Recently, we’ve been noticing an uptick in outdoor lighting specials at very low prices (10 fixtures for a little over $1400 or 15 fixtures for $2,100). Competition is good, and we’re certainly not afraid of it. But we want to point out some things to help educate you, the homeowner or business owner about pricing quality lighting systems. This is simply a sales gimmick, not quality landscape lighting installation. It devalues our industry and the quality lighting designers that make this their living. The materials a lighting designer chooses to use says a lot about their company. Being willing to use cheap materials not only hurts the client, but eventually will catch up with the installer as well with warranty and repair claims.
Many of you may have never priced out professional outdoor lighting and have no concept of the actual cost involved. We are here to help educate you today. If you get a quote for under $2000 – $2300 for a 10 fixture lighting system, you should immediately be “on guard.” This type of pricing is geared to get a customer to call, but not provide quality materials that will last. This type of contractor is ultimately setting both themselves and clients up for failure. This is not a matter of simply under charging for lighting design and installation services, it’s a matter of offering to the unsuspecting client sub-par lighting fixtures & systems that the homeowner is unaware of what they are actually purchasing. There is a huge variety of fixtures and systems available on the market today, but offering anything less than a lifetime warranty is unacceptable these days. If you accept an offer similar to the one above, you’re walking in to a world of problems, with the lighting system and most likely the lighting installer/contractor. Don’t fall prey to these advertising gimmicks, let us review your lighting bid to expose what you’re really getting and/or compare “apples to apples.”
- Are all fixtures created equal? NO!
- Are all LEDs created equal? NO!
- Are all warranties created equal? NO!
- Are all connections and wiring created equal? NO!
- Are all outdoor lighting designers/contractors created equal? Absolutely not!
- Are all outdoor lighting designers/installers certified? NO!
- Are all outdoor lighting designers/installers certified or have the same experience? NO!
You know how alarm companies offer a “free” security system and then as it turns out, that system only includes 3 door/window sensors (and you’ve got 5 doors and 8 windows) and a $99 installation fee (except where the installation is actually $199 or $299 because the advertised price doesn’t include some things you need), plus you are locked into a 3 year commitment for monthly monitoring? Many advertised lighting “specials” are similar to that. The fixtures, sockets, and seals turn out to be cheap grade aluminum, made overseas with little or no warranty. Not to mention a life expectancy that is far less than that of brass or copper, which carries a lifetime warranty. Many times once the contractor is on site with the homeowner, the installer will then try to up sell you a brass or copper fixtures. It’s all about getting the call to come out and give you a sales pitch. Now the price has doubled or tripled, and the “special” doesn’t seem so special anymore. In fact, it seems a lot like a “bait and switch” tactic, doesn’t it?
In addition to using cheap fixtures, often the LED lamps (bulbs) in these specials are of poor quality too. We receive emails daily from folks overseas looking to sell us cheap LEDs. And we just delete them. Why? Because cheap LED lamps will fail prematurely guaranteed. Some last less than a year! They are not constructed the same as professional grade LEDs or sealed well to keep out moisture, and generally their circuitry has been poorly designed and put together. If we installed this, we’d be spending a lot of time replacing lamps (bulbs), and our customers would be justifiably upset. We value our reputation too much to use junk. Plus, our goal is long term satisfaction, not just the initial sale.
Another issue lies with the design and installation. A Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer (COLD) and/or a Certified Low Voltage Lighting Technician (CLVLT) understands how to place the lights in a way that accents your home and make it looks its best (and be its most secure). Do you think your cheap lighting special will include quality lighting- designs by a trained and certified professional, or will you get 10 pre-selected fixtures placed in a formulaic manner that may or may not be best suited for your home? At time of installation, a trained professional outdoor lighting technician (CLVLT) knows that you must use quality wire and connections or you are asking for issues down the road. Southern Lights of NC is the only firm in our area to obtain these certifications. A low ball installer doesn’t usually have the knowledge of how to make professional grade connections and simply wants to install the system as quickly as possible, get paid, and move on to the next job. Remember how cheap the price was? Proper placement, proper LED wattage, proper beam angles, proper glare shields, proper connections, proper voltage to the fixtures, proper amperage on the transformer, and well run wire runs take time; time that the low ball installer simply doesn’t have because of the low price and can’t afford to spend the necessary time to complete the installation or will lose money. This type of contractor probably will go out of business before long and leave your system vulnerable and outside of warranty terms.
Most companies that offer landscape lighting, also only offer new installations. They are not set up for service / repair work or interested in it as the margins are smaller. There are only a handful of companies that can and want to do lighting service work (repairs, warranty calls, etc). Southern Lights of NC has a full service department that focuses on ongoing maintenance and service calls, so you know if you ever have an issue, you’re covered. And not 2 weeks from now, usually the same day or within 48 hours.
We are so confident in our lighting skills and abilities, we do offer a price match guarantee. If you’re having outdoor lighting companies provide you with quotes, you will not find a harder working company that wants your business and will do what it takes to secure you as our next happy lighting client. We value lighting so much, it’s all we do. We know and understand the joy outdoor lighting can bring to our clients that we don’t want to lose a single project to a competitor over a couple hundred dollars. Driving by a home we quoted and seeing the home/landscape not lit to its full potential truly bugs us. We hate “BAD” lighting being performed on a daily basis in our area and want to keep the integrity of our industry in tack. Our industry is small and we know that our prices are in-line, so put us to the task of comparing bids. We want your business and will prove it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We offer specials too. Sometimes it’s a freebie add-on, sometimes it’s a reduction in price. But we don’t do it all the time, and when we do, we know we will take a dip in profits. Our promise to you: we won’t compromise quality of installation; ever, because it is our name is important to us and we want every customer to experience the power and beauty of professional outdoor lighting. We want you to trust us for other projects. We want you to feel comfortable recommending us to your neighbors, that’s why Southern Lights of NC has the best warranty in the business and we put it in writing.
To sum up this blog, hire a true professional with a vast amount of experience & certifications to back it up. We will use high quality materials that will outlast you and your property. Professional grade lighting designers and contractors will not bait you by offering systems that will compromise the integrity of your overall outdoor lighting system. Pure and simple. Hire smart.
“If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.”
Are you looking for Landscape Lighting in Greensboro? Located in Summerfield, NC Southern Lights- Architectural and Landscape Lighting serves properties and property management companies throughout the state of NC including Greensboro, High Point, Jamestown, Burlington, Reidsville, Oak Ridge, Brown Summit, Winston-Salem, Clemmons, Raleigh, Charlotte, Kannapolis, Salisbury, Gastonia, Matthews, etc. Southern Lights has installed hundreds of outdoor landscape lighting systems and carries more certifications than anyone in the state. We specialize in lighting designs and service everything we install as well as lighting systems installed by others. With attention to detail and a solid knowledge of design, Southern Lights is the leading outdoor landscape lighting firm in the state of NC and beyond. See why our clients choose us. Contact us today by web (online form) or phone (336.451.4969)