How will COVID-19 change the way that people buy commercial landscaping services? Is it going to increase demand or decrease demand?
No one knows exactly what's going to happen... But there are a few key things we can choose to prepare now for the best possible outcome.
Watch today's episode with my client, Scott, from For Ever Green Landscape Services to hear how his process has changed in the past few weeks, and what he is doing differently in his business in response to COVID-19.
Hey guys, my name is Scott Callenius with For Ever Green Landscape Services in West Palm Beach, Florida. And I'm so happy to be here with Jack Jostes today and his team. And as we move forward through this COVID-19 on pandemic, I think we need to keep an open mind and a positive outlook and keep growing and building our companies day in and day out.
I think this is only going to get more and more intense with everybody working from home. I think you're going to really see landscaping just blow up in the next probably 12 to 18 months.
Because everyone that's home right now is looking at their house, and this is going to go for HOA too, and communities, they're going to go, I'm home every day. More companies are going to work from home and they're going to want to go, I want my community to look better. You know why? Because I'm out walking the dog. I'm walking the kids, you know, in our neck of the woods, one of my sons goes to a private school, one goes to a charter school. I don't think they're going back to school this year. Okay. They have hope that they are, they're doing online learning. They're fine. I just don't see the reality of the schools opening up. Even my little Christian school that wants to open up, I just don't think they're going to do it. So, I think every place is going to look around their landscaping, HOAs included, and their communities and buildings and say, we need to freshen up everything because people are going to be out walking Jack, you're taking two walks a day, you know, so you're going to start noticing this stuff. Go to my communities, they're all active, you know, and now it's worse because the pools and the clubhouses are closed. So now they're walking around and they're gonna want to do more stuff. And I think they're going to push boards to say, we need to freshen up, we need to mulch, we need to put trees in, and we need to do this, we need to do that. I could be wrong, but I think that's where we're headed.
I think for us, selling is going to change. Jack. Like for, you know, you guys are already working remotely so this is like, this is just a Tuesday afternoon for y'all. But for most of us that work outside in the green industry, this is going to be a total game changer because you're not going to be able to go walking into your friendly property managers. You know? I mean I have, I have management companies, people that I've known for 30 years and they won't let me in their office. I mean, I think I, I mean I'm trying to joke about it, but I find it kind of ironic that I was there last week and all of a sudden this week I'm not allowed in, you know, to pick up paperwork or whatever. So you're, you know, you're having clandestine meetings with, you know, people in the back of the office and it's just, it's awkward.
Like it's just, you know, we're all friends, but I think it's strange that, you know, now we're going to be moving to Zoom meetings and FaceTime and this is going to change, you know, this is, this whole experience is going to change the way we sell, which is why I want to make this investment in the website stuff. Even more so than ever because this is how people are going to buy, Jack, now they're going to realize, Hey, I can get curbside delivery, I can get shipped to bring my groceries to my house. I can go to Office Depot and get touchless delivery. I mean, people are already recluse now. What do you think they're going to be like?
How important do you feel the internet presence will be moving forward versus what it was before for the pandemic?
Much, much more important to have online reputation, online content, online videos. You know, I think it's gonna all be part of it. You know what I mean? I don't have any experience in it, but I think that that's the direction you're going to have to go. And I think you're going to end up with Zoom meetings and there's going to be a lot less lunches and hand holding and you're going to have to connect with your clients some way, you know, whether it's sending them gift cards in the mail, whether it's sending them, you know, handwritten notes, which is something I do too. You know, texting them a lot. Email communication. I just think it's going to be a different world. I mean, people are having social media. I mean they're having Zoom cocktail parties. That's the strangest thing I've ever heard in my life. I mean, I like to have a drink with the next person, but I can't imagine sitting in front of my computer with a drink in my hand and, here's Jack and Colorado. What I'm saying, you're only a mile away from my house. So I think that's strange to me.
But yeah. Well, no, you're right. It is strange. It is absolutely, you know, it's, it's changing and I think we'll get to the point where we're having cocktails in person again and for the foreseeable future it's, it's happening online and, people, I think what matters most is how people respond and adapt to how they sell now and that there's going to be more research happening online. People are glued to their phones and that's where your brand and what makes you different and your website and your reviews is going to become, it's going to need to make up for that lack of you being charming and amazing in person.
Right. And I think too that was one of the things that sells for them. I think it sells anywhere, but mostly in Florida it's really about the client and it's about building a relationship with them. You know what I mean? So like if you're going to get work from a property manager, they might manage a portfolio of 10, 15, 20 properties where they might manage one.
But the thing is is it's really your relationship with them that you build and 90% of the time has zero to do with landscape. It has to do with how you relate to them, how you help them, how you, as you said before the pain points, you know they need followup, they need to know if they send you an email that that work orders got to be completed and that they don't have to think about it because they got a million things at them at one time. So when you work with communities, no matter who they are, you have to be really proactive. And I think that that's why, that's why you said you get amazed at how much stuff landscapers do. Well I think we ended up taking on more because we meet with these property managers and they have an issue or just how these guys got involved in asphalt and this other stuff. They didn't just wake up one morning and say we should start doing asphalt and hardscapes, they probably started getting a call for it all the time and they said, wait, we could set this up and we could do this.