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Hello from New Member

To LJN,
 
I wanted to introduce myself and reach out to the community. I am one of the co-founders of fastgardener and gained experience in the landscaping industry at a South London gardening firm.
Our company helps clients book professional gardeners through our online and mobile app. We help gardeners increase the number of bookings they take and makes the invoicing and collection process easy.
 
I've read with interest the comments made about services like this, our competitors, and can appreciate that this is not for all gardeners - particularly those with already overbooked weekly rounds. For others, this service can really work out well to fill spare capacity or take on more work.
 
We're continually updating our product, technology and business and hope we're on track to building an app that really helps and benefits gardeners as well as our customers.
Sorry to say that we can't promise an abundance of bookings waiting for you when you join the platform - not straight away. What we can promise is that by signing up to the platform we'll get stronger and over time the quality and value of the work we can pass to you will get better. So will our product.
 
We've some big plans and we want to create a product that really helps customers get the most from their garden and make managing & maintaining gardens easier for the professionals who do it.
 
I welcome all comments or questions that you have for this type of service, or anything else you want to say.
 
Thank you all. Look forward to hearing from you.
 
Mike

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Replies

    • PRO
      Daniela, What commission % would you charge and why ?

      What profit margin do you make on your work ?

      How many clients do you deal with if you have minimal admin?

      If your points were addressed would you use this or a similar service ?
      • PRO

        Gary I think the trouble is with websites like this it drive the price down for our services. And or gives clients the wrong impressions on what things should cost. 

      • PRO

        Gary,

        If I had a cancellation and no where else I could go, I may look at maybe doing a job from a site like that. Most of the time cancellations are the day before or on the day. So for me it would be imperative to see pictures of the garden before I go. This also means the customer has to be there, which would be another issue unless they are very flexible on time.

        Personally I think its a good service for people to get started off as a gardener. Its cheaper than spending money on google adwords, yell.com listings, flyers etc. But once someone has built up a loyal customer base its no longer needed. Most dedicated customer love their gardens. If the gardener spends time in there weekly or fortnightly, relationships get forged. These customers will research the person letting into their home and garden. (for those one has to go through the house to get into the garden). This service can also help in times of less work, in winter or like last summer when everything burned to a crisp down here in the south.

        It may also help those who just wan to work hard in the season and then hibernate in winter or fly south to live the life ;-)

        As to admin. I send invoice out on the day or the next day depending on what I am doing. My invoices are all prepared for each customer as their own template. Just type in what I did and the cost to them. Sent by email. Job done. My bank texts me each time money is paid in. I tick them off my spreadsheet as paid. Takes just a few minutes. 

        I think 5% is fair. So if someone earns £120 per day that's £6. I could live with that. Its 2 cups of coffee in outer London.

        If you look on Google though at this time of the season starting nearly the whole first page is full with these websites. There is a similar one targeting all trades, specifically in London. They guaranteed to get someone to you within the day or a few hours, at a cost. Theses sites make it hard for us to stay on top of search engines as we dont have the deep pockets to pay for adwords, which get more expensive as the competition for them heats up.

        And I am not ranting, the OP asked what we think and I am giving him my thoughts on the matter. And I will be brutally honest, deep down I am not a fan of them. Especially the way they hog the searches on the internet. But savvy internetters have realised this and hopefully click on page 2, 3 and 4. One never knows, there are gems hidden away that may give what the customer is looking for.

    • PRO

      "I try to get potential new customers to send me pictures before I even take time out to go there for a personal site visit."

      (As an aside) I did this the other day for the first time and it turned out to be really useful and saved a lot of time for both me and the customer. Definitely helpful if the customer is tech savvy enough to take and send photos via email/phone. 

      • PRO

        Use Whatsapp. I have them send to me. Saves so much time. Also a picture from a top floor window to get a gist of whats going on. Most people these days have a smart phone.

        Lately I have found those who dont want to do this have poor gardens that need a clearance crew. 

        Oh and ask if those are the latest photos. Had some last year telling me they are the latest photos just to find a jungle.

    • Would't you find it better not to charge by the hour, but instead charge a £ rate per visit, if it is for a recurring maintenance job?

      • PRO Supplier

        Hi Adrian.

        Charge per visit or charge per hour. Been a tough topic. I think there's pros and cons to both. Ultimately though, I think it depends on what the customer is willing to pay for. 

        Most of the customers like the transparancy of hourly rate - but talking to you guys, I understand quality comes at a cost. We're working hard to address this issue so please do keep an eye on us.

        Thanks.

  • PRO

    It would be good if Juicers could re-read the OP of this thread;)

  • PRO
    What's intriguing me is, does the verification process ensure that there will be a similar level of service provided for whoever or wherever the client is or where they are based? Is there a minimum training and experience requirement, is there also a list of tools and equipment that should be available for use whilst on site?

    What is the service level agreement and is there a face to face meeting between potential contractors and a Fastgardener assessor?

    Andy B.

    Andy B.
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