CHARLOTTE – Inflation is making its impact on nearly every industry in America. This may be most true for businesses that rely on fuel such as gasoline and diesel to operate machinery for their work such as landscape companies. According to one local company, “If we don’t start to profit soon, we may have to close”. This is a concern echoed by countless landscape companies across the country. Landscape company owners are being forced to have these tough conversations with their employees during a time where inflation is wreaking havoc on the industry.
Bad economies come and go, however this time around with the historic inflation rate, it is a different story. Tools, supplies, and equipment parts are 5-20% more expensive and with the recent supply chain issues, some tools, parts, etc. are harder to find. The cost of grass seed and fertilizer has exploded by 50% or more. Couple that with the post-pandemic workforce shortage that continues to this day and you have a perfect storm.
The larger landscape and hardscape jobs have helped some to keep going. Unfortunately, landscaping is a service that is not required or mandatory so people now are taking that into consideration and many have decided to cut their own lawns and become “do-it-yourselfers”. The future remains uncertain as inflation remains. The business is there but continued rate increases, albeit necessary to keep up, are quickly becoming unaffordable for people that just can’t pay the significantly higher prices.
Landscaping companies have had to jack up prices because of increased costs for things like fuel and equipment reports the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper noted that lawn mowing is up 22.4% compared to the same time period last year and tree trimming has risen 9.1% citing Angi Inc. One of many examples fueling this historic inflation is the cost of diesel fuel, which even though it has come down in recent weeks from record highs, is still double the cost from the August 2020 national average of $2.42 per gallon to August 2022 of $4.80 per gallon.
Sky high inflation rates have become detrimental to Americans who normally rely on landscaping services as well as the landscape companies themselves that provide these services. Right now companies are either attempting to justifiably increase their prices while others are waving the white flag and sadly have decided to simply close their business.
In any event, the pendulum can’t swing fast enough for the good of the landscape industry and, for that matter, all American industries.