PDA

View Full Version : Is this now common???


procut
03-30-2007, 09:54 PM
Within the last year, I have noticed several local nurseries and supply yards are now offering design and install services. After years of simply selling materials, they now seem to want a piece of the action as well. I'm tempted to no longer buy from these places as it is like supporting the competition.

Idealtim
03-30-2007, 10:21 PM
I can't say whether or not that it is common, because I am only loyal to one place, and for one good reason - great service! But yes, I have noticed in the last 2 years That they went from a small rental section in a quarter of the building(mostly for do it yourselfers), to now having two complete hardscaping rigs with two duallies, trailers, saws, handhelds, and they have a dedicated bobcat and mini ex on the rigs. Nice and shiney! But since they are doing primarily hardscaping and I am doing everything but, I am still loyal. Might be a different story if we were both bidding on a 20yd mulch job, but as of now they pose no threat to me. I understand where your coming from, but I am not about to stop buying from a place that gives me almost a yard and a half for the price of one just because they are getting into installs.

AGLA
03-30-2007, 10:34 PM
It is built in opportunity. They have hundreds of people coming through every week. A fair number of them are in need of this type of service. If you think about it, it makes sense to a lot of those people who shop there because that is where they have contact with people who are knowledgable about plants and give them free advice all of the time. That makes people comfortable and trusting. You have to realize that even a low percentage of customers interested in this is a high number of leads. The value is in those leads. Just think how much everyone spends on door hangers, newspaper ads, yellow pages, truck lettering, and everything else to get job leads and the nursery just has these folks marching right in. They would be stupid not to exploit it.

Maybe the thing to do is to try to hook up with them to get some of the work if possible.

chris638
03-30-2007, 11:26 PM
Right on AGLA. We've had a Garden Center for over 25 years and have always offered that as a service. I've noticed this year that since we've moved into lawn mowing as an additional service, we've lost some of the smaller grass cutting guys without our prices changing at all. Let me ask you this, did you start mowing for a living and then somebody asked you to mulch, did you turn them down, or realize that was another way to make money? The more services that you can offer and do in a professional manor, should mean the more money you can make. And I'm pretty that's why most of us are in the business for.

procut
03-30-2007, 11:51 PM
I do understand it is a major oppertunity for them - so I really can't blame them. However, by doing this, they are now competing with many of their big customers. I think part of the reason many of them are trying to get into design/install is that our area lacks a true garden center, so they are probably trying to tap that market.

NewHorizon's Land
03-31-2007, 07:44 AM
Our nursery gives us a call when someone needs landscaping services. Just got a call from them on Thursday.

AGLA
03-31-2007, 08:13 AM
Being the first contact in getting work is power. You have what everyone needs.

If you think it through, they don't lose plant sales by replacing other contractors with themselves. They actually gain because they do not dicount those materials.

A lot of retailers do not like to sell to contractors at all. We always look at it as it is only 10 or 25% percent less money that they take in. But it is really much more than that. If they pay $50 for a plant that they retail for $100, right away that 25% discount takes away 50% of their mark up. Add to that the labor and expenses of handling and caring for it in the nursery and you can easily see that their profit margin shrinks to less than half of what it would be with a retail sale (the same expense is being paid for out of half the markup effectively doubling the % of cost of handling).

If they can replace 1/2 the plant sales that they would have sold to contractors who stop buying from them by doing this, they are already ahead. That does not mean they have to get half of your jobs, just replace 1/2 the plant sales you would generate with those new sales through their design services.

Design is a sales tool for selling material and labor. The nursery definitely has the material, but they may be short on the labor and management of that labor. You might really want to consider approaching them to work as a sub.

I suspect that they are much more interested in moving plants than managing labor. One thing that they will struggle with is jobs that need more than just planting and simple garden skills. If you have greater capability with additional things such as hardscapes and irrigation, you would have a good ability to get your bigger profits that way while the nursery makes the money on the plants. The value is whether or not you would increase your bottom line this way because of the increase in sales on good jobs.

Lawnworks
03-31-2007, 08:58 PM
Being the first contact in getting work is power. You have what everyone needs.

If you think it through, they don't lose plant sales by replacing other contractors with themselves. They actually gain because they do not dicount those materials.

A lot of retailers do not like to sell to contractors at all. We always look at it as it is only 10 or 25% percent less money that they take in. But it is really much more than that. If they pay $50 for a plant that they retail for $100, right away that 25% discount takes away 50% of their mark up. Add to that the labor and expenses of handling and caring for it in the nursery and you can easily see that their profit margin shrinks to less than half of what it would be with a retail sale (the same expense is being paid for out of half the markup effectively doubling the % of cost of handling).

If they can replace 1/2 the plant sales that they would have sold to contractors who stop buying from them by doing this, they are already ahead. That does not mean they have to get half of your jobs, just replace 1/2 the plant sales you would generate with those new sales through their design services.

Design is a sales tool for selling material and labor. The nursery definitely has the material, but they may be short on the labor and management of that labor. You might really want to consider approaching them to work as a sub.

I suspect that they are much more interested in moving plants than managing labor. One thing that they will struggle with is jobs that need more than just planting and simple garden skills. If you have greater capability with additional things such as hardscapes and irrigation, you would have a good ability to get your bigger profits that way while the nursery makes the money on the plants. The value is whether or not you would increase your bottom line this way because of the increase in sales on good jobs.


It sounds like there may be more of a profit margin in installing than retail... from reading Tony Avents nursery book... it seems more attractive to install than retail. I can't blame them.

