How Landscapers Promote Themselves
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Posted by: Cindy Slone
ASHS Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN: How Landscapers Promote Themselves
A study out of Purdue University has focused on the business and marketing practices of landscape firms, an important sector of the green industry, in an attempt to accurately profile the manner in which they select venues for advertising, marketing, and other business minded efforts – and the degree to which those venues are proven effective.
Ariana Torres, Susan Barton, and Bridget Behe studied the particular promotional and business habits of landscape firms in their article “Business and Marketing Practices of U.S. Landscape Firms” published in the current issue of HortTechnology.
The researchers sought to understand the practical differences between the behavior of differently sized firms and delineated them by three business types: landscape only, landscape/retail and landscape/retail/grower.
Finding and keeping a skilled and reliable labor force is a critical business concern for all levels of landscaping firms, although the larger firms have a stronger likelihood for maintaining their employees due to their ability to shift the nature of expected duties during the off-season. However the larger firms declared that being able to hire competent hourly employees was a significant factor in their decisions regarding business growth. It was less of a factor for the smaller firms.
The top three factors influencing price establishment in the landscape businesses were shown to be plant grade, market demand, and uniqueness of plants. Inflation proved to be the least important concern and held a low level of influence on price.
Landscape businesses, on average, spend 5.6% of their annual sales on advertising, yet large landscape firms spend two to three times the percentage of sales on advertising compared with small and medium sized firms.
The researchers found that most landscape firms depend on internet advertising as their primary method of advertising. But only the larger firms rely on television and radio ads which accounts for 6.1% of firms choosing those venues for self-promotion.
Social media advertising rated a 9.3% utility, while 11.2% of the surveyed landscape firms used Yellow Pages for promotion. And 26% of them reported advertising in newspapers. Trade shows, catalogs, and journals accounted for less than 5% of advertising methods each.
Herbaceous perennials, deciduous shade and flowering trees, deciduous shrubs, and flowering annual bedding plants accounted for nearly half of all sales for all types of firms. Other products accounted for less than 10% of sales each.
Torres adds, “We hope this publication can help as an industry baseline to understand the business practices and factors driving growth and pricing of landscape operations. We found that size and diversification matter. Small operations tend to have different business practices than medium and larger operations. We also found that businesses that only do landscape are affected by different factors than those doing retail and growing of plants.”
The complete article is available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/27/6/884.full. DOI# 10.21273/HORTTECH03835-17. Or you may contact Dr. Ariana Torres at Purdue University at firstname.lastname@example.org or (765) 430-7585.
Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticulture Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticulture research, education, and application. More information at ashs.org.