The world has changed a lot in the last year, in ways few of us could have expected. People everywhere have had to change their way of thinking, and many forward-thinking green industry companies have found ways to not just survive but thrive in this new environment.

Think about your biggest business hurdles. Labor, management, getting the work done and still having a little time left to stay sane. The solution to all of this? GOING VIRTUAL.

Think about it; everything is virtual these days. Weddings, birthday parties, board meetings, conferences...the public has grown totally accustomed to living in a virtual world. So why not apply that same thinking to your business? 

Virtual Landscaping services are truly the wave of the future. Why go to all the trouble of actually visiting the property when you can do it virtually? Who needs to pull permits for a project and deal with all the mess of a month-long installation project when you can do it virtually and avoid all the hassles?

"We were already operating virtually to an extent, owing to our client base," says Joel Wihebrink of WLM in Warsaw, Indiana. "So many of our clients are from out of state - this is a second-home market - that we were accustomed to having virtual meetings with clients. In the last year, we finally decided to take it one step further and make the work itself virtual as well."

The concept is simple but revolutionary. Rather than actually perform any services on their property, you simply offer a "virtual option" to your clients. The trick to making it work is communication. According to Scott McCorkle of Farison Lawn Care, "Our software system allows us to text a photo of the property to the client any time we 'complete a service,' and rather than actually treating the lawns, we just take a picture In the spring and then digitally enhance it several times through the year and send the client a doctored image of the property. What used to take 20 trucks and as many technicians now is basically me and one guy photoshopping images for me to send out. The labor, fuel and material savings are really amazing."


If VirtualCare is a new concept for you, you're probably wondering how the clients could possibly be happy when they walk out to an unkempt, weedy yard. McCorkle posits, "If the last year has taught us anything, it's that the average consumer is willing to sit on the couch and trust something they see on their phone instead of the reality that's staring them in the face. We simply use this fact to our advantage, and everyone is happier as a result."

Ongoing services are one thing, but Virtual Landscaping works just as well for large-scale landscape design projects like those envisioned by Mike Pickel of The Pickel Landscape Group. "Big landscape projects are a luxury service, and at the end of the day, we aren't selling the landscape, right? We are selling the IDEA of the landscape. The DREAM of having parties around the new pool, and the mental picture that your kids want to spend time with you. This isn't anything new - selling the dream is just good marketing."

As the world continues to shift toward remote-everything, Pickel believes the green industry is sure to follow. "The shift to Virtual Landscaping has revolutionized my business, and I think by next April Fool's Day, everyone will be doing the same."


Editor's Note: the names are real, but the quotes are entirely fabricated. Joel, Scott and Mike do great work - REAL work - and they are good sports for letting me steal their identities for this.