Lock on ... landscaping in uncertain times

A colleague of mine recently attended an eastern region Landscape Business Improvement Scheme (LBIS) meeting, which is run through the HTA by Neville Stein, a regular contributor to the opinion column.

We were hosting the meeting around a garden that had won an Association of Professional Landscapers award earlier in the year and, through discussion, were trying to gauge the "state of the nation" given the economic uncertainty. The meeting was attended by 15 people representing a number of contractors, all of which were fairly coy about their level of business and confidence in the short to medium term. This cautiousness was also borne out by a recent meeting I had with a contractor who had a number of large projects that were about to start and that were all suddenly put on hold for six to nine months.

With the housing market slowing down and many housebuilders reducing output one can understand this cautiousness from those attending the LBIS meeting.

However, there was a common thread - flexibility. All of the contractors represented at the meeting stated how, over the years, the size of their workforce had fluctuated with the level of business - and that will be the key to their success or failure in the future.

Now is the right time to take a hard look at their businesses and focus on their core strengths and profitability, and to cut any weak links. It is also the right time to look at all business costs and identify those that are essential and add value and those that do not - make the business lean, flexible and profitable. If the available market shrinks, which it could do, businesses in middle England are likely to be hardest hit. The leaner and more flexible your business is the faster you will be able to react.

From those commentators and practitioners that I speak to, the consensus is that the economic situation could get worse before it gets better - act now and with any luck you'll emerge stronger on the other side.

- Jason Lock is director of landscape at Notcutts Landscape & Garden Design Consultants.


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

Dazzling display of new plants at Four Oaks Trade Show 2017

Dazzling display of new plants at Four Oaks Trade Show 2017

A wide range of first-time exhibitors and established names will showcase a wealth of new varieties at September's Four Oaks Trade Show, says Matthew Appleby.

Product and service showcase

Product and service showcase

Fresh solutions to production problems can be found among the array of products and services being introduced at the Four Oaks Trade Show, Sally Drury reports.

Sargent's solutions - the benefits of CPD for your business

Sargent's solutions - the benefits of CPD for your business

Continual learning is an essential part of the job and professionals should embed it in their work process, says Alan Sargent.


 
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