What Can Landscape Experts Look Forward to in 2017? Contributed by Guest Blogger: Martin McGuane, owner and operator of McGuanes Landscaping and Tree Service, Enfield CT
We saw modest growth in our Lawn Fertilization and Tree & Shrub divisions in 2016. I feel confident that the lawn care industry will continue to see substantial growth in gross sales. In 2016 we saw the stock market improve, home sales increase and home prices rise substantially. These are good indicators that our industry and business in general will improve over the next 12 months.
Many lawn care professionals feel that the market is saturated and there may be some truth in that sentiment. However, I believe that there is great opportunity for growth by adding additional services such as aeration, seeding and tick & mosquito sprays. Over the winter months, our company will focus on up-selling these kinds of services to our existing customer base.
Up-Selling Additional Services
One question I have been asking myself lately is, “Why are we starting up a customer’s irrigation system and a different company is fertilizing their lawn?” Let’s take care of the entire property. We have many irrigation customers who have signed up for our lawn program, but there are many more who have not.
One of our first projects this winter will be to identify those irrigation customers who have not yet signed up for our lawn care program. We plan to send each of those customers a personalized letter with an offer to sign up for our lawn care program. We will then look at lawn care customers who have not signed up for our Tree & Shrub Spraying Program.
Another way we can up-sell is by communicating additional services at the time of a given application. For example, while applying our "Early Fall Feeding" we will let our customers know that it’s the ideal time to slicer seed or aerate.
Despite my prediction that a large portion of our industry’s growth in 2017 is going to come from existing customers, I still believe that there will be many new customers out there to be had. That being said, there are a few things to consider when building a marketing strategy.
Marketing Strategy for 2017
The Baby Boomers are aging. This presents an opportunity, as this group enters their top earning years resulting in more disposable income than ever before. Millennials, on the other hand, are not opting to buy new homes at the same rate as the previous generation. They are buying condos and doing most of their shopping on the Internet. Consequently, our marketing strategy should reflect this. The Internet has allowed our industry to market itself in a different way than we did just a decade ago: where we once relied on door hangers and direct mail, we now use websites and various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
I predict that 2017 is going to have challenges just like any other year. We should expect to see growth in sales from both new and existing customers. Keeping these trends in mind when building a marketing plan can help a landscaping business like ours capture a larger piece of the expanding pie.