In this regular blog series, Bob Hall, the co-founder of Greenlite Lighting Solutions, makes sure you aren’t left in the dark about the lighting sector. This month, he says: One size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to lighting. Use these simple guidelines to find an installation that’s good quality, great value and, most importantly, right for you.
Having worked in commercial lighting for longer than I may like to admit, I know what retailers want – excellent quality lighting at a good price. Unfortunately, in a sector chock-a-block with bold promises, it can be hard to work out who really knows their apples from their onions. So here are my top tips for finding a tip-top supplier.
What do I need to do?
1. Look for diversity of offering. If a company is only marketing one technology or brand, be wary. They are invested in selling that product, whether or not it’s the one for you. A good lighting supplier will have a range of offerings, in order to be responsive to your individual commercial lighting design needs.
2. Stress test the whole system. There are a lot of components in an installation, from lamps to drivers and dimming controllers, and they need to be compatible. Do your own research and quiz the supplier. We Brits don’t like being pushy but, trust me, asking questions – and a lot of them – is the only way to know the installation will work as a whole.
3. Seek proven experience. While knowing all the codes and regulations by heart is useful, there’s a lot to be said for common sense and good old know-how when it comes to commercial lighting design. Invite potential firms to your space and have a proper natter – you’ll soon get a sense of whether they can work with your unique requirements.
4. Read the small print! As a commercial LED lighting expert, I know that there are a lot of bold promises about this and other lighting technologies. It’s very easy to say that the lamps will last 50,000 hours, but what happens if they don’t? Will your supplier come back and replace them free of charge? Check your warranty with a fine-tooth comb to ensure you are covered for malfunctions and other issues.
5. And, finally, think in the long-term. The thrill of a cheap installation will wear off pretty quickly when you realise that lighting maintenance is not included or that spare items are not available. Investing in a plan that includes after-sales care will save you money and hassle. Don’t be the store with the dead lamps that can’t be replaced!
As you can see, a good lighting installation is rooted in a good lighting company. If a firm can’t answer your questions or produce documents to support their claims, walk away. It’s not worth trading quality for price and there are plenty more reliable fish in the sea!