How Inflation Impacts Lawn, Landscape, and Tree Care Businesses
As every new year gets underway, the risks of rising costs and inflation continue to impact individuals and businesses of all sizes. Along with price increases across the board, there’s a good chance that you’re still waiting on material that has been back-ordered as a result of disruptions in the supply chain. And when you add a labor shortage to the mix, making it difficult to hire and retain talented workers on your team, you have a perfect storm of challenges that can threaten to derail the growth strategies that you might have planned for your company.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways inflation takes a toll on your landscape, snow removal, or tree care business, and how you can survive and thrive.
Small and midsize firms, including many lawn, landscape, and tree care companies, are especially vulnerable because they have to factor the higher prices for goods and services into fees they charge customers in order to maintain a healthy profit margin.
A recent Economic Sentiment Survey by Thumbtack in 2022 found that 45% of Thumbtack pros in the home services sector pass on at least half of their cost increases to consumers and 21% report passing all the cost increases they face on to the consumer.
Just a decade ago, inflation was at 1.7% and remained relatively constant over eight years until the onset of a global pandemic when everything changed. But now inflation has steadily risen to current levels of around 6.5% (depending on the index that you look at), adding an unsettling economic reality to the largely volatile post-pandemic world where many prices have skyrocketed for equipment and products that your business needs to purchase.
With powerful job costing software from Arborgold, you can quickly access data and analytics to improve profit margins. Arborgold makes it easy to build pricing benchmarks as you increase visibility across all company cost centers including labor, materials, equipment, and overhead.
Changes in Consumer Behavior
Increasingly since 2020, buyers want digital services with a virtual sales cycle engagement and an error-free customer experience. Since you still make “house calls” to mow/aerate/mulch/fertilize/seed lawns, plant/prune shrubs and trees and care for outdoor spaces in a myriad of ways, you might think that the behavioral changes don’t apply to your business, but that’s not the case at all.
In fact, inflation has prompted consumers to be more cautious in their buying habits and more demanding about the services that they choose to purchase. Harness the power of the digital landscape by creating an optimized Google My Business account and asking your customers to provide an online report of their experience if you feel confident that it will be a glowing review.
Arborgold’s software platform includes a full suite of services to enhance the professionalism of your company in the very observant eyes of your clients. For example, you can accept credit card, debit card and ACH payments that will improve your business cash flow while also making payments a simple click for your customers.
Supply Chain Disruptions
If your business has been plagued by broken or ruptured supply chain problems, you’re not alone. From grocery stores to big box stores and all points in between, many items have been slow to arrive on shelves or warehouses. The global pandemic compounded by international disputes and even the war in Ukraine have all contributed to this new normal in the U.S. Small to midsize businesses have struggled to cope with meeting customer demands during supply chain slowdowns with an unforeseeable end in sight. While signs indicate that the supply chain is mending, it will be a while – if ever – before things are back to pre-pandemic levels.
Arborgold’s Supply Chain Management feature can help your lawn, landscape or tree care company optimize inventory management so you can track what you have and anticipate upcoming needs so you can make the best purchase decisions. This provides oversight of costs and cash flow, minimizes the time that inventory sits in the warehouse, and offers better control over incoming vendor bills and invoices.
Hiring and Retention Remain Top Business Challenges
Across the U.S., companies are locked in a battle for skilled talent and your business is no exception. As the hiring industry heats up, an influx of prospective employees seeking higher pay and robust benefits packages contributes to accelerated inflation. Some recent surveys show that over 80% of executives said wages are the main inflation pressures.
As the owner of a lawn, landscape, or tree care company, you need to offer a competitive wage for your local marketplace in order to attract applicants for your openings. Additionally, you want to retain them once they are hired and trained.
Arborgold’s all-in-one business management platform can be used as a selling point in your hiring process. Most of today’s prospective employees embrace technology and want to incorporate it into their day-to-day responsibilities. The software includes features to dramatically improve individual and team productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction across your entire organizational workflow.
Look for Opportunities to Add Value
- Compliment your customer’s home and surroundings. Most homeowners take pride in developing and maintaining their home’s curb-appeal, so don’t hesitate to let them know that you noticed and that you are honored to play a role in showcasing the home and its outdoor setting. They’ll remember your compliment for a long time!
- Offer to perform a service free of charge, such as a soil test or a consultation regarding the trees around the yard. Your feedback will build your relationship with the customer and could lead to some profitable new business for the company’s bottom-line.
- Create a marketing plan so you can be proactive about the seasonal needs of your customers. If you wait for them to call you, they might end up calling someone else who seems more interested in helping with their year-round outdoor needs.
- If your customer requires a service that your company doesn’t offer, such as a truckload of gravel or mulch, be a resource to recommend a partner company that you know is reliable and competent. Your customer will appreciate the referral, and it may result in a turnaround recommendation for your company.
- Convey a positive attitude in every interaction with the customer or prospective customer, whether in person, over the phone, or in an email. Let the client know that you love what you do and that you are excited about helping to make their lawns and outdoor spaces even more beautiful.
Arborgold software is custom designed to make your company more efficient, more professional, and more valuable to your customers. Schedule a Product Tour with Arborgold to learn more about how to grow your business all year long.