Auburn News

Plantbid Offers New Technology to the Landscape Industry

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Imagine a website similar to Amazon where you can perform multiple searches at once. Now picture that website as being one dedicated solely to the buying and selling of plants. That’s the concept behind Plantbid, an immensely successful online platform dedicated to connecting nurseries and professional landscapers to facilitate the sale of plants.

“Plantbid is nothing more than a communication platform to create efficiencies in the professional plant-buying community,” said Cameron Cantrelle, the website’s founder. “It’s a way for the sellers of that community to communicate efficiently with the buyers based off of the exact order that the buyers are looking for.”

Cantrelle, a professional landscaper and a ‘96 Auburn University graduate with a degree in ornamental horticulture, formulated his idea for the website out of a frustration with the amount of time he had spent searching for the plants he needed for each job.

“Through the years, I’ve purchased millions of dollars of plants to install our projects… and what I recognized was that when I was doing it, I was spending an inordinate amount of time [finding] the material I needed for a job.”

Cantrelle confesses to his lack of technological know-how before creating his innovative website.

“Before I started Plantbid, I didn’t even read my own emails. My wife or my staff would tell me that an email came through and I would read it then at that point.”

But that didn’t deter him from developing a platform that has facilitated nearly $2 million in sales.

After almost two days of searching for a specific plant item for a client, Cantrelle got to thinking on a plane ride and the idea for Plantbid emerged. Cantrelle later partnered with the brother of a college best friend, Dave Wooden, who has a background in optimization and algorithms to work on the coding and technical aspects of the tool.

In an industry that was hit hard by the Great Recession and still relies heavily on outdated methods, Plantbid is a technological breath of fresh air for buyers and sellers.

It’s free for sellers to post their inventories to Plantbid, offering them a strong incentive to put products on the website. While buyers do have to pay, it isn’t until they’ve decided to purchase from a seller on Plantbid.

“For the buyers, it doesn’t cost them anything to see what the opportunity could look like,” Cantrelle said. “They only pay when they execute the opportunity, and at that point, they’re executing it knowing that it was a smart way to buy.”

By expediting the process of sourcing plants necessary for landscape professionals to complete their jobs, Plantbid is revolutionizing the industry.

“At the end of the day, that’s what makes Plantbid. Software that can tell you definitively who you should be shopping with on the seller’s end based off of your unique list, to find your most profitable landed cost of your job, assuming that it meets your quality constraint,” Cantrelle said.

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