ASK THE EXPERTS is presented in partnership with PLANET’s Trailblazers On Call program. Trailblazers are industry leaders who volunteer their time and expertise to give back to the industry.
Q: Can you recommend user-friendly landscape design software?
A: We use AutoCAD Lite. We find this to be a great way to design because we can share files with architects and engineers. We have also customized it to work well with our company. It does take some time to get use to, but we feel it is worth it. We have also heard good things about Vectorworks and DynaSCAPE, but have never used them.
PLANET Trailblazer, Mark Borst, Landscape Industry Certified Technician, Borst Landscape & Design
We researched this for years and we love DynaSCAPE as do our designers.
PLANET Trailblazer, Jan-Gerrit Bouwman, RLA, MLA, ASLA, Grant & Power Landscaping, Inc.
Q: Where can I find the industry average for sales closing ratios for landscaping projects?
A: I have been in the landscape industry for 40 years and have never heard of an industry average closing ratio. Now, there certainly are closing ratios for individual companies and salespeople for sure, but I have not heard of anyone compiling such data among companies, and even if they did, I don’t think it would be valid.
With that said, closing ratios can vary greatly. What I have seen in this difficult economic climate are closing ratios decreasing, with sales people bidding more jobs and getting less work. But, there are so many variables. For example, owners who are great salespeople and can somewhat control pricing can have a closing ratio of 50 percent. Companies that don’t have sharp estimating figures can have a closing ratio as low as 10 percent. The reverse can also be true. When pricing or estimating hours are too low, the closing ratio can be more than 50 percent.
So, if you’re estimating is sharp and on target, your pricing is right so the company makes money, and your people are performing their jobs with efficiency, I would be happy with somewhere between a 20 percent and 30 percent closing ratio in this market.
PLANET Trailblazer, Ed Laflamme, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, The Harvest Group
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