BALI and Lantra event advises on ways to make most of recession

Landscapers can ride the recession by cashing in on customers who are looking for ways to invest savings while interest rates languish.

But while there is work available, landscape firms need to keep a tight rein on spending and ensure client and supplier credit health.

That is the advice from horticultural business adviser Sam Jackson, who spoke last week at a BALI and Lantra industry day held on 26 March at Otley College in Suffolk.

Jackson said firms need to focus on good cash flow and maintaining a strong professional image to beat cowboys in the market. He said: "We are lucky in the landscape and horticulture business because our customers have a bit of money. People who would have put money into savings might as well spend it on something they can enjoy."

He added that rising unemployment figures would impact on the sector as the jobless tried to find work. "The jobber gardeners who are able-bodied and have a lawnmower are the biggest worry," warned Jackson during the event. "There is a chance of serious competition undercutting professionals. But that is where bodies like BALI come in and the cowboys cannot take that protection from you."

Jackson said the biggest risk during a recession is not being paid. He advised landscapers to try tactics such as asking clients to pay for materials upfront or getting phased payments rather than waiting until the end of the job.

In addition, firms should run credit checks on both suppliers of materials and clients to ensure they are good for the job. "It would be folly not to follow up on this," explained Jackson.

Follow and update cash flow on a regular basis and keep a log of debtor days - the amount of time it takes a client to pay - to help survive the recession, said Jackson.

BALI chairman Richard Gardiner agreed: "Debtor days are one of the key indicators in our business."

Every aspect of the business should be run as efficiently as possible and employers need to make sure they are keeping staff motivated. "You need to make sure employees are on your side and realise that if they do a good-quality job on time there will be more jobs to come," said Jackson.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Phygelius

Phygelius

Masses of colourful tubular flowers can give these plants a substantial presence in the border, says Miranda Kimberley.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Tractors - Maintenance models

Tractors - Maintenance models

The tractors chosen by professionals across the sector reflect the best features, backup and support on offer, says Sally Drury.


Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Landscape Contracts & Tenders

Products & Kit Resources

BALI National Landscape Awards 2016

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space
 

Read Noel Farrer