So you’ve decided to beautify your home with landscape lighting. The first step is to find a good, reputable company to design and install your system. If you have received multiple quotes before for a project or service at your home, you’re aware how varied proposals can be from one company to the next for the same project. Some proposals just have a bottom dollar price whereas others have itemized detail. When seeking proposals from landscape lighting companies, look for proposals that are thorough and detailed with enough information to ensure your system will be complete without hidden costs. Here’s what to look for when receiving proposals from landscape lighting companies:
Detailed List of Materials
A detailed list should include types of fixtures, quantity of each and the fixture material, such as copper or brass. The list should also include the various materials necessary to complete the system such as the wire, transformer, timer, photocell, connections, and lamps. This information is crucial. If proposals from lighting companies does not include this information, get the details in writing or choose a different company.
The quality of lighting fixtures should be your main concern when reading through your proposal. Quality fixtures are made of copper, brass and heavy gauge aluminum. The fixture material should be clearly specified in the proposal. If it’s not listed, ask or you may end up with cheap plastic or aluminum fixtures that have a short life span.
Quantity of fixtures is an obvious need in a proposal, but note whether the other materials necessary to complete the project are listed as well. Most residential projects only require one transformer, but if your project includes more than 40 fixtures, a second transformer should be included. The linear feet of wire necessary may not be important, but make sure the language of the proposal indicates the amount needed to complete the job is included in the cost. You don’t want surprise fees for items that should have been included from the start. Finally, note the type of timer and connectors. An astronomical timer is best and connectors should be copper crimped and waterproof. Remember this system is installed outdoors and will be exposed to harsh conditions year around. Don’t settle for less than top quality right from the start, otherwise expect to pay for a whole new system in a few short years.
Detailed List of Costs
Material costs, labor costs and possible costs should be listed with accuracy and transparency.
In addition to the costs of the obvious – material and labor, be sure that some of the not-so-obvious costs are listed. This includes cost of labor if the job takes more time than expected. Also, the cost of additional materials if necessary due to changes in the project. If extra costs should be incurred, does the company have a policy to present the client with a Change Order detailing the changes and cost of changes before the work is completed? They need to.
Lighting companies incur certain costs that go beyond the actual package, such as cost of vehicles & gas, tools, equipments and insurance. A general conditions or general costs line item should cover such expenses.
The proposals should clearly define the deposit and payouts.
Take a note of all possible information about the payout terms and the modes of payment. Does the company require a deposit up front? This is common. Be leary of lighting companies that require payment in full prior to starting the project.
Do the products come with a warranty?
The lighting proposal is quite clear when it comes to the warranty period and conditions. Landscaping companies sometimes give a lifetime warranty for their services. Usual practice includes replacing the fixtures for any damage, other than bulb burn-outs.
Does the company have Liability Insurance?
The liability clause of your proposal should mention the workers’ insurance cover and the risks involved. If anything unusual happens to the workers on your home premises, then it will be fully covered by the lighting company’s insurance plan. This is an intricate issue you need to consider to keep yourself safe from unwanted legal hassles.
What does it take to be among the best landscape lighting companies?
Expertise, Experience, and Quality People.
Southern Lights of North Carolina has all three. We carry more certifications than all other lighting companies in our state. We have the experience and satisfied customers to assure potential clients that we know what we’re doing and our capable and pleasant staff make the whole experience worth-while. Contact Southern Lights for your free consultation and proposal. We guarantee it will include all the information necessary to make a well-informed choice.