This is a list of the common methods of sourcing lights for your project, as well as the advantages and limitations of each method.
Electrical wholesalers offer the benefit of being able to buy ‘off the shelf’ products, which means they can be sourced quickly and easily. While this can be an advantage in certain circumstances, electrical wholesalers are focused on having the lowest price, which means quality is generally low. Electrical wholesalers do not usually have the experience to advise on design or specification, so you’ll need to go with a definitive list of what you need, rather than seeking answers to questions.
High street stores
Shops on the high street offer an extensive range of decorative lights but rarely sell architectural lighting. While representatives of the stores may have some personal opinions on what is aesthetically pleasing, they generally will not have the knowledge to advise on technical matters, such as dimming compatibility, so you’ll need to know the specifics of what you are looking for.
While the internet has made purchasing much more accessible, it has also diminished our ability to see the quality of what we are buying. The quality of products sold online can vary wildly, so it is advisable to stick to brand names that you recognise. You will need to ensure that you purchase all of the necessary accessories as most online retailers are unlikely to provide assistance, so be sure you have mapped out exactly what you need before completing your purchase. With online stores, technical support can be hard to get, and the returns process can take a long time, which can affect the completion of a project by causing delays.
Direct from manufacturers
Not all manufacturers deal with private clients, so you might have to work a bit harder to find ones that do. However, when you find one, you’ll benefit from great technical advice. There may be some import or tax complications that you’ll have to take into consideration when ordering and manufacturers don’t always offer cancellation or return options. Furthermore, you might find yourself having to order from lots of different companies as you are unlikely to get everything you want from one manufacturer. You should check the lead times on the light fittings being supplied as some can be as long as 12 weeks, and this will need to be factored into the construction programme.
Managed lighting supply company
Managed lighting supply companies, such as Ember Lighting, provide a single point of contact for ordering for the client or contractor, making this process easier. When using a managed lighting supply company expect to pay retail prices and not be eligible for discounts.
They normally have the more technical experience to support the contractors on-site and verify that all of the right components are being supplied correctly and are compatible. They will also take the time to understand the project and guide clients through the choices available. Furthermore, managed lighting supply companies will look after coordinating deliveries with contractors as well as providing better quality technical support for clients and installers. Managed lighting supply companies will also be familiar with the different manufacturers and lead times and can assist in ensuring the right fittings come to the site at the right time for installations. They will also provide technical support to the installer having delivered the products to the site.
Hopefully, this has provided a useful insight into the pros and cons of how and where to source your lighting. If you are interested in how Ember could help with your project then contact us today.