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Marketing to landscapers?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Lite4, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,112

    Hi guys. I am sure many of you market directly to landscapers for a fair amount of your business. I do know several in my area and 2 of them currently use me for all of their lighting. However, I know there are more to harvest out there. The problem being, is that several are doing "lighting-so called". I am going to send them a letter but am hitting a wall trying to get it started. Should I just tell them about me and what I can do for them on their projects? It seems very blausey and will probably earn me a one way ticket to the round file. I don't want to tell them that their own lighting jobs suck. Dale Carnegie probably would not aprove of this tactic. Any thoughts on composing a short letter. What has worked for you in this department?
  2. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Posts: 326

    Offer them a piece of the action for allowing you to do all of their lighting work. Tell them you will work directly with their client, handle all details of design, install and follow up service and maintenance. For this you will pay them a predetermined percentage of the project and then you can either build some or all of it into the cost of the project that's up to you. Explain to them that you want their full endorsement and recommendation and that's all you need to get in the door and you will take care of the rest. Emphasize how that will be the extent of their involvement and you will do all the hand holding. Good luck, I can tell you that landscapers are a hard sell. I've had much better luck with female landscape designers.
  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Mike G is right on the money on this one... Its a very hard sell. I have 2 landscapers and 1 irrigation guy now trying to get work for me. 1 has seen the deal and got paid accordingly (10% of the ticket) and another is so busy that he has not even had the chance to finish his current spec house workload to reffer lighting but no doubt he will when the need arises.

    Another has reffered 2 projects to me. 1 I was slightly over the recent widows comfortable spending line and another was just reffered the other day and we have yet to havea consult It takes time. Seems so many landscapers think they are giving away money by subcontracting. I sub out irrigation work and still make good money with it. Probably more so than if I did it myself! I sent out about 25 letters to all the area legit landscapers. zero replies but I met with some at the garden show and had some good responce with a large project on the coast being reffered and proposed by us but waiting on the HOA approval for the funds.
  4. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Posts: 326

    Seems so many landscapers think they are giving away money by subcontracting.

    When it comes to lighting that's the mantra that's being drummed into their heads everytime they open their mail or go to their supply house. They are made to believe that they are somehow half a landscaper, or half a man if they are not installing lighting. Screw driver and a garden spade is all you need.... yada yada yada. It's no wonder everything is so topsy turvy.
  5. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,112

    Well, the outcome of this mailing seems bleek. But nothing ventured nothing gained. I guess I am just looking too hard for that perfect hook to get them onboard. If money in their pocket doesn't do it, for sure nothing else will. Thanks for the input
  6. BPC

    BPC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 119

    There are a couple landscapers that hand out my info to people looking for lights. When I land the job and get paid I give them a referral fee.
  7. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Posts: 187

    I would rather not entice landscapers with the idea of doing lighting. If they are mostly full service and good at what they do they can figure out the lighting game and quickly become your competition. Even if they are not good at what they do they can quickly become your competition. I'd focus more on those who do high end maintenance in and around the areas you wish to work. They are a great resource for troubleshooting existing jobs which allows you a foot in the door for retrofits, new installs and new contacts.

    If you are talking about contacting designers and Landscape Architects I'd go full steam ahead.
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I think your right on target here because the 2 guys that reffered me recently are high end maint guys. One does do lighting but was scared to go up a tree for a 30 ft moon light so gave them our card. Now that he has seen our refferal program he says all of his lighting work will come our way.

    If a high end maint guy does not do lighting ask him about mailing a letter with his invoices letting his clients know he has teamed up with a premier lighting contractor.

    A high end landscaper recently did a pro football players home here. He does not undstand lighting welll altho they have been doing it for years. I have not seen the project but it was well over 100 lights and our dist had to go in and design it and lay it all out for him. He has not even responded to my letters or emails about subbing lighting to me.

    2 days ago while out doing some work I stumbled apon a new install someone did. It had tree mouned lights just screwed to the front of the tree... lights in plain view firing up into the canopy... wires just hanging across it and the lights mounted to the front of the tree instead of hiding them behind it. Went back to see it at night and it definatly is the textbook for "dont let your landscaper do this"
  9. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,112

    You know I hadn't even really given any thought to using maintenance companies. I'll find some that deal in residential.
  10. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    The other issue is by working with a landscaper you will end up teaching them how much you charge for your work.

    The danger is they are there doing a 3 grand job in which their 2 guys may take 3 days doing work.

    he refers you, you get the job and come in alone and do 3 grand in lighting in one day. by yourself.

    he can price similar fixtures/transformers and you possibly create a competitor.

    I had an irrigation contractor that referred me for mostly repair work on lighting til I got a job last year on an irrigation install he was doing. I do an install in a day, he's still there with a helper after I leave, and he does the math on the fixtures( whoa, dave's making MONEY !) , voila, no more referrals.

    as an added bonus, he now installs lighting at around my price. Instant competitor, just add water.

    be careful out there. I'd look at landscape architects that do only design and try to get on their list of installers, you'll probably have to pay them a percentage.

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