26 Jun Typical Business Mistakes Made By Landscape Lighters and how their clients are affected by them
Landscape Lighting designer builders aren’t superheros, and we do make mistakes from time to time. If the mistake has something to do with business, we could be putting opportunity, income and our clients at risk. I have assembled a list of the most common business mistakes made by some landscape lighters and how their clients are affected so they can be avoided.
1) Landing projects by being the low bidder.
Some Landscape Lighting designer builders try to price their services like Walmart by under bidding their competition then erroneously believe they will make it up in volume with all of the work they are going to get from being the low price leader in the market. This strategy is severely flawed because cheap work very rarely brings more profitable work later. Instead, what results is being overwhelmed with low profit work, burnout and stress result. Not knowing their full costs to operate which include but are not limited to – overhead, materials, project management and administration, labor, insurance, licensing etc. The Astute landscape lighter knows what their cost of doing business is, and they charge a rate that’s profitable for them.
How does this affect their clients- When working hard physically and mentally with not much to show for it there is a tendency on the part of the landscape lighting designer builder to cut corners which result in costly problems that they are less apt or able to stand behind warranty claims and make good on.
2) Use of low quality products
This is common and is usually tied together with those who use the strategy of being the low bidder. Property owners typically don’t know the difference between quality products and those that are not until it’s too late and they start to break down and corrode and don’t perform well over time. Initially they might look good but they just can’t stand the test of time and the rigors of mother nature’s environmental wrath. By the time things start to deteriorate the builder is long gone leaving the property owner to clean up the mess and throw money at fixing the problem. This can result in needing to have the project completely redone after a very short time and can get quite expensive.
3) Landscape lighters who show up to a project unprepared and without backup plans
Not having the proper tools or skilled labor required to do the job properly and not having extra tools or materials immediately available in the case that everything doesn’t go exactly as planned (and it never does). Being unable to cope and make changes on the fly can hold up a project or result in things not coming out the best that they can be. Not having extra fixtures on hand if the client cares to add more during the installation (and this happens often if you are doing a good job). Not having them immediately on hand will cause delays and cost more to the client and be less profitable for the service provider.
4)Landscape lighters who work out of unsuitable trucks
A professional landscape lighting designer builder should have a truck or trucks that are customized to work as a tool themselves to make work flow more efficient. They should be large enough to house all of the tools and materials orderly and securely so things are easy to find and on hand immediately when you need them to avoid costly trips and delays by needing to run out to the supply house while in the midst of an installation and then having to rely on parts that may be available at that time and not necessarily the best for the application.
5) Landscape lighters not having proper licensing and insurance.
Not having proper licensing and or insurance is a huge mistake, on so many levels. In California it is law.
Workers compensation insurance is critical because one visit to the hospital can set you back $20,000 – $30,000. But more specifically, without it the client, property owner can be liable and exposed to pay for workers who are harmed while working on their property. Serious injury or death can be devastating to both business owner and property owner alike.
Liability insurance-If something goes wrong, you need to have insurance in case a light fixture falls onto a priceless piece of art, or a child playing around equipment and the child gets hurt, or something gets damaged
There are some property owners that require you to have a certificate of insurance in order to come to work. But I have found this to be the exception and not the rule as most buyers do not check let alone ask if you have insurance. Hopefully more buyers will make this a requirement of hiring after they read this.
Business insurance would also cover theft of tools and equipment.
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.Gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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