McHutchison, a horticultural distributor based in Naperville, Illinois, partners with an extensive network of truck logistic brokers to get its customers the best available freight rates and deliver products around the country in a timely fashion. Using this network, the company often drop ships products directly to wholesale nurseries, garden centers, and especially large landscaping projects contracted with its customers.
“Depending on the job site requirements, we can drop ship just about anything to a project; however, orders must be in large enough quantities to efficiently ship from wholesale growers,” said McHutchison Sales Representative Matt Johnson. “The most common items that are drop shipped from farms are large trees and evergreens, as most local nurseries don’t stock specimen-size trees.”
The key to successfully drop shipping large trees is communication, Johnson emphasized. The project managers need to know the sizes of the tree root balls, so they can properly prepare the holes for them. Knowing the specifics of drop-shipped deliveries in advance is important so project managers can have the necessary equipment and staff ready on the job site to unload and plant the specimen trees properly.
“Communicate with your salesperson, be ready to receive your product, have proper staff onsite, and have the landscape prepared where possible, such as having holes for trees dug in advance,” he added. “The project must have a staging area where the trees can be kept before being installed, and water access to care for the trees. Then we work with the project manager to be sure we have the onsite foreman’s contact information to ensure the truck driver and foreman are connected to ensure a smooth delivery.”
As long as trees are dug at the correct time of year and are above ground, suppliers can ship all year long. Still, spring and fall are always the best seasons to plant trees, as the summer months are hot and can stress the trees.
Drop shipping saves costs by utilizing a Just-In-Time inventory system that plans for plant delivery when the landscape is ready for installation. Saving on expenses is always meaningful for the bottom line, but perhaps even more so these days, since freight costs have significantly increased over the past two years. Large projects can take advantage of shipping directly to the job site – saving time on installation and leading to efficiencies that will increase the profitability of your project.