1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

New VOLT Top Dog Mini (MR11) Spotlight

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by steveparrott, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Those two are not conflicting statements. We do often win bids despite being the highest priced bidder - in outdoor lighting and in other work. But that doesn't mean our clients don't sometimes check our pricing. Even rich people want to feel like they are being treated fairly. I'd say sometimes rich people are even MORE concerned about being taken advantage of than the semi-rich people are. And not every client checks on pricing. Some never check. They just want us. But enough do. It's become enough of an issue that we had to change to the current method of pricing because of it.

    As for the line item method of bidding, it works really well for us. We land jobs all the time because of the detail we provide in our bids. Case in point, I won a big job 2 months ago. Our bid came out to $55,000. The other two came in at $28,000 and $25,000. But they didn't listen. They just guestimated on several of the items. They didn't include many of the items the client said they wanted. The other bids did not specify many details. The client chose us because of how well we listened and how detailed we were in our presentation and bid. That job included over $10,000 in lighting. Customer is a VP at Nike in charge of audits. She loves details. That's the kind of people we often work for. One of my good friends was the owner of the company who bid at $28,000. They couldn't believe that we got the job for almost double. They were totally shocked. But a lot of people appreciate our attention to detail. We hear it all the time.

    We did $3mil in sales last year and have grown by 25-45% the last 4 years in a row. The lighting portion of our business has seen the biggest amount of growth. In lighting, we've doubled our sales the last 3 years in a row. I guess if I'm doing it all wrong, I must be getting really lucky.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
  2. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,506

    This is really simple.

    Don't itemize your prices. List everything you're going to do. List fixtures, plants, mulch, etc

    Give one total on the bottom. Problem solved and less headaches.

    There's someone on here that doesn't markup materials at all. He makes all his money on labor.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187


    Once again, I appreciate the feedback and the discourse. However, your last post where you quoted me about what a lighting designer does and brings to a project was taken completely the wrong way- You falsely assume that I don't think of you in this way, which could not be further from the truth.

    Please re-read the last sentence of the previous paragraph before that quote you re-pasted. I said, "I know I am not telling you anything you don't already know Jim, because you are a seasoned pro, so this is mainly for the benefit of others who are reading that may not have the experience in the industry you and I have acquired."

    I wasn't besmirching your abilities as a designer at all Jim- you completely took my remarks out of context. The context and aim of my last post was to mainly illustrate the fact that, if you list each and every itemized part on a lighting job by name and part and sku number- of course you are asking to be shopped and people will hold your feet to the fire- region has nothing to do with it- that's universal. I was merely suggesting (apparently a little too forcefully- so, my apologies) an alternative, that instead of focusing on brand names in the quotes, it might be helpful to simply list your items as "Brass-directional LED spot light" or "In ground LED well light"- Terms that are much more vague and cannot be shopped if you are having issues with folks that are a bit more "tech-savy" as you say. Indianapolis also has a pretty Tech Savy group of professionals in the electronics and pharmaceutical industries and can look up products by name just like they can in Portland. I don't believe it's just the folks in your region. There are ways to get beyond the "commodity" part of the whole selling process. I just rarely ever have clients pin me down on exactly which brand, beam spread , color and every particular in the book- If they knew all of this, they would probably do the job themselves-why would they need me? What works for me is to simply place a quality sample in their hands that is a good representation of the products we will be using on their project. 99% of the time- there are no further questions about brand names and individual selections once they handle, touch and feel the quality in their hands. However, I can see that you are comfortable with your current process, so please just ignore my opinion, because thats all it is really anyway. I am not attacking you as you seam to sense here, and as I stated before- this whole discussion has been for the benefit of those watching from the benches who may appreciate seeing this issue from another viewpoint.

    Once again Jim, I will make it very clear that I think you are a consummate professional in this industry and your work is exemplary- I have not attacked your credibility personally, in fact all I have done is offered a rebuttal to a differing point of view and offered another possible option "for others" to see. Clearly we will not agree on this topic- and that is ok. A lively discourse of differing opinions is a healthy thing if it can be done in a civil manner. Many can learn and be empowered to further solidify their own opinions through it.

    Have a great and profitable day brother!
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    All right. Guess I didn't read all of your post carefully. Shows you how touchy one can get when he has been working long hours with little sleep. :)

    Anyway, I've said my piece. Don't care to argue it anymore. I don't disagree that your way of doing it is a good one. Just doesn't fit in with our normal way of bidding everything else. The fact that we break down our bids in line-item fashion has been a real credit to us and we're often told from customers that's one of the main reasons they hire us. So it works well for us. But I don't mean to discredit your way of doing it.

    Back to the topic at hand; I didn't really like the Top Dog mini from the photo you guys posted in the first part of this thread. I felt the main part of the fixture stuck out too far into the cowl. Looked weird. I realize that's probably adjustable, but because it's adjusted so far back in that photo, it looks really odd to me. Doesn't look clean to me, like a Unique Pulsar or an FX MP20. But then I clicked on the link you guys posted last night. The photos on the website paint a much nicer picture of that fixture. Now I really like it, after having seen them.
  5. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    It's so nice to be here again.... feels like old times when me and Gambino used to go at it like it was some kind of hobby!!
    Keep it up though!!!! This is entertaining!!!!
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Seems to me that we all don't use the same biz model when it comes to costing our jobs. If we did, then there is no way you could afford to use the discount line with their current, open to the public, pricing strategy.

    I markup all my materials by a common margin.

    For example

    Brand V. NET cost = $25 Multiply by 1.6 = Sell Cost of $40. Gross Profit of $15

    Brand A. NET cost = $85 Multiply by 1.6 = Sell Cost of $136. Gross Profit of $51

    Now tell me, all other things being equal, which job that requires 50 of these fixtures would you rather install?

    Also, to all those who think that the best of the pro grade manufacturers are so easily attainable at deep discounts online, think again. The best of the manufacturers out there simply are not easily purchased OTC.

    Hopefully someone here will educate me as to how they can earn a decent profit using deeply discounted products that can be so easily identified in the field and price searched online?
  7. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    Personally, I don't itemize my bids/proposals. According to the Department of Revenue, doing this would require you to charge sales tax on the cost that you are charging for the materials. Not your cost..... the clients cost. Instead, you can provide a quote as an overall project (of course you will want to provide schematics, blue prints or some type of layout) and pay the taxes on the materials when you purchase them from your distributor.
    I'm no where near smart enough to educate you or anyone else, but no need. This is simple common sense.
    Hope this helps!!
  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    But chris, you still have to prepare a quote, if only to know what components you will need to do the job and to provide the client with an accurate and fair cost.

    I do so with a spreadsheet and internal parts catalog. Each and every component is included into the pricing matrix. The spreadsheet spits out the cost for each zone and the system as a whole. That is how it is presented to the client.

    Internally that same spreadsheet then generates the purchase orders for my vendors. Its a great system that allows you to see the input costs of each job and quote the client evenly and fairly. It also greatly helps you keep a handle on and account for all of your soft costs that need to go into every quote.
  9. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

  10. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    I have QuickBooks also and I wish I had the time and knowledge to set it up to perform those tasks as you do...... but I don't. I just charge a lot and provide the value back to the client by treating ALL of my clients like royalty. That should be a line item also. Considering how many people there are throughout the world, in various trades, who are out to rip off the next unsuspecting consumer, I would think that this is a value added and realistic cost that can be added to any bid, quote or proposal. Actually, I don't think it... I know it.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014

Share This Page