Is this now common???

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by procut, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,852

    Within the last year, I have noticed several local nurseries and supply yards are now offering design and install services. After years of simply selling materials, they now seem to want a piece of the action as well. I'm tempted to no longer buy from these places as it is like supporting the competition.
  2. Idealtim

    Idealtim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 939

    I can't say whether or not that it is common, because I am only loyal to one place, and for one good reason - great service! But yes, I have noticed in the last 2 years That they went from a small rental section in a quarter of the building(mostly for do it yourselfers), to now having two complete hardscaping rigs with two duallies, trailers, saws, handhelds, and they have a dedicated bobcat and mini ex on the rigs. Nice and shiney! But since they are doing primarily hardscaping and I am doing everything but, I am still loyal. Might be a different story if we were both bidding on a 20yd mulch job, but as of now they pose no threat to me. I understand where your coming from, but I am not about to stop buying from a place that gives me almost a yard and a half for the price of one just because they are getting into installs.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    It is built in opportunity. They have hundreds of people coming through every week. A fair number of them are in need of this type of service. If you think about it, it makes sense to a lot of those people who shop there because that is where they have contact with people who are knowledgable about plants and give them free advice all of the time. That makes people comfortable and trusting. You have to realize that even a low percentage of customers interested in this is a high number of leads. The value is in those leads. Just think how much everyone spends on door hangers, newspaper ads, yellow pages, truck lettering, and everything else to get job leads and the nursery just has these folks marching right in. They would be stupid not to exploit it.

    Maybe the thing to do is to try to hook up with them to get some of the work if possible.
  4. chris638

    chris638 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    Right on AGLA. We've had a Garden Center for over 25 years and have always offered that as a service. I've noticed this year that since we've moved into lawn mowing as an additional service, we've lost some of the smaller grass cutting guys without our prices changing at all. Let me ask you this, did you start mowing for a living and then somebody asked you to mulch, did you turn them down, or realize that was another way to make money? The more services that you can offer and do in a professional manor, should mean the more money you can make. And I'm pretty that's why most of us are in the business for.
  5. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,852

    I do understand it is a major oppertunity for them - so I really can't blame them. However, by doing this, they are now competing with many of their big customers. I think part of the reason many of them are trying to get into design/install is that our area lacks a true garden center, so they are probably trying to tap that market.
  6. NewHorizon's Land

    NewHorizon's Land LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 687

    Our nursery gives us a call when someone needs landscaping services. Just got a call from them on Thursday.
  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Being the first contact in getting work is power. You have what everyone needs.

    If you think it through, they don't lose plant sales by replacing other contractors with themselves. They actually gain because they do not dicount those materials.

    A lot of retailers do not like to sell to contractors at all. We always look at it as it is only 10 or 25% percent less money that they take in. But it is really much more than that. If they pay $50 for a plant that they retail for $100, right away that 25% discount takes away 50% of their mark up. Add to that the labor and expenses of handling and caring for it in the nursery and you can easily see that their profit margin shrinks to less than half of what it would be with a retail sale (the same expense is being paid for out of half the markup effectively doubling the % of cost of handling).

    If they can replace 1/2 the plant sales that they would have sold to contractors who stop buying from them by doing this, they are already ahead. That does not mean they have to get half of your jobs, just replace 1/2 the plant sales you would generate with those new sales through their design services.

    Design is a sales tool for selling material and labor. The nursery definitely has the material, but they may be short on the labor and management of that labor. You might really want to consider approaching them to work as a sub.

    I suspect that they are much more interested in moving plants than managing labor. One thing that they will struggle with is jobs that need more than just planting and simple garden skills. If you have greater capability with additional things such as hardscapes and irrigation, you would have a good ability to get your bigger profits that way while the nursery makes the money on the plants. The value is whether or not you would increase your bottom line this way because of the increase in sales on good jobs.
  8. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    It sounds like there may be more of a profit margin in installing than retail... from reading Tony Avents nursery book... it seems more attractive to install than retail. I can't blame them.
  9. PatriotLandscape

    PatriotLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MA
    Messages: 1,209

    Mahoney's on the cape started this and I can say it has taken the small amount I did do with them to another nursery. We get most of our plants from Sylvan Nursery which is primarily wholesale to contractors.
  10. green horizons

    green horizons LawnSite Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 144

    Most local retail nurseries have an installation division. I can't hardly blame them. But really, they don't seem efficient at it. Their niche seems to be moving plant stock. I don't buy from retail nurseries much. I'm on file with a few just so I can receive a discount on the occasion that I buy. Mostly my nursery supply is from wholesale suppliers only. Business is business. If I don't want to support a biz, I take my money elsewhere. If Lesco started applying fert., I sure as hell wouldn't buy fert. from them.

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