You’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of Pinterest (discovering along the way lots of great recipes to try “someday,” how to speed clean your home, and 100 uses for dryer lint. Who knew?!), driven around your neighborhood to find homes whose landscape lighting you like, and Googled “ideas for landscape lighting” for inspiration and tips. Maybe, at first you thought about tackling this yourself. But now? No. You’ve realized that you know what you like, but don’t know how to achieve it. So you’ve decided to leave it to a professional to design, install and maintain an outdoor lighting system for you.
So…….now what? How do you go about choosing an outdoor lighting professional? There may be several adequate lighting installers in your area, but you’ll want to be sure to choose the right one for you. Here are a few things to consider:
One of the most critical attributes of a professional is communication. If you are having difficulty get calls back during the estimating phase, (before you’ve made a commitment and signed a contract) or the contractor doesn’t seem to know the answers to questions, this is a good sign to walk away. If they aren’t calling you back before they’ve made the sale, they are definitely not going to be available after.
One of the main reasons why you hire a professional is design. When lighting is done wrong, it just looks wrong. Good design creates beauty without sacrificing safety or security. So your outdoor lighting designer should have training and certification to ensure that you’ll get the best design possible. Ask for samples of their work, and make sure you like the look. Many lighting companies are an offshoot of another business (i.e. landscaping–like us). There’s nothing wrong with that as long as the designers and installers are properly trained in lighting design and installation (like ours)!
Make sure your designer/installer is hearing you. If they are not listening and understanding your desires, you are not likely to be pleased with the outcome. While there are formulas, techniques and design principles that are constants, you want a designer who will work with you to achieve your desired look and effect, not offer you only a one-size-fits-all approach that they offer to everyone and try to force-fit to your home.
While a detailed contract might seem like overkill to you, it really is helpful to protect both sides, and to avoid confusion later. It should specify what will be done, when it will be done, materials to be used (including the brand and style name/number of fixtures) and payment arrangements. A deposit of up to 50% is common, but never prepay the entire amount. If changes are made, get a written change order that specifies the work, materials and cost adjustment.
Will the installer be available after the install? Is there a warranty? (There certainly should be! Expect lifetime on the fixtures, and 5 years on the bulb, and a year on the installation.) If they’ve been in business a long time, they are more likely to be around to help you out if you need maintenance, repairs, additions or warranty work.
Choosing an outdoor lighting professional can be a big daunting, but if you follow our guidelines, and make sure your installer is trained, certified and experienced, your results will be exactly what you expect, if not better!
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)