“Thank you so much for allowing us to complete this transformation with the Mactivities Scholarship fund!”
Data Integration & Senior Data Geek
Home Renovation – New Lighting Fixtures
Late September, 2018
WHERE & WHY:
When we first moved into our house, we came from a smaller home that only really had one downstairs living space. It was the TV room / living room / dining room, so when we suddenly found ourselves with a living room and a separate family room in our current house, we decided to use the spaces a little less traditionally. The more formal living room at the front of the house because our main hang-out room to watch TV or gather with friends and family. The smaller family room, which is three steps down from the main room and kitchen, became our ‘library’. Initially, it just held our books and some comfy chairs / loveseat facing the fireplace. Once the kids reached school age, however, it became apparent that they needed a dedicated homework space. We shifted rooms around again and put a larger dining table in the library. It serves as the daily homework table, game table, and puzzle table for the majority of the year. On the rare occasions when we need to feed more than just our family (and can’t eat outside), it serves as our dining room table. The only problem with this set up is that this is the darkest room in the house, and it had no overhead fixtures at all. For 16 years, we have coped with sub-par (ugly) standing lamps that sometimes flicker and buzz, and a few scattered table lamps around the room. Last year, we added a covered patio outside that room, which cut down on our natural light in there even more.
I had been searching for a lighting solution for this room for a long time. About 2 years ago, I picked out a great chandelier / pendant light that I wanted to hang over the big table. I was a little concerned that it would make an already somewhat low-feeling ceiling look even lower. The real stumbling block, however, was that it cost over $500, and that didn’t include installation. Based on previous electrician experiences, I knew that installing it would be at least another $500. Not to mention that we would really only have light over the middle of the table, not near the bookcases in the corners of the room.
Then one day I was thumbing through one of those home service catalogs, (“Local Flavor”), that we get every week and normally send straight to the recycle bin. Well, I usually look for the coupons for frozen yogurt or the pet store down the street, and then throw them away. For some reason, I don’t completely trust the home service providers that advertised in these fake magazines. But this time, an add caught my eye for “Install My Lights.com”, The Recessed Lighting Company. They claimed that they could put in lights in one day, starting at $340 per room. I looked them up on Yelp and saw that they had great reviews. I doubted, however that we could find a solution for our problem room for under $1,000, so I tore out the page and just kept it for a few months, thinking, “I should call them for an estimate”. I really am not a phone person, however, so needless to say, I never picked up the phone. Eventually, I noticed that you could schedule an estimate right from their web page. I gave it a shot, and was pleased that I could see all currently available days and times (as early as the next day) and make my selection online. I soon received a confirmation email. When I had to change the appointment time, I was able to email them to request a new day, and my email was answered within an hour or two, and a new appointment was set.
Our consultation was with Tony, a certified electrician. He looked at our room and suggested the proper number of recessed lights and their placement for good light coverage. In looking at the style of our current recessed kitchen lights, he mentioned that we would get a similar modern style of lights. He asked us if we preferred warm or cool LEDs, and we talked about how the lights will be dimmable, but not adjustable (can’t be repositioned or tilted/angled), but would provide good coverage, and have a long estimated life span (but you cannot replace the bulbs). We also had him quote us on our master dressing area, where there is still a fixture so old that it has popcorn ceiling still stuck underneath it. We had a few questions for him, all of which he answered to our satisfaction. The entire appointment took about 10 minutes, and he said he would have a quote for us that night (it was already about 7 pm).
Sure enough, the quote came in via email around 9pm that night. To add six can lights to our library and a new dimmer switch to control them will be $685. The upstairs area will be another $215, for a grand total of $900. (Coming in well under my mental estimate of $1,200 for just the library). There was a button to click on the quote to “Approve the Quote”. Once clicked, it broke out the costs into a small deposit due immediately, and the rest due upon installation. I could pay the deposit with a credit card right then and there on my phone. It also asked me which day of the week I would prefer for installation. The next day, I received an email with several potential installation date options, as early as 1 week from then.
After our quote, I received a very short survey from a manager, asking which of the following best described my estimate:
> It Was Great
> It Could Have Been Better
I clicked ‘It was great’, but I assume that if I had selected ‘It could have been better’, there may have been follow up questions.
On installation day, the crew was scheduled to arrive between 10 and 12, but because they had two previous jobs that morning, they ended up arriving closer to 1:15 or 1:30. However, they got right to work laying down plastic and paper on the floors and taping up plastic to cover the walls and any furniture in the rooms. They put initial nails in the ceiling where they planned to put the new lights, and verified with me that it all looked good. When they had to revise their plan by a few inches in one room due to the placement of the studs, they let me know that they would move all the lights symmetrically. They also verified the light fixtures and the brightness of bulbs that were going in.
Upon removing the old light fixture in the upstairs dressing area, we were all surprised to find a sizable hole that the previous owners had left and just covered up with the fluorescent light fixture. Rather than complaining about the extra time and/or charging us more, they called in two more of their crew to help, patched the hole and retextured the ceiling in a manner that matched the existing texture really well.
There was full construction chaos for about 2-3 hours, but they never even turned off the electricity, so I was able to continue working during the entire time.
After installation, the lead technician inspected all of the work and did a few final touch ups. In the end, they cleaned up everything, took all the trash out to their truck, swept the floor, offered to vacuum, (but I was going to do it anyway), and were pleasant, friendly, and professional throughout.
The only negative to the entire process was that the estimate that the lead technician gave me at the end for how long the lights would last was significantly lower than what the sales consultant had said. They still have a 20 year + estimate based on 3 hours of use per day, but the sales person indicated about 40 years (he did not specify the number of hours per day).
The differences in the rooms are pretty amazing, especially in the library! The light has great coverage in the room, looks neat and tidy, won’t gather dust, and gives off about the same amount of light on the LOWEST possible setting as we had in the room before with all the lights on. Let me tell you, it felt great to haul those old standing lamps out into the garage to the donation pile!
As they were finishing up, I found the original email with the quote and was able to easily pay the remaining balance on my account using my phone. Overall, I’m really impressed with the ease of use of their web scheduling, and the quote/ payment application they are using. Everything was intuitive, easy to follow, and worked right the first time.
Before they left, the technicians asked me if I was completely satisfied with the work, and if I was, would I mind giving them a good review on either Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook or Google Local Business/Maps. They mentioned that they receive points or perks if they are mentioned in good reviews, so I asked them to write down their names so that I could mention them in my review to help them out. This does help to explain the unusually high number of positive Yelp reviews that I had seen. However, I felt, as many other customers must have, more than happy to write a positive review since they did such a great job.
The morning after the installation was complete, I received an email from the owner of the company, Andrew Schmitz. It thanked me for my business and said that he wanted to make sure I had an excellent experience with his company. Once again, it was only one click on either:
> Excellent Experience
> Good Experience
> Fair Experience
> Poor Experience
After clicking on Excellent Experience, I was taken to a page that thanked me for the positive rating and asked that if I thought they earned it, to please post a review. He said that each review is printed and posted for everyone in their office to see, and that they truly enjoy receiving the feedback.
In summary, I would absolutely recommend InstallMyLights.com to anyone. I’ve already thought about having them out again someday for our upstairs hallway lights or the downstairs ½ bath. The price was fair, the company was extremely easy to work with, they did quality work, they followed up to make sure I was satisfied, and I never even had to pick up a phone to get it all done!