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  • PRO

    Yes lets have The Association of Associated Associates.

  • PRO

    Shame the 'old' associations have not adapted and done more for the industry and the businesses they 'represent'.  If you go back thru their social media accounts, they seem more interested in shows, awards and back slapping ?

    BALI could learn from The APL tho and I wonder what happened to the APL/BALI 'merge' - was there too much self interest?

    Thankfully LJN provides a vital resource and route for micro businesses to get advice, support and importantly a voice.

  • PRO

    Could you explain why you feel the industry may need a construction association Matt?

    • PRO

      I'm not 100% sure really.. I just don't feel the hard landscaping side of the industry gets what it deserves sometimes. Yes the APL etc have awards for gardens but sometimes I think details within the hard landscaping and the quality of some hard landscaping work is over looked. Especially at shows including RHS shows. 

      I also think theres room for a Independent hard landscaping training provider as well. That would probably be more of an asset to the industry to be fair. Maybe combine the two somehow. 

      It's something I've been thinking about for a long time. Not necessarily do it my self but just pondering..

      • PRO

        There's an awful lot of evidence that the so-called associations are largely ineffective industry-wide.

        BALI and APL have been in existence for a long time yet have failed to grow to any significant size (I don't believe their membership numbers. Practitioner members are overwhelmed by affiliates and it skews the real figures).

        Look how LJN has eclipsed SGD, BALI and APL. Still we grow, on average, by two members a day. Why is this? Because LJNs model is right. We help members grow their business whereas the associations, in my view, are little more than pyramid schemes that promote a few elitists at the expense of the majority.

        If the APL and BALI (as Gary alludes) really cared about the landscaping industry then they'd merge in an instant and combine their efforts. 

        It's all about ownership (it's the same for installer schemes but they are there to sell products).

        Associations models are dead. Probably why LJN doesn't really discuss them anymore...because of their irrelevance to the majority of the industry.

  • PRO

    Its not so much the need for another association as trying to teach the public about the right type of landscaper to use.

    Most of the general public have not heard of BALI or the APL. A good proportion have heard of Marshalls and Bradstone but you still need to explain to customers the benefits of using a Marshall's or Bradstone registered company.

    As for people like Checkatrade, Mybuilder and others like this. All they are after is your money. They rely on the public to give feedback but this is so easily falsified that it gets to be a joke.

    I am a member of both Bradstone and Marshall's registers and I have to say the only one who regularly checks on their members and is prepared to kick the poor ones out is Marshall's. They are also very good when a customer has a problem be it with materials or installations.

    The only way a new association would be of benefit is if the public were made aware of it and it had stringent checks on the members allowed onto it.

    • PRO

      But who has the right to assume a vetting process, other than the client?

      BALI and APL once claimed their members were qualified but it soon became apparent that no one could really clarify what qualified actually meant.

      • PRO

        So are we saying that an industry recognised Hard Landscaping qualification would be better suited to the industry nowadays with an association running off the back of that? or not at all.. 

        In my mind the industry when it comes to the construction side is a bit (I hate to say it) jack of all trades.. No real governance when it comes to skills/qualifications etc. Yes you have apprenticeships but do they really work? I'm not sure they do. I would certainly class my self as a fully qualified Landscaping construction professional.. However its taken me 8 or so years to build the portfolio of qualifications to do so. 

        I don't really know, I just think that something needs to be done to protect all the hard working professionals who lose out to the Average Joe handy man who googles how to lay a patio. I just think the skills that a good hard landscaper brings to the table are somewhat over looked.     

        • PRO

          Unless there's a qualification that covers every aspect of landscape construction, which I don't believe there can ever be, then any system is flawed from the start.

          I've always maintained that the best form of governance is self-governance and honesty.

          Someone who is good at laying slabs (may even have a certificate from college) may be useless at plant names, for example. Where does qualification stop and start?

          • PRO
            I totally agree with the qualification argument/educating the customer (joe public generally) I've trained and studied for years in what I would consider to be the main aspects of the industry and call myself qualified, however there are so many qualifications that i perhaps should or could get to truly be fully qualified.
            There are tickets that you need to renew every three years or so, and pieces of paper you can get to say you can use various tools - they're not usually worth the paper they're written on.

            I find that landscapers and 'gardeners' get the raw end of the deal because of this, we're all tradesmen and women, yet people don't see us in the same light as a gas fitter, electrician, carpenter, etc. Why on earth not? In many cases (in my opinion) we have to do.know more than some of them in their trades.

            We almost need some sort of regulating body to stamp out the rogue traders and the people that are doing it because they woke up one morning and thought "how hard can it be".
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