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plant materials

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by David Shaw, Oct 7, 2002.

  1. David Shaw

    David Shaw LawnSite Member
    Messages: 153

    How do you guys handle customers who want to buy thier own plants from your design and hae you install them? I've done this once now and had mixed feeings about it. Also for all of you in the colder climates like me, how late in the season do you plant?:blob2:
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Well, that does happen from time to time. I approach that problem this way;

    "Well, let me explain why we like customers to buy plants from us. First, understand, the rates I charge are what you would pay retail anyway. So you don't save any money buying them yourself. Second, when we provide the plant materials for you, we warranty them for the first growing season. I can't offer any warranty on plants you buy. Finally, I pick out all of your plants by hand, myself. And at the wholesale nursery I buy from, I often have hundreds of plants to choose from in any given variety. So the plants I'd get are probably better than the ones you'd buy at a small retail nursery anyway."

    That usually works. And it's true. We buy our plants at about 50% of retail and mark them up 100% to equal retail cost. By doing so, I add in a LOT of profit for myself. But equally as important, I make plenty of money to be able to afford to replace a few plants here and there if they die.

    We just did a job a few weeks ago. $2500 my cost. Customer paid $5000 for them - NOT including labor to install them. With that kind of mark-up you can afford to take your time and pick out nice specimin plants and trees. And you can afford to warranty them too.

    The basic idea is to figure out why the client would want to buy their own plants and then eliminate that reason. In my quote above, I eliminate almost all reasons why anyone would want to buy them on their own.
  3. David Shaw

    David Shaw LawnSite Member
    Messages: 153

    My problem is I have yet to locate any wholesale nurseries near me. Also I am new and very small ao I can't buy in large quantities that hurts. I buy mainly from a local nursery and they give me a small discount. So my prices are slightly higher or the same as a retail nursery. Without giving me much room for replacement. If anybody out there knows of wholesale nurseries in Iowa or surrounding states I'ld love to hear of them. Or any other advice. Thanks Dave:blob3:
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Yah, well, location is a lot to do with having a successful landscaping business. If you are more rural and there aren't a lot of nurseries around I suppose you are a victim of that. I have a few dozen wholesale nurseries within 10 miles of here. Nurseries are big biz. here. Well, so is landscaping.

    Anyway, I'd try to find out more from the Iowa Nurseryman's Association. It isn't referenced much on the internet. But it does seem to exist. Maybe Dwight Hughes, Jr. could help you. Check out this page;


    Also, maybe a good idea to check with a national nurseryman's association.

    Here in Oregon we have the Oregon Association of Nurserymen who has a killer web site that allows you to find local nurseries by zip code, plant, etc. I was thinking maybe you had something like that in IA, but it seems the IA Nurs. Assoc. isn't as organized on the web.
  5. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    Good advice.
  6. David Shaw

    David Shaw LawnSite Member
    Messages: 153

    You're right about Iowas Nursery Assoc. I actually went to Dwight Hughes's nursery this summer through school. It is simply amazing. He is turning out trees every three years that put to shame anything I've seen in the local nurseries. It is definitely worth the time for anyone to visit this operation. But he uses everything he grows in his landscaping business. That is amazing in itself because he digs several acres of trees every year. Anyway thanks for your input. Dave

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