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supply yard without plants?

Discussion in 'Nurseries and Growers' started by dnc19694339, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. dnc19694339

    dnc19694339 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 208

    What do you guys think about a landscape supply yard without any plants? We have been open a couple years now and the tree,shrub and annual sales have been dismal. I think it might have something to do with Lowes and home depot within a couple miles in each direction. Our bulk mulch, stone and topsoil sales are definitely profitable for much of the season.

    I am thinking about axing the plant sales and putting that 25K in to more types of stone, gazebos,pergolas and other landscape supplies?

    Are there yards like this in your areas without plants?

    What do you guys think?
  2. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    Their are a couple of nursery's around my area with very limited stock but many with full selection, I suggest you focus your market study with your current customer base. A large percentage of lawnsite users are very young with little or no business experience contrary to what they claim. Ask/survey your current clientele for what they would like you to carry.
  3. GrassMonkey

    GrassMonkey LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    I agree with Stillwater. You need to ask your customers what it is that they want you to carry - they are the boss. You should keep in mind that your nursery might be why they shop there and not because of the bulk materials. They may buy bulk materials because they are buying their plants from you. So keep that in mind.

    The pergolas and fountains are nice but a big investment. We started carrying pergolas and pre-assembled outdoor fireplaces and it has not worked out for us. I think people consider those things a luxury item and, in this economy, they can get by without it. Everybody is slow right now; don't go changing your entire business model to chase unproven products.

    You could post pics and brochures of pergola products that are available special order and see what kind of interest you get from it. Display it in a prominent location so that everyone can see.

    Good luck.
  4. wvbrian

    wvbrian LawnSite Member
    Posts: 109

    There are several plant-less supply yards in my area that seem to be busy all the time. They stock several kinds of stone, mulch, topsoil, etc. From a business standpoint, I could see how it would be appelaing ( nothing to water, stone isn't perishable, its hard for people to steal a 2 ton pallet overnight, etc..). I agree with the othe posters, ask your customers what they want, there is no one better to gain market insight from.
  5. coopers

    coopers LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,224

    There are several supply yards that are not nurseries in my area. These supply yards are very busy; most run trucks for customers that need trucking and not just delivering their product to customers. They also are busy moving green waste to an offsite facility for composting, screening their own topsoil/compost etc. They all have several types of mulch, sand, topsoil, gravels, etc. to market many business and customers since they can't rely on selling plants since they don't have any. So it is possible to stay busy w/o plants.

    I agree with what people have said so far. Maybe take a closer look at what you customers want/need and go from there.
  6. FANS

    FANS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    Maybe this isn't where you're going with the question, but have you considered getting a local nursery to setup a retail outlet at your place?

    You wouldn't have the expense of buying the plants and their maintenance. The nursery (maybe someone small or "off the beaten path") would benefit from your location.

    Most any kind of deal you could work out would be fine, rent the space, commission for you selling their product, etc.

    You would then have less cash outlay on the front end, and if the plants are bringing in the customer's you'd still have that.

    Are you able to survive on mostly commercial supply customers? Or do you need the homeowner customer?
  7. shade tree landscaping

    shade tree landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 915

    there a quite a few no plant supply yards in my area, most are pretty busy but all sell something in place of the nursry stock. Some its pavers, others its power equipment/mowers, very few sell only bulk material. There is only one like that in the area here, and hes a large lco who sells from his yard
  8. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 567

    In my area we have landscape yards that sell pavers, mulch, top soil, rock, fabrics, boulders stone, etc and lawn orniments
    then you have nurserys. They sell plants and a little mulch/top soil .
    They are two very different markets/retail ideas. requiring very different types of people to run them
  9. CkLandscapingOrlando

    CkLandscapingOrlando LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 652

    We got plenty of them. If I want a some rock It's cheaper to go to the guy that specalizes in material. If I want a tree I go to a tree farm. If I want shrubs I go to a nursery. If the nursry could keep the prices low I would buy every thing from them.

    Maybe your plant problem is variaty. If your selling what every one else is then you have no edge. The nursery I use lets other folks sell their product there. They get a cut. They have pots, orchids, statues, and bout every thing else you might want.
  10. Danscapes

    Danscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 331

    Since you already sell stone, why not try selling pond and water feature materials? Near me there is only one "real" place that sells everything that you would need to build a water feature, and their prices are outrageous. So I know there has to be plenty of profit margin involved in just selling the supplies to build features. Maybe, try building one at your shop that you can use as a selling tool.

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