High Quality Custom Landscape Lighting Costs are High But Haggling over Price Will Cost You Even More !

High Quality Custom Landscape Lighting Costs are High But Haggling over Price Will Cost You Even More !

By Mike Gambino

High Quality Custom Landscape Lighting Designer Builders work incredibly hard to make it in the ever-changing world of landscape lighting.  We keep up to date on the latest design and building trends.  We invest much time and money in our businesses, and we even sacrifice our children’s weekend sporting events and barbecues with the family to meet with new prospects wanting to light their properties.

It seems like there is always something left on our growing to-do lists. And maybe this is just the way that landscape lighting contracting is supposed to be.  However, I really believe that most people have no idea how many hours we work, or what kind of stress goes into working on projects on properties that are worth millions of dollars!

The industry is currently undergoing some changes, and I think some of the new systems in place may make Designer Builders even more valuable.  However, I think everyone has put up with clients who don’t really get what a landscape lighting designer builder does. I’m sure we’ve all felt like our work wasn’t appreciated from time to time.  And on the other hand, sometimes clients are beaming with appreciation for our help and expertise.

The bottom line is that we are constantly on the clock, trying to make deals go through, dealing with vendors and employees, guiding clients through key decisions, and helping our clients to get exactly what they are looking for in their landscape lighting system purchase.

That’s why I almost never haggle on price–it just isn’t worth it!

Clients are value focused, but also budget-minded.

Some clients will want or even demand that in order to get their project you must reduce your price.

My answer is almost always a firm, “no.”

Backed by these three reasons…

Reason 1:  It’s Not Worth My Time

Have you ever really needed to be somewhere at a certain time, but you were trying to do about five or six things at once before you left?  It’s nerve wracking, and your quality of work really takes a nosedive.

This is the exact same feeling that I get when I know that I’m not going to be making as much money on a project as I normally would.  In the past, I have taken projects where I didn’t’ get the best end of the deal.  I didn’t complain, but in the back of my mind, it was really hard to focus and put all of my energy into it.

I tell clients when they try to haggle on System Costs that I just can’t work as hard as I need to with such a small profit. It isn’t worth my time, and I want to feel enthusiastic about each and every client and property that I work on.  If my heart’s not in it, my head isn’t either and I just can’t perform as well as I need to.

There are also other things to consider like marketing time, being torn between other projects, and making the most of my time management skills.

When I don’t feel confident in my compensation, I can’t provide what the client really needs.

Clients can’t expect you to work as hard when you aren’t being compensated.

Imagine that you went to their place of work and requested their services for a huge discount–they wouldn’t be happy!

Remind them of that simple fact when they haggle you, and usually, they will come to their senses.

Reason 2: My Expertise is Worth It

When a client asks you to lower your price, they aren’t asking you because they can’t afford to pay you.

What they are really saying (in the nicest way possible) is we don’t think you are worth it.

In essence, if you agree with them or drop your price at all, you are reinforcing that you aren’t in fact, worth it.

This type of thinking goes against everything a good Designer Builder should stand for.

Can you imagine if someone told you that because you worked with multiple clients you weren’t worth as much, even though you are putting in your very best effort on each project? It would be ludicrous to have a client ask to be your only project.  Yet, time and time again clients think this way.

Whenever a client begins to go down this road of reducing price, we need to defend ourselves with the facts.

Keep our composure and don’t appear flustered.  Just calmly and eloquently explain the difference between you and competitors, and also provide clear cut reasons for why you are worth the full price.

Let them know that you’re putting in the same amount of work for each client and that this is what all of your other satisfied customers have paid you in the past.

If you are selling in the luxury market, simply explain to them that luxury branding requires you to command a better use of your skill sets, along with having a higher level of client satisfaction.  In order to provide this benchmark of service, you will need to spend more time and effort and that comes at a price.

Being the best means being compensated like it.

Reason 3:  Set A Quality Luxury Brand Precedent

Word Travels Fast

Lowering your price could hurt your reputation.  Once you agree to go lower, that news will travel fast.  In luxury, giving up a percent of your profit can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Getting one sale isn’t worth risking your reputation.

Play the long game.

One sale for a quick buck isn’t as important as creating a Quality luxury brand perception.  Clients care about perception when they choose any home improvement contractor.

They don’t want to go to a used-car salesman to help them buy a landscape lighting system–they are looking for a luxury landscape lighting design build contractor.

You can provide your clients with all of the rational, statistics, and information that they need in order to help them feel better about working with you.

In your consultation presentation you can clearly lay out all of the perks that your services provide, and you can even demonstrate how you do things differently than others.

Instead of worrying about what they will think, don’t be afraid to walk away if the client truly doesn’t want to pay you what you are worth.

I’ve had clients make all sorts of ridiculous requests.

Earlier this year I had a client who signed a deal and gave a deposit to design and install a system in their backyard. Two days later I get an email telling me that I must reduce the price two thousand dollars and include the front yard for $2,000 less than the agreed upon price for the backyard only. Needless to say, I assured them that once their check had cleared I would return their money minus the consultation fee that they agreed to pay and walked away from what would have been a very bad working relationship. These people were so dishonorable that they insisted I return the deposit 100% and stiffed me on the nominal consultation fee that they had previously agreed to.

Not everyone will understand the value that you provide.  Some people will want to provide product themselves, or seek out the cheapest installer.  That’s their prerogative, and if that really is the case, you should let them find someone else.

Don’t haggle over your value.  In luxury landscape lighting, you can’t waste your time with people who aren’t going to treat you fairly.

Focus on the clients who truly appreciate all of your extra efforts, and who compensate you fairly.


Never give up your profit for the sake of getting the deal.

Typically, clients who haggle on price don’t understand your worth, and will create the biggest headaches in your business.

They will make all kinds of excuses for why something isn’t right, or why your opinion isn’t valid.  Don’t play ball with people of this caliber.  It will end up costing you, both financially and emotionally.

If you’ve ever had a client who was unhappy, imagine a client who isn’t capable of being pleased–those are the types of clients who ask to haggle on your end of the deal.

Only in rare circumstances is it okay to make exceptions.  Sometimes, past loyal clients are involved, or there’s a large project at stake that it seems will go smoothly with low risk.  In these instances, it is alright to accept a lesser profit or to receive less for the sale.

However, this is the exception and should not become a habit.  When you are able to remove the doubts from clients mind’s and explain to them why you are worth every penny, the majority of the time they will take your side.

Only on very rare occasions have I had to walk away from a client who haggled on price.

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 29 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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