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jerreber
04-01-2010, 12:33 PM
Just started a company named All Terra Landscape Services LLC providing landscape design, construction and grounds maintenance in the Greater Lansing MI area. I've worked for two major companies over the past 20 years and decided to try it myself! I just made my own web site, let me know what you think and if I should make any changes. http://www.allterrascape.com

Jack Rabbit
04-01-2010, 02:30 PM
Overall I like it.

Good:
- The photos. Good quality photos,attractive, informative, persuasive to hire you. They are pictures of your work right?
- Scrolling image header.
- Good layout.
- Site navigation good. Buttons, succession of pages, what and where to click is all intuitive.
- Writing contains information, promotion, call to action ("Call All Terra Landscape today for your free quote!")
- Portfolio image gallery.

Better:
- I'd like to be able to click on an image in the scrolling header to see a big image.
- Front page's yellow buttons like "Landscape Maintenance" need mouse over colors. This would give definite feedback to viewer about what is active to click and be consistent with the green buttons.

Not Good:
- Orange color. Too strong. Maybe a touch of orange with yellow in fall. Recommend: not-super-bright-yellow (brownish or pastel) where the orange is, or white, or blue, or possibly dark gray if you want the bolder look.
- Logo has a shape between "All" and "Terra" that could be a one or a seven. Whatever it is I would remove it.
- Logo has "jaggies". It needs anti-alising to smooth the edges of letters and shapes.

cball
04-01-2010, 07:08 PM
For what its worth i like it flows good nice color pattern and good info an pics to back it up good job and good luck

Steve
04-01-2010, 09:05 PM
Welcome to our forum!

I like your site. The only thing I'd suggest is watch adding on stuff that takes time to load. Sometimes little apps we ad to sites take some time to load up and we have to question if it is worth having them on the main page.

I've worked for two major companies over the past 20 years and decided to try it myself!

What skills do you feel you are able to pull from those experiences to help you with your new business? What have you found so far that you didn't feel prepared for?

jerreber
04-02-2010, 12:39 AM
Welcome to our forum!

I like your site. The only thing I'd suggest is watch adding on stuff that takes time to load. Sometimes little apps we ad to sites take some time to load up and we have to question if it is worth having them on the main page.



What skills do you feel you are able to pull from those experiences to help you with your new business? What have you found so far that you didn't feel prepared for?

Well, I have actually been doing this since I was about 12 believe it or not! My dad started me out and bought my first walk behind at about 14 and I paid him back. During high school I had about 50 accounts and a couple of cousins working/helping me out. I then went to school for Landscape Architecture and landed a job at a major company in the area and worked my way up to design and sales. Back then owning my own company as an adult wasn't for me. My wife and I had our first child and it was difficult. I was great at landscaping but had really no experience as far as the economics of running a business. I guess over the years I have learned the other side of the green industry and developed accounting skills, how to manage a landscape company, people, myself! and other non production aspects of the business. The greatest asset I think I have is just knowing how long it takes to do landscape construction through trial and alot of error over the years. I have been away from the grounds maintenance portion of the business for about 15 years so to answer your question about what I feel I wasn't prepared for is how much some companies are cutting their throats out there! I'm in Michigan which has a terrible economy right now and I see alot of reputable, professional companies going under only to be replaced by un trained, under qualified people who do not know the actual costs of running a landscape/lawn company. I am tempted to lower my prices because I need work but that goes against everything I have learned in the past! So I am trying to keep my hopes up in this economy and stick with my plan that if I provide exceptional quality at reasonable prices but not cheap, I will come out on top. Thanks for your input on the web site! I was worried about the heavy graphics so I'll take your advice and tone it down a bit!

jerreber
04-02-2010, 12:46 AM
Overall I like it.

Good:
- The photos. Good quality photos,attractive, informative, persuasive to hire you. They are pictures of your work right?
- Scrolling image header.
- Good layout.
- Site navigation good. Buttons, succession of pages, what and where to click is all intuitive.
- Writing contains information, promotion, call to action ("Call All Terra Landscape today for your free quote!")
- Portfolio image gallery.

Better:
- I'd like to be able to click on an image in the scrolling header to see a big image.
- Front page's yellow buttons like "Landscape Maintenance" need mouse over colors. This would give definite feedback to viewer about what is active to click and be consistent with the green buttons.

