Design, build on the grow?

June 1, 2010 -  By

Despite housing and economic challenges, survey shows there could be hope for design/build/installation contractors.

StateNearly 50% of landscape professionals say 2010 sales are already up compared to last year.

And 20% of them expect 10% higher sales; another 11% expect 15% higher sales.

The other twist to this plot: The majority of survey respondents were landscape design/build/installation contractors and landscape design firms — companies many industry experts say are suffering from double-digit decreases in growth as a result of the recession and slumped housing market.

Now that we have your attention …

The survey results were presented during a May 20th webinar conducted by The New American Landscape Outdoor Living Channel (NALOLC).

Though the majority of respondents admit business is improving (30%), many say they are undergoing challenges and changes as a result of the economy.

“Growth is occurring but at a slow rate reflective of overall trends in economic recovery,” says J. Gieo Pensoneault, CEO and host of the NALOLC.

But it’s still growth, and that’s a positive thing for the industry, webinar panelist and industry consultant Judy Guido says.

Pensoneault also highlighted the economies of three separate states to show varying degrees of progress. California is showing good signs of growth as it emerges out of the recession, he says, citing a recent Wells Fargo Economic Outlook.

Colorado is also recovering but lagging behind a bit because the oil and gas industry is one of the state’s larger forces of economic growth.

Florida will be one of the slowest states to come out of the recession. Pensoneault said the Sunshine state’s economy has been based on people moving in, but for the first time since World War II, there are more people moving out.

What can landscape professionals do with this information? Pensoneault suggests the following:

Adapt to the realities of business.

Maintain a lean and mean approach to operations.

Invest in marketing to capture growth as it returns to the marketplace.

Demand a return-on-investment approach in all expenditures.

Invest in education during this slower business cycle.

Guido adds: “It’s pretty interesting that all of the things suggested are things you should be doing regardless of whether it’s a good or bad economy.”

LM Staff

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