While a slow winter put a dent in the bottom line of some contractors offering snow services, owners who focus on quality and present their companies as experts (and not just service providers) will continue to grow and be able to raise prices. Trends that have been prevalent the last few years in the industry and will continue to play a major role in 2017 include:

  • Contractors continue to express greater confidence in growing revenue and turning a profit compared to last year. Lack of quality labor, health insurance costs, weather and government regulations can keep optimism from getting too high. But contractors like where they are when it comes to business.
  • With questions surrounding a more restrictive H-2B program and new overtime/salary rules from the Department of Labor, contractors will continue to have trouble finding workers and may now have issues paying current employees. The average landscape company pays its salaried employees less than $50,000, and these positions will become hourly and eligible for overtime when the new rules are implemented.
  • The industry continues to get older as the 55 to 64 demographic had a larger percentage of respondents compared to 45 to 54 age range last year taking the largest percentage. In addition, private equity firms’ interest in the industry will continue, which gives older owners an avenue to sell.
  • One new trend picking up steam this year is Uber-like apps/companies for the green industry where a company will serve as a go-between for the customer and the contractor. Maintenance continues to be the fastest growing service, while design/build continues to get a big boost as consumers spend on hardscapes and outdoor living features. Lawn care was third and irrigation was fourth.

Brian is the managing editor of Lawn & Landscape magazine. Lawn & Landscape’s State of the Industry Report will be published in October.