01 Dec Why we ALMOST always turn down requests to work on landscape lighting systems that we didn’t Design and Build with our own proven Gambino Landscape Lighting System
By Mike Gambino
Almost…Because the very week I’m writing this article, we made a very rare exception, but this was an extraordinary case and a topic for another blog article. There are many reasons why we won’t repair or service lighting systems that we did not Design and Build with our own High Performance Gambino lighting products.
Most are not repairable
At least not according to our high standards where a system will highly perform and not be a continuous money drain for the unfortunate owner of the problematic system. It is the wild west of home improvement. There are no set minimum standards, no permits or inspections required to install a low voltage lighting system. This is not a problem when a specialized highly qualified professional landscape lighting expert does the work however the majority of the installs are done by part time and first time installers. Do it yourselfers, landscapers, electricians (yes, some of the worst systems I’ve seen are installed by them) handymen and any other non related trades. Lighting is usually the last on the list of home improvements and what is usually given the lowest budget. Quality tradesmen and products that perform and last are never cheap and very rarely ever come with the low bid.
Inheriting a headache
Once you touch it you own it and are responsible going forward for it pre-existing conditions and all. At least in the mind of the system owner. As a service company , No matter what you explain beforehand, no matter what release or clause you have in your repair agreement that is signed and agreed to. System owners tend to make the last person who worked on it responsible for its problems. That means complaint calls (usually at odd hours) with requests for and expectation of callbacks later on with no pay to the company unfortunate enough to get involved. Owners can be very funny about taking any responsibility for originally hiring an unqualified individual for their project and think the low bid is the best bid or that their “negotiating skills” or frugality is not in any way responsible for the corner cutting that took place with the install. These unreasonable types will gross about how they got ripped off. It takes two to tango. Low ball installer and low price buyer.
Damage to Brand Image and Reputation
Neighbors notice when you roll up on a property to make a repair. They may not remember who the original installer was but will probably remember the last company who worked on it especially if you are a reputable company that has its name and brand logo plastered all over its service vehicles. Your company name gets attached to a few of these problematic and low performing systems and it will damage a company’s brand reputation. As a small business owner the last thing you need is a negative brand image or poor reputation for quality and system dependability. Even the low bid purchasers do not want to knowingly work with disreputable companies.
Opportunity for future “Good” work
Band-aid repairing a system is not the kind of solution any reputable company desires to be involved in. This type of practice will not build a first class business. As a company who relies on today’s successes to sell tomorrow’s projects, meaning we must make a big positive impression on every job as we do no advertising. We can’t afford to spend our time working on projects that will not bring us future work that is in our wheelhouse. Work that is profitable and which results in a satisfied client who will sing our praises and refer. In my close to 30 years in this business I have found that most owners of problematic systems are resistant to having new systems installed. For the following reasons-
They have no faith the outcome will be any better
Can’t afford it
Type of neighborhood or value of the property doesn’t call for the type of system we specialize in
Doesn’t see the value, need or realize they have a problem
In spite of this, we have made a career out of replacing others failed systems
However the client must come to us with a predisposed idea that this is in her best interests to do so and not with our influence. If a prospective client is not open to this possibility from the start then going out to make a repair on one of these systems and trying to convince them to rip it out and replace it with ours is usually not received very well. They think we are just trying to sell them something they don’t need for our own profit although that is never the case. But perception is hard to change sometimes.
Bottom line is Gambino Landscape Lighting didn’t become the premier landscape lighting company in the country by working for clients who don’t see the value in doing the work right the first time or by making stop gap temporary band-aid patch ups for the same type of client who won’t make the financial investment. It’s contrary to our mantra of “High Performance Landscape Lighting Systems Designed and Built to last”. Not worth our time or the client’s money.
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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