Some of you will be aware that there has been an awful lot of coverage (mainly by Hort Week) about business accreditation and membership to landscaping associations.
A recent article
quoted BALI CEO, Sandra Loton-Jones as saying that landscapers who are not VAT registered devalues the landscaping industry.
BALI have tried to put right the damage this comment has caused by writing to me to say that the comment was one taken in isolation in a longer interview and was inaccurate in the context it was written.
Indeed, the HW journalist tried to soften the impact as well and said, "BALI no doubt meant in the reference to companies that are not VAT registered that many customers would not like to work with a contractor that is non-VAT registered when they should be - the sort of companies that could be described as rogue traders."
Today Hort Week have published another article that is advising the general public to only use landscapers that are accredited by either the APL or BALI.
I am forming the view that HW deliberately trying to stir up debate by mixing two issues.
There are unscrupulous people who seek to sell services that they clearly do not have the skills, equipment and experience in. There are also some who take money and never intended to carry out the work.
There are also thousands of small businesses and one-man-band operations who are being tarnished with this same brush and no attempt is being made by HW to put any daylight between the two categories - it's irresponsible and pretty dangerous too, especially as some of these people are consumers of the HW publication.
In today's article
- Public advised on landscape accreditation as rogue-trader complaints soar to 4,000 - HW quote Essex-based landscaper Paul Downer as saying, "If you wanted a plumber you'd look for Corgi-registered; for landscapers you should look for BALI or APL [Association of Professional Landscapers] registration and for driveways, Marshalls approved. The contractor will be vetted and fit for purpose."
Once again there is the implication that non-members of these organisations are not fit to carry out landscaping or gardening work.
The Landscape Juice doctrine is to be honest and transparent when selling yourself and your business skills. The best way that any individual or small business can convince a potential client that they are the right one for the job is to show the client examples of work already completed and not talk themselves up to something they are not.
Adopt your own voluntary customer charter
There are a number of ways that you can assure potential clients that you are honourable and honest - one of these methods is to adopt the Landscape Juice Voluntary Customer Charter.
It's a simple document but delivers a powerful message - that you will do exactly what you say you will, when you say it, at the price you promised and with a quality that you have already demonstrated you can achieve.
What is more, you will agree to an independent inspection should circumstances dictate.
I would encourage everyone to adopt this scheme and create a page on your own website with a clear link so that clients who visit your site can get a real feeling of intent.
Make sure that you send a copy of this document with every quote or eestimate.
If anyone needs help on how to upload then give me a shout.