Illuminating landscape work can be a great add-on or even spark a new business.
Lighting up a landscape can not only give your customers more time to enjoy their investments, it can also provide increased security and visibility to visitors, making it an easy upsell for landscaping companies that can do it right.
Southern Lights in Summerfield, N.C., got its beginning installing add-ons at Southern Exposure Landscape Management and branched off into a separate business to stand out from the competition. There were many landscaping companies in the area that offered lighting, but only a handful of dedicated lighting companies, says President Pete Bryant.
The company started off installing simple add-ons like path lights and up lights for home facades, and Bryant learned more and more about design as he worked on more jobs and took more classes.
“If we weren’t installing a patio or planting trees, we weren’t getting those people that wanted just lighting. They were calling the companies that do just lighting,” Bryant says.
But that changed once the lighting service separated from the landscaping business. Volume is up and many more clients are calling just for lighting installations, repair and maintenance, Bryant says.
Lighting distributors and suppliers have been great educational resources for both Southwest Lighting and Neave Group Outdoor Solutions, located in New York and Connecticut, helping them learn about proper design and installation.
Kathleen Neave, manager of lighting, recommends taking training sessions or classes from lighting companies. “You need to definitely have your crews properly trained on the installation, on the use of different products, what the products do,” she says.
Bryant gained a lot of industry knowledge by bringing a vendor out to the jobsite on four or five projects. “So, I got a real good close encounter with some experts in the industry which kind of also made me feel like I knew more than most,” he says.
“Lighting is an easy add-on,” Neave says. “I believe it adds value to the look of your home and the property.”
Net profit margin varies a lot for Neave, but it’s usually between 10-20 percent.
As much as you can plan for the perfect design, Bryant knows it’s hard to make a property perfect until the installation is complete. That’s a great opportunity for upselling, which Bryant says is successful more times than not. “A lot of times (Maintenance and Lighting Division Manager Charles McClintock) will actually put some fixtures out there, that they didn’t plan on, just to show them, ‘Hey this area over here really could use another four fixtures to highlight it correctly,’” Bryant says.