Most posts focus on how to choose a lighting designer and provider. Those guidelines are certainly helpful and important. No doubt. Of course the contractor must be good to guarantee success, but he is not capable of doing it all by himself.
How do we avoid unrealistic expectations that lead disappointment and/or resentment? How can a client do their part to facilitate a successful outdoor lighting project?
Good clients realize that quality is more important than price and do not choose a landscape lighting installer based only on the price. Assuming you have chosen your lighting installer because they are a professional, experienced expert, you should give them the proper respect for their skills, expertise and time, just as you should expect them to respect your time and business. Mutual respect is the foundation of all the other traits below.
For a successful project, good clients are always straightforward about their expectations and budget. For many people, budget is a top concern (especially those of us who accidentally chopped down the money tree in our back yards). Some people are afraid to reveal their budget, thinking the designer will only come up with a project that hits the top of the budget. (If you don’t trust your designer, find one you do trust and respect.) Without knowing your budget, your designer is working in the dark, so to speak. Suppose you want a deluxe look that will actually cost $3000. But you had planned to spend $2000. Without all this information, your installer will design you a $3000 proposal, and you will be mightily disappointed because you can’t get what you want for what you want to pay. And both of you are frustrated because your designer will have to go back and re-do the whole proposal. Suppose you had been transparent about your budget. Now your designer can propose something for $2000 that gets as close as possible to your ideal. Or maybe, he will say that $2000 is too low to do a good job and you can opt to raise your budget. Perhaps he can divide the project into two phases, the second to be completed at a later date. Do you see the difference in the outcomes?
Having a little bit of flexibility about your project is essential. Your budget may not allow for everything you want. Being open to suggestions about materials and ideas will greatly increase the chances that you will be happy with the results. Also, when working outdoors, we are always at the mercy of the weather. Three solid days of rain puts us behind. Just one afternoon of rain might put us behind! Understanding that your project dates are always tentative is an important component to being a good client. Realistic expectations come from having a little knowledge of how things work. This does not mean good clients have to be landscape lighting experts, however they do exhibit knowledge and understanding of the process. So what’s the best way for a client to understand the process?
A good client feels comfortable asking questions about things they don’t understand. And then actually listens to the answers. Additionally, your installer may ask you for information or to do things that will help the project along. By paying attention to what he asks, reading emails sent to you, returning phone calls and providing asked-for information, you will make the process smoother for both sides. Your installer should obviously be more than happy to do the same for you.
Desire and Commitment
A good client will be committed to the project and willing to do their part. They will make decisions that need to be made, in a timely fashion. They will ask questions to prevent misunderstandings and resentment.
Even if you are the greatest client ever, if your contractor doesn’t know what he is doing, or cuts corners, you are going to be unhappy. So choose your lighting installer wisely. Choose an experienced, certified outdoor lighting designer and installer. Then work with him and enjoy the fruits of your partnership every night.
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)