Homeowners and landscapers want the same thing: to see a project through to successful completion with minimal hitches along the way.
But this doesn’t always happen. So, what factors can stand in the way? These are the things homeowners wish their landscapers would know before the project starts.
In this article, we’ll explore ways to ensure a smooth and successful landscaping project. Things like respecting the budget; great communication; accountability; and risk management.
How Both Parties Get to Win
Whether you’re a landscaping contractor or a homeowner, understanding the expectations of the other party will go a long way to ensuring success.
- For landscape contractors, it can be hard to stand out in such a competitive industry. Knowing what clients are looking for can be a big advantage. It will bring you great reviews and recommendations.
- For homeowners, it can be stressful committing to an expensive project with someone you don’t know. And, also frustrating not knowing what you can reasonably expect from them. Knowing how to ask for what you want will give your project the best chance of success.
1. Money’s Tight
Money is a sensitive subject for many people. It is so intrinsically tied up with our idea of self-worth it can be embarrassing to admit we have limited funds. But, from the contractor’s side, it can feel like the client is pushing margins unfairly.
Ultimately, finding a compromise that suits both is the ideal. It is better to win a modest job and gain a client for the future, than lose out entirely by overshooting the mark.
The following approaches offer respectful ways to work with budgets;
- Propose a Staged Approach
Break big projects into multiple, smaller projects that can be completed in stages. Clients can select which ones they want to proceed with first, and complete others as they can afford to.
- Offer Multiple Options
An excellent approach to bidding for work is to quote on three options ranging in price. As the contractor, this may involve more work, but it will put you in a better chance of winning the contract. For clients, if a contractor is unwilling to offer you alternatives, you probably want to think carefully about proceeding further.
- Pricing Transparency
Project pricing should be transparent. The bottom line should always be broken down to individual line items. Both parties should be open to discussing ways they can help to bring the costs down.
- Self-maintenance Options
Self-maintenance solutions allow homeowners to maintain the finished product themselves. They are often possible if taken into account upfront. In these uncertain times, limiting ongoing expenditure can be what closes a deal.
2. A Picture Paints a Thousand Words
As professionals working in a creative field, it can be easy for landscapers to slip into jargon. Simple terminology we use daily might be foreign for someone not in the trade.
However, homeowners want to work with contractors who make things easy for them. Incorporating visual material into conversations is an excellent way to ensure both parties are on the same page. You don’t have to be an artist to use some of these suggestions;
- Social media (Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)
For landscapers, photo-sharing apps like Instagram and Pinterest can be an excellent way to showcase your work and style. But clients can also use it to look for ideas themselves. Homeowners may not understand the design limitations of their spaces. But, even the most impractical suggestion can be the start of a constructive conversation.
- Referral Sites
A competent contractor should have existing and past clients willing for their homes to be referral sites. Sites that can be appreciated from the curb are best to avoid situations where the owner needs to be bothered. As a client, if your landscaper can’t point you to other work in your neighborhood, maybe there’s a reason he doesn’t want you to see it!
3. Owner Visibility and Access Encourage Loyalty
When allowing someone into their home, homeowners don’t want to deal with a faceless corporate. Contractors are often entrusted with access to secure areas. As a homeowner, you might require that they work around loved pets and treasured processions.
Landscape contractors can give prospective clients comfort and show their care with;
- Personal Supervision
It might not be practical for you to supervise each of your teams personally. But develop routines and procedures that ensure you know what’s happening at each client site.
A once monthly or even quarterly drive-by can help you keep in touch and confirm your team is doing what’s required. Let your clients know when you’ll be passing and that you can be available if they have anything to discuss. This is also an excellent opportunity to win additional work.
- Personalized Communication
Clients want to feel special. Make an effort to get to know your clients and tailor communications to them personally. Remembering activities clients enjoy in their gardens, their favorite plants, pets’ names, etc., will be appreciated.
- Immediate Response
Lastly, make it easy for clients to reach you and always respond within 24 hours. Your clients may have jobs that prevent them contacting you during working hours. If you genuinely want to distinguish yourself from competitors, be reasonably available after hours. Keep a separate mobile number for your business that you can carry with you or take turns if you have a partner or trusted manager.
4. Anything That Reduces Risk is Welcome
Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous and unqualified contractors everywhere. As a homeowner, you may be justifiably nervous about dealing with fly-by-nights who may leave you in the lurch. There are many instances of contractors absconding with deposits. And if work is abandoned midway, it could leave you with significant costs to make good.
Landscaping is a component of a home’s market value. Any construction work can as easily decrease value as increase it. It is, by its nature, a hazardous undertaking in a highly regulated area. Landscapers can give their clients comfort that things will go according to plan by giving them:
A contractor’s qualifications and those of his team should be available to clients. Have a conversation about how everyone is kept abreast of current trends and legal regulations. Any memberships of professional societies should be displayed too. Many of these offer recourse to clients who are unhappy with work undertaken by their members.
- References from Past Clients
Speaking to someone who will vouch for a contractor’s credentials will give prospective clients confidence to proceed.
- Details of Insurance Cover
Landscapers need adequate insurance coverage that will cover damages in the event of something going wrong. Knowing this is in place will provide peace of mind to clients. Clients may also want to know that the contractor’s employees and machinery are covered in the event of accidents. We highly recommend getting in touch with Farmerbrown.com to ensure all insurance policies are carefully crafted based on your unique business needs. Here’s an article on contractorsliability.com that could be helpful for you, this article discussing Must-Have Insurance Coverages for Landscapers.
Priceless Things Landscapers Can Learn from Homeowners
As we’ve shown in this article, “getting to yes” with homeowners is about being sensitive to their requirements. Success can be achieved by proactively with a transparent approach and by providing multiple solutions.