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For years, Monterey Lighting has seen similar challenges from architects. No matter how many times they design lighting with the perfect aesthetic at what they perceive to be an accurate budget, once all the bids come back from the contractor, it is budget overrun after overrun. This discrepancy consistently leads to a lot of rework. With rework, architects have to go back to the drawing board, literally and figure out alternative lighting solutions to try to stay within budget.

This type of rework is usually not billable. Even if it is, it certainly has a negative impact on customer satisfaction. Rework is such a headache, but it’s quite common, and unfortunately for many, something the industry has accepted as being “part of the job.”

After years of doing things the same frustrating way, reconfiguring lighting packages just as projects moved into construction, the abundance of rework has been enough for some architects to try something new.

The “Monterey Way” is a process that puts the lighting supply chain to work for the designer and architect, not against it. We designed the simple, straight-forward Monterey Way to empower architects to deliver their projects unimpeded by the common pitfalls of the lighting supply chain.

Before we outline why our process has made such a positive impact with our clients in the past few years, let’s take a look at why the current system does not work.

The Problem with the Traditional Lighting Process

The root problem with the conventional form of sourcing commercial lighting is a lack of transparency of product costs. 

Architects do everything they can to obtain the most accurate budget pricing during design, but they have little time or resources to shop comparatively with multiple manufacturers. Additionally, they are unable to negotiate firm, fixed, line-item prices for each component of the lighting schedule. This leaves the project subject to prices that are determined on bid day by a supply chain of manufacturers, agencies, distributors, and contractors. As such, the bids almost always exceed the expected costs and architects are left trying to value-engineer an affordable solution during the construction phase, lengthening the project timeline and negatively impacting the design aesthetics.

This design-bid-buy process creates a situation where firm, fixed bids come in for lighting right as a project is about to start construction. In 90% of cases, these lighting bids come in over budget. Worse yet, pricing is presented as a package price or “Lot Price” making it virtually impossible to determine the root cause. Thus, the dreaded cycle of rework begins for the architect.

How Monterey Empowers Architects and Designers

Tired of the rework, the budget overruns, and the project delays, Monterey set out to solve the problem. After carefully listening to frustrated owners, construction managers, general contractors, architects, designers, and electricians, the answer became clear – follow the best practices set forth by big brand names on larger scale construction projects (i.e. – multi-site, multi-state projects).

These brands appoint a distributor during the design process to assist the design team in negotiating firm, fixed-line item pricing prior to going to bid. The big brands taught us that allowing lighting to be bid at each location they build is a recipe for disaster and only results in costly overruns and project delays.

We learned from these large-scale projects and said, “why can’t we bring this process to the local market?” 

Deemed the “Monterey Way,” our services are developed to assist architects during the design phase, allowing them to focus on aesthetics while we make sure the project stays within the client’s budget. As a distributor, we have an advantage: we are open to working with all manufacturers. We are not limited to a subset of products or a line card. Our objective is to represent the Owner’s/Designer’s interests, not the Manufacturer’s.  Working as an extension of the architect’s team, we provide experienced insight, timely information, and honest communication every step of the way. With the Monterey Way, all products are vetted during the design phase by form, function, price, and availability.  Our process which includes firm, fixed line-item pricing ensures the design team can meet their objective—on time and within budget.

Graphic of Monterey's proven process

The Best Value 

With our experience and position in the market, Monterey Lighting educates and empowers architects and designers to select the highest quality and most cost-effective lighting solutions that meet their needs. Understanding a litany of lighting alternatives that can save money on a project, we enable project leaders to make well-informed decisions on the allocation of available budget.

Shown above in the “Monterey Way” diagram, we work hand-in-hand with design teams to value-engineer the perfect solution to align design intent, quality, lead time and affordability. 

Architects and designers want one thing: maintain design integrity that stays within the available budget. The Monterey Way consistently fulfills that desire.

Timely Delivery

Monterey Lighting understands the importance of ensuring timely delivery for a project. We prioritize timeliness from the design phase through the bidding phase, eliminating the prospect of rework in the process. For example, we vet lighting products based on lead times so that the design team can feel secure that their lighting package will fall within the project schedule. We even complete the lighting submittal package during the design phase to allow the electrician to order material immediately after the contract is awarded. Timing is everything, and the Monterey Way means the lighting side of your project is always completed on time.


It takes communication between all project stakeholders to drive a project forward. We establish open lines of communication and facilitate transparent and honest communication throughout the bidding process so all parties have a clear picture.

Design teams can rely on us to deliver consistent pricing to all contractors bidding the project. We put all contractors on a level playing field so that ownership can accurately evaluate all of their bids. Honest, transparent communication is one of our core values and an imperative part of the Monterey Way.

Bottom Line

We have seen too many architects and designers fall victim to rework. Most of the time, it is completely unnecessary. When design teams take a new path and experience the Monterey Way, they find the alignment of their aesthetic and budgetary demands. They experience an honest advisor helping them in every phase. They save money on lighting, sometimes up to 40%.

If this sounds like a journey you would like to take as opposed to finding yourself in rework purgatory, contact us to learn how we can empower you.