I read in a green industry trade mag the other night about one alleged guru saying that prices will continue to drop under pressure from consumers. Not only are they putting on the price squeeze, but he said they are expecting more. So many publication consultants and writers, seem to be talking about doing more for your client while getting paid less or getting no bump up in price. I want to know who is doing what for me. I like to cook, there for I grocery shop from time to time. I've noticed prices are really up. I used to make fun of how my mom talked about pennies in the store. I'm a many of dollars and pennies didn't matter to me. Especially when mom would drive 1/2 hr out of her way to save a dime. Today, it is dollars in the grocery store, and the gas pump, electric bill, shoe store, Costco. Every where I go, prices are up. Bubba burgers not long ago were $7.99/2 lb box. Add $2, today. "1/2" gallons of ice cream are now in "cute little" containers of 48 oz. I think a pint is still a pint, but when will that be 12 oz? My favorite whole bean coffee at Costco used to be maybe a 2.5lb bag for $5+/lb, $13+ total. Now $6.30+/lb and a 3lb bag, total $19+/-. I've noticed many things at Costco now come at prices and multiples to make the purchase approximately $10-20/cart item. You all know more stories including the price of brooms, shovels, rakes, mower blades, etc. So my question is when is the industry going to get a set of testicles and say we've given enough. If you are doing residential work, the sweat off our backs, and the backs of our employees allows people to make what is essentially a discretionary purchase of green industry services. Personally I am tired of people in $300-$600k+ houses and real nice cars, complaining about fert prices, sprinkler blow out prices, or any thing else. I'm even more tired of the morons in this biz grovelling at the consumers feet for the privilege of serving them. Why o why are guys winterizing sprinklers for 1970-1980 prices? The people have to have it done. They will pay the price. 2012 looks to be about the last year I can do anything to hold prices or give my customers more value. I have been doing it for several years now, by changing the way we do business. More pre paid irrigation plans get us to more sites in the spring for more service. Telling people when we are going to come and winterize their system, rather that calling them and asking when they'd like it done. That way we get better route density and more done for time worked. We've gone to robotic phone calls for some sales promotions to clients and appointment announcements and reminders. That cut mailing and office time. Next year I will route all my sprinkler start ups and winterizing with mapping software with out regard for what month they have had service in the past. that will make for even better routes than this year. It's the only ace I have left. I know I'm not alone. I'm not saying we haven't grown sales and profits the past 2 years. We needed to after 2008 and 2009, and we deserve it for how hard we have innovated and worked. Despite the success, we're just getting back to normal and have yet to make up for what we lost over those 2 bad years. I'm afraid if the industry doesn't not start to change how we operate and price, we will have established a new kind of normal for the consumer. It will be a normal, we can't live with.