The Biggest Threats Facing Landscape Companies
We at Super Lawn Technologies have made it our mission to provide forward-thinking insights on trends affecting the landscape industry. Lately we’ve been talking about a changing marketplace that makes it increasingly necessary for landscape companies to ramp up their digital marketing efforts.
A growing segment of today’s consumer base wants to:
- Research online
- Communicate online
- Buy online
We’ve received a lot of feedback on the above report. Some of that feedback disagrees with the premise that automated, on-demand Uber-like lawn care services present a legitimate threat to traditional lawn care companies.
The reality is that lawn care services are already being sold online — just not by the typical landscaping or lawn care company.
As this disruptive market shift takes place, some landscape company owners remain frustrated by the same challenges companies have faced for decades. This fixation can distract company owners from turning their attention to emerging threats that have the potential to dramatically change the business.
My competitor is undercutting me!
Some contractors say they are losing accounts to undocumented Hispanics who are starting up their own lawn companies and charging considerably less than the “fair market price” — sometimes as much as 30% less.
Nobody wants to see undocumented people (Hispanic or otherwise) taking jobs away from taxpaying citizens. If this is a real concern, you can call the ICE hotline to report it.
The bigger picture is when service providers undercut the market in general. Call them lowballers, fly-by-nights or whatever you want — they have been around forever. Yes, they come in the form of undocumented residents. They can also come in the form of part-time firemen, people who are temporarily out of work, and even folks taking side jobs to supplement their employment with another landscaping company.
There is nothing a landscape company can do to make this form of competition go away. However, there are things that can be done to rise above this competition by providing a level of “value” that customers find irresistible. It’s not easy, but enough contractors have been successful that there is no disputing the fact that it is possible.
First of all, landscape company owners need to decide which segment of the market they want to serve. They also need to think about what they are doing to provide a certain level of “value” to clients. Yes, a competitor’s prices that are 30% lower can be a big challenge to overcome. However, when your price premium is in exchange for a higher level of quality, service and convenience, most customers that are worth keeping usually see the value.
This is where the automated, on-demand lawn service companies see an opportunity. A growing segment of the market is willing to buy lawn services online through a third-party broker simply because CONVENIENCE is the main thing they are after. Not all consumers fall into this category. But many do, especially millennials who are rapidly becoming a significant piece of the homebuyer market. As landscape contractors look to the future, it would be a mistake to ignore this trend.
Employees just aren’t what they used to be
Some landscape company owners are frustrated that they can’t find employees with the same work ethic and loyalty as their employees of the past. When 75% of landscape company owners have been saying this is a problem, it must be true. But at the same time, 25% aren’t having as much of a problem. So what’s their secret?
First let’s look at some facts from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 2016-2018 when the labor market really tightened up, the landscaping industry added nearly 7,000 workers, a slightly less than 1% increase. Over the same timeframe, the average hourly wage rose from $13.73 to $14.88, an 8% increase.
There is no disputing the fact that good employees are becoming harder to come by. But there is also no disputing the fact that the industry continues to employ more people, many of whom have the skills and work ethic a company owner desires.
The thing is, these “top talent” employees gravitate toward certain companies — companies that pay wages better than the industry average. Top talent gravitates toward companies that have a strong reputation and where they see a good future for themselves. Simply put, the best employees gravitate toward the best companies.
Digital marketing can be a landscape company’s best friend in this regard as well. Over the past few years, numerous landscape companies have completely revolutionized their employee recruiting efforts:
- Emphasizing online recruiting tools
- Revamping their job postings
- Attracting qualified candidates from unique labor pools
The Automatic Hiring Machine can revolutionize your recruiting efforts! LEARN HOW
The secret of successful landscape companies
To continue thriving well into the 21st century, landscape company owners must find a way to solve the challenges of the past in order to address the threats of the future.
In our experience, contractors who complain about lowballers are often confused by a shifting market. In many instances, they are also underperforming financially and plagued by high employee turnover.
There is a solution.
Business education could change your future. You just need to “outlearn” your competition.
Having worked with the owners of lawn and landscape companies since 1998, we’ve confirmed three wealth-building skills that are needed as markets shift, technology changes or your company grows:
- Financial education
- Operational education
- Marketing education
Locally owned lawn and landscape companies with committed leadership can rarely be beaten by lowballers, a changing economy or advances in technology. The secret is that the owners and leaders are always learning and adapting.
The Super Lawn Toolkit provides the insights and inspiration company owners need to begin their personal transformation. LEARN HOW