September 29, 2022

Description of Job
• Install low-voltage landscaping and driveway lighting.
• Install specialized low-voltage illuminated street numbers, poolside lighting, and deck lighting.
The Need
Nighttime lighting can serve security, safety, and decorative interests. Many
homeowners like to show off their landscaping by night with subtle lighting. In
other areas, a bit of light helps demarcate driveway edges or winding pathways.
The biggest challenge to installers of outdoor lighting is avoiding excess.
Poor design wastes energy and creates “lighting trespass” that bothers neighbors, dangerous glare that can affect pedestrians and drivers, and “lighting pollution” that washes out the view of the dark night sky.
As an installer, you need to work closely with your client and tour the property to design the best system.
You may need to work with a licensed electrician in some localities, especially if you are asked to include high-voltage outdoor area lighting and motion
detectors for security.
Know the Territory
This is a job that can be accomplished by anyone with a small amount of landscaping and simple home improvement skills.
In most jurisdictions, use of low-voltage systems does not require the
involvement of a licensed electrician; if your client’s home does not have a
proper exterior outlet or access to an indoor outlet, you will have to engage an
electrician to have one installed.
Plug-in lighting systems attach to an outdoor grounded outlet with faultinterruption protection or to an indoor outlet. A transformer reduces line voltage
to safer 12-volt power. Another alternative is the use of solar-powered lamps that use batteries that
are recharged by sunlight each day and require no wires to interconnect them.
Consult web sites, catalogs, and home supply stores to learn about available
systems and techniques. Contact manufacturers or distributors for samples, catalogs, and photographs of lamps and accessories.

How to Get Started
Advertise in community centers and garden centers. Some hardware stores or
home centers may permit you to advertise your installation services in return for
an agreement to purchase lights and supplies there.
Send brochures and letters to landscapers, pool installers, and contractors
asking them to recommend your services to their clients; you may want to offer
a bonus or commission for business they refer your way. Ask satisfied customers
to advise their friends, offering them a bonus or discount.

Up-front Expenses
For most jobs, you’ll need a power trenching tool; this device can be a singlepurpose unit or one that attaches to other equipment, such as a rototiller or a tractor. Short runs may be possible with hand digging.
You’ll also need some basic hand tools, shovels, and hole diggers.
Other expenses include creation of a portfolio of samples of available systems and advertising and promotion.

How Much to Charge
You can charge a flat rate for your services based on the number of lamps and the
length and complexity of the wiring involved, or you can quote an hourly rate.
Add the cost of any lights, wire, transformers, and accessories; you should be
able to purchase equipment at wholesale or discounted rates and resell them to
your client at retail prices.

Legal and Insurance Issues
Special notes: Some municipalities have ordinances aimed at reducing light
pollution, and some subdivisions may have regulations that limit outdoor lighting. Some localities may require a licensed electrician’s involvement or an electrical inspection.

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