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Question since taking new job

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

  1. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    This is an old school new school issue. Honestly someone please ready the stickied post at the top of this forum. We never never discussed price. This was for a reason. It was to protect fellow lighting companies from letting homeowners and other end users seeing trade pricing.

    I could care less what volt does as I don't use their stuff. But as I'm sure most would agree I would rather them not sell "professional" products for pennies. Who buys volt for any other reason but its cost. They obviously doesn't have an msrp. Just like cast sells 20 percent off msrp. Which still makes ZERO sense. Everybody jumps on kichler for having a 20 percent map pricing. If they sold product on their website then I wouldn't agree.

    Mark as much as I love you bud most of the "active" members on here will never understand where you're coming from. Some aren't only lighting guys. Some are cheapskates lighting guys. Some maybe install 100 fixtures a year. Some mount brass surface mounts to pavers. Some will never know what its like to transform a 12k sqft home into a work of art.

    Pretty much to sum this up mark. If this was 2008 this posts would of went in a Mich different direction. But the guys still lurking around here just aren't part of the good old boys club.

    Also something to think about. Now that toro owns unique and they have amazing patent lawyers on retainer what does this mean to replica companies ???
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Matt....you are probably right. As far as Unique is concerned...it's too late for them to do anything about these patents. Too many have stolen these designs....use of their die molds and have developed other brands. This lack of protection opened the flood gates for sure...part of why we are here today arguing over these things :dizzy:
  3. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,188

    Hey S&MLL (Matt?), I did replace the tapcons with brass screws, covered them up with the surrounding limestone rubble so the surface mounts don't show anyhow. The technique worked great; fixtures haven't moved an inch!
    Glad you're a fan. :laugh::laugh:
  4. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Touché phil
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,188

    I agree about the sticky on price discussion. This thread has come very close to the edge.
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    You do realize that each and every one of us is just a bit crazy, in our own special ways. I have never known any other industry, group, club, or faction that are so whacked as we are. Passion has a so many ways of leaking out it would appear.

    Mark: Carry on fighting your fight, in your own special way. I get it, and a few others do as well, although I think at times you are trying to stuff a heard of elephants into a sack. Your underlying motivations and principals are admirable, even if we don't completely agree on your approach or methods.

    Manufacturers & Vendors who are selling direct / discounting to the public: Best of luck to you I guess. You won't be seeing any INTEGRA dollars coming your way. I would hope that all the rest of the professionals out there follow suit. You simply cannot have it both ways. No need to name them here as we all know who they are. Thankfully there are so many others out there making quality products and supporting the pros who are the real drivers of this industry.

    To the AOLP and the Contractors who support Manufacturers of unlisted fixtures and components: Give your head a shake and wake up! There is nothing professional about buying and installing unlisted electrical devices and it is technically illegal to do so! Why we have a Professional Trade Association that does not set minimum requirements for membership is beyond me. Surely as a private association they can set requirements for membership? Sell unlisted products to our members = not allowed to join. Simple. To the contractors that use this crap... you are only putting everything you are working so hard to attain at risk.

    Designers and Contractors who are installing 'cheap', low cost, 'retail quality' products that are so widely available from online discounters / and those of you who are working on a "time + materials" or labour basis only: Best of luck to you as well. My bet is you are not in this for the long haul, and when the going gets tough (and it will... it always does..) you will be the ones going.... I just wish you would all work harder at installing better quality products in better designed and installed systems. Quite frankly, I am getting really tired of coming by in a year or two and pulling out your crap. It does nothing for you in the long run and only stains this industry for the rest of us.

    I say this with peace and love. :)
  7. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Thank you James....nice consolidated post. All of these things you have expressed are true.

    As you have mentioned, and I did too.....all of this will catch up to each of these groups listed (manufacturers/vendors, AOLP/contractors, and contractor/designers). You might think you are doing okay now, but time will show otherwise.

    We've each seen fallout over some of this in the past 5 to 7 years...more is coming. Manufacturing and that side of the business is over-saturated....this includes the importer companies. The AOLP and other lighting org's are proving not to be 'effective' at making timely change or to 'lead' during these times. Contractors are scattered with no 'voice', searching for solutions to thrive and gain financially....all lost sheep. As James has stated, this is a "wake-up call".

    Again...thanks James.
  8. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    I think it's a bit unfair and unrealistic to keep hammering away while ignoring a few very involved factors. This whole conversation has basically evolved into saying "there are very few of us in this industry that are worth a damn and the rest of you are basically ruining it."

