We recently put up a poll in our landscaping community: What do you feel has the largest impact within the green industry on how much you can charge? The results were:
3% of respondents answered sales
5% answered marketing
10% answered market prices
82% answered reputation
Your pricing strategy can make or break your landscape business, and based on the statistics above, reputation plays a key role. There is no short-cut to building a reputation over a long period of time. The one common necessity that is required to maintain a great reputation is to become a financially healthy company, through high profits and cash flow. Businesses with low profits and low cash levels are unable to continually invest in great employees, equipment, and the infrastructure needed to maintain a positive image and reputation in the community.
Many companies come and go within a few years, while some thrive year after year. Why is this? I believe it stems many times from the lack of confidence in staying firm with pricing, and the financial analysis on the back-end to make the necessary adjustments to your cost estimating and pricing strategy over time. Building a reputation takes time, but we believe that there is a direct relationship with our most profitable clients also being those that are most confident.
Reputation goes beyond the numbers. Reputation starts with doing the little things right, over and over again, year after year. Getting back to customers in a timely fashion, completing the project on time, and communicating in a professional way are a few key ways to build reputation. You can have the best equipment, and the most efficient operation, but your company can lack in some aspects of the business like customer service that can be damaging to your reputation.
As technology is advancing, so are ways for companies to showcase their work and experience to their community. An example is to automate and streamline google and social media review messages to customers after a job. Sharing before and after pictures on social media is another great tactic to help build reputation through marketing.
As accountants, we see the connection and the influence that certain business decisions have on the numbers. However, sometimes there are factors outside standard practices that allow companies to gain a competitive advantage or demand higher pricing. Find areas within your business to capitalize on, gain reputation, and separate yourself from the market.