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2010 Garden Shows

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Fiano Landscapes, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. Fiano Landscapes

    Fiano Landscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    We are gearing up for our show season coming up. We have two shows this year in the indy metro area. How much luck is anyone having with these shows? We seem to generate tons of business from these shows.
  2. 4Russl5

    4Russl5 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 160

    We are doing our small county 'Home and & Landscape show' at the fairgrounds here with a local nursery to capture local clients, maybe 10,000 people pass through. Then we team up with a good friend a fellow landscaper in Seattle for the 'Flower & Garden Show' there to promote dry stone masonry and it's uses in the landscape with plantings, 70,000 plus pass through here. We also team up with a large stone supplier for that show and share their space. We will build an arch or cool detail in stone.

    The return on the investment has always been good/great.

    I try and think of multiple levels for our clients. We like to travel for our work so a broad market exposure works for us.
  3. tthomass

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

    How much are your spaces costing you? Here they are sold in 10x10 blocks and are $1,800+ each. Unless you do a large garden for the show that costs you about $15k.
  4. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,173

    I am doing the Home show at the end of January and the Flower and patio show in March. Last year we did the march show and did pretty well with it. Are you guys doing a premier booth in the center garden section? I think I have seen your trucks around the Indy area. Do you do much work here?
  5. 4Russl5

    4Russl5 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 160

    The County show up charges about $600- for a small display garden of 300 square feet or so. The Seattle F & G show pays you about 2-3k for about 1000 square feet, at least that is roughly what they paid us in 2008 for our display garden. Having to pay for a display garden is a joke. It costs an unbelievable amount to put together from start to finish. I am doing this County one up here to build my relationships with other companies and blow these other guys away with quality and creativity. Plus I am not interested in a ton of business. I would love to generate 3 to 5 clients that keep me busy for 3-6 months locally.

    I can't believe they charge so much for a display garden. Their sponsorship must be next to nothing. The Seattle show is like the third or fourth largest show in the US I think.

    A thought of advice.... do a collaboration with another company that you are friends with for your first show to help offset costs, coordinating, labor, set-up, standing on the floor and having dialogue with the public, and tear down.

    Have fun with your display garden.
  6. tthomass

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

    I'm not doing a display this year.

    A 'feature' garden, as they call it, has free space but you have to do the rest. You can easily have $15k in labor, materials and overhead from build to tear down. I know of one company that put over $100k into their display........it was nice.

    Its a big show, lots of people over a 4 day span but also lots of tire kickers.
  7. JRSlawn

    JRSlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    I am doing a local show this year I hope it goes good! I will be doing a feature garden so the space is free and my supplier is letting me barrow the materials. So all I am going to have to pay for is the labor. I know when I did a 10x10 I got 10 small jobs I am hoping I can get some of the higher dollar jobs with a bigger display they get the most attention. Anybody have any pictures of what they have done in the past I am gathering ideas to get the design going. Anybody offer show discounts?
  8. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,576

    This subject comes up multiple times a year on this forum. And every time I stick in my two cents.

    I've seen varying results from home shows. Up until about 6 years ago we used to do quite well with the local show. But see, something has changed society. It's called THE INTERNET! Home shows gained their popularity because of the fact that if you were looking for a service - a home / garden show is a great way to meet with service providers, talk to them, and get a feel for what they have to offer. Well, the internet has since stolen the home and garden shows customers! A good contractor will always have a NICE, informative web site, filled with pictures displaying his/her capabilities. A prospective client can shop contractors from the comfort of their warm home while wearing their fuzzy bunny slippers.

    When doing a show, as TThomass mentioned, you need to keep in mind that a show costs far more then the exhibit space and materials used. You have labor dollars invested in setting up and tearing down. It usually takes at least 2-3 days to erect a NICE display, and 1 day to tear down. OK, now one step further - the time your company is investing in setting up and tearing down is also time that you're loosing from working in the field and turning production hours.

    In my neck of the woods - landscape and hardscape services are cut throat. Very little net profit (something many will never admit, nor may realize). So say you sell 3-5 jobs at a home or garden show. You must ask yourself "will the NET profit from those 3-5 jobs pay for the exhibit space, the materials used, the labor dollars invested, AND THE MONEY LOST FROM DAYS MISSED WORKING IN THE FIELD"????

    10 years ago we cleaned house from our local home show. Landed some very profitable jobs. For the last 6 years the end results have been horrible.

    What are the producers of the home / garden show doing to market the show? (radio, news papers, etc) How long in advance do they start advertising the show to the public?

    Is it held in a warm, dry secure building(s)?

    Is the parking for the attendees a paved lot, or if it's a rainy weekend will they have to walk through a muddy, grass field to get to the show?

    just some food for thought to consider.........

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  9. glaciator

    glaciator LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    Here in Colorado we can go Dec-Feb with little to no work unless one has some hardscape projects lined up from the previous fall. That said, if you have the time, they can pay off. I've found from another industry I was in that they help get name recognition out there, but there are a lot of tire kickers too. I'd rather spend my time in the winter visiting the shows to make sure I see the latest products from the distributors. In fact, I like the ProGreen expo in Denver since it is geared to contractors, not the general public. I get to put faces to names of people I've talked to, and see products. I also get to RELAX! I'd rather spend my January working on preparing for the upcoming season, and getting all my ducks in a row.

  10. Fiano Landscapes

    Fiano Landscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    We do have one of the main gardens in the Flower & Patio show. The past 2 years we have been in the Belgard Challenge. It has paid off immensely! This year we were given our own space for the show separate from Belgard. All of our work is in Central Indiana. We invest a lot of money in these shows, and see high returns also. There are always a lot of tire kickers, but there are plenty of awesome clients in the mix as well. I know it always pays off huge for our company, so we will invest the dollars to continue.

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