16 Jan Amazement on the industry message bds.
By Mike Gambino,
I follow a few industry message boards on a regular basis to keep informed as to what others are doing and saying. These particular posts that I have pasted below strike me as the type that have me shaking my head as to the quality and dedication of some that are installing landscape lighting systems. The general type that is usually in it for the ease of and extra buck added to another project usually landscaping. The thing that is interesting is that earlier in the week the same contractor who posted this message was asking others their opinion on using a demo kit of one manufacturers product when they were selling the product of another manufacturer. Their dilemma was that they had recently purchased this demo kit and then decided to specify and install the product of another manufacturer and they didn’t want to invest in another demo kit. I know that I wouldn’t want someone working on my property that had such a lack of dedication and ethics and were not willing to invest in their own education and business. I think these messages wreak of a lack of dedication to quality and respectability.
I think the industry itself is in part responsible, by way of its sell product at any cost mentality, for this cavalier attitude towards the art of landscape lighting by cultivating and spawning those who lack passion and a commitment to excellence. The moral to the story is to be careful about who you select to design and install your landscape lighting system. Its people who make the difference. I truly hope that this person does not, like he claims, speak for 80% of the lighting industry. He certainly doesn’t speak for me.
Anyway you can draw your own conclusions from the posts below. I have left them unedited except for the manufacturer’s names in question which I deleted.
Post entitled- LED fixtures-True wattage
“You know, I know there are a handfull of “lighting experts” out there who know all this stuff up and down. You can quote Ohm’s law and every other electrical calculation off the top of your head. You understand electricity and math and are able to memorize that stuff because you’re doing lighting all the time that you could run circles around most people who do L.V. lighting.
But I think I speak for probably 80% of the industry when I say, “I don’t want to have to know all that stuff,” just to be able to install outdoor lighting. The very reason that L.V. lighting started to work it’s way into the landscaping market – trying to get your average LCO or landscape contractor into L.V. lighting – was this concept that, “We’ve made this easy! Now you guys can do outdoor lighting too!” And I know a lot of people here in the lighting forum are probably offended by that. Some of you may feel that people who don’t fully understand every electrical law, fully understand electricity, have an electrical license, etc. shouldn’t be messing around with outdoor lighting at all. But I don’t think that’s reality. The reality is, you DO have a lot of guys out there installing lighting who aren’t electrical geniuses. And they’ve made outdoor lighting fairly simple. You take a few classes, learn some basics about transformers, wire sizing, wire connections, load ratings, fixture placement, etc. and then you are in business! The whole concept for the last 15 years that I’ve heard at any class I’ve attended from xxxxxxxxx is this same concept….. “This isn’t that hard. You guys can pick this up. You just need to understand a few basic concepts and you can be installing lighting too!”
So with that said, if the industry wants to keep this something that is fairly simple for the average LCO or landscaper to get into (without really forking things up) then they need to keep things like this simple. Label your fixtures and transformers so that we can easily understand how many fixtures we can put on a transformer!
I’m not an idiot. I have a college degree. I know math, algebra, calculus. I am a fairly bright guy. But even while I have a little more education than most LCOs or landscape contractors out there, I still don’t really want to have to know all that much about it, if I don’t have to. I want to know enough to do a good job and make sure the lighting I install lasts a long time and makes my customers happy. But I also want it to be simple enough that I can understand it quickly and more importantly, my workers can understand it quickly. You can show me the calculations all you want and how Watts aren’t really watts when you’re doing LEDs and how the watts used aren’t the watts you’re charged for. Whatever. I don’t really care too much about that. All I want to know is how many fixtures can I get on a controller? And I want to be able to explain that to my workers easily too. I shouldn’t have to tell them, “Well, this fixture is a 8.5w light. But not really. It’s actually a 12w light. Well, not really. Long story. But let’s pretend – for transformer purposes – that it’s a 12w light. Okay?” That just sounds screwy.
If you guys want to start using the term VA instead of watts, fine. I could care less. It just needs to be simple. I think probably a good 80% of contractors who install outdoor lighting would agree. It should be fairly simple and straightforward. And it always has been before LED.”
Post entitled- Dilemma-switching to LED
“I’m pretty much planning to shift my emphasis toward xxxxx LED lighting starting this year. In the past, I would mostly steer my customer toward xxxxLighting or sometimes xxxx. But I’m kind of a big believer in the xxxxx LED concept now. So I’m probably going to be selling or pushing that product.
The dilemma is I just invested quite a bit of money in a xxxxx Lighting demo kit near the end of last summer. I have quite a variety of fixtures and a large number of them too. And at this point I can’t really spend a few thousand more on a whole new demo set up for xxxx. Not that I can’t. Just that it’s almost impossible for me to spend that much money again in light of the fact that I just dropped so much last year. And that’s money that is needed elsewhere in our company.
But can you really do demos with one kind / brand of lighting but then tell the customer, “Well, we really don’t use this brand anymore. This is just for demo purposes only. What you would be buying is this product, but it would look similar…..” ????
Anyone else out there have this problem? Did you totally re-invest in an LED demo. kit? __________________”