mike g's fixtures

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by David Gretzmier, May 20, 2007.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    I figured a new thread was in order since a few folks had opinions on the website thread. I have a few questions you probably have answers for, so here goes-

    how did you arrive at the fixtures you have now? start from scratch and improve over time, or improve on existing design you liked and beef it up/add features?

    at what level of fixtures per year did this make sense and you could afford to do it?

    when you sell your business, will you require the next owner to keep the name and use the fixtures?

    what if a big national chain or very large local landscape firm wanted to buy your business and change the name/brand name to thiers? is there a price on that?

    or change phone number to thier customer service?

    If the dollars when you sell are 1 million plus, these are concerns that are sure to come up. I am all for what you are doing, and I'd like to hear if you see these as potential liabilities, or as a way to sort out the folks who have the money to buy you out when you get ready to retire.

    also- this is the time you other guys can chime in with your questions and concerns about branding your lights.
  2. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    I am currently working on two innovations that should prove to be effective and hopefully quite popular. One is almost fully developed, and the other still has a ways to go. I will keep you posted as I get closer. I am very intersted in this thread. I will be watching to see what you others are doing.
  3. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    Another question would be; are these fixtures UL listed? If not, what kind of liability would be incurred if something were to go wrong? That's kinda sticking your neck out there. If they are UL fixtures, you still are the final stop when it comes to law suits. As manufacture and contractor, you are 100% liable for anything going wrong on that project. I know California is full of people just dieing to sue someone.

    It does set you apart from all of the other landscape lighting people however and you can name your price, which I'm sure is hefty, although I'm not sure it's enough to make up for the outlay required for such a move. I'm pretty happy using quality materials and putting my name on the design and installation. My company name (NightScapes) is too much like the manufacturer, Nightscaping, for me to even think about branding my own fixtures anyway. I would hate for people to get us mixed up, although they do make some good products.

    Well, that's my $.02.
  4. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Messages: 326

    I can appreciate your interest in what I'm up to and the particulars as to the nature of how and why I conduct business the way that I do. That being said I'm going to decline to discuss this in a public forum for the following reasons.

    1- I detect a certain animosity towards me by certain individuals for whatever reason whose goal is to challenge everything I do or say. I don't know if they are threatened by me or what but I'm a small 1 person high end, high quality provider of low voltage landscape lighting products and services to the southern california market. Hardly a threat to anyone outside this area. I'm not succesful because I say I am but because my clients do the talking for me by hiring and referring me.

    2- I find it hypocritical that someone would bring up UL listing for fixtures when they have publicly announced in this forum that they regularly use transformers that do not comply with UL requirements and have no UL listing. Many major outdoor lighting manufacturers do not have UL listing for their lighting fixtures, does that make them unsafe? FYI - I am probably 6-8 months off from submitting my fixtures for UL approval. For the record I do not and would not use a transformer that does not comply with UL1838. Never have,never will and I'd be pretty concerned about having those out in the field if in fact I did. If you want to talk potential liability then start there.

    3- I am open to learning everyday from anyone who is succesful and has found a better way of doing things that makes sense to me and could possibly enhance my business and improve the end product or system that I am installing on a client's property. What I don't do is knock or minimize something that is working that I am incapable of or unwilling to do and dismiss it and then make excuses as to how and why it won't work for me like some do. To be told that there is no time to take quality photos because of church and family commitments is a weak argument considering how much time is spent in this forum and other outdoor lighting forums all over the internet.

    If excuses make one feel better at the end of the day then you're doing yourself a real disservice.

    4- Put your money where your mouth is- I have seen too many wizards behind the screen who talk big time and in reality have nothing to show or back up their words with. Take for instance those that criticise homeowners for hiring cheap service providers who supply inferior products are often times the ones who will not or cannot afford to invest in personal or business building materials. They will tell you how great they are and then complain that they would like to go to Arizona and be apart of an association but cannot afford the cost to do so. Or Knock a camera as overkill, a truck or website for being too expensive and flashy, Proprietary fixtures as being uneccesary and too expensive, etc.

    I have nothing to prove to any of you and do not profess to know it all. I do take offense when somebody starts stating opinion as fact which is often done here.

    5- I don't come from privelage, have been given no special breaks or advantages. I've started from scratch with nothing and built a very succesful business that I am very proud of. If it all ended tomorrow I'd have no regrets. Everything I've achieved has been a result of very hard work both physically and mentally. Some of you are probably more intelligent and maybe even better lighters than I. I don't begrudge you for it but it does motivate me to improve , refine and work even harder.

    6- False Bravado- I've received quite a few e-mails and private messages from some of the same individuals who have publicly challenged and disagreed with messages I've written here or articles on my site. The amazing thing is that they ask me for advice or help or pointed questions on how I do this or that or if they can call me on the phone to pick my brain etc. Or they'll say privately hey I agree with what you said yet you'd never know it from the way they responded in the thread. Can you mentor me?

    What's up with that?
  5. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    Mike, I do believe this thread was started by someone who would like to discuss the ins-and-outs of personal branding of fixtures and other materials. One point that should be made when taking a step like this is proper safety testing. I brought this up strictly as a point of topic. Just to be clear, I have always and will always use UL listed materials. Whether they be UL1838 or other UL listing, all of the material used by me are UL listed and I have NEVER stated otherwise.