    Back to the reality of the world we are living in and a few examples of where I found myself in uncomfortable positions. Unique, Hadco, FX, Kichler, Vista, ETC, ETC,ETC all have this secret contractor only pricing model that seems to be what this conversation is all about. In theory, the average person pays "retail" while the rest of us pay contractor discount prices. Well, as it turns out, if you do a very brief google search of a specific fixture from just about any of these companies, you will find a heavily discounted bargain to buy direct. Contractor or average joe, doesn't matter. In fact, I have even done google searches and found places where joe homeowner can actually get a better price point than I do from my distributor. That's an awfully embarrassing foot in the mouth experience when you put a list price on an invoice and then get called on it by a researching customer.

    Right now, the internet is far more of a threat to the old school pricing model of "contractor vs retail" than any of us in the lighting industry. Don't even get started on the LED lamps. You can find Halco, Vista, Phillips, etc, etc littered all over the internet at a highly discounted rate to the homeowner.

    My overall point is this. It seems like there is a vocal minority in panic mode right now screaming "save this industry from itself". And while all of us may certainly be concerned about the evolution and direction of this industry, many of us are preparing for how to evolve with it. You have a make believe body called the AOLP that has zero real authority and is really a glorified trade show magazine that I believe creates some of the rabble rousing. Im not saying any of this is good for the industry, but the flood gates are opening and pricing transparency will be the future. Skilled labor, reputation and a great portfolio will be your greatest overhead recovery. People aren't paying me to install a $20 fixture or $200.00 fixture. They are paying me to install a lighting system or install 1 fixture, 2 fixtures, 3 fixtures, 4 fixture additions to their systems. Whether they choose the $20 fixture or the $200.00 fixture isn't of absolute concern to me. Im not marking up by percentage, I basically already have a model that shows exactly what I "install" for 1 or 30 fixtures. Obviously there will always be situations that cost more based on challenging conditions, but for the most part materials are becoming a secondary part of overhead recovery in my operation.
  9. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Greenlight....realistically, you are correct. I appreciate your analysis here.

    The only thing that I might counter or correct would be that those of us (the minority speaking out) are not in panic mode.....I am doing this as a focused exposure.....to get the masses to think more and to be aware of what's really going on.

    We are basically too late to correct this course....I've stated that earlier. And I would agree....most of the manufacturers out there are working deals through online sites, backroom deals, whatever it takes to sell. It all started with companies like the one we are talking about....to take it directly to the public and to eliminate the old model we once had. Contractors were not ever considered in these moves....they just did it.

    Now, the rest of them are doing more and more of it.....they might be hiding this fact as much as they can, but we've all heard and seen the realities of this.

    I especially love your analysis of the AOLP....."a make believe body with zero real authority"....that's the truth! It's been 13 years of existence and no real voice.

    And lastly....you are absolutely correct about what it will take to best recover overhead.....skilled labor, reputation, and a great portfolio. I would only add two things: 1) high quality products/materials, and 2) effective business skills. These will be the guys who go to the next or upper levels.

    Nice job!
  10. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    That's fair. I really do understand the concern and im not discounting your position or your attempt to let everyone know what's really going on. The past 5 years have (on the surface) appeared to be very rough on many lighting manufacturers and I think we are in the process of an extreme belt tightening amongst the survivors. We, the consumers are demanding a better product to house LED technology. We are also demanding a nice resume of evidence suggesting their LED technology will stand the test of time. A lot of these companies are really laying it on the line and having to compete with long term warranties and high expectations. Then they are starting to see the realities of back room dealings and just how powerful the internet can be in the form of competition changing things overnight at any moment. Their prices are taking a hit, yet I guarantee they are spending more than ever to try and stay on top of the latest technology and to insure they don't eat a ton of warrantied products. The integrated fixture companies offering 10-20 year warranties must seriously lose a lot of sleep hoping that these products don't begin to fail en masse in certain conditions or just in general. That's my biggest fear with integration and these companies who offer these extensively long warranties. Will they survive long enough to see that warranty if they take a huge blow... I don't know. I have gone off on a tangent here, but I have overall concerns for all of us.

    I agree on both of those. I would add dependability to the list. I can't tell you how many customers I pick up and keep, just by immediately returning phone calls and always making them a priority. They know I can do the work, more importantly, they know I won't disappear once the work is done.

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