September 15, 2017
By Terry Murphy CLM

Terry MurphySometimes there are opportunities right before our eyes, but we can’t see them. There are small investments with the potential for huge returns that we don’t take advantage of. One such opportunity is a membership in the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA). A membership is low cost, has many benefits, and more importantly, can be used as a selling tool to increase your business.


What do you think is the main reason why a consumer will buy from a particular landscape, fencing or excavating contractor? They may have picked your name from the Internet, found you in a special directory, or asked for a referral from an industry specific organization or a friend. They will probably get quotes from two or three companies, but what will convince them to give your company the work? I have often said the more accreditations you and your company can show a client, the more likely they are to choose your firm. The more an individual or company can show their expertise, the more credibility they can establish. That credibility can give you the advantage. Simply telling a customer you are certified and that your company belongs to Landscape Ontario and the ORCGA shows your company is professional, cares about their workers and their safety and is more likely to perform to industry standards better than your competitors who may not belong to any associations.

Connect with your industry

When I worked at Landscape Ontario, I asked many contractors why they joined an association like LO. The common responses were for networking, personal association with other industry professionals and the opportunity to become a more professional company. Other reasons included access for employees to participate in training and education courses, participating in safety programs, and taking advantage of a range of benefits that are provided. LO’s annual trade show, Congress, connects suppliers and service companies, many of whom are exposed to the association for the first time at the event. The ORCGA holds an annual three-day Symposium each February that is similar to Congress; it gets people together who can learn and grow from each other.

Getting people together is the key reason why members join an association. When a problem arises, belonging to an association provides many opportunities for free help; whether from the association staff or programs, or from the extensive group of members.

Connect with your customers

The ORCGA consists of 24 major companies or associations such as Bell, Union Gas, Hydro One, Enbridge Gas, Ontario One Call, Rogers Communications, and many more. Some have thousands of employees. The ORCGA’s goal is for contractors and the public to follow the law and call for locates and dig safely. Explaining the goals of the ORCGA to a potential customer can help to establish your expertise and your commitment to safety and to protecting the vital underground infrastructure we all rely upon.

Cost of ORCGA membership

ORCGA membership costs are tied to the number of employees in your firm. On average, most landscape and fencing firms have fewer than 10 employees. The cost for firms with fewer than 20 employees is $125 annually. Joining in September will cost $40 as more than two thirds of the year has passed. If being a member of the ORCGA helps you to win one job over the course of a year, isn’t that one of the best investments you can make? It is a no brainer!

Use membership as a selling tool

Smart contractors use their memberships to further their brand and to explain to customers they are more professional, work more safely, pay attention to industry standards and offer an assurance and peace of mind they will deliver a better product or service. Most potential clients will rely on referrals and on your ability to convince them you are the right person for their job. An ORCGA membership can not only separate you from your competition, it can also demonstrate your commitment to obtaining locates and following best practices established by the excavating industry. In addition, your membership also helps to support (and show you support), the overall ORCGA objectives.


I represent Landscape Ontario as a member of the ORCGA Board of Directors. I have been on the board now for 12 years and understand the value it delivers to our green industry profession. I believe it is a great organization and one that you should consider joining.

ORCGA membership can be used as a selling tool to establish credibility with potential clients and help to set you apart from your competition. It provides important networking opportunities and helps to educate everyone on safety.

For information on ORCGA membership, or to join, please contact Jennifer Parent or Kim Sheppard at 1-866-446-4493. It may be the best telephone call you make this week and result in substantial returns for your company.
Terry Murphy can be reached at