The McGraw-Hill Construction report for 2018, predicts total U.S. construction starts for 2018 will rise 3% to $765 billion. The opportunity pie is growing and you need to figure out how to get a bigger piece of the pie to ensure business success. The key to business expansion for the landscape contractor lies in expanding abilities in water management and sustainability. Below are three steps you need to start implementing to ensure you get a bigger piece of the pie.
Landscape Contractors Can Promote the Use of Water Saving Technology
Having expertise in water management provides a differentiating factor for your business. Today’s customer is interested in saving water. The commercial real estate market has shifted its focus from energy savings to water savings. In the West where almost all states are experiencing issues with water, residential and HOA customers are demanding water savings on their properties.
Recently I reviewed landscape maintenance bids requiring contractors to guarantee water savings or not to exceed specific amounts of water use or pay the increase in water cost. Micro-irrigation, high-efficiency nozzles, and smart controllers should be a large part of your business plan in 2018. As the price of technology decreases and water becomes more expensive, it’s more critical now than ever to promote water-saving technology.
Promote the Value of Certification for Business Sucess
Having certified water management experts on staff should give your business a competitive advantage. The certification adds instant credibility, increases opportunities, and demonstrates your commitment to the industry. However, you achieve none of those goals if your customers and prospects don’t understand the value. Irrigation Association and State landscape contractor association requirements for certification have become increasingly more stringent over the last ten years.
It takes a significant time and money investment to pass these certifications. The industry should be applauded for the rigorous testing they are putting irrigators through to achieve the certifications.
However, in general, our customers don’t know anything about the certifications, and we aren’t getting the value we earned. So many times I will hear someone tell a prospect, we are excellent water managers, so and so has his Irrigation Association certification. If you think the average customer has any idea what that means you are dreaming. Take time to create a document explaining the amount of work your team had to complete to achieve their certifications.
It should be easy to understand (clear bullet points) document showing you didn’t just fill out an application and pay $35 for your certification. Helping your customers understand the value is the first step in being able to charge a premium for the service.
Engage in Social Media
Our world is changing rapidly, and we need to welcome change with open arms. Our customers and prospects are engaging with each other using social media. They are making their purchasing decisions based on what they learn from each other and relying on salespeople less. Who are you going to believe when you’re buying something? The salesperson who’s pitching to you or the reviews you read online and input from your friends? Today 50% of the world’s population is under 30. They are engaged with social media, and you need to engage too.
A Facebook business page, an active Twitter account engaging customers and consistent activity on LinkedIn should be the business norm. These platforms are excellent for spreading the water management message. You can use Facebook to educate customers on what is happening with water in your communities.
Twitter is a great way to direct people to your Facebook page and alert them to updates. LinkedIn has a wide range and variety of groups discussing water management and sustainability. Social media levels the marketing playing field and is an effective way to educate and easily stay in contact with thousands of customers. As we learned in the book Socialnomics, we don’t have a choice on whether we do social media; the question is how well we do it. This is just a good start for 2018. There is much work to do, and I am looking forward to it. Maybe you have a few priorities I didn’t list. Tweet me your thoughts @H2oTrends or add your suggestions to the comments section below.