Tips for lco breaking into landscape installation

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Accu-cut Lawn Care, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,206

    I am by no means a newbie when it comes to landscape installation. My first job was with a major landscape company that focused mainly on $50,000+ installs. I've been doing lawn and landscape maint. on my own for more years than I can remember. During this time, I have not done a lot of new landscape installations...But, I have amassed quite the landscaper's toolshed. Recently, I've gotten a few landscape jobs that have been very beneficial for keeping my crew busy(and my wallet a little bit fuller). My question is... What is the best way to get landscape business? My lawn care division has done very well in making its name known; but landcaping is a different animal. I don't think it would be very effective to go door to door passing out flyers for installation jobs(thank god I don't have to do that for mowing anymore). And after trying to advertise in the newspaper last spring, I'm sure that would not be a good avenue either. What is the best route to go?
     
  2. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,497

    I don't know how many guys you've got but perhaps begin with squeezing them in when you can.......work weekends, pay the guys for the extra work. Hire a couple extra guys to do installations.......if its slow they can help your other guys. They can do anything from sod to installs in general but if you are well known with maint I don't think you'll have much problem picking up lanscaping.
     
  3. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,206

    I've had a fast food chain as a maintenance customer for 4 years; and during this time, they have not allowed me to plant one thing. My municipal customers only use me for mowing. I've already tapped my residentials dry of all installation work. The past few landscape jobs I've done went very well. But now, I'm kind of at a loss as to how I should go about seeking new landscape customers. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanx.
     
  4. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,497

    Go to nurseries, sod farms etc and begin networking. Talk to them, tell them what you're wanting to do and tell them you'd appreciate any referals. What I did.....

    In turn you buy your material there and they keep giving your name out. A little chate while you're there goes a long way. Slow at first but after a couple months things will kind of take care of themselves and you'll be recieving phone calls.

    Clean appearance is a +
     
  5. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    Referrals are usually quite effective. Offer your existing customers some sort of discount or cash reward for referring landscape business to you.

    tthomass offered some very good suggestions.
     
  6. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,497

    Another........I'm about to target specific neighborhoods close to where I am. Take Friday for example, it rained. Send my salary guy home to sit on his butt and get paid??? NOPE!

    We drove around these neighborhoods in mind. I called out house numbers and he wrote them down along with street names. I'll look their names up on the county www and then mail to them.

    I'm sending out a selective mailing introducing myself to the neighborhood. The letter will be HAND ADDRESSED and HAND RETURN ADDRESSED with a formal, non boring letter inside saying who we are and what we have to offer and that we are LOCALS.

    I'm also having him select neighborhoods he has in mind and I'll provide the material. Then jobs from his neighborhoods will earn him 3% of the sale once he's out selling. He wants more $, here's how.......oh wait, did I mention the company will make more $ too?? Interesting.

    I believe I will get a much better turn around from the letters being hand addressed as people will be more like "what, who's this?", open the envelope, catch them with the first couple sentences and boom......point is made.

    -VS-

    Printed envelope with a sticker return address of someone annoying them for more business. Its not personalized and its mass produced. Gets less attention and into the trash it goes. Most people say 2% return.......I'm shooting for 10% call back and believe that is realistic given the format. These are also new neighborhoods of $800,000-$1,500,000 homes.

    So if it rains tomorrow, we'll be addressing envelopes and eating cake at a resturant with cute waitresses :)
     
  7. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,206

     
  8. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,497

    I don't know your background (seems we're along the same lines) but if someone questions my ability compared to the multi million dollar companies I reply along the lines of:

    Big companies send out their shirt and tie warriors to do the selling. I'm the one that actually did the work and am more than capable of handling your job.

    Only say it in a nice way but make the point........its fun watching the light bulb come on in their head. Duh.

    If you have a college degree dealing with the industry or just a degree in general......push that too. I've had customers tell me it was the reason they contacted me in the first place......separate yourself.
     
  9. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,206

    I'm not really even wanting to compete with these big companies. Their usage of cheap labor allows them to bid low when it comes to labor. I don't want to make 25 per man hour. I finished up a job last week that, when it all came down to it, earned me a true $100 per man hour. That is a watermark I'd like to adhere to when it comes to installation work. Not to say that I haven't or won't bid on new installations... It just seems to me like there is more to be made while updating-rehabilitating than new home landscape installation in my market.
     

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