By Bob Kelly

Landscape lighting is beautiful. That’s why we at Elegant Custom Images love what we do. And it’s probably why you’re considering such an excellent investment for your Winter Park home. Our ultimate goal is to help every potential homeowner get the most from their landscape lighting, whether we design and install it, or some other contractor does. As a result, we’re happy to share this information to help you make an educated decision when choosing a landscape lighting contractor for your home.  

This article identifies the 5 most common problems people have with landscape lighting contractors, and more importantly, how you can avoid them! The good news is that in my estimation, about 80% of the problems that occur with a landscape lighting installation fall under one or more of these categories.

What’s so good about that? The biggest challenge for any consumer is ignorance; now, you’ll be aware of the most common problems, so you can address them head on. Once you get past these issues, your project should go smoothly.

Top 5 Common Problems with Landscape Lighting Contractors

1. Bait & Switch

This is a BIG deal! Some contractors will charge you for top-of-the-line fixtures upfront, only to install cheap lights instead. Often times, people look at lights, and because they are on, that means the lights are in good shape to them. But that’s not the case. You can get into a lighting system that appears good for 2-4 years, and then all of a sudden, nothing works, or no one is around to repair.

How do you avoid this? Seek references before choosing a contractor. And check our blog article, “7 Qualities of the Best Lighting Experts in Central Florida” for more info.

2. Poor Customer Service

One of the best clues you’re going to get regarding customer service from a landscape lighting contractor, is how you’re treated the first time you contact the company. Do they respond back to you in a timely fashion? Do they call when they say they will? Do they come to your home on time? Do they listen to your needs and try to find a solution that fits your budget, rather than sell you what they want to sell?

Trust your instincts. The contractor is going to be working on your property, so this person needs to be someone you trust. If they treat you rudely at the beginning, you can be sure that if there are any problems with your installation, things are not going to go well.

3. Poor Project Planning

Many people think installing landscape lighting is a simple deal. Just stick some lights in the ground, and you’re all set, right? Not exactly. Things can go wrong if proper planning isn’t done ahead of time. There are several factors that must be taken into consideration before installing landscape lighting. Here are a few:

  • Layout – Where should each fixture go to create shadows and silhouette images?
  • Lighting – Will you use low voltage, LED lights?
  • Landscape – Can you add more lights as trees mature?
  • Wiring – Which method will be used: hub & spoke or daisy chain?
  • Connections – How are connections established to ensure consistent brightness?

These are just a few of the things that MUST be discussed prior to installation of your landscape lighting. There should be NO surprises!

4. Unlicensed Contractors

When it comes to landscape lighting contractors, you’re going to have a much better chance of receiving good quality service from someone who is licensed by the state of Florida. Why? For one thing, if someone has taken the time, and paid the fee to be licensed, you know that they’re serious about their business. Licensed contractors also are more likely to be insured, which gives Winter Park homeowners peace of mind, should any accidents happen on the job. That’s not to say that all licensed contractors will do a good job for you. But if you do have a problem with a licensed contractor, you can file a complaint with the state and get help resolving your issue. If you have problems with an unlicensed contractor, you may be out of luck… and out of money!

5. Poor Quality Fixtures

Beware of contractors that try to sell you aluminum fixtures, or other low-quality products for your outdoor lighting. Aluminum is more susceptible to corrosion, especially in the heat and humidity of Florida. Make sure you ask your contractor what type of fixture he recommends, and why. Ask about the manufacturer, and research them online yourself. However, if you’ve received a good recommendation for this contractor, it’s likely that he will use good quality fixtures in his installation. For more information on this subject, check out our article, “Brass Lighting Fixtures vs. Aluminum Lighting Fixtures – Which is Best?

Now that you’re aware of the most common problems with landscape lighting contractors, you should be able to select an experienced professional who will do the job to your complete satisfaction.

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