    Mike, please don't take things so personal. It's not always about you. This is a subject that you brought up and others want to discuss. That should cover all aspects of this topic. This was just one point for discussion.

    Not that this is part of this thread but since you decided to go on a personal rant, I personally don't want to or care to know how you run your business. That is your business and what works for one doesn't usually work for all. I have a successful business myself and am also very proud of what I have achieved. This is not a contest. You are a leader in this industry and I respect you for what you have done. You should also show some respect for others in this business. I have yet to see anyone on this forum write anything bad about Mike Gambino. I have never said or tried to imply anything but the utmost respect for other professionals on this forum.

    One thing that helps me relax is to come onto these forums and discuss things. All kinds of things. It helps me unwind a little. You know, all work and no play? If I can play for about an hour, out of my 12-15 hour work day, it helps. Today is Sunday and therefore, I get a little more time.

    Good day to all,
  6. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Messages: 326

    I have always and will always use UL listed materials. Whether they be UL1838 or other UL listing, all of the material used by me are UL listed and I have NEVER stated otherwise.- Nightscape Paul

    Oh really , so your 18 volt contractor seried MDL/Kichler issue transformer is UL 1838? Better look further into that.

    I didn't bring up my fixtures as a point of discussion . In fact I recommend that a contractor should rely upon his/her own merrits and not those of the manufacturer of the product they use and should euphamistically claim ownership of the fixtures by saying my fixtures etc. no matter who manufactures them. By doing this what you are saying is that I'm your contact if and when there's a problem and I will take care of it. Not that you will be contacting the manufacturer or your distributor direct to make a claim should the need arise.

    Your messages are all over the place. First you say that a website is so very important and then say why spend much money on it when most of your work doesn't come from your site anyway. In other messages you state you'd like to get more clients from the site. Put your ego aside and don't allow it to be a barrier to your personal and business growth.

    If you are insinuating I don't have respect for you then I have this to say. I give respect where respect is deserved. You asked for an opinion of your new website and I gave you my honest assesment. You need to learn to not be so defensive. Lighten Up!
  7. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    There are many UL listings for transformers. UL506 covers the transformers that I use quite often. Notice UL506. This is a UL listing. I only use UL listed materials.

    A web site is very important but I would not say that it is so important that you need to spend thousands of dollars on it. Not everyone can afford $10k for a web site. You can have a nice site for under $1k. As I stated in my posts, thank you for your candor. You stated things that I had already said needed to be done. I need new photos, I know this and stated so when I first posted. No big deal and I have not taken anything personally. I do direct all of my clients to my site. It is basically an electronic brochure. No ego here, I'm very happy with what I have.

    As for respect, I have never said anything derogatory toward Mike Gambino and don't intend to start now. I am not being defensive only answering things that are being posted about me. I would not say things about others and not expect them to rebut.

    Once again, the topic of this thread was to discuss the personal branding of product. You brought up, in another forum, that you only use your own products. That touched off this thread. What does that entail? What are the reasons for this? Is it worth the investment? What about safety issues? Maybe we should just leave this topic alone since you seem to be pretty touchy about it.

    'nough said,
  8. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Messages: 326

    There are many UL listings for transformers. UL506 covers the transformers that I use quite often. Notice UL506. This is a UL listing. I only use UL listed materials.-paul

    What you fail to mention is that it's not UL1838 which is the only listing that pertains to landscape lighting. I've been hearing this deceptive and incorrect argument for yrs. Reminds me of president Clinton saying he never had sex with that woman and what his definition of sex is. Paul you are smarter than that to believe that mumbo jumbo.

    Anyway, No harm no foul Paul. I don't know you but have heard good things about you and that's good enough for me. I don't wish to discuss my personal system as I've previously stated but it's not a touchy matter to me. If it were I'd never have mentioned it.
  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    mike, this is the first time I have asked you anything directly on this board, and the first time you have spoken to me directly on this board. the first impression I had of you was the posts you've written and the look of your website. what impression do you think I have of you now?

    you know mike, You can read every post I've written on lights and lawns. the animosity you feel coming from others hasn't come from me. I've read alot of your posts. I respect you. I have not however, asked you to respect me or anyone else.

    I thought you were obviously proud of your fixtures and what you had done, and I thought you'd like to discuss the pro's and cons of it in a thread just for that. You ask paul to not be defensive, but you started the rant. the first post you make in this thread is almost filled with anger.what's up with that?

    You dog me in your response cause in another thread I mentioned you would be more successful than me cause you are willing to sacrifice time/family and church to take great pictures/meet clients? you make me out to be a whiner, and I hide behind excuses ? I don't see church and family as excuses, And I understand you live, breathe, and die lighting. Typically when I am spending time on this board it is not that twilight time to take photos. typically it is raining or way late in the night.

    At the end of my life, I'm thinking the church time and family time will fulfil me more that how I lit homes and trees, and I don't think I'm wrong about that. It's ok that you disagree with me. Since you don't want to talk about branding or your fixtures, I'll see you in other threads.

    Don't bother saying you don't care what I think or whatever, I got it. you are who you are.

    If you ever want to discuss branding and fixtures, pros and cons, let me know. thanks, dave g
  10. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Messages: 326

    Sorry for your misunderstanding dave but I wasn't referring to you. Sorry you are insulted that I won't provide direct answers to your questions here. e-mail me privately , mike@gambinolighting.com and I'll try to provide you with answers you are seeking

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