Posts in Business Operations
Concerns About The H-2B Visa: How The Landscape Industry Is Handling It

For the 2018 FY, the cap for the first half was met on December 15, 2017 and the cap for the second half was met on February 28, 2018. This is the earliest these caps have ever been reached by a significant number of days, demonstrating the high demand for seasonal laborers. Prior to 2016, workers who had previously been employed via the H-2B Visa were exempt from this cap, but when the federal budget bill recently expired, the cap exemption expired as well.

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Episode 20: Make your events go further with social media

Want your events to last longer? The power is in your hands. In this intro-to-the-topic video, we introduce spreading the wildfire event approach with widgets that encourage people to take photos, using branded items, and share them on their social media. The return? People are posting images of themselves, happy, with your brand. Magic. Watch for more and tell us how you've done it!

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Episode 19: Design software vs website design

Familiar with design software? If you are a high-end design/build, you most likely are very familiar with design software from your 3D designs! And if you're a manufacturer, maybe you've used design design software if you're in the marketing department. Regardless of how you've used it, design software and website design are VERY different things. You have graphic design in both but you have user experience in website design (some would argue that user experience is more important that graphic design). Website design includes designing for various platforms (mobile, ipad, desktop). Design software is a stable platform. When you're designing in something like a 3D design software, you're not concerned about button actions or how that plan will look on mobile. Watch for more.

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Episode 16: Stop with the wet pavers, landscapers!

Just stop it already with the wet pavers in your project pictures! A couple of summer rain drops on select pavers and natural stone - yes, that can be beautiful. But a hosed down paver patio or paver walkway? NO!!! Stop it. It's not stylish. It doesn't look good. Let them dry and then take your phone or camera out to snap a pic. 

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Episode 16: How do you get more referrals in the digital world?

No matter how much you're investing in advertising - online or offline, every business gets the best leads via referrals. There is no denying that. So how do you - as a landscape design/build company - get more referrals in the digital world? Anna shares her 5.5 ways to help you take some huge steps in growing your referrals - tomorrow.

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Episode 15: Drone footage for outdoor living

In this video, Corey talks about the collision of experience driven purchasing and video marketing = drone. Team them up with still shots for an immersive experience . And remember - Buying a camera doesn’t make you a professional photographer. Buying a drone doesn’t make you a professional videographer. 

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Episode 13: Start winning landscape design/build projects with better photography

What happens when you begin to look at your landscape projects through the lens of a camera? You start to see things you know the camera will capture. In this video, Corey talks about the four basic steps of getting winning photography - all by yourself! 

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The Evolution of Design-Build Marketing [with Infographic]

As long as landscapers have been landscaping and hardscapers have been hardscaping, we have also been, in our own ways, marketing. Over the last score of years, however, the introduction into the “age of technology” has vastly warped design-build marketing. Businesses, regardless of industry, can barely function on simple word-of-mouth anymore. To show our design-build pros just how far we’ve come in the last decade-and-a-half, and our predictions of the next few years, we’ve developed an “evolution of design-build marketing” timeline.

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HalsteadTV Episode 12: Is It Time For Your Design/Build To Get a CRM?

A customer telling you they told your office manager something that you are now contradicting? Forgot what you promised Mrs Smith? Always looking for random sheets of paper in your trucks, office, and who knows elsewhere? Stop wasting time being disorganized with your daily conversations. While yes, it takes time to organize yourself and start you and your office team to use a CRM - it will save you more time down the road. And help you keep more customers! Watch this video to learn what is a CRM and 5 ways to know it's time for your design/build to get this magical CRM!

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4 Positions It's Worth It to Outsource

As a design build professional, there is probably a specific skill set or passion you had that led you to start a business around it. But along the way, we know it’s easy to get swept up in all the other aspects of the business – probably the aspects you don’t know how to manage and aren’t very interested in. STOP TRYING TO DO IT ALL. Outsourcing is a great way to free up your time and produce quality work. Here's a list of some position that are totally worth it to outsource. 

