Lighting Installation - Supply Purchase

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by NJLightingNewbie, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. NJLightingNewbie

    NJLightingNewbie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hi! I’m about to go down the road of having about 40 different fixture types placed on my property. Independent of my real question, there’s probably a few requirements I would say that are maybe outside of a typical install.

    Longer wire runs to go around/through beds etc.
    Desire for centralized wired or wifi based switching
    One run that will need to go underneath 9 feet of driveway (there is an existing crack I am OK with cutting and I will have sealed separately as not part of this project.

    Now comes my real trepidation with the project. I understand 1 inside transformer, different exit points from the house and the need to dig in certain areas to make the wires disappear. My problem is that the contractor is refusing VOLT products. The math I have is showing around a 50% markup on non-volt fixtures. In a project of this size, that’s over $1900 extra Im paying because of a supplier relationship.

    I totally get it - I am in a service tech business where I can sell products to my clients (via BIG channel partners) but I have found that the support and maintenance I will make off the lifetime of the hardware is more than enough to just have the customer buy the equipment themselves.

    I totally get that there are pro grade products that seasoned pros only want to install and I really appreciate that commitment to quality - I guess my question is - if i am willing to sign off liability and manage any/all manufacturers defects myself - why wouldn’t you let me purchase the equipment and you provide the design and installation services? In my opinion that’s the true value add. Making money from the purchase of the equipment from the supply house is creating a bubble of opportunity for pros who don’t care what kind of equipment they work with.
  2. Delmarva Keith

    Delmarva Keith LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    As in most businesses, you start your own business, you make your own policies and rules.

    I’ll illustrate with a story that actually happened to a plumber friend. The job was to replace a toilet for the proverbial little old lady living on a small pension. Could not be simpler, but the customer wanted to supply the toilet. Ok, my friend says, labor to replace a toilet is X (figuring it was a simple job, like a half hour max plus travel, the quoted price was low). The customer buys the toilet on sale at a local big box so as to make it there, on site, ready to go. Well plumber friend arrives to do the job, and the big box store toilet is missing some parts. Of course the toilet was some cheap off brand that needed some sort of weird parts he didn’t have on the truck. So the cheap, half hour job turns into boxing up the toilet and exchanging it at the big box store for the little old lady. Turned a half hour job into more like most of the day, plus gas expense for the trouble.

    Part of the moral of the story: as a business owner, work with only pro grade products that you specify, order and supply so everything is there and works right first time, you know doesn’t have any bizarre or otherwise unfamiliar installation requirements or limitations, isn't missing anything that’s critical or just makes the job go smoother, etc., etc.

    If they do the install of this complicated wifi enabled lighting system with all hardware supplied by you and nothing works when they’re done, would you sign off on that? Are they supposed to reesearch, prepare and hand you a detailed specification and parts list for everything that will be needed to do the job using parts to be sourced from an unfamiliar manufacturer? Are they supposed to figure out how to install all this unfamiliar hardware and then troubleshoot any problems? Etc., etc.

    Anyway, there’s of course more to it from the business ($$$) side but most high quality design / build shops that I am aware of don’t need or want the headache of a customer that wants to save by supplying the materials for any type of job.
    Jimmy Turks, knox gsl and Miller5862 like this.
  3. kellanv

    kellanv LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,227

    Contractors won't typically use client-supplied products despite any "promises" made because when push comes to shove, those promises often fall apart. If I supply both fixture and labor, then if something goes wrong, its easy to figure out who is responsible for fixing it. The last thing I have time for is a he said/she said between me, the client and the manufacturer to figure out who is to blame. The only contractors that I know of that agree to these situations are guys sidelining or handy-man types.

    Secondly, contractors factor in markup as part of their profits, overhead, warranty etc. If you take the markup away, the contractor should adjust his bid to make up the difference in lost revenue. This all assumes the contractor would agree to this in the first place.

    You either trust the installer or you don't. If you don't, find someone else. If you do, just pay the money already and be done with it. If you jerk around the contractor too long he will likely show himself out!
    Jimmy Turks and Delmarva Keith like this.
  4. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,664

    At this point why not just DIY it?

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