Case Study: Party time

July 6, 2016 -  By
Rich Cording Sr. (left) and Rich Cording Jr. run CLC Landscape Design in Ringwood, N.J.

Rich Cording Sr. (left) and Rich Cording Jr. run CLC Landscape Design in Ringwood, N.J.

Party prep has been a fun and easy add-on for CLC Landscape Design.

After being asked several times to help clean up properties before clients’ parties or events, Richard Cording Sr., LIC, owner of CLC Landscape Design in Ringwood, N.J., realized he had a new service on his hands. Though it remains small—less than 1 percent of the company’s revenue—Cording says it leads to bigger jobs.

Party prep is all about getting a client’s backyard looking nice for an event. CLC preps yards for graduation parties, summer barbecues and even weddings, which is when the service gets slightly more involved, Cording says.

“A backyard wedding prep would apply the same principles—first and foremost getting the yard cleaned up and looking presentable,” he says. “But it usually gets more elaborate. We might try to create more spectacular views or use more flowers. Plus, we may also need to recover the lawn where the dance floor was laid.”

Overall, the jobs are simple. The service typically includes edging, mulching and planting flowers. Cording also has had some customers rent planters. There was zero investment in adding party prep, he says, as the company already had the manpower and equipment.

“We use our existing floating crew when these types of jobs come up,” Cording says. “Unless it’s a wedding, the work can easily be completed by a two-man crew.”

LM0616_rentedplantersPartyPrep2RThe jobs are priced based on time and materials. They typically take a half-day to a full day, depending on the size of the project.

“But the nice thing about this service is that we really can customize a budget,” Cording adds. “If a client has a set figure in mind, we can tell them what we’re able to do for that price and either add or subtract from there.”

CLC began advertising party prep as a service under its fine gardening division three years ago, though it had performed the service before that. Party prep is listed on the company’s website under its maintenance services. Finally, CLC sends postcards promoting its fine gardening division, Cording says, and party prep is listed among the other services. The company has mailed approximately 12,000 of those postcards this year, with the goal of securing more monthly fine gardening work.

“This grew from requests from our fine gardening division customers,” Cording says. “It started by word of mouth, but now we include it in our direct mailing.”

While many jobs are one-time gigs, Cording says some clients have annual summer barbecues and often call back yearly. Plus, he says the best part about the service is that it has led to other work. After a successful party prep job, his company even gets the occasional call back for design/build work.

The service is a good fit for Cording’s clients and his business.

“Honestly, I can’t think of a challenge we’ve faced doing party prep,” he says. “This has been very easy and effortless to add on.”

Photos: CLC Landscape Design

About the Author:

Payton is a freelance writer with eight years of experience writing about the landscape industry.

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