By Kaitlyn Ersek on Apr 30, 2020 12:30:00 PM
Whether you are looking to start a tree and shrub plant health care business or you already have a lawn and landscape business and you are looking to add it as a service to your offerings, this blog is for you!
In this blog we’ll be going over the following topics. Click the link to short-cut to that topic.
- Why should you offer tree and shrub plant health care applications?
- How do you market tree and shrub plant health care maintenance?
- How do you price out tree and shrub plant health care applications?
- Items to consider when building a tree and shrub plant health care program, including how to use Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub
Why Should You Offer Tree and Shrub Plant Health Care Service?
According to Lawn and Landscape Magazine’s 2019 Industry report, 62% of lawn and landscape businesses offer a tree and ornamental service. There are a lot of reasons why you should look at adding tree and shrub plant health care service to your offerings.
- As a service, tree and shrub plant health care tends to have high margin revenue, and applications can be timed to occur while your maintenance team is already at a property conducting lawn fertilizer applications.
- On average, we usually see 10 to 30% of current lawn care customers adopting a tree and shrub service when offered. After all, your current customers already know and trust your brand; and they also care deeply for their landscapes or they wouldn’t be paying for lawn fertilization.
See above for a 1.5-minute video on why you should offer tree and shrub plant health care applications, featuring Holganix National Sales Manager, Rob McCoy. If you’re reading this blog via email, click here to watch the video.
How Do You Market Tree and Shrub Plant Health Care Applications?
In this section, we are focused on selling to current customers (aka your low hanging fruit), but a lot of these tactics will apply to reeling in new customers too.
In the past, lawn care companies have reported a higher return on investment on marketing dollars spent when upselling to current customers. That means when you market tree and shrub plant health care applications, you are making more bang for your buck.
Scroll down for more detailed information on recommended marketing tactics. Or skip the details and watch our 4.5-minute video below featuring Holganix CEO & Founder, Barrett Ersek. If you’re reading this blog via email, click here to access the video
Building Your Marketing Campaign
A well-rounded and balanced marketing campaign will include both outbound and inbound marketing. Outbound marketing includes traditional marketing such as cold calling and direct mail; it’s marketing that you push on a prospect. Inbound marketing is the process of creating valuable, educational content that then draws in prospects. Examples of inbound marketing include blogs, ebooks, and webinars.
Your marketing campaign should also touch customers multiple times, with each touchpoint spaced out by 2 to 3 weeks. Keep in mind that sending out a single postcard is not going to get you the return on investment you are looking for. Customers buy when their pain for the program is at their highest, so consistently keeping your brand top of mind is key.
To ensure that your tree and shrub plant health care marketing campaign is running on track, build out the campaign using a content calendar.
Your outbound marketing tactics might include direct mail, followed by telemarketing, to increase your return on investment.
You can take several different avenues when considering a direct mail route. Here are a few ideas:
- You can send out prepay letters for the remainder of services along with tree and shrub applications to current customers that haven’t yet prepaid.
- You could send a prepay letter specifically for tree and shrub applications, regardless of whether a customer has already prepaid for lawn care applications.
- You can send out a postcard to current customers.
- When your technicians are doing lawn care applications, ask them to leave hand-written notes when they see tree and shrub problems. Or, have them leave a generic hand-written note if they don’t feel comfortable pointing out problems.
No matter the direct mail or telemarketing route you decide to pursue, be sure to include an offer to entice customers to give your tree and shrub program a try. Here are a few of our favorites:
- You could bundle a lawn care program with a tree and shrub plant health care program. When they prepay for the lawn care program, they could receive the tree and shrub plant health care program at a discount.
- You could offer a free winterizer application to those that sign up for an annual program.
- If you do any design/build/installation services, couple the tree and shrub plant health care program with the design/build/installation. Plus, it will ensure any new plantings you have done thrive! If you don’t offer design/build/installations, you could partner with a design/build/installation company and provide a commission to the partner when they make a sale for you.
An ideal marketing campaign for tree and shrub would not just include outbound marketing tactics, but inbound marketing tactics as well. You want to ensure that you are seen as being more than a lawn and landscape company. Creating content online will emphasize your company as an authority in the tree and shrub plant health care industry.
Right before mailing your postcards and prepay letters, consider sending an email newsletter or blog post to current customers that highlight the benefits of receiving tree and shrub plant health care applications. Post links to the blog post on your social media for additional exposure.
Never done an email marketing campaign? Check out MyEmma, Constant Contact, or Mail Chimp; these email marketing platforms include templates and tons of tracking information to help monitor your return on investment.
How to Price out Tree and Shrub Plant Health Care Applications
Not sure how to conduct a tree and shrub estimate? Don’t worry, we have your back! There are four main methods for pricing out tree and shrub plant health care applications. Once you have established a customer base, your tree and shrub plant health care truck should be able to do between $800 - $1,600 in production a day, depending on your region, customer density, and pricing.