PatriotLandscape
03-31-2007, 11:48 PM
Mahoney's on the cape started this and I can say it has taken the small amount I did do with them to another nursery. We get most of our plants from Sylvan Nursery which is primarily wholesale to contractors.

green horizons
04-01-2007, 02:54 PM
Most local retail nurseries have an installation division. I can't hardly blame them. But really, they don't seem efficient at it. Their niche seems to be moving plant stock. I don't buy from retail nurseries much. I'm on file with a few just so I can receive a discount on the occasion that I buy. Mostly my nursery supply is from wholesale suppliers only. Business is business. If I don't want to support a biz, I take my money elsewhere. If Lesco started applying fert., I sure as hell wouldn't buy fert. from them.

supercuts
04-01-2007, 07:26 PM
a few of our local nurserys are catching on and growing fast.

Idealtim
04-01-2007, 08:00 PM
Let me ask you this, did you start mowing for a living and then somebody asked you to mulch, did you turn them down, or realize that was another way to make money?

That is a very valid point you are making right there that I never even thought about to begin with. But widening your services that you offer as a landscaper is a lot different then going from sales right to landscaping, correct? For instance, if someone saw that I was very good at doing landscaping and said, could you pave my driveway, even if I knew that paving was a profitable bussiness(and I had most of the equipment necessary to do the job), I would still not do it because I know that it isn't my field of bussiness. I know that isn't the greatest comparison, but hopefully you can see my point here.

PatriotLandscape
04-02-2007, 10:31 AM
Right on AGLA. We've had a Garden Center for over 25 years and have always offered that as a service. I've noticed this year that since we've moved into lawn mowing as an additional service, we've lost some of the smaller grass cutting guys without our prices changing at all. Let me ask you this, did you start mowing for a living and then somebody asked you to mulch, did you turn them down, or realize that was another way to make money? The more services that you can offer and do in a professional manor, should mean the more money you can make. And I'm pretty that's why most of us are in the business for.

There is a saying "Don't sh!t where you eat" these nurseries will take a hit in the commercial business they do because of this. Contractors are very fical people if we feel we are getting jipped we will move on.

Dreams To Designs
04-02-2007, 10:36 AM
I have stopped doing business with a nursery because they decided to take some of my ideas and go into the design/build field for themselves. The biggest problem results with the jack of all trades and master on nones scenario. A nursery is a full time commitment, adding additional services without the proper people in place will result in disaster, not only for the nursery but for their clients. The grass always looks greener on the other side, especially when the core business is not run well or efficiently.

Kirk

chris638
04-02-2007, 11:59 AM
Maybe there is some confusion. There is a huge difference between garden centers and nurseries. As I mentioned earlier, if you can perform a service at a high quality, then why not. Everybody grows and expands.

PaperCutter
04-02-2007, 12:51 PM
Most garden center/ nursery owners aren't stupid. If they're willing to risk losing your business to start competing with you, you have to figure that maybe the contractor sales piece isn't a valuable percentage of their operation. I have a super-high priced local nursery that also does installs and is only willing to give me 10% off their crazy retail pricing. Clearly he has no interest in pursuing contractors, and it makes sense to me. He caters to a certain clientele and the dump trucks and the Porsches probably wouldn't play well together.

Dave

AGLA
04-02-2007, 08:14 PM
It all comes down to whether they care about selling to contractors or not. If they can move inventory at retail prices, they don't miss us.

It is just like people with little low budget landscape jobs. They don't understand why no one wants to bother. What you know and I know is that you have limited resources and you want to put them where they yield the most. It is not that the little job is not profitable, but it is that it displaces a job that you can sell more materials of more craftsmanship using the same guys. Its no different than that to the retailers. That have an inventory that they ordered in and cared for. They can sell it for a high profit to retail customers, or they can sell it to you for a discount. Guess which they'd rather do? And if their space is limited and getting restocked is not so easy, they'd rather you don't come. Who can blame them?

WigginsLandscaping
04-15-2007, 01:18 AM
We have a nursery here locally that I know of that is a nursery/landscape company. They are great. They do good work and they pose no threat. When I first started moving from a grass cutter to a larger landscaping/maint. company they helped me time and time again with design issues and plant recommendations. I maintain a solid business relationship with them today.

supercuts
04-16-2007, 08:21 AM
I have stopped doing business with a nursery because they decided to take some of my ideas and go into the design/build field for themselves. The biggest problem results with the jack of all trades and master on nones scenario. A nursery is a full time commitment, adding additional services without the proper people in place will result in disaster, not only for the nursery but for their clients. The grass always looks greener on the other side, especially when the core business is not run well or efficiently.

Kirk

not to say every nursery that tries to do this is a good idea, but id have to imagine it makes perfect sence for them and can not say i blame them at all. and are you suggesting that the design/build field was your idea?? just the fact that people walk in to a nursery says that they are more hands on and havent hired a landscaper to come in, choose and design planting landscaping for them. with that in mind, these same people probably dont want to dig holes and move large heavy bushes. this is where nurseries are smart to capitalize on these people. if i had the option to expand to instant customers and branch out a bit i would. wouldnt you?

PaperCutter
04-16-2007, 08:35 AM
It would seem that a good plan would be to establish a partnership with your local garden center to do their installs and give them a percentage of the job. Why would someone pass up a chance to increase their income without a major capital expenditure? I worked for the "preferred" landscaper for a pool builder- we marked up our prices 10% and gave them that money. Same thing for the homebuilders we worked for. Just be prepared for lots and lots of tirekickers and bargain hunters.

Dave

nobagger
04-16-2007, 08:52 AM
In my area in the past year or so I've seen 2 nursery's go into the landscaping business. I can honestly say I've never seen thier trucks out though, just their advertisment for landscaping.:confused: