Technical training schools and GreenScapes Design software have been an important strategy for the Operations team to deliver for franchisees this year. Find out more about GreenScapes and what attendees at the Pruning/Arborist School learned!
GreenScapes Design: Are you a Techy?
My co-workers will tell you I am not a techy person; however, I can manipulate a picture of a residential home to produce a perfect image of the owners’ dream landscape to the point they want it and now. Not bad for a blonde female with dyslexia that struggles with the basic excel spreadsheet! The landscape design program I use is the older version of the GreenScape package our franchisees can use to create their own masterpieces while increasing services with high margins.
The design software gives the client a 2D visual of the proposed implementation of their desires for the perfect outdoor living space or just an updated and aesthetically pleasing front yard. There are many options available in today’s market but GreenScape is easy to use and gives very realistic depictions while using the versatility of offering softscapes, hardscapes and everything in between.
Differences between rendered hand-drawn landscape designs and computer generated pictures are minimal with professional training in landscape architecture being the largest hurdle for most. A degree is not needed to use GreenScape. Computer programs are much faster to produce a professional picture and the landscape changes that clients add are updated seamlessly compared to drawings done by hand. It can takes weeks to produce one rendered residential design by hand where the aid of the computer design can produce the same picture in 30 minutes. This can clinch the deal with a client much faster which shaves hours if not days off the whole process. That is a plus for the landscape contractor or designer that serves many roles in their company because time a precious commodity.
Architects and engineers prefer the AutoCAD programs but these can be difficult for someone not familiar with the math and symbols of the industry or lack specific college education. GreenScape uses elements of a computer-aided design (CAD) which is an easier format for the less than novice person on a computer. The Landscape Architects Network in their article comparing the two types of demonstrations admits that the hand-drawing material is more personal but computer-aided drawings are more accurate for the final desired results.
Understanding the capability of the software is important to fully utilize it to the franchisees’ advantage. Using a computer generated program places The Grounds Guys several levels above their competitor but only if they learn the different aspects and then become proficient to meet the client’s needs.
Most people are visual and understand concepts when they see pictures. This is extremely important when interpreting a client’s vision. Landscaping is an emotional purchase. According to economist George Loewenstein, “90 percent of all purchasing decisions are not made consciously.” This means the purchase is based on emotions. GreenScape landscape program evokes emotion because the client can see before their eyes what their vision looks like from designed images. Imagine wanting a special herb garden near the kitchen and The Grounds Guys can supply a picture in the location desired to show the dream. The other company has circles on a piece of paper or a rough sketch. Which is more enticing to the buyer? Colored pictures showing the design in their own yard of course!
The client can see their landscape improvements for nighttime too with GreenScape. The landscape software also includes a Nightscape Lighting program that can add drama for entertaining in the evening or provide security if that is the desired effect. This program combined with the GreenScape can display holiday lights that can touch on emotions that remind clients of childhood favorites to updated looks and glamor. The possibilities are endless and The National Association of Landscape Professionals has predicted that 2018 is the year of landscape and holiday lighting with a 30 percent projected increase in sales.
The cost of computer software is less than it was twenty years ago but costly in revenue if purchased and not used. The price for GreenScape for The Grounds Guys is $400 and there is not an updated or monthly fee to have the latest additions. Compared to the $1,500 I paid for a much older and less-refined version of this software, I would say it is a great purchase!
The learning curve of the program is not long or difficult if the videos are utilized. Start with a picture of a familiar house. A straight head on outdoor photo without anything blocking the view like a vehicle parked in front is the easiest for beginners. A couple of side shots are also recommended and a close up if something in the landscape design needs the client’s attention or a selling point for the presenter. Focusing on a newly added tree might need special consideration for example. If the client has a personal item they wish to add to the design this would also be a case where a separate picture and design is recommended to showcase their desires in the landscape.
GreenScape is an easy way to enhance the client’s experience for a presentation of a landscape design. This tool allows visions and dreams to form before the client’s eyes creating an emotional purchase. Most franchisees are not trained for rendered hand-drawn landscape designs and they do not need the formal education to create beautiful pictures for their clients using GreenScape. Not tech savvy? That is okay because this program was designed for the technology challenged person that wants to get ahead of the competitor by using a 2D landscape design program picture to light up the eyes of the client. Who is ready to increase profit margins while making dreams come true?
Pruning/Arborist School Takeaways
The Pruning/Arborist School was held in Ohio and provided attendees with a wealth of information including:
- Plant identification including trees, shrubs and perennials (we had a plant id test at the end and Shawn Cress won a $150 polesaw from AM Leonard for the most correct answers)
- Proper pruning techniques for the above list
- Safety measures and PPE when pruning
- Disease and pest identification with preventative measures and treatment options
- Treating trees using injections and other methods of treatment including soil drenches
- Hands-on pruning on hydrangeas at a local nursery
- Visit at local nursery included more plant identification, balled-and-burlapped material transporting and care, plant sizes and growth habits, how plants are started and the progression into the different container sizes plus what is required to manage and run a nursery
- Tour of AM Leonard’s plant including a sneak preview of new products
- Proper identification of environmental stress on plants
- Surface and deep root feeding
- Trunk and foliar spraying
Jake Dixon, owner of The Grounds Guys of Ottawa West participated in the class and shared the following feedback: "Thanks to you and Dave Holmes for putting this on we have always done lots of pruning and we learned a lot. I was happy to bring one of my key people and I wish I could have brought more. We have some jobs booked and we will be making some changes to the way we have done things in the past so we can improve our business and delivery of our service to the customer. It was worth driving the 1,553-mile roundtrip. The ability to network with other franchises on pruning and other business was beneficial as well. "