I used that many pathlights and they job was about 120 fixtures total

    If that contractor does know what they are doing and do a top notch quality installation I wouldnt expect them to be in business long because they are making little to nothing on the job. You can take the best quality fixture and have a poor installation and it will fail or look very poor.

    They first question I would ask this contractor is if they have a volt meter and amp probe and in what method they intend to wire it in. If they say daisy chain or just connect them along the main then look elsewhere.

    Hope this helps but again that price seems a bit too good to be true.

    My biggest concearn here is will the installation be within code around the pool area ? Does your installing contractor know the code and know how far fixtures can be placed from the pool ? Will this contractor be ensuring your system is properly powered with GFCI circuits ?
  8. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    Sounds low to me as well. Since you have been following some threads on here, you know what most of us try to get per fixture.. You can add that up and see what most of would do this job for. Also with 2 600 watt TF would make the price a bit higher as well.

    Aslo the moving of irrigation heads. Get yourself another price. Or ask for a demo. All the advice above is good advice.. My .02
  9. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    I'm not saying the guy doesn't know what he's doing simply because he's an irrigation contractor. In fact, I know a few water boys who actually do pretty good work. What I did say, however, is that the price is too low for me to believe this is the guy you want to hire. If he's just starting out, then he should learn the trade first and charge correctly for his knowledge. Let him practice on his own home. I know all of us had to start somewhere, and the installations we all did for the first few times were for people who didn't take the time to ask the pros on this forum. Low balling just because you want to purposely make mistakes on someones home just isn't right nor is it tolerated in my mind. The one who is just starting out should actually charge more to cover the multiple times he will possibly have to go back to take care of the client. My first job was charged at the same rate as the pros already in business. I did this for the above mentioned reason, and also so that I would not be undermining an established profession.
    And yes, I knew what I was doing on my first job because I took the time to learn and practice first.
  10. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    The price of that job here would run 6500-7000 as well. corners would have to be cut somehow, and that would probably be in the wire guage or waterproof connectors, the quality of the trans, how deep the wire is buried, or something. those are pretty good fixtures, but with poor installation the system will look dim, unbalanced, and fail within 2 years. You might be lucky, this irrigation guy may be very good at lighting, and he is just doing the install for the price of the fixtures and wire. but most folks that are good value thier work highly. even if I was crazy hungry for work to feed my kids, I would still be higher than that bid. Good luck.

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