Thread: Florida
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Old 04-15-2010, 10:28 AM
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BearWise Landscapers BearWise Landscapers is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Orlando, FL
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Florida Lawn Care and Landscaping Cooperative

Originally Posted by Michael Geist Yard Works View Post
One thing I would think all of us could benefit from is if we created our own little coop in Central FL. If we worked as a group - our cost on many of the items that we use everyday could go down due to our size and negotiating power.
Originally Posted by CkLandscapingOrlando View Post
It would be nice to buy a single bag of fert for the price that tru green pays. Same with insurance. If you had 1000 members to a trade group you have a bit more weight. You have more say in legislation. if governed correct were as to only allow top notch members could really be a selling point
Originally Posted by Michael Geist Yard Works View Post
Insurance like CK stated - correct Drew??
Originally Posted by CkLandscapingOrlando View Post
I think it's a great idea.
I completely agree. I highlighted a few sections of your comments above. Cooperatives can be very beneficial and I imagine it does not have to be that big to start getting some discounts. Even if a few of you needed some mulch, it wouldn't take much time to call around to a few distributors in town and ask for a discount if all of you purchased mulch there for the remainder of the year. Even a 10% discount for each of you adds up. I imagine some distributor in town would agree to boost their revenues.

As far as insurance, we are already starting to see possibilities of group purchasing power within the industry. Our landscaper/lawn care specialty program was only started a little over a year ago. In those 14 months, we have picked up 75 new clients in the landscaping industry. A couple of weeks ago, the carrier we write most of our clients with told us we could manually apply a 10% discount to their liability rates for landscapers because we have a specialty program that gives them assurance that the businesses we place with them are correctly rated and do not do tree trimming. We simply place the tree trimming businesses with a couple of other insurance carriers. Imagine what you could do if you had a group of clients that were committed to safety and correct business practices. Insurance carriers would throw discounts at the opportunity to write that potentially profitable group.

With workers’ compensation insurance, we have a carrier that approached us about setting up a group program for landscapers. In Florida, work comp rates are government mandated, but there are opportunities for carriers to compete on price by what are called ‘dividend plans’. A dividend is used on businesses with large premiums to return a percentage of their premium if they have no claims for the year and to return different amounts of premium for each level of claim costs. We can easily find insurance carriers that would write an association or collective group of businesses in the same industry that would all have individual policies, but would receive a percentage of their premiums back at the end of the year if the claims for the entire group were below a certain threshold. This would really be beneficial if all members of the group were committed to preventing employee injuries. You would also have to have enough total premium in the group to avoid the possibility of one freak accident offsetting the loss ratio and it would also have to be large enough to justify the carrier setting it up.

To boil all of that down to one statement: In order to receive group discounts in insurance, you would need to have high standards of who is in your group so that everybody is on the same page of controlling claims costs and making it profitable for the insurance carrier. Those profits could be passed on to you if leveraged correctly and if it ever turns into something large, you could consider a self-insurance fund or work your way towards that end.

I imagine the discounts for equipment, mulch, and other items would be much easier to obtain and would come along the way. I would be happy to reach out to our current clients and inform them of your collective purchasing group. I also have a database of 2,000 landscape businesses in Florida that we could send a letter or otherwise notify of potential discounts.

Let me know how I can help with insurance information or anything else. I like this idea and fully support it.
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