12 May How your landscape lighting design professional perceives you may very well dictate how well your project turns out
By Mike Gambino
What do I mean by that? The aura or vibe that a landscape lighting client puts out to a professional landscape lighting designer at the initial meeting and throughout the project most times will dictate the quality of product, level of service and what degree of intricacy a landscape lighting system will have. Let me explain.
Beer budget and champagne tastes
Everyone wants the highest level of quality with the greatest degree of design creativity for their project. Not everyone is willing or able to pay for it. It is not a landscape lighting designers responsibility to determine what a buyer of his or her services can or cannot afford however this is exactly what they are going to try and determine based upon the information they receive mostly from the buyers themselves. Those whose mantra is “I don’t want to spend too much money keep the cost down” usually get what they ask for but results are usually not what they wanted.
Very few buyers are going to come right out and expose their budget out of fear that a design pro will lose interest in their project or they will pay more than they should because their admission could be used against them. Perhaps this fear is valid when dealing with unscrupulous service providers but these days with all of the information easily available with social media and the internet usually these types do not even make it to a buyers front door if due diligence is done on the part of the buyer. Talking money early and often is important in a healthy relationship between landscape lighting designer and client. It becomes the basis for negotiation , a give and take of what can be accomplished at differing investment levels.
The reality is most buyers will not divulge even a hint at what their desired cost to build their system or how much they would be willing to pay if they could get everything they wanted. The other problem is too many buyers treat the relationship with the seller of custom services an adversarial one. They feel they must hide the amount they are willing to invest in a custom landscape lighting project. In reality project budgets are not like water in that they both “find their own level” which is a metaphor how things in the universe equalize on their own. If only it were that simple every project would be built for the highest possible quality at the exact desired cost.
Keep an Open mind and be flexible
So what is the solution? Be open and prepared to pay more than you might of thought it will cost to get everything that you want. High quality landscape lighting is not a mainstream home improvement and unless a buyer has previous experience with a high quality design professional in the past they usually underestimate the cost. Do not sacrifice because mistakes made in the buying process of custom home improvements are very costly to rectify. There is an old saying “If you don’t have the money to do the project right then where will the money come from to do it over”? That is not to mention the lost time, stress and aggravation of a failed project. Doing the project once the first time so it can be enjoyed is much more rewarding.
“A Thought on Price”
by John Ruskin, English Philosopher, 1819-1900
“It is unwise to pay too much, but it’s also unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much, all you lose is a little money. But when you pay too little, you stand a chance of losing everything, because the thing you bought is incapable of doing what you bought it to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it just cannot be done. So, when you deal with the lowest bidder, it is wise to put a little something aside to take care of the risk you run. And, if you do that, you can afford something better.”
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 27 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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