Finding New, Creative, Interiorscape Revenue Streams

Since January, my interiorscape sales have been shaky. While most of my accounts are still paying their invoices, a few have fallen behind. All new projects slated for this year have been put indefinitely on hold. The twenty-five percent increase in sales I was expecting in 2020 most likely won’t happen.  One of my biggest challenges has been finding new revenue streams to off-set this loss. Since so many businesses are still operating remotely, this challenge has become even greater.  

Landscape Redesign

One specialty area that I basically fell into, is offering my interiorscape clients my design skills to enhance their own yards. Most often, an employee at one of my accounts sees how I can transform small interior and exterior areas from a dull landscape into something more dramatic with much more color than your basic green foliage.  When I first got these requests, I wasn’t completely confident in my skills. 

Interior foliage was easy for me, but knowing if the landscape plants I used would survive in the many different exterior conditions made me question myself. I often fell back on what I learned with the landscape foliage in my own yard.  If I wasn’t certain on a specific variety, I would get as much advice as I could from the nursery staff before annoying them. I’d also search the internet for tips, and heed instructions particularly from the Department of Agriculture. There are many more variables planting outdoors, but now I can create landscape designs almost as easy as an interior ones.  With the real-estate market increasing and more people working from home, these requests are becoming more frequent.  

Arrangements

Unfortunately, the weddings I had booked for this year have also changed to only a few bouquets and boutonnieres, or have been completely cancelled. I feel worse for the couples that aren’t able to have the wedding they’ve been planning than the loss of my income. Despite this loss, what has increased in the cut flower side of my company, is delivering arrangements. 

With family members unable to visit their loved ones inside hospitals, funerals or nursing homes, clients are spending more to have an arrangement sent in their place. Most of this revenue comes from existing clients that know I can provide this service specially for them. Most of the time, I can coordinate arrangement deliveries to my service routes so I’m not spending too much extra time and gas to go across town.  If you’re uncomfortable handling cut flowers, I often suggest sending a potted flower, bonsai or a food basket in its place.  This works well for me since I already have several plants, baskets, ribbon and decorative containers on hand.

Composting

This is another revenue stream that I lucked into. Never did I imagine, a company would pay me to take their compost material. Locally, there is only one company that provides compost pick up. My clients got frustrated being put on a long waiting list. Since they know I already compost a majority of the foliage waste, they asked me if I’d be willing to take their cafeteria scraps for a small fee. I’m already servicing the building so to take back some buckets of leftovers seemed like a no-brainer. 

However, there are a few exceptions. The biggest one, is not adding any animal products to the pile.  The problem with bone and meat, is it takes much longer to decompose. The odor is even worse than normal nasty compost and it will attract much more wildlife to your property. 

To make it profitable, you need a good sized piece of property so you don’t aggravate your neighbors with the smell. Plus, it can take a long time to reduce the material to soil amendment and you can find your pile quickly getting overwhelming.  Investing in compost tumblers will speed up the process and also reduce labor since you don’t have to mix it up by hand. Even during this economic instability, there are companies like Amazon and Ikea who are investing millions of dollars to reduce their carbon footprint.  

Before COVID-19, I would market this service to high-end local restaurants.  Now, I believe the best potential compost customers are businesses with their own cafeterias that have, or are striving to get, their LEED certification.

Coming up with different services or products that already complement your business is a great way to generate more income without a big investment. Look around, a new revenue stream may surface right in front of you.  

Sherry has been part of the interiorscape industry for over fifteen years, starting at an entry level job at North Florida's largest greenhouse and currently owning two horticulture companies. At UMaine, Sherry majored in English where she worked part-time writing scripts for a local college TV studio.

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