Knowing your worth as a business owner in the landscaping industry Part 1

Recently, I attended the annual FutureScape autumn exhibition at ExCel, London. During my time there, I listened to an extremely interesting seminar full of great tips for business owners in the landscaping industry. The topic was on pricing and knowing your worth, which is easier said than done. A panel consisting of three landscape and design business owners and a coach to the industry discussed this topic and I want to share some of the points they covered. As there was so much great information provided during the seminar, I will relay this in two parts.

The seminar started with the panel discussing how to present a quote to a potential customer. They recommended that landscape business owners present every quote, either at their office (if they have one) or at the potential customer’s home. This enables them to go through the quote line by line with the potential customer and further explain any points not understood.  It helps to illustrate the value. The general consensus was that the expectation of potential customers should be managed by taking an open and honest approach.

The panel talked about breaking down quotes, as the full price can be quite daunting at first. If the quote is broken down, the potential customer can choose the level of service they want, according to the budget they are comfortable spending initially, and then add extras or contingencies as they go. Also, it was suggested that using an alternative to the word ‘quote’, such as ‘allocation’ or ‘budget costing’ could help to sell the services offered.

The conversation turned to pricing for materials. In this current climate, it can be extremely difficult to estimate the price of materials especially when there is usually a time delay between quoting and starting the job. With material prices constantly increasing, it would be wise to allow for an estimated increase of materials when quoting. One member of the panel has a seven-day limit on quotes for plants because the plant supply varies so much. Also, landscape business owners could keep in touch with suppliers and ask them to give warnings when materials prices are going to increase. Build good relationships with suppliers by being loyal and paying bills on time. This will help the suppliers to offer favourable rates and if a deal is struck with a supplier, always check other suppliers to make sure the rates continue to be favourable.

The seminar was very interesting, but whilst I was listening to it, I was thinking about how beneficial this information would be to so many landscape gardening business owners. It’s so valuable to listen to peers in the industry, particularly if they are further ahead in business, and hear what they have done and how it went. It will help others avoid making the same mistakes and decide on the right course of action quicker for the business.

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