Anyone every feel like they are getting a raw deal from some of these lighting distributors? Had a bid where the drawings spec'ed "Bega" lights among some other "fancy" ones. I sent it to two suppliers I deal with. I get calls back from both saying that the supplier (the same one they both have to deal with apparently) wants to know the job name and who did the engineering. WTH? I didn't like this but was basically forced to give the information or not bid the spec lights (I did get a price on "equals" anyway later). So then I get the price back and whadda know? They are both nearly identical AND very high! The "equals" that I did get a price on were almost half. We are talking 9K versus 17K here. Jeez.
I'm in the wrong business.
Any similar experiences? I don't have much commercial experience and haven't seen a lot of commercial lighting packages before.
That happens all the time with lighting. It's a p.i.t.a. actually. There really isn't much of a mark up from a supply house when realized it's out for bid. As far as the vendors are concerned, they don't want to take all that time putting a light package together if it's already been done. Lighting vendors always ask the job name. They have it on file. Most of the time it's a street price, I.O.W., all the supply houses get the same price and they forward that to the contractor. I've had electricians give me the job name and just call the lighting reps for a release of that job. Took me a total of five minutes and they fax it right over to me. I put my small margin on it and forward the whole job over to you. You can get substitutes cross referencing all lighting to a less expensive brand but they need to be approved in a submittal from the engineer. Hope this helps you a little ~Andy
[This message has been edited by Wirenuttt (edited 05-08-2005).]
The lighting maunfacturers / distributers need the job name and engineer name so that they can control who gets the job. Let's say ACME Electric is a BIG buyer of Lithonia Lighting, Lithonia sees that 3 ECs are seeking lighting quotes on a particular job and ACME is one of them.
ACME receives a quote for $75,000 and the other 2 ECs are dealt $97,000. Lithonia is in the catbird seat as they have a relationship with the Engineers who spec their products and the ECs that they indirectly "award" the job to.
Commercial lighting is the most scandalous aspect of electrical contracting. This practice is tantamount to bid rigging and price fixing and stifles competition.
You need to sometimes sit down with the customer and explain this dirty business and why equivalent is the way to go.
Even under "honest" conditions, the suppliers use the job info to protect/distribute commissions to their reps, and ensure that everyone gets the same price. It would be too easy for them to put out a price sheet, or have a customer service number to call!
Rather than go the open, honest route, some manufacturers choose the shady route of fielding an army of reps, who try to get engineers and architects to either specify "My brand, this part number," or to specify a product in such detail that all competitors are excluded. For these folks, "competition" is a dirty word.
Ditto with the distributors....they are tied into agreements that limit what they can offer, for which they supposedly get preperential prices. This works so well, Home Depot regularily sells stuff for less than the distributors' cost!
Count your blessings, though...at least there is some standardisation as to bulbs and ballasts!
Another thing some of the lighting rep's do is create the lighting package for the archietect/engineer. With the job name they then know exactly what is in the package and thier competors have to find out what is specified. One rep here is well known for it. He also spec's at least one fixture that only they make is just about all of his packages. His price to the supply houses the require that you buy the complete package or pay a much higher price for each fixture actually prdered. One time I saw prices raised by 45% when the owner deleted some lights during the actual build - reason given was that since the complete package was not ordered, no price guarentee would be honored. Another dirty trick is when some reps only stand by thier price for 30 days. Many times this means, that since 30-60 days can got past a bid date before the GC has a contract and signs a contract with the EC the price given for the bid is no longer guarenteed. They are trying to force you to order the fixtures befor the ground is even broken for a project. Hope there are no change orders affecting the lighting package.
As a rule I always try to get alternates approved and try to deal with the many companies that are honest.
Even after the distrubitor/rep has done his thing the supply house has their sliding scale markups depending on how much business you do with them. As a rule those who do not do a lot of business with a particular supply house pay more than those who do a lot of business with them.
Just another example of the NON level playing field out there.
On a certain Design/Build project I did Electrical Engineering + Design on a few years ago (well, the MEP was Design/Build at least), the Architects had spec'ed Lighting, of which I had no technical details to use for typical Calculations - such as Title 24, Part 6 for Lighting systems, and for inclusions of Back-Up Ballasts.
So I contact the "Preferred Lighting Fixture Supplier" to get this information. Took maybe 10 Faxes, 10 Phone Calls and a few E-mailed requests before I got a response.
The response was of no help at all, only thing I heared was "I should know what the fixture types are, since I spec'ed them". My replies were constant "I did not spec' them, the Architect did, all I need is to get some simple technical specs relating to these fixtures (per model numbers)". No luck... until...
Sent the Architects an E-mail request for information - with the "nice" response from the Lighting Guys attached to it.
Two days later, I got everything I needed to know + more! This came in the form of Faxes, E-mail and follow-up phone call. The phone call sure shed light on the whole thing - by the way the person was acting, as if they were caught in the middle of something "Hinkey" (dishonest).
Scott " 35 " Thompson Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!