Scroll down for more detailed information on how to price out a tree and shrub application. Or skip the details and watch our 3.5-minute video below featuring Holganix National Sales Manager, Rob McCoy. If you’re reading this blog via email, click here to access the video
Block Pricing Method
With block pricing, you look at an entire neighborhood and provide a generic price based on an average-sized landscape in that neighborhood. It’s a cookie-cutter approach but it is a lot easier for technicians and sales reps to offer without being onsite.
Metric Based Method
The second option is to provide quotes for customers based on two metrics: (1) a truck stop/visit and (2) a time fee (the cost of labor and materials used). The below math for each of these metrics are averages, lawn and landscape companies range in these numbers drastically depending on region and company size, among other variables.
Each time your truck stops at a house, it costs you about $25 to $60 depending on your region and customer density.
When it comes to calculating your time fee, consider that materials and labor should consist of 15-20% each of the price to do the tree and shrub plant health care application.
In other words, if you charge a customer $100, $30 should be set aside to pay for labor and maintenance ($15 each), and another $25+ should be set aside to pay for the truck stop/visit. The remaining $45 goes towards your gross margin.
You could also price out a tree and shrub plant health care service based on satellite imagery. You would look up the property to decipher the coverage area and dripline. Then, provide a price off of those measurements.
The third option is to base pricing off a point system that coincides with the size of your customer’s trees and shrubs.
Just have your technician tally up the points to decide which price point to offer. Each price point equates to a set dollar value based on current costs. They can conduct estimates while doing lawn applications or on a rainy day when applications aren’t possible.
An example of the point system is shown below.
Building a Tree and Shrub Plant Health Care Program
Depending on your region, a tree and shrub health care plan will consist of four to eight rounds of applications. A tree and shrub plant health care program can include Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub, pesticides (fungicides and insecticides), and nutrients.
Scroll down for more detailed information on building a tree and shrub health care plan. Or skip the details and watch our 5-minute video below featuring Holganix CEO & Founder, Barrett Ersek. If you’re reading this blog via email, click here to access the video.
Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub
Holganix Bio 800+ Tree and Shrub recreates the natural, forest soil environment for your trees and shrubs by building up the soil microbes in and around your landscaping, which in turn promotes root development and nutrient uptake.
Why should you use Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub?
- Stronger plants that better tolerate environmental stresses
- Vigorous root growth
- Fewer inputs needed including water, fertilizer, and pesticides
When it comes to pesticides, double-check your local regulations. Regulations change on a state level and in this blog we are merely providing general guidelines.
Whenever possible, we recommend applying pesticides using IPM (integrated pest management). IPM believes in treating problems as they arise or proactively if you already understand that a particular landscape requires it.
In general, from a chemical standpoint, you might include the following:
- Preventative insecticides - Targets insects before they become a problem. An example might be imidacloprid like Merit. Often imidacloprid can be reduced when used in conjunction with Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub. In fact, you can reduce the imidacloprid by 20% off the label rate.
- Curative insecticides - Targets active insects. Bifenthrin is an example of a curative insecticide.
- Fungicides - Targets disease problems.
- Miticides - Targets mites.
If you are looking at an organic insecticide, check out cedar oil. It would not affect your beneficial critters like ladybugs and honeybees and will help your trees and shrubs build a natural defense against disease and insects. When using cedar oil with Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub, cedar oil can also be reduced.
There are plenty of other pesticides you may want to consider depending on your region, the plant type, and the problem you are trying to solve. Check-in with your local extension agents for additional information.
Depending on the plant and where you are located, different nutrient analyses should be recommended. Regardless, you’ll want to ensure that you are using a balanced nutrient analysis to provide color, foliage growth, and root development. Fertilizer rates can often be reduced when used in combination with Holganix Bio 800+ Tree and Shrub.
Skip the Pesticides for a True Plant Health Care approach
Another option is to opt-out of all pesticides and apply a well-balanced fertilizer and Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub alone. This approach focuses on soil health and building strong plants. Naturally, a stronger plant will be better able to fight against disease and pests.
Just keep in mind that with this approach you may still see pest and disease problems crop up, especially during extremely stressful times brought on by weather or extreme pest and disease pressure.
Download the Tree & Shrub Marketing Toolbox
For free marketing and sales tools to help you grow your tree and shrub service, download our tree and shrub marketing toolbox. What can you expect?
- Stealable video explaining tree and shrub benefits. Use it on your blog, email blasts, website, and social media.
- A letter to mail to customers about why you should sign up for tree and shrub services.
- Tailored social media posts discussing tree and shrub
- And, 10 other marketing pieces for you to R&D (Rip Off and Duplicate!)