is it possible

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by DiSantolandscaping, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. DiSantolandscaping

    DiSantolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 345

    In the landscaping industry i understand that you need to mow lawns to get into hardscapes, and mulching, etc. but is it possible to advertise more towards doing hardscapes, and softscapes with out doing as much mowing, and whats the best way to advertise or get the word out to do more installs.
  2. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,737

    do you have any expierence in doing hardscapes etc..?
  3. DiSantolandscaping

    DiSantolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 345

    yea ive done a few patios, and paver walkways, planted bunch of trees and plants. I like doing the phsycal landscaping part of it more then the mowing, but i understand you need to mowing to as part of a income to survive on.
  4. DiSantolandscaping

    DiSantolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 345

    im also doing a drainage pipe in my yard this spring that will be 18 in deep with crushed stone around pipe with a slope of 1 1/2 for 8 ft so in total it will be sloped 4 1/2 in over 24 ft in to the field out back.
  5. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    I see lots of companies that are landscaping/hardscaping only. I'm sure it works and am hoping to transition myself to that. need to find the right places to get the work. I'll let you know when and if I ever find that out. Mowing does open more doors but like yourself I just dont enjoy it as much. I'd like to keep mowing but have employees doing the mowing for me. Get the extra work and still be able to care for the entire properties needs. I also see some companies on here that were just landscape design/build that have now included maintenance, but only for thier install clients. I'm sure there's much better price control with that situation.

    Also ask yourself these as I'm sure a potential client would and what are your answers?

    "Why should I choose you to do the landscaping when my mowing company could just do it?"

    "I get a package deal with my mowing company, can you do better than that?"

    I'm sure there are 1000 more but you get my point.

    What separates you from everyone else?

    Like I said I'm trying to figure this out too!
  6. Executive Landscape

    Executive Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    You do not need to do lawn maintenance to do hardscapes or any design/install landscape work. If you already have maintenance customers you can continue doing maintenance but focus on marketing your company as a design/build company if that's the direction you want to head. Focus on one aspect of our industry and do it well, market your company specializing in that area. New customers will call your company to do exactly the type of work that you have advertised that you do. The thought that homeowners will hire they're maintenance co. to do design/build work is generally false, they will hire they're maint. co. to do maint. and if they're looking to do a substantial design/build job they will generally seek out a design/build co. Nothing is 100% but we have done over 1000 design/build jobs over the last 17 years and almost every one had a lawn maintenance co. that did not get the job.
  7. Landrus2

    Landrus2 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,020

    He probably means to stay busy
  8. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    what they said

    mowing will open a lot more doors but at the same time that isn't always the best thing

    for instance if you are a low baller, they will be expecting a cheap install/design

    One thing i would keep in mind is "Do you have the skills needed to be successful?"

    anyone can higher a few laborers to install but you need to know where those plants go, their needs (a good design will be low maint and have no true needs other then what nature gives it) and how to bid properly.

    Back to the later...
    Mowing will get you some calls but getting repeat customers and customers that have seen your work will be your biggest source of work
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Mowing doesn't account for much of anything with our business, so yes, it can be done.

    But you have to take into consideration growth can be slow when just marketing landscaping services.

    On the flipside, most accounts now want full grounds maintenance that includes mowing. So even though I've marketed myself away from mowing, I'm getting drawn into a bit more because clients want one guy for all their services.

    The only advantage for our business with these all inclusive accounts is that they pay monthly and are guaranteed income as sometime the landscaping and hardscaping can be erratic in terms of amount of work.

  10. StoneFaced

    StoneFaced LawnSite Member
    Messages: 201

    In the mid 80's after finishing my schooling, I did a combination of mowing, spraying, designing & installs for a small company. After two years, I realized we were too diverse & no better than the average. One of the biggest mistakes that I have seen over the years is too many guys trying to do it all, rather than focusing & developing skills to develop a niche for themselves, that makes them stand out. With no Internet and a quest to develop my own skills, I researched many companies that appeared to be the best in the areas of work, that I was most interested. Time was of the essence, as I saw my employment as a form of education. I interviewed w/ some of the largest companies who did the biggest & best displays at the trade shows. I also qualified them as they were qualifying me...what I found was that these were not the companies that I was likely to learn from, as they had too many departments & ladders to climb before I could get my hands dirty. Instead, I found a small company (about 6 employees) that did amazing work, that stood out from even the biggest ( close to a million in sales back in 1989). We only did landscape lawn work (that was subbed out), we only built very custom decks, patios, walks, entrances, gazebo's, landscapes & retention walls, almost every job had large rocks & boulders. Many jobs were a combination of all, where it was all incorporated. We did very little w/ water features...too many issues to contend with in this environment. The hours I worked was insane, but was the best crash course that had no substitute. When I turned 21 in 1990, I went on my own & mimicked what I had learned. It was a long process & took a few years to get folks to take me serious, mostly because of my age. I'd hit a home run here and there, but didn't consistently pull high end work until I was about 26. As time went on, I honed my skills and ideas...always trying to develop design concepts that were unique & drew attention. I focused on building relationships & networked w/ other trades, builders, developers & management of hotels, etc. Part of maintaining my niche & rapport was keeping my operation small. While I was in no way ever into high volume, I have managed to consistently draw higher end projects. For the most part, in my mind I had the best of both worlds...I've always done my own design work (have competed/won against some of the larger firms w/ architects), still get my hands dirty & also work as a general contractor for larger scale projects. Going into my 22nd season, I still work w/ & maintain relationships w/ some of the same contractors & contacts today that I started out with. Some are third generation builders who carry a lot of credibility. They are like having a well trained salesman, that I don't have to pay...but working w/ me has its own perks. They have some of the best looking homes around, lol. Also, I can't even tell how many properties I've modified, that had existing lawn service, but they weren't even invited to bid or design (I've gotten a lot of dirty looks when they come to mow). If I had to start over, there are no doubt things that I would have done differently, like spending more time learning how to qualify leads...all and all, it's been a fun ride.

    Final thought...I see a lot of (if not most) guys who jump into lawn service w/ no formal background or experience wanting to quickly jump into hardscapes, etc. because after a few lawn clients allowed them to plant some shrubs or lay some pavers, they suddenly feel they can do it all...even though they took the weekend seminar that somehow made them a pro, because they have a paper that says they are certified. You have to put your time in & develop your skills and have reasonable knowledge with what it is your well as how your work will affect the existing home or don't want to be one of those guys mentioned on a bad home renovations TV program. I've done a lot of surgery on homes from poor installs.

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