OFA Bulletin July/August 2010 : Page 1

July/August 2010 • Number 922 Selling Landscape: What Successful Growers Know I by Jeff Gibson t’s hard to pin down an exact number, but the landscape trade in North America is roughly a $3.5 billion business. With a soft economy and a severe slowdown in building (both commercial and residential), the design/ build landscape business has waned, and landscape contractors looking to stay in the game have jumped headlong into the maintenance market. And since maintenance is where seasonal color lies, floriculture growers hoping to partner with this influx of landscape customers are learning fast that it’s no cakewalk selling to this segment. The challenges this market presents cause many growers to scratch their heads or throw up their hands. As frustrating as it Figure 1. Wenke Greenhouse rolling carts sit ready for Brickman in Chicago. Continued on page 8 Growers’ Increasing Use of Online Benchmarking System by Charlie Hall and Alan Hodges F inancial benchmark analysis is a common and longstanding method involving the use of key indicators or metrics to evaluate a company’s operational and financial performance over time and in comparison to industry averages or benchmark values. Ideally, comparisons should be made with the leading or most profitable firms that are presumably following best business practices. Think of this as a checkup with your “financial” doctor to determine the health of your business. Inside this Edition... Selling Landscape: What Successful Growers Know Growers’ Increasing Use of Online Benchmarking System Words From Washington 1 1 2 How Clean Is Your Water? Choosing a Water Treatment System What Sprung at Spring Trials Controlling Your Costs The Benefits of Plants and Landscaping 4 13 22 23 Best Practices for Retail Display of Fresh Cut Roses and Lilies Floriculture Programs at North Carolina State University Water Quality & Its Effects on Nursery Crops OFA News 25 27 29 30 Comparison of a company to industry benchmark values can assist in identifying a company’s strengths and weaknesses to capitalize on its competitive advantages. This comparison can also serve as a guide for important decisions such as business expansion, financing, marketing strategies, operations planning, and product selection. Continued on page 10

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