Planning and Installing Outdoor Lighting: Your Best Options
When considering planning and installing outdoor lighting for your home and/or property, there are 3 choices: Hire a professionally licensed and insured outdoor lighting contractor, hire an unlicensed person or company, or do it yourself. The only wrong answer is hiring an unlicensed individual or company because you have no idea what you’ll be getting, are taking a big risk with your money and, more importantly, your family’s safety. Electrical fires are dangerous and can change lives. It’s always best to hire a licensed, insured outdoor lighting professional vs. an unlicensed one. That leaves us with doing-it-yourself or hiring a pro. Let’s start with DIY.
DIY Outdoor Lighting Tips
There are many landscape lighting products on the market today for do-it-yourselfers. If someone is diligent and has the time to do the research to learn how to install a landscape lighting system, it can be a worthwhile and rewarding project. In order to complete this from start-to-finish safely and properly, one will need a few specialty tools, some specialty materials such as the proper gauge wire, outdoor-rated wire connectors, fixture stems, and of course, the lighting components, themselves. This is where things can get confusing.
Choosing the Right Outdoor Lighting Products
With so many different products available to consumers online, it can be near impossible to determine what is worth your money, and what isn’t. Things to consider, include:
- Brand / Company Reputation
You’ll want to know the answers to questions, like:
- What happens when something fails? Will it be easy to rectify? Will the company stand behind the product or leave you having to replace it at your cost and time?
- How about the fixtures? Are drop-in fixtures and lamps better than integrated fixtures or vice-versa?
- Which color temperatures are best for the elements you will be illuminating? How bright should you go? How many watts can a circuit handle and how long can that circuit be?
The DIY Tradeoff: Price vs. Time, Quality & Service
These are all factors to consider. Unfortunately, most people don’t have the time to dedicate to these kinds of projects and don’t want to have to worry about warranties, repairs and diagnostics when something comes up. However, the plus side is you can save between 20% and 70% on the project by doing it yourself. There are kits at the big box stores that sell LED landscape lighting. But keep in mind, especially if you live within a few miles of the coast or in a state with inclement weather like Florida, that these kits are temporary and will not hold up for very long.
Using a Licensed & Insured Outdoor Lighting Professional
Most people turn to a licensed, insured outdoor lighting professional when they are ready to illuminate their home, pool or property or once they have tried installing a kit from a big box store and are now ready to do it right, and have it warrantied for life. Just like when you have any electrical project at your home it is always best to at least consult with a professional, first. The reasons are many.
The Art of Outdoor Lighting Design
One of the most import reasons for using an outdoor lighting professional is the artistic eye of an experienced lighting specialist. This can be the difference between some scattered, uncoordinated lights and a beautifully illuminated home and property. It’s akin to hiring an interior designer for your home. They do it every day and have years of experience understanding what looks good for what type of environments, and what elements are a waste of money.
Getting the Biggest Bang for the Buck With Your Outdoor Lighting Company
A good lighting professional will make sure you are getting the maximum value for your money. There are all kinds of lighting companies including franchises, single-owner businesses, and companies that provide landscaping services, but hold a low-voltage lighting license, as well. For the best value for your money, you should consider the small business (not a franchise) that only designs and installs outdoor lighting.
Franchises may occasionally offer a slightly more competitive prices (often, not even that) but the products are not from a lighting manufacturer, but rather are made exclusively for that franchise and are not the same quality that you would get from a national or international brand. Franchises are often fraught with employee turnover, as well, which is not a good recipe for quality and attention to detail.
With a local small business that uses leading products from top manufacturers, the number one factor working for you is that the reputation of that business is on the line. Often, you will deal with the actual owner, rather than a sales person. You can imagine that the owner of any small business worth their salt will do what it takes to get a smiling customer at the end of a transaction. You will also often have the owner involved throughout the entire process.
When searching for a good, local outdoor lighting company, be sure to look at their portfolio. Is it varied? Are there a variety of custom jobs that demonstrate their ability to be creative and make a home or property unique? What is their work process like and how are payments made? Does the company answer the phone and return messages promptly?
Getting Your Outdoor Lighting Contractor and Getting Started
In summary, whether deciding to design and install your own landscape lighting or vetting a few professionally licensed companies, the most important factor is to take some time and research your options. Look at reviews, call and eliminate those that you don’t get a good, fuzzy feeling about. Professional outdoor lighting consultation should be free and, at minimum, give you a good idea about what you can expect moving forward.
There are sleezy salespeople and there are great-looking DIY kits that may try to sway you. However, do your due diligence and you will see through the window dressing. If you decide to consider hiring an outdoor lighting professional in Jacksonville or Northeast Florida, please consider Pro Lighting Outdoors. We focus on our customers and are driven by strong word-of-mouth. There are no bait-and-switches, no crews of people who may or may not understand what they are doing and when you deal with the owner, you are also almost always dealing with your designer.
Finally, we do not take payment unless and until you are 100% satisfied. If you are unhappy with the final product or the experience for any reason, we will remove it and you will not be charged a penny. This has never happened, yet and we hope it never does, but we can promise you that we will always be here for our customers and want them to be happy with their investments. Call us today for a free outdoor lighting consultation: (904) 924-4496