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Business and marketing practices of U.S. landscape firms

Collection:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Contributor:
Torres, Ariana (main author), Barton, Susan S. (author), Behe, Bridget K. (author), Purdue University University of Delaware Michigan State University
Format:
Journal article
Publication Date:
2017-12
URL:
https://journals.ashs.org/horttech/view/journals/horttech/27/6/article-p884.xml
Published:
United States: American Society for Horticultural Science
Location:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
advertising, Georgia, USA, horticulture, marketing techniques, sales methods, sales promotion, surveys, landscape, gardens, industry, greenhouse, green industry, plant nursery
Notes:
9 pages., Via online journal., Little information has been published on the business and marketing practices of landscape firms, an important sector of the green industry. We sought to profile the product mix, advertising, marketing, and other business practices of United States landscape firms and compare them by business type (landscape only, landscape/retail, and landscape/retail/grower) as well as by firm size. We sent the 2014 Trade Flows and Marketing survey to a wide selection of green industry businesses across the country and for the first time included landscape businesses. Herbaceous perennials, shade trees, deciduous shrubs, and flowering bedding plants together accounted for half of all landscape sales; 3/4 of all products were sold in containers. However, landscape only firms sold a higher percentage of deciduous shrubs compared with landscape/retail/grower firms. Landscape businesses diversified their sales methods as they diversified their businesses to include production and retail functions. Landscape businesses spent, on average, 5.6% of sales on advertising, yet large landscape companies spent two to three times the percentage of sales on advertising compared with small- and medium-sized firms. Advertising as a percent of sales was three to four times higher for landscape/retail/grower compared with landscape only or landscape/retail firms; most respondents used Internet advertising as their primary method of advertising. The top three factors influencing price establishment in landscape businesses were plant grade, market demand, and uniqueness of plants, whereas inflation was ranked as the least important of the nine factors provided. A higher percentage of small and medium-sized firms perceived last year’s prices as more important in price establishment compared with large firms. A high percentage of large landscape companies said the ability to hire competent hourly employees was an important factor in business growth and management, but this was true only for about half of the small and medium-sized landscape companies.