Question since taking new job

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Avalon3, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Steve, this is a continuation from the other thread started about your new employment over at Volt.

    I have to start briefly, due to my leaving to Lightfair shortly. It is my hope that many will begin to ask questions of you that they've been sitting idle on.

    My first question relates to what your new plan is for improving Business efforts for all contractors. You said that you needed some time and to have patience, but it would seem to be that there should be some idea or base plan in place by've been involved with Volt for several months...assuming you joined them in January after your departure from Cast.

    You stated, "I think it's helpful to point to 'emerging business models' (from other industries) so we don't get stuck in models that are obsolete due to changing technology. In a recent lecture from the president of the IESNA, he accused the lighting industry of being very much stuck in the past--especially compared to high tech industries."

    I then asked if you thought that taking away the contractors ability to profit or gain mark-ups on materials (products) was considered being 'obsolete?' If that's the case due to Volt's actions against contractors, then how are they/we supposed to recover this overhead? Is it only through raising labor rates?

    Maybe you have a to how we ALL can gain that missing piece of overhead. I am speaking specifically to the fact that Volt offers its products to consumers directly and at about the same price point as the contractor.

    You, nor anyone out there has been able to explain this to us.

    I'll ask more later....thank you.
  2. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Well, it looks like Steve might not answer this...he wanted me to switch threads, as we were off topic. And, nothing?? I've also had to change the title of the thread due to his name being included, which tells me it may be in the hot seat to close down/delete.

    Let's wait and see until after Lightfair....I'm here now and supposedly Steve wants to meet up with me to talk more. I hope this is a run and hide move, because I don't intend to stop asking questions here and especially outside of this group.

    I do find it all interesting that there may be a bigger contingent here that is already buying from Volt, which is why there are so few posts on this topic....over 1500 views and maybe 40 posts....mostly from myself and the few that have asked questions. Are those who support Volt (contractors) too proud or shameful now to answer any of these questions/thoughts?
  3. Classic Lighting

    Classic Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    I respect your professionalism and ambitions to improve the lighting industry for the future. I mostly agree with your opinions.
    Personally, I find your demeanor is confrontational and in-your-face. If you have an issue with Steve, take it up with him privately and not trash him on the world wide web. I am sure that each lighting contractor has their own opinions on this topic and will choose to support manufacturers/organizations with their wallet.
    As you have mentioned before, we need work to establish ourselves as professionals in our industry. This includes quality design, superior installation, and impeccible follow-up service. Steve is just one guy who transfered from one company to another and I feel there are bigger issues that we can focus on.

  4. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    I had a great in-person meeting with Mark today. We discussed our different perspectives and expressed our mutual desire to support the growth and health of the landscape lighting industry. We agreed to work together to explore the best ways for landscape lighting pros to succeed and thrive - in the context of an evolving marketplace.

    While the recents posts have seemed confrontational, my position is (and I think Mark shares this) that this discussion is not about any particular person or company. It is about the industry as a whole and involves all players.

    As this (and related) discussions unfold, I look forward to contributions from Mark and other lighting pros who share a passion for this great profession!
  5. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Steve.....although we did have a great conversation yesterday and it's not a personal act against any 'one' individual, there has been a distinct blow by the current company you work for in this case, that I/we do have a problem with. So, from this perspective I would say we do not agree.

    I did say that we could find ways that we can work in alignment for the same common cause(s), so that the profession can be advanced and preserved, and/or continue to survive as it always was meant to.

    In order for any type of alignment or accord to begin the company you represent needs to act in 'good faith' to remove the pricing on its website. Those who are buyers will follow through and inquire about pricing, and buy if they feel it's a good value.

    If you and your company are sincere about advancing the profession, then this request shouldn't be an issue, and the pricing will not be available to casual browsers and price shoppers alike.

    Otherwise, there is no basis or foundation for continued discussions on this topic, as the current open pricing policy is in conflict with most full-service, professional design-builders of these systems.
  6. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    Mark, the days of "For sale to the trade only" are long gone. Homeowners can now even purchase EPA Regulated Use products from places like The reality is that, whether we like it or not, customers are going to see pricing on the web, any business that intends to sell online would be stupid not to make their prices part of their website.

    Even if you get rid of Volt, you still have companies like Florida Outdoor Lighting, Landscape Light Werks (who happens to sell Copper Moon, a company that has refused to provide pricing to end users), etc.

