If you’ve decided to add outdoor lighting to your home, you’ve already made a great decision. Lighting your home and landscaping is a great way to increase security, curb appeal, and ultimately the value of your home. The next choice you have to make is whether you are going to do it yourself or hire professionals. It may be tempting to do it yourself and try to save a little money. After all, the plethora of online videos, blog posts, and how-to’s make it seem simple. But what would you say if I told you that hiring a professional landscape lighting company can actually save you money? Before you dive into a big DIY project, we want you to know some of the hidden costs and how going pro can save money.
Why hire a professional to do something you can do yourself? Hiring anyone for anything is more expensive than just doing it yourself, right? Well, maybe not. It turns out that when you start in on a do-it-yourself outdoor lighting project, you may be racking up some hidden costs.
The first hidden cost comes before you even get started with the installation. Any good lighting installation should begin with a plan. If you hire a professional, they’ll come up with a plan that works well and looks great. But if you try to do it yourself, it’s easy to make mistakes. Common issues that plague do-it-yourselfers are voltage drop, inability to make changes after the initial installation, and results that don’t look the way you imagined. If you do the installation yourself but then have to go back and make changes, the cost of new materials could add up fast.
Speaking of materials, that’s one place where almost any pro has got you beat. If you want to do your own installation, you will have to start by purchasing all of the necessary components. Of course, you’ll need light fixtures and bulbs. You will also need wiring, a transformer, other electrical components, and possibly some new tools. If you go to a big box store or even shop online, you won’t get the best deal. Outdoor lighting professionals buy in bulk and often have distribution deals with manufacturers. That allows them to purchase high-quality fixtures and parts at a discount. Those savings are passed on to you, the consumer.
Another hidden cost is also related to buying materials yourself. If you are doing the project yourself, chances are good that you are trying to be thrifty. It might seem like a component is a great deal. But do you really know the difference in quality between a $10 fixture and a $25 fixture? What about transformers and wiring? If you try to save money on materials, you may end up spending more money replacing failing parts. A professional landscape lighter knows how to get the best value by purchasing materials that are well-priced for their relative quality and durability.
Installation is where the real savings are. Or so you may think. Sure, doing the labor yourself will save you money in the short-term, but not necessarily in the long-term. One factor to consider is the value of your time. Your time is valuable, and there is just about no chance that you will be anywhere near as efficient as the pros. And it’s not just your labor time to factor in. Think of all the time you spend researching, reading books and blogs, or watching endless online videos. Then think of all the time spent planning the design. Finally, you have your shopping time, wandering around a big store or surfing the internet just to find something you think will work. If time is money, how much value are you pouring into your do-it-yourself project?
Of course, even after you factor in all the time researching, planning, purchasing, and installing, you’re not done. If you are a serious do-it-yourselfer, you know that not every project is completed without a few setbacks. If you purchase the wrong materials, for example, the wrong sized transformer, you will have to replace it. Some parts can be returned, but others can’t. And the time you have to spend on the return and replacement is more money down the drain. Then you have the time spent diagnosing problems and the money spent on parts to fix them.
Your outdoor landscape lighting has to stand up to the elements, as well as damage from gardening accidents and accidental bumps. To stay in good working condition, every outdoor lighting system needs to be maintained. Even if your system is in great shape, it will still need new bulbs from time to time. Doing the maintenance yourself costs more time and means more money spent on materials. And if you don’t get it right, it could mean more damage to your system and more frequent replacements.
When you hire a professional outdoor lighting company, they will almost always have a service plan that includes regular maintenance. Plans and prices vary, but it is almost always cheaper than doing it yourself.
If you are ready to start your outdoor lighting project, we encourage you to at least take a look at some of these TrustDALE certified outdoor lighting professionals. We think that you’ll find hiring a professional actually leads to extra savings!