What Advantages Does Mike’s Landscape Lighting Have Over Our Competition?
Looking for some reasons why you should choose Mike’s Landscape Lighting for your lighting needs? Let me give you some history of our company first. I started Mike’s Landscape Lighting in 2013 (hurray, we made it 10 years!). This allowed me to pursue my passion for outdoor lighting and was only meant to be a part-time company. I was a co-owner of a very successful lawn care company, so I didn’t have time for another full-time company. In my first year, I committed to a pastor at my church that I would have work available for him one day a week, his day off, and that is exactly what I did. I was able to play with different design ideas to learn my craft a little more. By the second year, I hired an additional part-time person that worked 3 days a week and I was able to keep both technicians busy. I continued that slow growth for a couple more years.
Things change for a reason. In 2017, we started negotiations with a national competitor to buy our lawn care company. In August 2017 we sold our lawn care company. I now found myself full-time in outdoor lighting. I was excited and scared at the same time. I needed to get as much information about this industry as possible if I wanted to excel in it as I did in lawn care.
I started searching for training on outdoor lighting on the internet. I came across the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals (AOLP). I joined the association, registered to attend their annual conference, and signed up to take the Certified Low Voltage Lighting Technician (CLVLT) test at the conference. I was all in! I sure am glad I invested in my business right from the start. I received the CLVLT study guide about a month before the test and realized I was in over my head. This test was going to be one of the hardest tests I had ever taken. I was committed to passing this test, so I started studying every day to absorb this information.
The first day of the AOLP conference came. I arrived not knowing anyone who would be there, and I had to take this difficult test. I passed the test and started making friends with lighting professionals from across the globe. I left that first conference with 36 things to implement in my business from the meetings and one on one talks with other lighting geeks. To this day, I still discuss business with the friends I made at that very first conference.
For the next three years at the conference, I took the Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer (COLD) course. This consisted of training at the conference and each year bringing back several design assignments and receiving a grade on each of those. I passed that course in 2021 and I volunteered to teach in the class every year since passing. Each year at the conference, I was intently listening and taking notes on ideas to implement in my business. I was there to learn, and I continue to learn more each year.
My business has grown from a couple of part-time technicians and myself to 6 full-time technicians, 2 office staff, and 2 designers. I am now passing the information I have learned over the years to my team members.
Over the past couple of years since finishing COLD, I have joined other groups to learn even more. I recently completed the Intensive Course with The International Landscape Lighting Institute. This was an intense 5-day course where we worked from 7 am to 10 pm every day. This was a classroom setting and offered a hands-on experience like no other. We were broken up into groups of 7, assigned an area to improve the lighting, and had to complete this in 3 days. Imagine trying to get 7 lighting designers from across the world to agree on a common direction, design the lighting and install everything in a couple of days! This was a great learning experience for all that went through this course. We invited the local community out on the last night to get their reaction and approval.
Along with being a member of AOLP and obtaining my CLVLT and COLD, I also belong to Landscape Lighting Secrets. This is a coaching program designed specifically for the lighting industry. I have learned valuable insights from this group and look forward to learning more about this exciting industry. I recently passed my certification tests and have become a Lutron Certified Designer. Lutron is the leader in advanced lighting controls, and this will help our company deliver the most advanced systems to our clients.
How does all of this give us an edge over our competition?
We spend a lot of time and money on training and perfecting our craft. My technicians and designers are always learning how to be better at their craft. We hire and teach our staff with these core values in mind: We do what we say we are going to do, We own it, Jollification in Earnest, Su casa es mi casa, and We are helpful. As you can see, these core values are focused on how we serve our clients.
I am a national award-winning lighting designer ready to serve you! How can we help you?
–Mike Long, COLD, CLVLT