Amateurs in the business…….You have to start somewhere but it needs to be done right

Amateurs in the business…….You have to start somewhere but it needs to be done right

By Mike Gambino

Everyone has to start somewhere, I totally understand that. I just don’t subscribe to the deceptive practice of fake it until you make it mentality that so many newbies who enter into the landscape lighting business seem to employ in regards to getting work from unsuspecting property owners.

Below is a snippet of a conversation in italic font taken from a public message board. It’s from two guys exchanging information about starting a new landscape lighting endeavor. Here it is and I will make my comments below.


Conversation of 2 amateur’s aspiring to get in to the landscape lighting business

“All the pictures on my site were found using google advanced search labeled for commercial use, so if you see anything on there thats yours please just kindly ask me to remove it!

I plan to start advertising using door hangars next week. So far I have one job estimated and more to come  

My wife and I are from xxxxxx. We have started our business, same kind of deal as you two, she has been installing and designing for a company in Victoria for 10 years, myself labourer for a few years and a failed lawn care company 8 years ago.

We do not plan on buying any mowers either, we’ve luckily had some jobs referred from other small businesses and have stayed busy our first month. Do you plan on doing any other type of work to hold you over or just focusing on lighting?

Nice! Website looks great! I am planning on probably doing the same thing with my site.. Until I get some jobs and have a portfolio I will have to use example pictures.. wasn’t sure if you were allowed to do that though..

Another idea I had to build some photo’s for my site was to buy a set of lights and all the gear to create a demo pack, and then ask people I know if I can set them up and take photo’s for my site..

I bought some of my main photos from image stock websites. And the rest I found using google if you go to images > advanced search > labeled for use, even commercially then you can use whatever you like

By the way, build your own website! Use YouTube and look for tutorials, I spent $300 on unnecessary stuff before I found some YouTube videos that would have saved time and money! Making sites aren’t that hard, anyone can do it, no sense paying someone!

yep, there’s so many free templates you can just plug in and do it yourself.. I’m working on writing the content for mine now.. my biggest concern was photo’s without a portfolio.. thanks for the advise on commercial pics 

I’m at the business plan stage now so still trying to piece it all together. There are companies who do just lighting but not many as its really mostly a part of the landscaping industry and that is where I learned. I’ve been a landscaper for a while now.. That and youtube and forums.. lots of great info on the internet very lucky these days.”



Here is the problem I have with this.

#1-No experience– Neither individual appears to have any experience designing and installing a landscape lighting system. Both apparently have some landscaping/gardening background. This alone does not make for a prerequisite to successfully enter into the lighting business.

#2-Zero financial investment- It is clear these two have no value for professional services encouraging each other to spend no money on a professionally designed and built website. It is my experience that those contractors who are cheap themselves are always cheap when it comes to spending a clients money. One of two things usually result. They impose their own cheapness when it comes to purchasing materials (because they themselves would never pay the price for quality materials) and cannot decipher the difference because they have no experience with the difference between superior and inferior products. They haven’t been around long enough to vet products to find out which ones last and perform and which ones don’t. Or they buy cheap materials and they pass the savings on to themselves. You may be thinking oh that’s good that they are saving money on buying cheaper products. You will think differently though when you have to prematurely replace them.

#3- Lack of ethics- Either these two are so green that they don’t even know that it’s wrong let alone unethical to capture random photos from the internet and represent them as projects of your own. I mean the implication is if the photo is on the site in their gallery it must be of one of their projects right? Wrong, but the consumer has no way of knowing that and they might make a buying decision based upon what they see on the website. It’s just plain wrong to represent other’s work as your own. Quality nighttime photos are very expensive to get. There is something really wrong with someone stealing photos with the click of a mouse from the comfort and convenience of their office.

#4- Asking others on the board for free advice- Is this the appropriate place for business advice? I think not. There is and old saying that goes- “Those that know don’t tell. Those that tell don’t know”. There is also no way to gauge the actual verifiable success and knowledge of individuals who fail to properly identify themselves, post as anonymous or alias names on a board that does no identity vetting let alone checking for accuracy of information dispensed. The info is free and so it goes.

#5- Depending upon the internet to learn lighting business- Yes, because as we all know. 100% of the information on the internet is accurate being dispensed by the top people in their own fields. Heck I don’t know why schools, colleges and universities even exist anymore when it’s all out there on the internet for free.

BUYER BEWARE……………………………………..

facebook logoThis landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all 20160627_004632146_iOSrights 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 . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .

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  • Mark Carlson
    Posted at 16:34h, 14 April Reply

    It’s really sickening at times to see this kind of stuff going on in our trade profession. As you said, these entry-level guys have to start somewhere, but not at the expense of misrepresenting yourself and possibly hurting the public. My biggest issue in all of this is the “Ethical” nature of every company or individual. If you cannot be honest or tell the truth about how much experience you have with what you are in business for, then this is hurtful to the market.

    Mike, as you know….there have been many so-called landscape lighting professionals that lie or provide misleading information to everyone. These acts are what’s slowly demonizing our industry, and it’s another element to the devaluation process being encouraged. Thanks for sharing Mike.

  • Mike Gambino
    Posted at 19:36h, 14 April Reply

    Mark thanks for sharing your opinion. Those who are successful in this industry have paid their dues and have invested time, money and blood sweat and tears to get where they are in a very difficult industry to succeed. There are no shortcuts or discounts along this road although so many go this route and find out the hard way. The marketplace has an interesting way of separating out the wheat from the chaff.

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