Profit Boost Guide: Edging

Supplement - Profit Boost Guide

Adding edging to your service mix is a simple way to boost profits and give customers a polished, finished look.

March 5, 2013
Heather Tunstall

Whether you’re working in commercial or residential landscapes, designing edging into the property is an easy way to give it a polished look, and add some money to your bottom line.

Matt Michmerhuizen is in sales and design at Greenline Landscaping in Hudsonville, Mich., which has offered edging since its inception in 2001. The company sees about a 40 percent profit margin from the service from its client base, made up of both commercial and residential properties.

“We use edging in every job, and if not every job, then 99.9 percent of our jobs,” Michmerhuizen says. “It just makes everything so much easier – better lines, cleaner lines, it’s easy to install … and the future maintenance is far, far less when you’re using edging as opposed to just a spade-cut edge.”

If the existing property is a renovation project and doesn’t already have edging installed, Michmerhuizen says Greenline brings samples with them to show the customer how it works. “We’re pretty up front with them. It’s a product that you generally don’t see – you’re not supposed to see – but its benefits far outweigh the cost because of future maintenance,” he says.

When edging is already built into the design of a property, which is the case with most of Ruppert Landscape’s commercial clients, it’s as easy as making sure you’re the company that can provide all of the necessary services.

“Your typical customer doesn’t want to hire one company to do edging when they have another company that’s doing all of the beds and turf in the same area,” says Mike Ward, director of preconstruction services at the Laytonsville, Md.- based company. “They like to keep the scopes under one roof.”

Ruppert Landscape uses edging in such applications as separating turf areas from mulch and plant beds, gravel walkways, pavers, and even green roofs, Ward says. “As with anything else on the jobsite, it’s a component of the entire job,” he says.

Both Ward and Michmerhuizen say that their companies use aluminum edging products almost exclusively. Aluminum provides a nice midpoint between heavy, expensive steel and economical, less-sturdy plastic options, they say.

“It does not rust – that’s the biggest benefit,” Michmerhuizen says. “They just last forever.”

Another major benefit to adding edging to your service offerings is the short learning curve for your team members. It’s a self-explanatory process, Ward says. “The biggest things are making sure that you’re not damaging the edging as it’s going in, and that your lines are clean and the connections are all good, and that it’s set at the proper elevation,” he says.

According to Michmerhuizen, Greenline builds the edging installation training into a hiring seminar when an employee is first brought on board. This ensures that the installer doesn’t force the curves of the edging, which may end up creating a bend in the design.

“Down the road, customers will save,” he says. “They see a huge savings not having us go back each year or each spring and fall to re-edge their landscape beds. It’s already done.”

Alongside improved aesthetics and a relatively inexpensive addition to the overall cost, these should be compelling reasons for clients to agree to this service. The property owner may be investing a little more money up front to put in an aluminum edge, bed restraint or paver restraint, but in the long run, it cuts down on edging as you’re maintaining the properties, Ward says. “And when it comes to things like pavers, it maintains your hard edges and keeps the paver edges from sloughing off down the road. It provides some stability to the paver field.”