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Michael S. McCoy, Kathleen M. Kelley and Dan T. Stearns

The Associated Landscape Contractors of America reported in 2004 that the lawn and landscape industry experienced considerable growth during the last 10 years: an increase of 31% from 2002 to 2003, and 126% from 1998 to 2003. An understanding by landscaping professionals of what factors influence consumers' evaluation and selection process when purchasing landscaping services is instrumental in formulating business and marketing plans that will more effectively target new customers, increase the customer base, and ultimately increase profits. To determine these factors, a questionnaire was developed and mailed to 5000 randomly selected households in the metro-Philadelphia area. Recipients were asked to consider factors deemed relevant to the selection and purchase of a landscaping service provider and rank them in order of importance. Questions pertaining to both the landscape industry, such as types of services purchased or how much was spent on these services, and the participants' demographic status were included. A total of 504 completed surveys were received, representing a 10% response rate. Results indicated that the “quality of work” factor was most important, followed by “cost,” and “types of services offered” when analyzed by both the frequency as well as by an average mean ranking of factors. Further analysis of results showed little or no influence on the ordering of factors by independent variables, such as types of service purchased, how much was spent on the service(s), household income, or education levels of the participants.