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How do I emphasize more of the landscape design and construction aspect of my company

a) As opposed to the manitenance side which is much largerbut not as profitable or as exciting

b) Keeping in mind that we are a relatively young company whose portfolio is impressive, we continue to have trouble finding clients who want to pay for our expertise and design as well as our implementation. Our prices are higher then the industry average because of our commitment to quality and because we have yet to purchase larger construction equipment.

I am thankful to hear your replys!

Darko

Neighbourhood Landscaping Inc

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2 answers

I'm just bouncing an idea around but it seems like you'd need some sort of specialized niche or design expertise. For example, focus on designs that not every maintenance contractor has such as designs/products that are green, prevent water runoff, use pervious pavers, or even something like integrating desert plants and structures into a northern landscape, you might find clients that are looking for design that your competition isn't familiar with.  Since some of the materials may not be available locally and installation is specialized, you'd have justification for charging a bit more. Just an idea.

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Hi Darko,

You mention that despite being a young company, you have an impressive portfolio. What are you doing to promote your portfolio of past clients to your prospective clients? Word of mouth referrals are one of the most effective sales techniques for new clients. If you’ve done business in neighborhoods before, try drumming up new business by going back to your original clients and asking for a referral. To make it worth their while, offer discounts on future business for that customer.

For new clients who sign you up as their landscaper, consider offering a modified pricing scheme (such as a 5-10% discount) to those who allow you to advertise your services with a sign on their front lawn for a specified period of time. It’s free advertising for you, and the client wins with a discount.

How is your web presence? Are you showing your dramatic, stunning, “impressive” portfolio online? If you have the resources, consider shooting 360 degree videos of your work and putting the videos online, similar to what hotels offer prospective guests on their website, for guests who want to view hotel rooms prior to booking. If you do this, make sure that you are very, very mindful about maintaining client privacy – not showing addresses or street signs, etc., and only doing this with your client’s permission, etc. If you can't do videos, at least put up very professional, crisp pictures of the work you do, and some of your team working on the landscaping.

Also, don’t neglect the maintenance side of the business. While the landscape business may be your “cash cow” - the more profitable and growing side of the business - the maintenance side might be your bread and butter - the consistent, dependable and reliable steady stream of income that keeps the lights on! For those customers, find ways to serve them online as well. Put lawn maintenance tips on your website as the seasons change. Put recommendations on what how to care for pests or other headaches that come with your area’s agriculture.

If you aren’t going to compete on price (which is a very valid move), you’ve got to show the client why they should pay more for your business. You might be the best in the area, but they don’t know that yet. So you’ve got to educate your potential clients on why you are the solution to their needs. Does your landscaping company have a particular area of specialty? Tell your clients what the specialty is. Do you have a unique way of servicing their needs? Explain it to your clients online and in person.

It’s also important to make yourself known in the community you’re serving. Find out where your target market shops for home improvement and maintenance (e.g., flowers, hardware, etc.) and see if there are ways that you can get in front of your customers there. If the businesses offer Saturday classes for customers, see how you can get on the agenda to talk about a subject that would be valuable to them (in your area of expertise; e.g., lawn maintenance, flowers for different seasons, greening their yard, etc.) See if you can post flyers or put a stack of business cards on bulletin boards. Find ways to get in front of your potential customers and promote yourself as a solution to their needs.

Also, find out if there are associations that serve your clientele as well. By being involved in an association (even if it's a chamber of commerce), you will expose your business to the marketplace and build solid relationships that might serve you well in the future.

Best of luck!

Lydia

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