Have you bought anything lately? Lumber? Socks? Bologna?
Have you noticed how your wallet seems somehow even emptier?
Landscaping companies are feeling the pinch, too, as everything they need to keep their clients’ properties looking great costs more than it did a year ago.
Kelly Ogden, General Manager of Commercial Maintenance at Hatcher & Associates, explains — and shares how Hatcher is helping customers soften the financial hit.
Commercial Landscaping Costs: “Everything Has Gone Up”
”Material prices have gone up, equipment prices have gone up, everything has gone up,” Ogden says. “There’s a shortage of everything in America right now.”
Inventory is low across the board as the economy continues to recover from the worst of the pandemic.
Many factories closed last year, sometimes for months. Now that customer demand is surging, manufacturers are struggling to produce and ship everything, facing shortages of trucks, truckers, and the port workers who unload cargo ships.
That means higher prices.
“Every day we get an email from a vendor about prices going up,” Ogden says. “There’s no certainty about prices next year, either. Irrigation pipe and other materials are up 5 percent. We’re hearing of another 20 percent increase next year. It’s a sad situation.”
Need a Job? C’mon Over
Labor is a huge factor in commercial landscape maintenance prices.
“It’s a challenge trying to get anybody to work,” Ogden says. “Our business minimum wage right now is $14 an hour. You can be breathing and come in here with no experience and make $14 an hour. If we want to keep and attract employees, we have to pay more.
“Our labor prices have increased 100% in the last year,” he says. “We’ve had to take all of this into consideration when we’re bidding new properties.”
Sorry, Customers — It’s a Tough Situation.
“We’ve been having conversations with all our clients,” Ogden says. “They’re in budget season now, so we want to alert them so they’re not shocked.”
Actually, they’re not shocked, Ogden says. Many have told him they’ve been expecting to pay higher commercial landscape maintenance prices.
“We’re proactive in starting the conversation,” Ogden says, “but our customer base recognizes prices are going up. They see it everywhere — in facility maintenance, in cleaning costs.”
Customers who decide to try another landscaping company to get a cheaper bid will often find competitors’ bids are even higher, Ogden says, because the new companies aren’t familiar with their properties and want to make sure they’re bidding high enough to cover their costs.
Some of the work Hatcher has picked up in the last year is because other area companies couldn’t find enough workers, he says.
Let Us Help You Trim Costs
“We’re looking out for our customers for the long term,” Ogden says. “We don’t see this situation getting better any time soon.”
Account managers are working with Hatcher customers to lower commercial landscape maintenance costs in a variety of ways, Ogden says.
Here’s a look:
Replacing Annuals with Perennials
When Ogden works with budget-conscious customers to replace some annuals with perennials, he can reduce their seasonal annual color budgets by 70 percent.
Tanger Outlets, a Hatcher client, recently replaced 90 percent of their annual beds with perennials, Ogden says. It’s a growing trend.
Many customers spend $20,000 every year on annuals, Ogden says — $10,000 in spring and another $10,000 in fall.
They look great for a season, but then they’re done. Invest in the best perennials and they come back dependably year after year.
“You may spend twice your seasonal budget on perennials the first year, but you gain it back in three years,” Ogden says. “You save in the long run.”
You save on water with perennials, too. Once established, perennials don’t need as much water as thirsty annuals, Ogden says.
Bye, Mulch, Hello, Rock
Everybody loves the look of fresh brown mulch. But using stone instead saves on commercial landscaping costs in the long run, Ogden says.
While stone costs considerably more than mulch, it lasts longer and you don’t have to replace it every season. It doesn’t break down and disappear into the soil as bark mulch does.
So you’ll actually save money over time.
Native Plants: Pretty, but Tough
Native plants reduce commercial landscape costs. How? Lots of ways:
- Once established, native plants need less water. While the Mid-South gets an average of 60 inches of rain a year, most of this rain falls in the spring. Summer can be really hot and dry, which stresses plants. But natives shrug it off. They’re used to it.
- Natives naturally resist diseases and pests. That means you don’t have to worry about plants getting eaten, looking bad, and needing to be replaced.
- There’s no guesswork. Sometimes you plant flowers that look pretty or might be your favorite. But they don’t like your property. (No offense.) So, they struggle. They wilt. They die. You have to start all over again, boosting your commercial landscape costs. Native plants love where they’re planted. They’re from around here.
Dyed Chocolate Mulch
Don’t get excited. There’s no actual chocolate involved here.
This mulch with the rich brown color looks good for up to 18 months, Ogden says, while regular mulch needs replacing every six months.
That reduces your commercial landscaping costs.
This slow-release fertilizer is applied just once a year instead of the traditional four times. That saves a lot on labor costs, Ogden says.
Looking Ahead to Robots
Hatcher & Associates is looking ahead to other ways to reduce commercial landscape maintenance costs, including robotic lawnmowers.
These efficient mowers navigate around commercial property lawns completely on their own, running on a battery charge quietly, expertly mowing the lawn.
A boundary guide wire installed underground around a property keeps the mower contained, sort of like invisible fencing for dogs.
When they’re done mowing, the mowers head back to their charging stations and get ready for the next day’s work.
It’s a way to save on labor costs while maintaining high quality mowing, Ogden says.
Save on Commercial Landscaping Costs with Hatcher
Rising commercial landscape maintenance prices are frustrating.
As our customers struggle to do more with less, we’re happy to work with you and your budget to trim costs as much as possible.
Are you ready to partner with a Memphis landscaping company that offers great service while saving customers money?
Talk to one of our commercial landscaping experts today! We’ll meet at your property, create a custom plan, and get you on your way to enjoying a beautiful, worry-free property.
Image source: mulch