We hear or say the phrase "Scope of Work", but do we know what it means?
What is it?
The phrase "Scope of Work" is not used every day when working direct with a residential customer, however it is often used in the commercial space or when working with a contractor. Simply put, scope of work is the agreement of what work is going to be completed. Many times this can be a live document and constantly changing, others are set in stone.
Does a Scope of Work Apply to Residential?
Yes of course! The contract you make with your lighting professional is the scope of work. Now, of course, unlike in commercial, most homeowners are not sure what they are looking for or have a design plan before meeting with a lighting designer, so the scope of work is defined in that first meeting. It is the job of your designer to go over with you, the customer, goals, obstacles, and expectations. At the end of the day, the scope of work for a residential client is their quote!
Quotes, What to Look For:
What I am about to say is so important you may need to read it again....NOT ALL QUOTES ARE ALIKE! You cannot compare lighting quotes apples to apples - there is not a single, uniform product used in the lighting industry. There are hundreds of manufactures which adds up to thousands of products, and not a single lighting professional uses the exact same one. A great lighting designer uses numerous different products and manufactures to obtain the best result for their client. Light It Right uses at least 10 different brands, like ClaroLux and Haven. You can imagine how many different fixtures that is! An excellent quote will take time to design, it will not be given on the spot in a hard sales manner, the designer will give thought to placement and product selection.
"Good Quality is Cheap, It's Poor Quality that is Expensive" - Joe L Griffith
While reviewing your quote (this is important), keep in mind, if you are quoted what seems like a lot of lights for very little money you WILL end up with poor results or follow up service. Many companies get a bulk discount buying large quantities of one light and then use it for everything, even if it is the wrong application. This leads to unhappy customers and poor service. The goal is to use each fixture in the manner they were designed for, with a company that provides excellent service and follow up.
What about the Company?
Experience and education should trump all. There are companies, like Light It Right, that have spent decades mastering their craft, then you have fly by night companies that come in town do a ton of work and are gone then next week. Check into who you are meeting with, are the insured? Are they local, for how long? What does their work look like, do you like it? Do they have referrals? Are they a member of the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals? Do they have a CLVLT or COLD certification? Theses are just a few of the things to look at and ask when qualifying a lighting contractor for your project.
There are a few things that we, lighting professionals, need from you, the customer, to have a successful scope of work, or quote. Be honest with yourself and with us, that is really it. If you have no idea what you are looking for or what budget you have that is 100% ok, but let us know. This allows us to work with you, your goals, and provide an idea of what the costs may be. If what you hear sounds way out of your zone we can edit, or if you are happy with that we can design it up. So many times we meet with customers who have no idea what lighting costs and "Want to see it all", more times then not this ends in an unhappy customer, or sticker shocked. Please be honest with yourself about your spending comfort level, that way when you have your meeting you will be better prepared and will in turn have a better experience. The great thing about low voltage lighting, it can be expanded at anytime, which means, you do not have to do everything at once, add as your budget allows.
We have several resources if you are ready to start your outdoor lighting project but do not know where to begin. Check out these articles and soon you will be armed with everything you need to get started.