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Interiorscape Forum / Scaper Talk Discussion Forum / Sales and Marketing / New account purchased trees/plants from the competitor!!

Posted:  19 Feb 2014 01:08  
Has anyone experienced this situation before??? I just signed a new account for a large atrium. Fully assuming I would design, install and maintain the new plants. However, I now learn that the sale of trees and plants may have already been promised to another Interiorscape company.
How do they expect my company to 'guarantee' plants that another company has the commission on ??
Posted:  21 Feb 2014 20:02  
Very strange, I agree.  Maybe they offered the client a huge cut rate on the foliage and install, hoping to make it up on the monthly, and the client successfully negotiated with them to just provide the install.

You said "may have" though.  I would find out first if its true, and then I would gently approach your contact and find out simply why. 

Ultimately, if they say they're still going to purchase from that firm, you have to decide if you want to walk away or not.  Maybe the maintenance is worth it for you, and you don't want to cut of your nose to spite your face.

If it were me, I'd tell my contact that I can't agree to the service until I see the finished installation--what plants they used, did they plant the trees deep enough, are the plants infested with gnats, etc. Most experienced interior plant firms do a good job, though, in my experience, unless it's some ham and egger operating out of his or her house and taking on way more than they're qualified for.

Sounds like a contractual mess...good luck!
Posted:  24 Feb 2014 16:10  
Listen, clients are free to purchase their plants from anyone they like.  Haven't you ever had a takeover account where the client bought their plants and containers from another 'scaper and then, somewhere down the line, decided they weren't happy with the service and cancelled with the original contractor and brought you in?  Probably 25-30% of our business was gotten in just that manner.

So it's pretty much the same here, except the client is separating the installation phase contract from the maintenance phase contract.  Since maintenance is a recurring revenue stream (the "Holy Grail" of interiorscaping), and the install is a one-time sale, you could actually end up making much more profit from the service contract than the original installation job.

As long as the plants are good quality, healthy, and pest-free when you take over the account, and you can charge a profitable rate for your services, what's the harm?  You may wish to include a 90-day exclusion from guarantee for the plants just to be safe; this gives you time to evaluate the plants' health and be reasonably sure you won't get stuck holding the bag for a large replacement tab in the near term.

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