A growing trend in outdoor living areas is the addition of water features and backyard waterfalls to the landscape. While this is a niche market, it can be a highly profitable addition to swimming pool builders, hardscape or landscape contractors business. There are a few key principles to follow in insure your continued success. These five principles are:
- Follow a systematic and duplicable process. When you build your water features using a system that can be replicated on jobsite after jobsite, using the same installation process, it takes the mystery out of the process and lets you teach and train crew members on the steps and procedures. This is important so you can run your business, find more jobs, and focus on growing your customer base.
- K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid). Let’s face it; building backyard water features isn’t rocket science. There’s really no reason to overcomplicate the process. Leonardo Da Vinci’s principle “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” certainly applies here, whether working with your crew or working with your clients.
- Work with the landscape, not against it. As a professional, it’s your job to let your customer know what will work and fit with their landscape plans. Sometimes clients can have some unrealistic wishes. This brings us to the next point.
- Give your customers what they want, not what they ask for. We’ve all had the customer that thinks they can’t live without certain features in their design. This is what you get paid for, to give advice. If you’ve listened to their expectations of what they are seeking to achieve, you should get a good picture of the finished product you can provide. You’re the one that has solved the same problem for previous customers. Clarify their desires, ask the right questions, then show them the solution you’re going to provide.
- No free estimates. While it’s certainly possible to provide a price range for your customer over the phone for a typical water feature, chances are the customer is looking for a design or drawing. As a professional, you should respect your time and trade, and insist on working with customers that feel the same. Every job you do is unique and your time is valuable. When you do a design consultation, you’re providing value for that client.
Of course your success will depend on many other factors including providing a quality service and securing customer referrals. Let us know if you agree or take a different philosophy in running your business from what we’ve covered here. We’d like to hear your comments.