Successful landscaping professionals don't just know lawn care and design — they know people. When you run your own business, you'll need to build relationships with customers, earn referrals, provide personalized service, and invest in the right employees to help you along the way. In this By the Numbers page, we'll examine some reports and statistics from the landscaping industry that illustrate just how important people are to your small business and what you can do to build better relationships with your crew, customers, and contractors.
Relationships Matter in Landscaping
While many landscapers use traditional marketing strategies (e.g., placing ads, listing their info in the Yellow Pages, making cold calls, etc.), for most landscaping businesses, word of mouth is still king. Customer referral is a top marketing strategy for 98 percent of landscaping businesses, according to the Lawn and Landscape: State of the Industry Report .
The second most common marketing strategy (used by 66 percent of landscapers) is earning referrals from contractors and other business associates. Growing a landscaping business means cultivating your network and building relationships with customers and other businesses. If you regularly work with contractors or subcontractors (and earn their referrals), check out A Lawn Care Business Owner's Guide to Subcontractors, Part 1 and 2.
Lawn Care Is a People Business
According to the Houston Chronicle's Small Business Index , the majority of your competition — 72 percent of landscaping companies — is small businesses like yours. How do you distinguish your business from this competition? Build relationships with your customers. In fact, two-thirds of your business comes from single-family homes. Residential clients like this will appreciate the personalized touch that comes with working with small businesses. Professionalism, strong service, and good communication will help distinguish your business.
Your Biggest Investment Is Your Crew
It's no secret that labor represents one of the biggest costs and investments for every landscaping project. And that's how you should think about it: an investment. Because labor accounts for 40.6 percent of their revenue, some landscapers try to save money by getting by with lesser help. But the lifeblood of a landscaping business is its crew. If you're spending a large part of your budget on labor, you are in a position to attract and keep the best help.
The way to save money on labor isn't to cut costs, but to plan better. Landscape Management estimates that you can save 5 to 10 percent on labor costs by keeping your crews lean and flexible. Additionally, you can avoid unpredictable costs from landscaping injuries by investing in Workers' Compensation Insurance to cover employees, contractors, and subcontractors working for you.