PRO

An Association of Professional British Landscapers

I am seriously considering a name change for the Landscape Juice Network to The Association of Professional British Landscapers to reflect how serious I am to determine opportunities and mould the future of our undervalued industry.

In the first instance, how to you define Landscaper? - I consider any individual or business who works within the following horticulture trades.
Garden Designers

  • Garden Maintenance
  • Landscape Architects
  • Nursery Plant production

I believe there to be no other site available in the United Kingdom that is so focussed on supporting the UK Landscaping and Garden industries.

Everywhere I look I see very high membership fees or complicated requirements to be an associate and I am increasingly uneasy with the perception that support for gardening companies in the UK is only available to an exclusive few.

To my mind, this is wrong and we need to develop a system that allows a landscaping company to find the answers and support that they need - we should make the assumption that all businesses qualify for affiliation unless proven otherwise.

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PRO

Phil

Comments

  • I think this is a really good idea - Landscape juice is a funky name, but doesn't make it immediately clear what its for, or does, and in the modern "if I can't get there in 2 clicks, I'm off" culture, you have to get your message across fast. Calling the site APBL would achieve that I think - go for it!
  • I think it's a fine idea. Why should the industry not indulge its members in a better title. Everyone in the public sector is a director it seems, and we get tagged as 'gardeners'. There is a lot more to it. From my experience it is time that makes the best members whose knowledge comes from years of practical experience not a piece of paper. After 5 years I only know what I don't know ! So yes go for it and perhaps find a way of recognising those really in the know, but keep out the part time gardeners/window cleaning cowboys who clear your garden for a tenner whether you want it or not. I'll be quite quite happy to be an associate member for a few more years !
    PS - don't lose the members you have now - better to introduce a name change gradually by having both names posted for the site ?
  • PRO
    Thank you for the feedback thus far everyone - here are a few thoughts and current issues that will determine what direction the site goes.

    First and foremost I consider myself to be a custodian rather than the owner of what is evolving.

    It will ultimately be members who decide the direction, ethos and clarity of any policy that is established but in the first instance I wanted to create something that I needed for myself and my business many years ago.

    I know for sure that even the biggest of companies seek advice and reassurance from peers and consultants. It matters not what level your business is at or how long you have been trading, there will eventually be something here for everyone.

    What we will also provide is an insight into how anyone who works in our industry runs an operation. It will go a long way to enable a potential client to understand why a company has to charge what they charge to sell an hour of it's time - the post on Landscape Juice - What does a gardener charge per hour - has been extremely valuable to consumers and businesses alike.

    We are addressing waste charges in a way that no other site has done so far - you certainly would not find advice on the BALI or APL site concerning your responsibilities, the law or costs but you will on here.

    This information will make it much easier for everyone to educate their clients and make them realise that these costs need to be passed on.

    Whilst considering a name change I am also acutely aware that I am in danger of excluding individuals or businesses who may not reside in the United Kingdom.

    It is important that we do not exclude any single person or business who aspires to deliver the best possible service to their clients.

    I think that the APL and BALI have both polarised the industry by creating an inaccessible and exclusive group which infers that non members are not worthy.

    My ambition is to change this approach forever by encouraging everyone (and that includes employees within a business) to strive for the highest standards that they can.

    One last point is the cost of membership here - FREE! - It doesn't come cheaper than that!
  • I agree with all that has been said and would welcome an association which doesn't make you feel that you are sitting your gcse's again!
    The Association of Professional British Landscapers - It's good but a bit long, kind of formal but authoritive.

    Personally speaking, would prefer something a little more memorable and more catchy - The Landscapers Guild?

    Whatever it is called will be up for it!
    Kerrie
  • Oh well, just an idea.

    (Strictly speaking, if it The Association of Professional British Landscapers it would be -TAPBL)
  • The only issue I can foresee is that there would need to be some entry criteria otherwise you would have no quality control of the members. Whilst I agree that there is room for another trade association there would need to be minimum entry requirements otherwise there would be no real credibility. That is when it begins to cost money to do and that cost has to be picked up by the members. I have no issue with paying to be a part of such an organisation as long as the fee is proportionate to the amount of administration required to run the scheme.
  • PRO
    I wonder if a fee for membership guarantees quality?

    There are plenty of professional organisations out there whose members have ripped people off, provided shoddy workmanship or ignored customer complaints.

    I think they've been able to do this because of a scarcity of information and lack of transparency - something the network is aiming to turn on its head.

    For example, the network could work on voluntary standards that people have to agree to uphold (charging a fee for this wouldn't guarantee they'd keep to it).

    But say you wanted to display the logo on your website this would have to link back to your profile on the site, so that people can clearly see you are 'real', have taken part in the site and have a presence, a transparency.

    Being aware that people can easily see who you are gives them a right of reply, an option to raise issues but I also think it can diffuse problems because a person is actually there.

    But what if people use the mark but don't link back?

    Well the mark itself has a name on it that anyone can investigate further, but also because someone may have seen other marks and noticed you can click on it to find out more about a business, alarm bells would start ringing when they see they can't when on this website.

    I believe transparency has much more value than pounds and pence.
  • PRO
    I have to agree here with Craig.

    When the Landscape Juice Network started, there were two principal criteria at it's heart.

    *Transparency (inc. openness.)

    *Self regulation.

    I have considered charging a fee for membership here but I felt we were in danger of falling into an exclusivity trap that other Associations have created.

    I aspire to creating an open standard that works very much like the open standards operating in the IT industry today.Open standards have successfully challenged Microsoft into changing the way it treats partners and clients.

    I would encourage a large supplier or a posse of smaller companies to sponsor us but I would not allow any single organisation to dictate the terms of association that may develop here. I see no reason why a large supplier, who cares as much about it's clients and their products as it does it's profits, should not become involved and join the network.

    I have already made several enquiries in the respect of support and if there are any connected individuals or companies who operate within the Landscape and Horticulture Trades, then please call me to discuss how we can work together.

    This movement, which I admit is in the early stages, has the opportunity to create a business atmosphere that has never been experienced in the United Kingdom and what is more, could set a benchmark that is purely focussed on raising standards rather than making money.

    In time, I propose to seek to expand and create a disparate collection of administration, both paid and voluntary, who will work for the benefit of all who choose to adopt the initiatives that come out of this big melting pot.

    I would encourage everyone to participate by adding ideas and thoughts to the 'Think-Tank'.

    I would also like to see the consumer interject and participate in the debate and evolution of our network.

    It is my belief that we should seek to diminish a 'them and us' mentality that still exists in every business in every walk of life.

    Let us explore what the consumer of our skills and products wants out of a partnership and to do this we need to know what they think - remember, all of us are consumers of something - if you provide a service or you are a product supplier, think about what you want when you buy something from a supplier?
  • If you change the name to APBL would that mean that amateur non-Brits, such as myself, wouldn't belong here?
  • PRO
    That is a very good point Bella and the very reason that we will not pursue that particular title.

    In the Skype chat last Monday, we agreed that the Landscape Juice brand is strong and unique and that we should look to add a suitable strap line to accompany the site title that draws in all of the site users.

    Thank you for your comment.
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