    I understand your point of view but, I don't think it's one that's going to be in line with the world we currently live in. At one time, you could only buy building materials from hardware stores, electrical supplies from electrical supply houses (many of which only sold to the trade), plumbing supplies from plumbing supply houses that also typically only sold to the trade, etc. Now you just run down to the local Home Depot or Lowes and get whatever you need. Has it ended the viability of plumbing or electrical contractors? Of course not. They still charge whatever they need to for their materials to cover their overhead, charging $50 for a retrofit can light that I can get at Home Depot for $10.

    I think it makes more sense to change what needs to be changed to survive in the business world we're faced with today than to try to get businesses to go back to the business practices of yesteryear because that isn't going to happen. If you don't like that a company sells direct, then don't do business with them, their target market is obviously not you anyway.

    There will always be a market for HK, Vision 3, etc. but there is also always going to be a market for DIY materials as well. While I'm personally not going to buy Volt products simply because I want the support my distributor provides of same day warranty replacements and stocking material for me so I don't have to keep stock or order in advance, I will say that at least they're giving those hard core DIY'ers the ability to buy a better quality product than what the box stores carry. In the end, having better quality available improves the perception of outdoor lighting as a whole and that's good for everyone. No one can argue that given a choice they'd rather have a DIY'er use Malibu than Volt. I know that when I've dealt with those that have had Malibu quality systems they were pretty much unwilling to even consider landscape lighting again.

    I know you disagree, and I respect that, but the world isn't going to change no matter how much noise you make about this and I honestly doubt that the contractors that do better quality work than the average DIY guy (and lets face it, most contractors in this industry don't) represent enough money in sales to sway any manufacturer, Besides, if we're honest, they probably aren't using Volt products anyway and they aren't going to give up the products that have proven effective for them just because Volt decides to take it's pricing off the website.
  7. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Bernie....there are obviously some differences or understandings here between us. One of the big issues here is that you see the DIYer as the big problem....who cares......professionals don't care about that. The DIYer is still going to do what they want....whatever.

    The contractor supporting these practices is what is disappointing and a huge problem. They are supporting their own decline. Steve told me straight up that there are a bunch of contractors that are buying these products to try to save a buck. I'm sure many of them are right here on this forum. This is probably one reason why they are not speaking up.

    Another reason is because they might not want their customer to find out that they are using this product that they themselves can get at about the same price. I'm sure they would feel this would be problematic.

    Overall, yes.....'we need to find ways for businesses to survive', as you have stated. But, we all need to thrive in business.....not survive, but to thrive! However, when the contractor base is part of the problem....supporting efforts that will ultimately hurt can this be? They are providing for an uncertain future for themselves and others by supporting this open-priced system.

    What I that those who are currently buying, apply pressure to get the open pricing removed. And, if that doesn't occur, to discontinue buying the product. When the pricing is removed and those contractors care to resume purchasing, then I don't have any issues with that.
  8. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    You realize that plumbers and electricians buy stuff at Home Depot and Lowes, right? That really isn't any different and I would argue that our trade can thrive with open priced manufacturers just as those have. You can even buy high end brands like Moen at the box stores now.
  9. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Not sure Moen is considered high end? But, Viking and Sub Zero are both only found at authorized distributors....higher priced and higher valued. Anyways, the point is.....where do you choose to sit as a contractor and/or as a business.....if these guys wish to "settle" for the low and middle customer....then okay. Publicly posting prices is only a benefit to the manufacturer....
  10. Michael J. Donovan

    Michael J. Donovan Head Moderator, Online Communities Staff Member
    Messages: 3,951

    I thought I might interject for a quick moment...

    Everyone is obviously entitled to their opinion and we welcome and encourage that. However, I also do not think that it is necessary to "call someone" out as such and, in the process, disrespect them, their decisions, company, etc., etc.

    This forum is meant to be a meeting place of reasonable people who agree to a civil and positive exchange of ideas, opinions, etc. - a place where members should feel comfortable expressing these types of opinions and ideas. In accordance, members should not feel threatened or disrespected.

    In being a member of a forum, members should be willing to be civil and abide by commonsense rules. And we, the moderators here on the site, want to preserve the atmosphere in a forum, to keep it as a place where all members are comfortable expressing their opinions.

    When it is necessary to remove things from the forum, we do so to try to ensure that the forum retains its value to the entire membership.

    Again, all are welcome to their opinions, but please remember and keep in mind what/how to go about voicing those opinions.

    Thanks all, we would appreciate it :waving:

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