24 Jul The Differences between Dedicated Landscape Lighting Designer/Builders and General trade professionals
By Mike Gambino
This article may ruffle some feathers and appear as a biased point of view. However I will attempt to keep it factual and based upon my extensive experiences and interactions with thousands of projects and clients as I have been selling, designing and building and maintaining landscape lighting systems virtually nonstop 6 days a week for the past 30 years. It is not going to be about who is the best choice for your project. Only you can make that determination.
It may come as a surprise to some but most of the landscape lighting that is professionally installed (that is when a service provider is paid and not a do it yourself project) is done by general trades people hired by property owners and not stand alone dedicated landscape lighting designer/builders for various reasons.
Convenience– They are already on the job doing a landscape, electrical or other project, the provider states they do landscape lighting, so it is assumed by the buyer that they must know what they are doing. A relationship has been developed and they are doing a good job and most times little to no vetting takes place and the hiring is done based upon their word. There is high risk when hiring is done with assumptions that are made and not based on solid facts.
Cost savings– This may or may not be true each case is different. The trade who is already on the job has an advantage because they will not have the normal project startup costs, can accomplish the burying of cable with other digging (although most times this is often not the best practice). Whether these cost savings are actually passed on to the property owner is another thing.
Lack of Awareness– Some buyers have no idea that there are stand alone landscape lighting design/build companies in the marketplace. With the ease of internet searches these days you would think that would not be true but it is. Only when it becomes apparent that they didn’t get the results they wanted with a failed project will they seek them out.
So what is the difference?
It really depends upon the buyer and the project as to who will be the best fit. Frankly not all specialists will do a better job than general trades but for the most part these tendencies are true more often than not. Specialist have the advantage in several areas.
Being Vested in the project– Most specialists have a definite advantage in this respect. As “artists” with light they take a very serious and detailed approach to each and every project for the following reasons:
1- Future projects are dependent upon their current one so client satisfaction is paramount. Where is a generalists future is not dependent upon any one portion of the larger project they are involved in. It’s not all they do.
2-Specialists will want to make sure their client satisfaction lasts so they will do everything feasibly possible to ensure that. Systems must remain looking as they did when originally completed and this means ongoing maintenance services performed by the original installer. Very few non specialized installers maintain lighting let alone ever revisit that aspect of their project. The garden is not static and is constantly changing. Future alterations will need to be made as a result.
3- A specialist can dedicate all of his attention to staying on the cutting edge of current trends in product advancement and lighting design. They are going to have access to a network of associates all over the world and seek out the best information and practices.
4- Specialists who care about their clients and projects, make themselves available to them and are never too busy working on non landscape lighting projects to provide such high level of care.
Some believe strongly that the benefits are so significant that they choose to ONLY work with independently-owned specialist designer/builders, where they believe a positive outcome to landscape lighting projects are the norm.
Like most things, a motivated generalist with attention to detail and some thoughtful insight into the clients space and lifestyle can probably learn enough to do an adequate job of design on a basic property. In this case a property owner won’t even know what they missed out on by going this route.
But since most generalists don’t “live” it every day like specialized designer/builders do, even on the most basic of properties, they’re almost sure to miss something in the process, probably several some things. And more times than not, those some things will be costly and result in time delays that interrupt your life in ways that will have you second-guessing the generalists design route.
Some people maintain their own vehicles, do their own landscaping, and write their own legal documents using online resources; some are able to do these tasks well and others are woefully unable to; but they all have one thing in common — they all begin the process believing they can do it as well as the professionals.
Your home represents a significant investment, one that is worth employing the expertise of design and installation pros when an extensive project on your most expensive asset is considered..
In the end only you the buyer can decide whether a specialist or generalist trade is the best fit for your landscape lighting project. The same diligent vetting process should be followed no matter who is the choice.
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 30 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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