Amenity pesticide contractors must improve their "poor" communication with clients to stop losing business, a sector expert has said.
Paul Singleton from pesticide-use watchdog BASIS was speaking at an Amenity Forum event focusing on the challenges facing pesticide operative firms in the UK.
He highlighted the decision by some councils to stop weed-control regimes or to cut back activity and urged contractors to develop better working relationships with clients to boost their business opportunities.
"I don't feel as a sector we are as good at planning activities with clients as others are. Planning creates collaborative working and thinking and that will increase your business," he added.
Singleton suggested showing case studies, having regular meetings and doing site visits as ways of improving communication with clients. "Show off your skills - have demonstration days for your clients to show the range of work, services and treatment options you offer," he said.
He also advised providing services such as gritting, tree pruning and planting to fill downtime.
City & Guilds lead portfolio manager Steve Hewitt said training was the key to raising a business profile. "Training is going to ensure your staff are using resources more efficiently and therefore saving money and creating less environmental impact."
"The maintenance of our amenity areas to required standards involves a skilled approach making proper use of essential pesticides and other controls. We urge all involved, especially those issuing tenders, to seek out properly trained operators"
Professor John Moverley, chairman, Amenity Forum