Jose Migoya started Planet Grass in Houston, Texas ten years ago. At first, his business began with a focus on installing grass for homeowners, landscapers and home builders.
“We did that for eight and a half years, almost nine years. I was very successful and I’m still very successful,” Migoya explained.
“Then we decided to switch to just selling and delivering the grass to the customer and terminating the installations.”
Migoya enjoys running the grass delivery business with his wife, Ana, and said they’re glad they made the switch from installing to just selling sod.
One year into the transition, Migoya said they’ve done very well. Especially since they have a new eCommerce website during this time. He said they’re among the first businesses in the Houston area to offer sod for sale online.
“Nobody does that and if they do you have to update the order and then call them for delivery. In our case, it’s from the beginning to the end. You go in and order different things and you’re set-up, which is more efficient,” he said.
Since the beginning, Planet Grass has been getting sod from Horizon Turf Farm. Of their residential and sports turfgrasses, Horizon grows Palmetto® St. Augustine and Celebration® Bermudagrass.
“There are a lot of communities that have been established for years here where the oak trees are very mature and they’re just terribly shaded. A lot of the neighborhoods tend to look for Palmetto because they’re so shady,” Migoya said. “They’ve tried the other St. Augustines and they survived for a while but now that the homeowners know about Palmetto, we have had a lot of calls for it.”
Migoya explained that a lot of his customers don’t know about the different types of bermudagrasses until he explains the varieties Planet Grass offers.
“Celebration usually stands out due to its bluish, greenish color. My customers think the color is really nice and so most tend to go with Celebration,” he said.
Several years ago, Migoya had a local marketing company create a website for his company. But prior to that he had been thinking about how he could incorporate an eCommerce model into his business. After researching online, he found that Turf Logistics® offered eCommerce services and reached out about a website plug-in for his online sales.
Ultimately, Migoya picked Turf Logistics to integrate eCommerce on his website over the local marketing company. “I was expecting to get the best from the best because Turf Logistics focuses on the sod industry,” he said.
As Migoya approaches one year since implementing the eCommerce plugin, he reflects that it has been an incredible addition to his business model. “Little by little it’s been picking up and we are succeeding. We are hoping we can progress a little bit more.”
Migoya said that Turf Logistics’ customer service throughout the onboarding process exceeded well beyond his expectations.
“I was amazed because as a business owner I know that customer service is the number one priority. Ahead of money and products, we want to make sure the customer is happy. With Turf Logistics the customer service is beyond my expectations and I’m very happy with that.”
Migoya was hopeful that by implementing the online sales, he would sell more medium and large-sized loads but has noticed most orders are for only one pallet. At first, he said he was kind of skeptical and hoped for customers to order several pallets. But then he realized there is a profit in comparison with having a lot of customers with smaller orders versus just a few customers with big orders.
“That makes us different compared to other businesses because normally everyone has a minimum of a few pallets but ours is just one,” he said.
Although they may have to make more stops and sometimes travel farther, with delivery fees and returning customers, Migoya feels as though the smaller customers are equally as important.
Availability and Sales
Migoya appreciates the ease in his ability to go in and update what sod is available to customers online. He said that depending on what Horizon Turf has in stock, he can update his website to include lead times or how much of a specific variety is available.
Migoya is also relieved he didn’t have to be a large sod farm to utilize the Turf Logistics software and recommends it to anyone that sells grass.
“Turf Logistics is pretty efficient. It makes it happen easy, fast and it’s pretty easy not only for us but also for the customer, so I highly recommend it. It’s very well done,” he said.
Online sales have helped him grow new customers. He said Planet Grass ranks high on Google and a lot of customers call from the site or referrals.
“Nowadays customers are looking to purchase everything online and so we get a lot of traffic,” he said. He said the Turf Logistics contact submission forms have allowed them to easily send quote requests and they’ve gained new customers from this feature.
Migoya shared that he got involved with turfgrass because he spent his entire life watching his father work in the sod industry.
“That’s what brought me into the business since I had seen him in this industry and the opportunities. It gave me the confidence and certainty that I could also do it,” he said.
Migoya’s father lives seven hours away from him in South Texas and he says that they deal with different types of turfgrass and customers.
“But the basic stuff I learned from him really helped me when I came with my vision and imagination of growing here in the Houston area. And I’ve learned a lot here too,” Migoya said. “That’s why I’m here in a large city because there are more opportunities here. I’m looking forward to Planet Grass continuing to grow.”
To learn more about Turf Logistics and the eCommerce opportunities for sod farms, click here.
This article was written by Cecilia Brown.