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The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Why The Low Outdoor Lighting Bid Isn't Always In Your Best Interest

The Bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. 

The question has been asked time and time again: is it more important to look at price, or value/quality? This question is probably more productive to ask when the purchase in question will be a long term investment. For most of us, the improvements we make to our homes are regarded as an investment towards the future quality and enjoyment of our living space. Whether it's remodeling the kitchen, re-tiling the bathroom, or putting in a new patio, we have these improvements made with the intention of enjoying them for the duration of our home ownership. If the point of enhancing our living spaces is to be able to enjoy them for a life time, then why choose something that has the potential to fall apart? Why choose a low price point over high quality and value?

It makes sense to spend a bit more to get something better: right? Yet, we see clients call us all the time because they unknowingly made this mistake. Sometimes it really isn't the customer's fault that they chose to have a low quality landscape lighting system installed. 

It's truly stunning how often contractors supplement their income by offering to put in a low voltage outdoor lighting system. Here's how the story goes: the client is having their landscape redone, overhauled, added onto, etc., and their landscape contractor suggests outdoor lighting as an add-on. For just a little bit more money, the client is told that their beautiful new landscape can be lit like all the beautiful examples they see in the fixture catalog the contractor hands them. 

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But here's the thing: generally, that contractor doesn't understand landscape lighting concepts and most likely hasn't studied lighting design. This is sometimes difficult for people to grasp: just because they are a contractor, that doesn't automatically mean they are qualified to build and design an outdoor  lighting system that will be built to last. The customer, not knowing any better, leaves everything in the contractor's hands. 

But why shouldn't they?

I know what you're thinking: "Gee Mr. Lighting guy, aren't you being unreasonably harsh? Building landscapes and outdoor spaces is what they do day-in and day-out." Alright, you've got a point. I'll concede that there are some contractors out there who do some incredible work. I wasn't trying to say otherwise. I was, however, trying to drive home a point about contractors who try to be a Jack-of-all-trades  and a master of none. 

There are plenty of contractors out there who build and create stunning landscapes, patios, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, etc. It can be difficult to find these unbelievable specialists, especially since there are so many contractors out there jumping up and down saying they can do anything and everything for you at a discounted rate. 

The Jack-of-all-trades is the guy who says he can do it all for you. They say they can do X, Y, and Z just as well as anyone else, because they are just looking for a way to supplement their income. The specialist, on the other hand, is the person who will be honest with you and let you know that they specialize in Y. Building X isn't really what they do, but that they do know someone else who specializes in X. 

Over the years we have replaced and redesigned countless landscape lighting systems for clients who had their original outdoor lighting system installed by someone who was outside their specialty. The problem with supplementing his income with landscape lighting, is that the Jack-of-all-trades took short cuts and compromised the integrity of the system's longevity by offering to do it at a discounted rate. He used inferior installation techniques, cheap wire connections that aren't water tight, cheaply crafted components, and composite or aluminum fixtures. This guy gave the low ball bid to get the lighting job. He has less money to spend on building the system because of this. As a result, he looks for ways to decrease his overhead in order to increase his gross income. With everything being LED today, lamps tend to last much longer so he probably thinks it's easy to just throw a system in the ground and walk away. 

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Just a few years after the system was installed, the client has a system falling apart, broken, corroded, and damaged, with the Jack-of-all-trades contractor no where to be found. The client will call this guy's number, leave him messages about wanting to get him back to fix everything, and never hear from him again. These are horror stories we've heard from clients over and over again who have come to us for help after these types of experiences. 

In conclusion, there are two problems with hiring someone to do lighting who isn't a lighting specialist: the system will more than likely fall apart, and the Jack-of-all-trades won't be there down the road to repair or fix any issues or problems. 

Luckily we have been around to  help replace our client's old fallen apart systems with a new, high quality system built to last. A life time warranty comes with every system we install. We use only high end copper and brass fixtures with quality components and sound engineering. We've been in business for 15 years, and will always be here for our clients should they ever experience any issues. 

Let us revisit our original posed question: is it more important to look at price, or value/quality? I think the answer is obvious but you be the judge.  

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Give us a Call: 

To learn more about how to light your outdoor living space, call us at (801) 440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form on our website, www.utahlights.com.

Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah serves throughout Utah's residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper, Davis and Utah Counties. Our outdoor lighting portfolio includes projects throughout Utah and beyond. 

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