Be Prepared Before contacting a Landscape Lighting Designer Builder

Be Prepared Before contacting a Landscape Lighting Designer Builder

By Mike Gambino

Choosing a landscape lighting design build company is a decision that requires some research on your part as a consumer if you want the best results for your project.

It surprises me how many who contact my company requesting an onsite consultation don’t know me, don’t even know of me, don’t know my work, never even visited my website or social media pages, have no general idea of what one of my systems cost or how much they are willing to monetarily invest in their project yet request a meeting at their site to discuss their project. I have a hard time considering these serious inquiries. With the vast amount of free information available on the web today (some good and some bad) there is no excuse for a prospective landscape lighting client to at least have a basic general idea of what to expect before inviting a designer builder out to meet at their site. Here are some tips to make sure a prospective design build landscape lighting company takes your inquiry seriously.

 Know the answers to MOST of your Questions Before reaching out

Being an educated consumer will take some time and effort on your part but will pay off very handsomely. Many of the answers to your questions can be found on the prospective company’s social media pages and website. A good place to start is the FAQ or frequently asked questions page. Of course there may be some specific questions that are not covered so make sure you write down all of the questions you may have to better understand your future landscape lighting designer builder and determine if they’re the right fit for your project. If you get completely stuck on what kind of questions you need to ask, Here are a few questions you are probably going to want to have the answers to before making a decision:

Is the company licensed to do the work and have the required insurance coverage including liability and workers compensation.

About the quality of the products used, plastic, aluminum and steel that won’t last long outdoors or brass copper and stainless steel which are the best materials for landscape lighting products.


When can you start my project and how long will it take to finish.

How much disruption to my landscaping will occur.

Who is doing the work and what are their capabilities. Payroll employees or subcontractors. Will the owner of the company be working on my project.

Cost and payment terms.

 Look Through their on line Portfolio

Every photo tells a story. View some of their work. It’s always best to see what they have done so you know their style and capabilities. Judge the quality of the company by the content and quality of their photos. Are they a one light per tree contractor with the balance of the property in dark stark contrast when what you are looking for is a designer who composes lighting schemes that draw the eye with brighter focal points , creates depth with varying brightness levels of light to create a visually appealing and safe environment in your yard? Digital cameras are so advanced these days that there is no excuse for poor quality photos that  do not convey the quality of their work. Crappy photos equate crappy work. Do you like the design style of the company in consideration. Is this what you want for your property. If not then there is no need to go any further start looking somewhere else.

Be Serious

Know that you are 100% certainty that you are doing the project and its just a matter of who you will choose to do it. It is not the responsibility of the professional to convince you that you want or need landscape lighting for your property. This is something you will have had to need to have decided before meeting any prospective contractors.

 Talk Money

Discussing money is never a fun thing to do but it needs to be done. Don’t hesitate to ask if they can get the job done within your desired budget. If not then consider increasing your budget if that’s a possibility. It’s also important to make sure you know your budget’s boundaries and limitations to avoid wasting everyone’s time. Be upfront and clear with your designer what you are willing to invest to get the most for your money and project, your honesty will be appreciated. Just like anything else in life the more you are willing to invest (with an honest , reputable and qualified contractor) the more value you will receive.


It’s completely possible to get a pretty accurate gauge of a service providers capabilities and temperament from their past clients at third party website online reviews that the contractor has no control over. I would disqualify and reviews on sites where the one who is being reviewed has any kind of control over the reviews themselves. Like the company’s own website or sites they pay advertising dollars to. Generally speaking if several people are saying the same things then it’s probably accurate information. If there are no reviews at all then that should be a red flag. It’s helpful to know other projects went smoothly, relationships were solid and professional and that the end result was successful. Or not!

Be Decisive and prepared to act

Never meet without having all decision makers present and be ready willing and able to execute an agreement ( with a signature on an agreement and deposit) once the right designer builder has been found. Lame excuses like you have to think about it, shop around, talk to mommy, your priest or spouse, I’ll get back to you ( No you won’t) is usually just an excuse for not moving forward with that particular service provider. That is fine but its only common courtesy to give that service professional closure by letting them know you won’t be moving forward with them. This way they can scratch you off their follow up list, not bother you and they can focus their efforts on other prospects who will be a better fit.

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 . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .

Blog articles may be published with permission on other websites without editing or removing links.






  • Mark Carlson
    Posted at 08:21h, 24 November Reply

    Great points again Mike….thanks. I especially liked your thoughts on photography and how you put it, “Crappy photos equates to crappy work!” That pretty much sums it up. I find this amazing too, as so many have terrible photos to show their work, and this even includes those who have been serving their communities for over 10 to 15 years! You would think those guys/gals especially, would care about how they are presented to the public eye.

    To expand deeper, most consumers don’t know what ‘good’ photos look like or should I say, don’t know what ‘good’ lighting design is. This is important, as you mentioned…..they should be searching for those companies that produce mood enhancing, intriguing, and thought provoking lighting scenes. There aren’t too many that have really mastered this ability. Your work has proven itself over and over again, Mike. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mike Gambino
    Posted at 08:33h, 24 November Reply

    Thanks for your thoughts Mark. Quality Photography is so important not only for promotional purposes and to exhibit one’s capabilities. But it is also a way to convey design ideas to new clients. In addition I use them to critique my own work. I’ve even used them mid project to make adjustments based upon what I noticed in photos on my computer screen. As you know our process, we “mockup” all of our projects for our clients to see them and approve first before finalizing the installation. This way if any movement of fixtures or additional fixtures are needed it makes it much more efficient and less costly to do so.

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