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Improve Your Sales: What Really Makes Your Landscape Company Different?

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Business Advice

Whenever I consult with a landscape contractor to help him improve his company’s sales I ask him to give me three reasons why a homeowner should choose his company over another company. In other words, what makes his product, company or service different from his competitor’s?

Screw “U” Landscaping??

Whenever I consult with a landscape contractor to help him improve his company’s sales I ask him to give me three reasons why a homeowner should choose his company over another company. In other words, what makes his product, company or service different from his competitor’s?

Before I go any further, I want to ask you the same thing.

I want you to write down the three things that make your landscape contracting business better than all of your competitors.(Now go to the bottom of the page to find the three most popular answers to this question. Hey – no peeking).

If you really think about it, it makes perfect sense. What landscape contractor is going to run around telling clients that they do horrible work, are completely unreliable and will do everything that they can to rip you off or price gouge you?

I’m thinking not too many. As much as I travel around, meeting with landscape contractors, I still have not found a company called “Screw U Landscaping” – hire us and you’re screwed.

Now that I’ve burst your “uniqueness bubble”, let’s embrace this new reality and discuss what you can do to really differentiate yourself from your competition.

The best way to do this is to just sit down and think about what really does make you or your company unique.

First, start with yourself and your value structure. In other words, what is important to you or what do you strive for?

As a landscape designer, I provide excellent “concept plans” that could easily be built by a qualified landscape design/build contractor. Contractors that understood the value of working with the types of drawings that I produced and the flexibility they provided would come to me for their design work.

However, if a contractor needed detailed drawings, dimension plans, or a “sketch up” drawing, I was not the man for the job. There were other companies that provided this service, for much more money.

So you see, even though we all provide design services, we all had very different business models that catered to a different clientele.

Now let’s brainstorm a little and look at your design/build business and what makes you truly unique.

If you’re a larger company, what can you do that a smaller company can’t?

Can you complete a project quickly and efficiently because you have the resources, manpower and equipment to get it done? Does your size give you “purchasing power” that allows you to buy for less and to pass that savings along to the consumer. Or maybe you do all of your work in-house and don’t use sub-contractors, letting you manage the project better, which is a big plus for many homeowners.

Then there’s the fact that you have been in business for “X” amount of years assuring a client that you will be there to service them now and in the future. Long term security is a big selling point to homeowners when it comes to dealing with potential problems in the future and or truly standing behind warranties and guarantees.

Now let’s look at the flip-side.

What if you’re a smaller company? What are some of the unique things that you have to offer a customer that a larger company probably can’t?

The first thing that comes to my mind is that a smaller company can provide “personalized” service. For those of you that are owner operators, you can make the client feel at ease by letting them know that unlike large companies that can have designers, salespeople, foremen, account managers and billing departments; they can be comforted knowing that they will be working with just you (and a few guys). Highlighting the fact that you are personally managing and/or installing their project shows them that you are always available to them.

When they call the office they get “you” and not some secretary.

You might even give them your cell phone number to use during the installation so they know that they can contact you if they are worried or have a question or problem, even if it’s at night or on the weekends. This is a very powerful tool and most people will respect it and only call you if there is a true “landscape emergency”.

So the next time a potential client asks you what makes your company different, instead of giving one of the canned responses listed below, like everyone else, you can explain to them what truly makes you different and the value of working with you.

I can tell you from experience, that you can easily make a very strong argument as to why a customer should choose a larger company over a smaller one or a smaller company over a larger one. You just need to need to say something besides:

1. We do quality work and provide great value

2. We are reliable and dependable

3. We’re not the cheapest but we’re also not the most expensive.


Jody Shilan is a former landscape contractor and award winning designer. He has sold tens of millions of dollars of installation work throughout his career and now uses his 30+ years of experience to teach other landscape design/build contractors how to dramatically increase their sales and standardize their landscape design/build/sales process. He does this through private consulting, public speaking, group workshops and his “exclusive” members only website

Jody Shilan appears as a guest blogger for LMN Blog, Landscape Management Network’s resource hub for all things related to building a better landscape business.  For more on the Landscape Management Network, check out the website at

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