As lighting professionals we have competition - just like other services providers, there is no getting around that. Just because we have competition does not mean we have to drop our prices like it's hot or offer special discounts to get a job. Usually when we do drop it like it's hot the job back fires - customer expects the world for a water price and as professionals we always come up short by doing what we have to do get the job done, without totally losing our shirts.
Our society has been trained to buy at the lowest price they can get - well that does not always work out. John Ruskin said it best:
“It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money … that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the things it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot … it cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.”
We as sales people are to blame, we have attempted to get a job sold by focusing on the price and trying to be the lowest bid instead of focusing on the value added. As lighting professionals we need to train our customers to look at the value of what we provide them - our quality, service provided, reputation and advanced education - those are worth much more than the low price.
In many states low voltage lighting is not regulated so anyone can say, "I install lights", with no experience or knowledge, some have never installed a light in their lives. These are the people that are going in at a low price which makes a quote from a true professional that has years of experience and education appear sky high, when in actuality the price is where it should be. Don't lower your price to compete with those guys, a lot of the time our cost of the product is more than what a fly by night guy's quote is for.
Think back to a product or service that you fell for the low price aura - how did that work out? Are you still satisfied with it or has it crapped out and you have paid to correct it? It is our job to educate our future clients about what we do and how we do it better than the others - and to remind them that low price will not always be the cheapest in the long run.
Light It Right has been designing and installing outdoor lighting systems for over 15 years. Brandon takes great pride in every job he does and our reputation rests on our customers word of mouth. For those reasons alone we refuse to offer a "low cost" option, cut corners to get our price down just a little, or sell our clients anything that we will not put our name on. We have lost jobs based on price, and when that question comes up "Can you use a cheaper fixture to get the price down" we always say the same thing - we will not use anything we would not put our name on. We may gain the job back or loose it anyways, but it is important to stand behind our standards and ethics and not allow the fear of losing a job make us sacrifice that; once you do your reputation will follow. In this industry like any other jobs will be lost, we cannot win them all - ups and downs happen.
The Key to Success: Set up your business model with the type and size of jobs you aim to work on and model everything after it (marketing, quote styles, email communications, etc.) - DO NOT WARY. Keep the big picture in mind, if you sell your value, your lighting company will long outlast the low price guys out there. Don't fight tooth and nail for all of them, you will loose out in the long run.