Relative Value. Your Landscape Business Success May Just Depend On It.
In these tough economic times it seems as if though the concept of “value” has apparently gone out the proverbial window. Price and only price seems to be the bottom line. The good old days of irrational exuberance are certainly gone. The question customers most ask has changed to “How much?” instead of “When you can start?”. Does this mean that the days of rational customer choices are over and it is a race to the bottom line?
The answer is yes and no!
The difference between now and then is that the low hanging fruit does not hang so low anymore! You need to help your customers get what they want more than ever before. It will probably require more work on the estimating side, more work on the marketing side and more work in general. You in fact need to outwork and outthink your competitors.
Is your business in the top ten percent of businesses in your industry?
Does your brand come to top of mind when people are thinking quality?
BMW & Mercedes Benz are doing just fine despite the economic slowdown.
These car companies have introduced entry level vehicles at lower price points but they are still considered premium brands. In fact the Mini a (subsidiary of BMW) is an altogether new brand associated with BMW and even sold out of the same locations.
The cars are a little smaller with a little less horsepower and with a few less features but still look and sound like premium vehicles.
BMW has introduced low financing (money is cheap) and included 4 years of service on the vehicles as part of the purchase price. They still get the brake changes and tire changes among other service items because you are forced to go to the dealership. It works, since the money is in the brakes not the oil change anyway!
These car companies are grabbing market share from their competitors in the middle of the market segment by offering a perceived upscale choice. In fact, they are increasing their volumes and thereby lowering their operating costs and more importantly are keeping their factories running at capacity at the expensive of the competition.
So what have you done to keep market share and convince customers you are the best choice? Have you simplified your designs or changed your field operations methods perhaps? Have you lowered your price on some of the easier projects with guaranteed margins?
Premium does not necessarily have to be overly expensive but it does have to be different and a bit better.
I think the new term is RELATIVE VALUE.
People with discretionary income are more cautious and discerning but they can still be sold on relative value. What are you offering that is different? Your success may just depend on it.
George Urvari is a partner at Oriole Landscaping (http://www.oriolelandscaping.com/) – an award-winning residential design-build and snow and ice control firm from Toronto, ON and a member of the Landscape Management Network. George has 25 years experience running a landscape business and is an active instructor, board member and volunteer at Landscape Ontario.