Start a Lighting Business

A lighting business manufactures, imports, supplies or installs various lighting products from fittings to bulbs to chandeliers both for inside (interior) or outside (exterior).

Every building residential or commercial needs lighting whether its florescent fittings and tubes or a study lamp. This is a competitive industry and you need to carve out a niche whether it be fitting out new shops or working with property developers.

Business Models
There are numerous business models you can employ in this industry:
Import and distribution
Fitting & installation (service)

From a small business perspective, these can be defined as following:

The least capital intensive way to get into light manufacturing is to manufacture custom lamps whether it be for high end shops or custom orders for interior designers.

Desk lamp made from recycled materials | © Max Ashford
Steampunk lamps | © Google search

Import and distribution / Wholesale
This is a bit capital intensive as you need to be able to hold stock which means warehouse space is required as well. The plus side to this business is that you move product faster as you often sell to people who will resell in the supply chain.

Here you buy from wholesalers and sell to the end user, whether it be home/business owner or electrician.

Round light fixtures | © ArchiExpo

Fitting & installation
This is a service business where you do the fitting and installation of the lighting, this will either be when the client chose and purchased the lighting on its own or have you supply it. This may also involve a bit of consulting on your part, for example a client wants some more lighting in their kitchen. Down lights is popular these days but what kind? And where should it go for optimal light distribution. Here you can also work with a supplier or wholesaler and get some catalogues to show clients.

Down lights | ©Google search

This will be the most important aspect of this business, everybody needs lighting, but there is lots of competition. How are you going to stand out? What are you going to do to enter the market as a small business with minimal capital?

Firstly it depends on your business model and your location. In a big city there will already be established providers, but even then all is not lost. Traditionally, if they don’t have contacts, people went to the Yellow Pages for these types of things, these days they go to Google. You need to have an online sales channel, whether it’s your own website, or a platform like Gumtree or even social media (Facebook Marketplace).

You need to develop a catalogue of products or portfolio of work done if you are doing the installation. If you retailing you also need to have samples so people can see the product, if you can’t afford a showroom, then you need to come up with a creative way to showcase your products. If you have a panel van, you can fit it with various fittings and you can go to customers premises and showcase your various products.

This is often a word of mouth business so you need to offer good service as well.

More Information
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