Landscape lighting professionals are dedicated to their trade. The technical know how and experience necessary, to do landscape lighting at the top level, can take years of practice in the field to acquire. Because outdoor lighting professionals want to become the best at what they do, they do not associate with any other trades. A landscape lighting professional is not a jack of all trades, but rather, a master at his craft. When hiring an outdoor lighting professional, you should expect them to be an expert at what they do.
When you contact a lighting design/build company, you should expect that the following steps will occur.
- The first visit should be kept short. The first visit should serve to allow the designer & home owner to walk through the project together. By becoming acquainted with the project, the designer can insure that the home owner's needs are addressed in the design.
- The first visit also serves as an important time for a budget to be established. A budget will help the Designers and homeowner understand the scale & scope of the project.
- The Lighting Designer should provide a portfolio of their work, not a lighting manufacturing companies catalog or portfolio, rather a portfolio of their work representing their artistry.
- They should provide a website to visit that showcases the experience they have & their process.
- During the second visit a proposal should be presented, details covered, and all questions resolved so that an informed decision can be made by the homeowner whether or not to proceed with the installation.
- The Lighting Designer should be able to show a visual through examples of how it will effect their property.
- Once a decision has been made, a clear outline should be presented, as well as a start & completion date.
In addition, all warranties should be available in writing. The company should indicate what maintenance or service should be expected, to upkeep the system, once it is installed. It's crucial that there is an understanding of what maintenance will need to be performed by the home owner to keep the system in good condition.
Ask if they offer a service plan, since some home owners may prefer to utilize these services.
What steps should be followed & what expectations should you have regarding installation?
- The Designer & Install Foreman should be involved together throughout to assure an accurate installation.
- Installation Team Leader/Foreman should be present and in daily communication with the home owner to address any needs that may arise.
- Crew members should all be in company uniform and show the utmost respect and professionalism as a guest on your property.
- The job site must always be left clean at the end of each day.
- Landscape Lighting Design Professionals should be able to provide all necessary license and liability insurance and workman's compensation insurance.
Will Sub Contractors, if any, be used? This is an important question to ask. If so, the customer should be fully aware and be given information about who will be doing the work on their property.
Last but not least, time lines must be set. Installation must be executed each and every day until installation is completed. There should be no gaps in installation. Most installations should only take 2-3 days.
In Conclusion, there are ultimately 3 things you should look for when hiring a professional to do your outdoor lighting: a designer with years of experience in lighting different landscapes, a crew that will be professional and work with you throughout the project to ensure that all your needs are being met, and of course a plan to get the project done in a timely manner once installation begins. Experience in design, professionalism during installation, and a plan to make it all happen, these are the key ingredients to making your dream of a beautifully lit landscape become a reality.