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Addressing the Hardscape Industry's Labor Crisis
Innovations, Labor Saving Techniques Can Help

By Joe Raboine, Belgard

Belgard is developing products such as the Elements Collections, Tandem Wall, and Agilina Paver, that reduce the learning curve of building complex outdoor spaces and reduce the amount of time for installation, thereby requiring less working hours on a project.


Comprehensive training programs and active recruitment of individuals interested in a profitable career in the hardscape industry are two more approaches suggested by the hardscape manufacturer.

Everywhere you turn, our industry is discussing the most critical issue we face, labor. This singular issue is one that is forcing everyone to rethink every aspect of how landscape projects are designed, sold, and installed. While it is certainly a challenge, it is also an opportunity to step back and consider alternative, labor saving approaches.

First, let's consider design. For centuries, the primary vehicle for delivering a design concept, was through a hand sketch. While fairly effective, it pales in comparison with the tools at our fingertips today. Photorealistic renders, animations, and virtual reality experiences are transforming the sales and design process. Never before has it been so easy to convey what was in thinking to someone else. Belgard recognized the power these tools hold, and decided several years ago to introduce Design Studio, a rendering services program, to our authorized contracting partners. Our partners using this service are not only realizing 85% closure rates, higher margins, and happier clients, they are also closing these sales with an average of only 4 hours invested! Compared to the prior average of 20 hours or more, this is a significant savings in terms of efficiency.

Second, let's consider the installation. It's no secret that labor will continue to be a challenge for years to come. We simply do not have enough people joining the industry to meet the massive consumer demand for hardscaping, and in particular, outdoor living spaces. Our company has recognized this as well, and is actively working to recruit and train individuals looking to start a profitable career with hardscapes. In addition to that, we are also looking at every possible angle to reduce the learning curve to create complex outdoor spaces. While a comprehensive training program is a key part of that initiative, even more critical is the creation of products that reduce the amount of time for installation. Products such as our Elements Collections, Tandem Wall, and Agilina Paver have all been developed to help reduce the time of installation.

By coupling the use of the Design Studio with our innovative, labor saving products, contractors are able to install jobs within days versus weeks. The results are impressive, and our contracting partners are becoming more profitable by being able to process more projects. As a bonus, their clients are also happier, because the process was easy to understand and the projects are being installed quickly.

Please let us know if you're interested in becoming one of our partners. We have a long way to go to solving our labor issues, but by following some of these innovation solutions in the interim, it's possible to grow your companies without necessarily adding more resources!

As seen in LC/DBM magazine, July 2018.

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August 25, 2019, 5:37 am PDT

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