Collaboration in the Home Services Industry
There is a new trend emerging: collaboration among indoor and outdoor living companies. In this new buyer's world, it is indeed the buyer who controls the service, creativity, and quality expectations. The buyers control the sale through their online research, including yours and your competitors' websites. Your prospects and leads have a lot of ideas well before they call you. To meet their needs, businesses in this industry need continuously learn and innovate. Learn more about the buyers process here.
Many landscape architects are finding their work more meaningful and valuable to themselves, their firm, and their clients when they share ideas with others in their firm- when they have the freedom to do so. Designers are sharing projects with their peers and exchanging ideas. Engineers are becoming more involved in the beginning of the process to provide input into the design - which helps minimize changes later (savings opportunity). Construction management is now often a standard service within architecture firms. With growing demand on environment friendly building, folks from the green industry (e.g. solar panel installers) are becoming involved in the design much sooner than later as well. For the outdoors, pool and fence companies are often involved and communicated within the early landscape design process - whether its with landscapers or landscape architects.
Even partnerships between similar businesses are becoming popular. Landscape Architects firms are communicating with other firms that offer the same services and landscape business owners are exchanging ideas and solutions with one another. The fear of giving away info to a competitor is slowly disappearing. There is a new spark - a new need to learn something different or get a new perspective. All because these companies are finding that their skill sets and ideas need to continuously develop.
A challenge in the collaboration space is creating a seamless connection with outdoor and indoor design and planning. Occasionally, landscape architects might be involved with their own or other architectural firms - but rarely is this effort crossing the lines with landscape construction business owners and architects or custom home builders. What a missed opportunity this continues to be. The landscaping industry has seen tremendous growth since the big drop in 2009. Sales revenue growth and net margins have continuously increased; so much so that they are now higher than the numbers from 2008 (source: Forbes, read article here).
Most, if not all, home services professionals would agree that the early designs of a new home construction or a remodel should involve perspectives of both the outside and inside of the home. These two spaces are best enjoyed and are more properly designed when their styles are completely in sync. Additionally, there are many benefits for the homeowner if this is done at the right time - more than just price. Take for example, a homeowner wants a pool but not for another 3-5 years. Based on the design of the home, there may end being inadequate or costly space for the pool (too shady, too sloped, over a septic tank). Architects and home builders must ask questions about the homeowners holistic needs of their property in order to begin merging the two areas.
With all this teamwork in this industry, the benefits are endless for both home services companies as well as homeowners. It raises quality standards by allowing professionals to continuously learn and provides more opportunities for quality checking. And most importantly, it feeds the ongoing increase of revenue and net profit gains.