Has your company seen the light yet on selling lighting fixtures? It’s one of the hottest categories out there, so CE Pro rounded up a trio of integrators who have had great success designing and selling full-blown lighting systems.
Hear best practices and tips for expanding your lighting services from Richard Millson of Millson Technologies (Vancouver, B.C.), George Harrison of Harrison Home Systems (Lakewood, Colo.) and Ken Bosley of World Premiere (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), as well as Mike Libman from manufacturer DMF Lighting in this week’s CE Pro Podcast episode #64.
In the past several years, CEDIA and other groups have propelled the lighting fixtures category into the spotlight, so to speak. Lighting fixtures has been touted by the custom industry buying groups, with the CE Pro Podcast integrator panelists calling out HTSA and industry veteran Tom Doherty, the group’s director of new technology initiatives, evangelizing the opportunities for CE pros.
Companies such as DMF Lighting, based in Carson, Calif., have shown reciprocal interest in the custom channel and developed integrator-friendly lighting fixture solutions.
“We really saw a huge opportunity around five years ago. We were one of the first fixture manufacturers to start working with integrators directly and we built a team around it,” notes Libman, DMF’s national sales director, adding that the company’s been selling lighting through traditional channels for 30 years.
“And that’s really based on the fact that: a) there’s demand for quality lighting and lighting has become technology with LED coming about, but b) we think that integrators have a unique value proposition in that they can enter a home and say I can do a full-blown lighting solution end-to-end, and we wanted to be a part of that.”
Indeed, DMF Lighting has continued to show its engagement and commitment to the CEDIA channel. Recently the company has launched innovative products such as the DID Series downlights, introduced its DMF Promise initiative to support its dealer base and opened a dealer web portal.
Integrators Share Success Insights Implementing Lighting Fixtures
Meanwhile, integrators like Millson, Harrison and Bosley continue to reap the rewards of offering lighting fixtures and working with vendors like DMF Lighting. They detail on the podcast how they got into the category, what they look for in a manufacturer, how fixtures have fostered trade/design partner relationships, and much more.
Millson Technologies, Harrison Home Systems and World Premiere handle a range of clientele, and offer guidance for implementing fixtures in new construction, retrofit and MDU environments.
“In the last 18 months it’s been a significant part of our revenue,” says Harrison, this year’s CTA Mark of Excellence Integrator of the Year, noting that the company also relies on dimming systems from Lutron as a big part of its lighting solutions. Harrison Home Systems performed a very design-centric job, “East Meets West,” whose central technologies were lighting and shade control, and earned awards.
“We’ve specified probably 100,000 square feet of new home that we’re putting fixtures into, so it’s really been an exponential growth curve for us and very impactful. And it’s been a significant increase in our revenue as well, so it’s been great so far, it really has been.”
Millson adds that it’s the LED technology in particular that has been a driving force for fixture embracement, and his company has been successful outfitting luxury MDU towers as well as custom homes.
“When LED came along, everything changed and of course there was a lack of knowledge in the industry among specifiers, architects, builders, everybody. Literally a Wild West for drivers [to integrate into control systems],” he recalls, explaining that of course tech problems would be blamed on the integrator. “So when we saw the opportunity to solve that pain … we got exposed to it [through HTSA and Tom Doherty] and it was a no-brainer for us.”
Like his colleagues, Bosley found that other trades on a project were looking more to integrators for that lighting knowledge, and the CE pros have capitalized on getting into job meetings earlier thanks to fixtures.
“What’s been interesting to us is a lot of times we’ll go to a meeting and feel like we’re the new kids on the block and probably know the least about lighting,” Bosley says, “but as we start to talk, the electrician smiles and steps back and the contractor smiles, and the architect and the interior designer – and they kind of give us the floor. They’re happy doing things the way they’ve always done … and in many cases they bow out and say, it’s yours.”
Hear much more from Harrison, Millson and Bosley, as well as Libman from the manufacturer support side by viewing or listening to the CE Pro Podcast above. Find past episodes of the CE Pro Podcast by subscribing to the CE Pro YouTube channel or our Apple and Spotify podcast feeds.