Long lead times good or bad?

“Ouch – good for you but bad for us!”

This is a response from a potential client when I said we are booked up until September 2019 (4 months lead time). It got me thinking about what a good lead time actually is. What the expectation is and what it means for our potential customers.

What does a long lead time show you as a customer?

Simply it says we are fully booked and this is a good thing! If we are a company that take bookings four months in advance this shows, we are not a fly by night company. The type of ‘landscaping company’ that showed up on your doorstep on the off chance you needed your driveway doing. Completed the job the next day/week and you never hear from them again. Guarantees are something unheard of…sound familiar?

What can you do in four months?

Having a four-month lead time means you the have time to think about your project. It allows you to make calculated and rationalised decisions about the work you are having done. There is time to look into the company and reassure yourself we are legit, the real deal. Not cowboys.

You get the chance to re-visit any designs you had completed. Order samples of paving and have a second meeting with our designer to ensure you will be happy with the finished project and product choices.

There is a guarantee on all products (10 years) and workmanship (5 years)…just saying

Financially…

This long lead time helps financially to plan for the project cost. As a minimum we provide a full cost & specification. Along with a payment plan, so you can plan your finances around the build. There are no hidden surprises – everything is laid out in the terms & conditions we send over too. Our average project is £10,000+ so financial planning needs to be thought about in advance. Unfortunately we don’t offer finance options.

We can fit you in to start your landscaping project next month…

The customer reaction is “fantastic!”. However, a site visit, design work and amends (if required) need to be fit into schedule. You, the client, need to order samples of products. Choose products and colours. Make sure you have £10,000+ in the bank to pay for it. All the contracts and terms and conditions need to be read, agreed and signed off before the work even begins.

Is this REALLY what you as a customer want? It’s a large purchase, an important purchase that is going to be a part of your home for 10+ years (if completed by a good landscaping company that install to British standards). You want it to be perfect and everything you dreamed of. It is a place that will be used for family get togethers’ and summer barbeques. This kind of decision shouldn’t be rushed.  With a short lead time all the enjoyment in the decision making is taken away. Replaced by rushing and increase stress and ultimately poor decisions being made.

Kitchens, gardens – same thing

Similarly, you are replacing your kitchen, would you want a rush job? Would you be shocked if the kitchen installers could get you a bespoke kitchen designed, made and installed in 4-8 weeks. What’s different about your garden, patio or driveway? Essentially you are creating a wow factor to your home, improving kerb appeal or creating an entertaining space that makes you want to enjoy the Summer evenings outside and everything in between. It is a bespoke design and build that is client centred and the process of quotation to build should reflect that.

In Conclusion

So, when you get a long lead time just have a think it is a good thing! Better decisions will be made and the likelihood of hiring a cowboy company is reduced significantly. You have time to check out the company and their credentials and you will get a better-quality build.  Not a rush job.

There is always next Spring to enjoy the garden and believe me it will come around sooner than you think!

If you are happy to wait 4-5 months for a quality landscaping project then please do give us a call 02380 434231. If you want everything completed ‘yesterday’ then unfortunately we are not the company for you.

Remember ‘pay cheap, pay twice’ as the saying goes.