Not Good:
- Orange color. Too strong. Maybe a touch of orange with yellow in fall. Recommend: not-super-bright-yellow (brownish or pastel) where the orange is, or white, or blue, or possibly dark gray if you want the bolder look.
- Logo has a shape between "All" and "Terra" that could be a one or a seven. Whatever it is I would remove it.
- Logo has "jaggies". It needs anti-alising to smooth the edges of letters and shapes.

Thanks Jack for the advice. I was debating on the orange and I agree it might be a bit much. As far as the logo, what does "anti-alising" mean or I guess how do I do that? The center of the logo is actually a leaf that really does look good on paper but it is distorted on the site. Unfortunatley, the scrolling images do not allow me to set it up in a way that you can click on each one individually but that would be a great idea. YES! these are pictures of my work over the years that I have designed and most of the jobs I have helped to install as well. The company I did the work for is now out of business so technically they are not pics from my company but it is my work. I need to show what I can do somehow right?!! Thanks again for the input.

Steve
04-02-2010, 11:48 AM
I then went to school for Landscape Architecture and landed a job at a major company in the area and worked my way up to design and sales.

That sounds like you learned a lot! What kinds of advice would you have to other new lawn care business owners when it comes to sales?

Did you learn a lot of what works and what doesn't?


what does "anti-alising" mean or I guess how do I do that?
Here is an article that talks about it. You should be able to do it with programs like photoshop.
http://www.pantherproducts.co.uk/Articles/Graphics/anti_aliasing.shtml

jerreber
04-02-2010, 01:16 PM
That sounds like you learned a lot! What kinds of advice would you have to other new lawn care business owners when it comes to sales?

Did you learn a lot of what works and what doesn't?

Well there is alot I could say but a few things would be always be on time and dress professional. This sounds simple enough but I see alot of competitors show up in tank tops and such. A main complaint I hear from people is that they can't get a call back from companies. I always return a call right away and meet with them as soon as possible and follow up on the sale soon after as well. When it is a client interested in design, I let them do probably 80% of the talking and I ask alot of questions and try to incorporate as many of their ideas into the plan. Don't be afraid to tell a client no! Your job is to educate people on proper work practices so they can get the best product possible and sometimes you have to be honest with them and tell them something isn't going to work even if it means you will lose out on some money because of it. It seems a majority of landscape calls come from women and often their husbands don't have a clue that they are calling up or are not interested in what you have to offer, they just look at the price and want to keep their wife happy. In this situation you have to get them interested and allow them to relate to the landscape. Find out their interests and what they like to do around the house and incorporate this into your presentation. Women love to hear about the plants where the men's eyes usually just glaze over at this point so talk about the "man" elements in the landscape. Always meet with both decision makers at once. It seems most times that I only meet with one decision maker, I do not make the sale because you have to depend on one person to sell it to the other person for you which is a tough thing to do. This goes for lawn mowing sales as well I believe. Take pride in what you do and offer outstanding service. Don't sell yourself short! You are a professional and you should be paid well. Don't be tempted to do work for less than what you can afford simply because you want the work. I'd rather go fishing than spend my time breaking even! I had a customer ask me what I could do for a $200 once and I told him I could drive by and throw grass seed out the window for that price! I ended up selling him alot of landscape and a new lawn believe it or not!

jerreber
04-02-2010, 01:19 PM
Here is an article that talks about it. You should be able to do it with programs like photoshop.
http://www.pantherproducts.co.uk/Articles/Graphics/anti_aliasing.shtml

Oh and thanks for the info, I was able to fix the web site.

Steve
04-03-2010, 04:46 AM
Always meet with both decision makers at once. It seems most times that I only meet with one decision maker, I do not make the sale because you have to depend on one person to sell it to the other person for you which is a tough thing to do. This goes for lawn mowing sales as well I believe.

When it is a larger project like a landscape project, I can see how both would want to take part in the presentation but how do you suggest getting them both involved when you are submitting and estimate for something more simple like lawn care?

Don't be afraid to tell a client no! Your job is to educate people on proper work practices so they can get the best product possible and sometimes you have to be honest with them and tell them something isn't going to work even if it means you will lose out on some money because of it.

I bet you have some great stories. What kinds of situations have you been involved with and what should others look out for where you need to say no?