Ask the Expert: Learn How To Expand Beyond Your Typical Four-Fixture Routine

Everyone knows the age-old saying “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. Yet, if we live by this motto we are essentially just waiting until things aren’t working to try something new. The same can be said for when we get into a business routine that we feel meets the basic needs of our customers, and thus we just continue to offer the same basic plan to everyone.  However, what if with a few simple changes you could offer customers something even a little better… all while your competitors are waiting around for the standard installation options to be “broken” before learning new outdoor lighting products, techniques, and ideas.

From Glen Nyhuis:

As we prepare for the upcoming 2022 landscape lighting season, I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas to help you expand beyond your typical four-fixture routine.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel from state-to-state and meet with our customers. I have had the opportunity to assist and train contractors on numerous different projects and help them learn the basics and beyond including: troubleshooting, design, installation, engineering, advanced techniques, bidding, new products, and more.

I’ve learned a lot in this time and something that surprised me is that lighting contractors are very similar to each other, no matter the region. The majority of lighting contractors I meet work on a four or five fixture design. Why? Because it’s worked for them and honestly, “they don’t know what they don’t know.”

These handful of fixtures are your standard MR16 up light, a PAR36 well or directional, path light, wall wash and under cap light. Now the reason this four-fixture combination is so popular is it can be very effective for many homes and property types if designed correctly to include proper wattage, kelvin, beam spread, and lenses—but there is an opportunity for it to be so much more! If this sounds familiar, let us help you get out of this four-fixture rut.

Where Do You Want to Be?

If everyone or most contractors use the four to five fixture design as their “standard,” what does this mean for the industry? It starts a trend that lacks innovation which leads to this average “cookie cutter” design that everyone has.

It makes for easy-to-compare proposals for potential customers to pit you against your competitors. And, it makes the proposal solely about price. It’s a price war to the bottom that pushes low-cost inferior products to make you price competitive. Margins are tightened for everyone including you, and the customer gets a less than quality job—which slowly will bring down the industry. No one wins.

What’s the Solution?

There are many different things you can do but my biggest recommendation is avoiding the race to the bottom. Gain knowledge and confidence by using the resources available to you. As a valued partner to Central, you have access to training and on-site support with lighting subject matter experts. Beyond that, we work with reputable manufacturers that stand by their products to make sure that you can be confident in the products you use. As our partner, we help you access their tools and resources as well. Better yet, they look toward innovation and solutions by releasing products with the newest technology and features that consumers look for—driving the market.

As simple as this sounds, I also recommend picking up a catalog from one of these manufactures. The reason for this is you will find dozens and dozens of fixtures; some are standard but many have a specific purpose and application. These niche fixtures can help set you apart from your competition with thoughtful and creative design—and quality reputable products. I love to spend time browsing these catalogs as they also help spark new ideas for lighting design or even help me solve an issue that I may be stumped on.

Adding in a few new fixtures at a time to your arsenal will make you a more thoughtful lighting designer and contractor. And, you’ll reap the benefits in sales and your bottom line.

Now I know that new technology and all these different niche fixtures can be confusing but if you are properly trained on design and installation techniques, you’ll find yourself winning the race.

Embrace new fixtures, new ideas, and new technology. From what I see in my travels, the contractors that are doing this are the ones who are winning.

Need Help?

The team at Central is here to help you break that four-fixture rut. Let us help you stand out from your competition and win this race. Rely on us to help you grow your business and profits. We can help train your team on the basics, teach new installation and design techniques, help you expand your product arsenal, win more jobs, and design service contracts for an annual/repeat income stream. Reach out to your local Central rep to get started or learn more!

About Glen

Glen Nyhuis has nearly three decades in the landscape lighting business. He has worked both in the field installing and design landscape lighting, as well as on the distribution side. Beyond that, he has spent many years teaching and working with contractors on how to sell lighting to their customers. Whether it’s a technical or design question, or helping source the right product for a special job, Glen is ready to help you make money and grow your business.