feel like a typewritter salesman circa 1994?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION feel like a typewritter salesman circa 1994?

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    Hans C Stoll

    Two of the most recent posts; (1) mac salesman back in 84 and (2) typewriter paper salesman……. both are perhaps better analogies. Mac was an out-of-favor product until later. Typewriter may come-and-go but the paper remains the same and is now used by printers instead.

    I would accept either scenario over what it too often seems like within our industry, which at this time feels like selling a product (in our case a service) that few are “buying”.

    I know I know…. it is cyclical, and we are bound to other professions that are ‘down and out’ as well.

    Providing a detour here: Any old-timers within our profession that can recall periods of professional Armageddon like this in the past recessions? I know 1979 was ugly, as was 1988 (S&L Crisis), 1990’s I am told had some long periods of drought and famine as well apparently.

    How does this one compare? Similarities? What ultimately was the catalyst that got things rolling again?

    ((and thanks to everyone who add 2 cents to a tongue-in-cheek topic)) – Hans

    Rick Spalenka

    I read these posts and others in other discussions. I don’t know how to say this diplomatically but I think some posters are high on weed. We don’t do anything others can’t do we just do many things better. It goes back to Maslow’s hierarchy of need. First comes survival and later, when all other needs have been met, comes caviar. We are the caviar, the Filet Mignon following burger, the First Class following coach, the silk following burlap. When money is very tight the comfort level goes down. I can understand pharmacy or any other healthcare profession. It falls into the “survival” level of needs. Our clients aren’t eating shoe leather right now but they don’t think they need “Royal” services while feeling like peasants. Our client base has SHRUNK and with that those who think about what landscape architecture is and “do I need it?” has shrunk accordingly. My advise? Go into pharmacy. Medical marjuana is becoming very accessible here in Colorado.


    Here in New Jersey we have the Municipal Land Use Law & Site Plan Law; where PEs dominate a majority of what can be signed and sealed as far as plans for professional review are concerned. Therefore many planting plans and the like fall victim to a tree stamp and a plants book. That sucks, and has taken away decades of work…Now we have a Practice Act (previously Title Act) which broadens our scope…It is kind of vague how much.

    Municipalities have caught on, however and many stipulate that only an LA or Landscape Designer prepare those designs.

    Do they enforce those ordinances? That may be another story….

    Hans C Stoll

    Thanks alland, I was about to respond to Rick that in Arizona Landscape Architecture is a required professional service for new-build (just about everything but S.F. residential).

    Not at all “caviar”, but a necessary part of a new project municipal submittal and approval process. As necessary here as civil or structural in fact.

    Certainly not a “Royal service”, although these days it is city minimum that gets asked for IF something is being reviewed (fewer projects = fewer doc reviews and permits obviously).

    Rick Spalenka

    Thanks alland, I was about to respond to Rick that in Arizona Landscape Architecture is a required professional service for new-build (just about everything but S.F. residential).

    Is that Arizona or Phoenix? Some small hot spots ask for Royal service. In much of the rest of the outback an LA’s role is very minimal, limited, restricted or substituted. Take your pick. You know, these discussions have been going on for my 40 years in the Landscape profession. I’m a Landscape Architect and my mom still thinks I’m a landscaper. People quickly glimpse my business card and say “Oh, you’re a landscaper.” No where on my card does it say landscaper.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I think that the paper salesman analogy is right on. We sold a lot of paper in the last decade. We got more paper salesmen because they were needed. The consumption of paper stopped and now those whom we supply have full shelves and product is not moving (the country over-built). Someday the inventory will move again and the shelves will have to be restocked, but right now we have too many salesmen for the market. It will shake out both by attrition and (hopefully) growth in the market. Paper salesmen will be needed again.

    I also think Rick S. is right that much of our work is a non-essential add-on or upsell. When things are tight, people tend to be lean much more toward essentials, minimals, limitations, and just plain going without.

    The closer you can get to selling essentials as part of your repetoire, the more likely you are to stay busy. There are lots of paper types that can be sold. The big plush rolls of gold leaf wrapping paper may not moving. Clearly, bathroom tissue is always consumed (let’s hope so), but many other forms of paper that are not quite so low move enough in combination to make a living.

    If we are truly better at doing everything, should we not be able to make a darn good hamburger if no one is buying steak? Many are still looking to sell steak to the people who want hamburger I’m afraid.

    It is not how good you are at what you do. It is largely how well what you do fits with the current needs in the market. It also helps a great deal if you were in the right chair when the music stopped.

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