Dear Lawn or Landscape Business Owner:
Did you see the latest employment situation report? In case you missed it, we will share the key points provided by our friends over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Then we will share data we collected from landscape companies this month.
We read these BLS reports each and every month. This may sound like a weird hobby…but it serves a powerful purpose. We are able to spot trends and adjust business practices as we digest data.
Here’s a few of the most important points from the January 6, 2023 BLS report:
- US unemployment rate is currently 3.5% (matching a 53 year low)
- US teenager (16-19 years) unemployment rate is 10.4%
- US Average Wage grows to $32.82 per hour
- Average weekly wages stand at $1,125.73
- Average weekly hours are 34.3
We know that numbers like those above have very little meaning until you have other numbers for comparison. Let’s give you similar data points from clients we’ve worked with in January 2023.
The data below is an aggregate and average from three well-established landscape service companies we met with in January.
- Average wage for 2023 field workers = $23.30/hour
- Average overtime (OT) factor = 19%
- Average weekly hours = 47.6 hours
- Average weekly wages with OT = $1197.62
- Total number of employees in study = 103
- Number of teenagers employed = 2
Now, let’s compare the data from above and consider the differences.
- The average weekly wage for the landscape employees is $71.89 or 6.4% higher for landscape employees than an average US employee. Sounds pretty good so far!
- The landscape employees had to work 13.3 more hours per week than the average US employee. Uh oh…
- Teenagers have the highest unemployment rate of all demographic groups covered in the BLS data. However, the data shows landscapers are hiring very few teenagers.
What can we learn from this case study?
- Landscape employee hourly wages are 29% below the US average hourly wage.
- Landscape employees in our subject companies are asked to work 38.8% more hours per week than average US worker.
- Our clients have significant opportunities to find, recruit, hire and train teenagers for their future workforce.
There’s a few more key data points from these three companies we’d like to share.
- Each company met their sales goal in 2022 and drove net income from 11% to 16%.
- Each company has an aging workforce with a few field workers with over 20 years of service to their respective companies.
- Each company owner would like to improve their training programs to enhance productivity, improve job quality and prevent waste.
- In order to cover planned increases in pay for 2023, each company will need to increase sales in 2023.
- If you watch the news media, they will convince you our country is on the edge of going into a recession.
- With current interest rates at the highest level since 2007 (that was 16 years ago), many expect the housing and construction market to slow down in 2023.
We will sum up this report with the following recommendations.
We share these insights based on our experience managing small businesses and a blue-collar workforce for the past 35 years. Our perspective is enhanced as we work continue to work as an advisor and coach for growing landscaping companies and their owners.
- Treasure your re-occurring revenue clients. They usually spend money in good times and bad times.
- Invest time, energy and creativity in your marketing efforts. Never take a chance and HOPE your phone will keep ringing. A steady stream of positive communications with current and past clients will keep your business growing.
- Know your numbers! Raise prices on any account that fails to generate a healthy profit. Never raise prices “across the board”. Raise prices on the bottom 20% of your clients that are costing you money.
- Fire lazy employees. You don’t need the baggage.
- The only sustainable competitive advantage is to outlearn your competition. Invest in your personal education. You’ll rarely be disappointed.
If you need help growing profits and building a rock-solid landscaping business, we are here to help. Join us at the upcoming Profit Builder Training event. Details here.
Tony Bass, founder
PS – Would you like to make 2023 your best year ever? We recently held the 2023 Landscape Pricing Guide webinar. Click the link below for immediate access. Registration is required, but access is FREE.