The race to the bottom…or the false economy of cheap LED lights?

The race to the bottom…or the false economy of cheap LED lights?

To continue the theme of cheap LED lights and poor quality.

Why are so many electricians and contractors hell bent on getting the cheapest price?  All they get is the worst quality and, worse, a reputation for installing bad products.

Good quality necessarily has a cost.  The 5 year guarantee has a cost, particularly if it is an on-site repair warranty.

Consider this.  A few years ago you would buy an HID flood light for, say, £300 accept that you’d be replacing lamps every year with the extra cost of the lamp and installation, which may or may not include scaffolding or cherry pickers.  This adds a high maintenance cost, maybe an additional £100/year?

In this example my simple maths tells me my one light could cost £400 in the first year and £100/year thereafter.  In 5 years a total cost of around £700.

A good quality LED flood will cost around the same £300, install it for the £100 cost of maintenance and the total cost is £400, a saving of £300 in the 5 years. No additional maintenance because it’s a good one. Good for customer, not so good for contractor? Why not, then, supply the light at £450?  The customer is still saving £150 in the period so good for them and good for the contractor.

Why, then, install cheap LED lights at only £150?  The immediate cost is only £250 so an apparent greater saving to the end user of £450. However, it will almost certainly require replacing in a couple of years so doubling the installed costs and causing much disruption to the user.

In this case, the end user will be unhappy and out of pocket or the contractor will be going back, at their cost, to install a new light.  The contractor will also achieve a poor reputation for supplying poor quality product. Either way, the end user is inconvenienced.

So, then, why is the industry racing to the bottom?  Everyone seems to be forgetting the whole point of installing LED – high reliability thereby reducing the high cost of maintenance?

NOTE – I’ve not even mentioned the energy saving, which should be seen as a bonus!  It’s actually the reduced maintenance that has the biggest impact on cost saving provided, of course, you haven’t installed cheap LED lights.

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