January 15, 2018
New member campaign for 2018
LO members have access to leaflets that explain the many reasons why a homeowner should hire a landscape professional.
By Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations

Review of 2017

Denis FlanaganLandscape Ontario’s 2017 Annual Report stated a total of 2,600 members. In addition to that number, we also have over 200 student members and over 300 media members. These members are not included in the total membership numbers partly because they do not pay annual member dues.

During our recent renewal process this past fall, approximately 200 members decided not to renew their membership for various reasons. Each year, some members go out of business, others retire, some change the focus of their work, or they simply don’t use the many benefits available to them. In our exit survey we do ask a non-renewing member if they would like us to contact them in the future. We make note of those companies and contact them in the spring to see if they would like to reinstate their membership to avoid having to go through the full membership process from the very beginning.

We all know there are many benefits to being an LO member, but the top three continue to be the new truck discounts, education and networking.

2018 membership campaign

From the Congress attendee list and other sources, we have a list of over 5,000 companies who could potentially become new LO members. Our plan is to narrow this list down to companies that have two employees or more and have engaged with LO in the past by attending meetings courses, etc. Next, we are going to try a few different approaches to see which marketing tools are most effective. We will target 300 companies to contact various ways: 100 we will phone, 100 we will send a direct mail piece and 100 will be contacted by e-mail. At the same time, we will choose 500 companies to be sent a post card, and another 500 we will contact through social media. Through these various methods we hope to achieve a couple of things: some new LO members and an indication of what approach works best. With this valuable knowledge, we can then price out a communications package for the year, also taking into consideration proper timing and cash flow for companies.

If you can’t beat them, join them

There is no doubt that 2018 will bring many challenges (many of which have already been covered in this publication) and I know our editorial staff will provide knowledge and insight into policies and practices that affect your business as just one more member benefit. At the top of those challenges is the financial reality of Bill 148. We all know costs are going up as a result, which means prices will also rise in order to compensate. As a result, we often hear from members about the underground economy and what we can do to fight it. One of the best ways is to belong to LO. Explain to your clients they should be comparing apples to apples. When a company applies to be a member of Landscape Ontario they need to have been in business at least two years, supply two references and have both WSIB and liability insurance. All of these requirements are designed to protect your client. A company with no insurance and no references will surely offer a much lower price, but at what cost in the long run?

Most clients probably don’t know they can be held criminally responsible if they hire a company without WSIB and a worker gets seriously injured or killed
on their property if not spelled out in a contract.

How many contractors know they can be held personally liable if a worker gets injured or damages property if a proper contract does not exist? Encourage your suppliers and subtrades to join Landscape Ontario. If you can’t beat a professional, you may as well join them.

If your experience with Landscape Ontario has been a positive one, we want you to help spread the word. Hand out application forms to other contractors, suppliers or sub trades. Encourage them to visit our website to learn more about the benefits of membership and raising the level of professionalism for all. Application forms can also be downloaded online.

Educate your potential clients on the many reasons why they should hire a professional. Provide our Selecting a landscape contractor brochure or Landscape Contractor Rating System.
Both are available in print form or online at LandscapeOntario.com/menu/hire-with-confidence.

And please, contact your membership department if we can support you in any way with regards to promoting professionalism.

Denis Flanagan can be reached at dflanagan@landscapeontario.com or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.