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Slow Economy/Recession & Green Industry

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by -, Feb 7, 2001.

  1. Guest
    Posts: 0

    I am going on my 4th year in this industry, 2 as an employee and the last year as an owner/operator. I hear lots on the news and papers about a slowdown in the economy and maybe even a recession in the next few years. My business has done well this last year and I am gearing up for tremendous growth and investment in equipment these next two years.

    How you think a recession or economic slow down will effect this industry (lawn maintenace in particular)? I want to grow but at the same time be cautious not to invest too much at the wrong time.

    What changes can we expect IF the economy slows?
    - Easier to find employees?
    - Less bids, less work?
    - Unemployeed/laid-off with a 21" Murray as competition?
    - More people (residentials) cutting their own lawns?

    I would like to know what some of the experienced Operators have experienced in the past under similiar circumstances, as well as any opions in general.
  2. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    Thanks GrassRoots, since I just started my business, that's exactly what I wanted to here! (Factual, but kidding also) I know what you're saying and that runs through my mind all the time. Thinking that maybe I shouldn't go through with this. But you know what, if we have a recession, it's going to effect me whether I work for myself or someone else that will have to overcome the obstacle. I think if you hold yourself back expecting the worst, you might just screw yourself out of some good money making years. I don't suggest going hog wild with growth because there is some anticipation of the economy slowing, but don't hold back either. One thing that is a talked about issue in starting a business, is to grow with the business and take your time. Success doesn't happen overnight, growth and expansion I think is good, but you need to really perfect each aspect and step of your business to continue to grow without a high rate of failure in the future. At least that's what the professionals tell me, and they know more than I do. I think you are headed in the right direction and the fact that you have this in the back of your mind sorta means that you have the business sense to do what the changing times may call for. Just my opinions, take them for what they're worth. Responses from others here that have been in business awhile wil definately be worth listening to, I'm sure they'll chime in. Good Luck.

  3. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    Good question. Who knows what can and will happen. I think we would all be affected in one way or another. Who knows. I'm not going to worry about it to the point where it affects my business decisions. I don't think it will affect the growth of the grass.LOL
  4. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    The answer is probably all of the above.
    depending on the severity.If you are growing
    like you say you probably would be better of with
    the added equipment tho as that can mean less
    labor cost.By equipment I DONT MEAN THE TANDEM
  5. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    I have noticed that in our economy in particular that people have changed the ways they manage themselves after loosing major industrial strenghts in the area (Lockheed Martin/IBM/Singer-Link/etc). Today consumers have turned to home based businesses, supporting local merchants more, and many now have both spouses employed to make ends meet.

    I do not feel that with this new rate of dual incomes be they larger or smaller that the service industries are going to change much. People will always need a plumber, and people are not going to stop installing landscapes to beautify their homes. I think that people will begin to go with several smaller projects rather than the one-lump-sum of yesterday though. People have worked and are still working very hard at getting where they want to be.

    And I know that we continued to grow as the job market dwindled because people are just too tired to mow the lawn or trim the hedges after working all week. Besides most people look at the fact that most lawn services are nearly the same price as what the party pak of a sheet-wings-and soda costs.

    I do however think that when the fuel demand is depleated in 2045 or thereabouts that the industry will DEFINITELY plummit.

    Just my thoughts.

  6. dmk395

    dmk395 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 992

    As long as a lot of people dont get laid off then our industry wont suffer too bad. When you think about it, most lawyers or doctors or upper level business people arent going to go out and cut there grass, unless something major happens. Right now the economy is doing fine, what we must remember is that a slowdown is inevitable with so many years of abundance. Never the less buy the equipment, but dont buy what you dont need.
  7. Guest
    Posts: 0

    There was a mild ecomonic slowdown in early 90's... how did it effect the industry then?
  8. larrv45390

    larrv45390 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 45

    The one thing that is going to start a recession is not spending your money. Everyone listens to the news talk about the economy slowing down so they stop spending. Why? Did all the money just get up and go away? No it is steel their. The news only gives you the bad side of something. You here about how many people died but they do not tell you how three times as many mothers gave birth to very healthy children the same day.

    The people that spend and make the money are the only ones that can control the economy, not the news and not the government. I am not saying to go out and spend money like it grows on trees. Always spend with in your limits and price your work so that you can live and it doesnÂ’t break your customer and you will be ok.
  9. tpirobert

    tpirobert LawnSite Member
    Posts: 207

    I've been doing this lawn/landscape thang for 12 years now, both installation and maintenance. In "down" times customers spend less on landscape improvements, but still need grass cut. So, I have been more comfortable with a 75% maintenance 25% install mix of business. Stock market has been good in past 5 years and retired customers have had me do more install work. We have factories close every year in our area. Then another comes in. I always think " oh great,here come 20 more yahoos with murrays", but it's never really a problem. Just concentrate on creating your own professional business and the customers will choose you.
  10. CCLC

    CCLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 261

    I think that some of our customers will cut back on spending. Most of the upscale most likely will continue service but will discontinue the unnecessary things like landcaping.

    An economic slow down will hurt our industry but it will not stop it.

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