Let’s face facts for a second. Business blew up in the 2000s because of a housing bubble that encouraged consumers to buy things they didn’t really need with money they didn’t have. Those days are over, so landscape contractors need a much more calculated strategy to generate leads and convert those leads into sales.
We are largely dealing with consumer discretionary income when it comes to landscaping services. As has been the case for the past few years, there is both good and bad news here. While the housing market and consumer confidence remain shaky, the consumer debt situation appears to be improving. According to a July 1 press release from Equifax, consumer debt has been reduced by 8.7% since October 2008. That’s a positive development; less debt means more money to spend on other things (let’s ignore inflation for a moment).
As consumers continue to focus on working down their debt, they are obviously being much more frugal when it comes to spending. This is your challenge as a landscape contractor. You must not only convince consumers to spend money with you, you have to convince them to spend money on landscaping or lawn care, period.
This issue is packed with contractor best practices to help you do just that. Our cover story starting on page 6 explores the “Come Alive Outside” concept, which is designed to inspire consumers to reconnect with the outdoors. Our contractor profile on page 16 talks about how customizing services can help you stand apart from competitors. Our PRO of the month, LCO and current PLANET president Jerry Grossi, discusses how the time is now for the Green Industry to stand up as one and make sure Government hears our concerns.
There are undoubtedly a lot of challenges the Green Industry is facing right now. Some of them are not new. Remember when you first went into business and were pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, and in many cases “begging” for work? If you’re like most contractors, that’s exactly what you’re doing once again. Are you having fun? As odd as it may sound, I’ll bet that at least half of you are.
Contractors we profile often speak with great pride about their early years and how they built their companies one account at a time. That same type of “customer by customer” approach is what is helping contractors succeed today. Good luck to you!