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HalsteadTVEp8: Stop doing what you're not great at!

Have you ever met anyone who was amazing at everything? Someone who could paint like a pro, prepare architectural drawings, cut pavers, install pavers, run a training workshop, design a brochure, photograph the best angles of a project, write hundreds of words on a specific topic, run social media campaigns, manage a calendar, run interviews, prepare taxes...? I think you're getting the point here. You can't be great everything. It's impossible. But yet you might be doing (almost) everything. What would happen if you delegated what you suck at and did more of what you're amazing at? How would that impact your design/build business?

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HalsteadTVEp7: The Disconnect between what the customer saw in the magazine vs what you installed

Mrs. Jones saw a Unilock .. or a Techo .. or some kind of natural stone outdoor living pic in a magazine or catalogue. You (Mr. Landscape Designer, Landscaper, or Landscape Architect - whatever it is you call yourself) promised her she was getting that. It's the same patio - same materials. Same paver patterns. Pretty much the same size. You might even have the similar planting and fence installed. Yet, she's not quite thrilled. Something is missing. Maybe she's telling you that "it's close - you did a good job," or maybe she's hiding it and you're left wondering "is she happy?" Why did this happen? Why isn't she in love with this new outdoor space? After several weeks (or months) of design and landscape construction - what's the missing piece? DESIGN! Interior design is the missing piece to every beautiful home design and remodel - why would you leave it out for the exteriors?

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HalsteadTVEp5: Don't bring people to the party unless the house is clean!

Getting the most out of everything you do requires looking at the entire puzzle - not just each piece. So step back - look at those core foundational elements - customer service, logo, sales process, and everything else that keeps your business running everyday... before you spend a s*** ton of money of marketing.

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Co-op Marketing Programs: Do They Still Work?

Dating as far back as the early 1980s, marketing co-op programs and marketing development funds (MDFs) have played a large role in the marketing industry. It made logical sense in previous decades for businesses to set aside a portion of their budget for co-op marketing. But is just as wise as it recently waste invest in this kind of marketing technique? Are co-op marketing and MDFs still an investment, or are they become solely an expense? 

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6 Alternatives to Landscaping Business Cards

Ah, the good ol' landscaping business cards. Spend hours designing them, leave one behind after every conversation.. sounds familiar? It seems like business cards have been around forever. Have you ever tried to figure out how many customers they bring in? I'm sure you'll agree they might have served their purpose well in the past, but there are other solutions out there better equipped to keep you at the forefront of your customers' minds. We've got some ideas to help you get your creativity juices rolling and finally say goodbye to business cards.

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How do you stack up against your competition [infographic]?

The 2016 Houzz report on the state of the industry is out and we couldn't be more excited about the info and based on the content - majority of general contractors, home remodelers, builders, and landscapers feel the same. 

2015 proved to be another year of growth for the industry - year over year as well as compared to the pre-recession times. 

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Are You Investing Enough on Customers & Employees?

Home remodelers, landscapers, and every home improvement business that deals with appointments and work in the field will say that the most challenging parts of running their business include employees and customers. In other words: people. Hands down, regardless of if its formal surveys or passing conversations, these are the most common two biggest headaches in our industry.

On the flip side, the biggest money and time investments by these same business owners include machinery, materials, and actual time on labor by business owners.

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10 Website Metrics Every Landscaping and Home Building Company Should Track

Website analytics are not a-learn-it-overnight kind of topic. From selecting the right tools, to understanding how to use them - you can invest hundreds of hours and still be in the dark about truly understanding how well your website is doing online. There are a few that are more important than others and thankfully, we'll help you identify these top metrics to get you on the right track.

First, selecting the right tool isn't as important as always using the same tool. Every website tracking tool (e.g. Google Analytics is one) uses slightly different reasoning in their calculations. Some have more filters and some give you the raw data. So before you go on tracking a specific group of metrics, the first and most important thing you need to do is pick a source for your metrics and stick to it. 

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