A dying industry?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Jamesmowslawns, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. Jamesmowslawns

    Jamesmowslawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Sorry for the dark title.

    Is the landscape maintenance industry dying? With tons of peoples growing concern for the environment do any of you picture the work dwindling out? Kinda concerned about future business. I mean truly grass is an ecological wasteland, all it does it look good and is costly to maintain. (I do love maintaining it though)

    I owned/operated from 2010-2018 and ended with 25 mow/maintain accounts and 40 plowing accounts. After a year working as a farm foreman for someone else not myself I realize I need to be working for myself!!!

    Do you still thinks there’s plenty of work to be done and continue that way for the next decade or two?? Keep in mind I’m only 25 years old, 26 in March and that’s why I’m trying to get the long term outlook on this.

    And on top of that what do you think will be the next big “facet” of landscaping (organic lawn care, xeriscapes, ecological design, edible landscapes etc) I’d be willing to go down a different route and still offer maintenance but don’t want to look back and say “I wish I’d got in on that sooner”

    Would love your input as I’m highly considering starting back up again come April. Thanks in advance.

    2 Gingers & a Shovel likes this.
  2. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,439

    Its not dying , its ever changing . There is always work to be done . if it grows it will need to be cut , or removed and replaced
  3. prezek

    prezek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 680

    People are getting lazier. I don’t see it slowing down.
  4. Mark Stark

    Mark Stark LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,393

    If (a big if) and when it ever "dies" it will be more than 20 yrs for that to happen. Think of it this way....

    Electric cars have been out since the 90s. How many people do you know with one today? It takes years and years for something like a new drive system on a car to come around. Now think about everyone ripping out there grass and going to something else. Probably never happen. Plus, people still need mulch work, plantings, leaf work, etc., ALL of which are good for the environment.

    Oh and as someone else already said, people are lazy. They're getting more and more lazy everyday. For a society where people try every new fangled way to lose weight, you'd think they would trying going outside and doing some labor at their own house at least :laugh:

    Just my 2 cents Thumbs Up
    KUMA01, Cam15, knox gsl and 8 others like this.
  5. hal

    hal LawnSite Silver Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 2,139

    Wall-e comes to mind. Which is happening faster than our industry dying.
  6. Love the Green Biz

    Love the Green Biz LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,980

    Contrary to popular perceptions and pie in the sky environmental types (yeah they believe we can all get off fossil fuels AND keep breeding like flies) Lawns are not an "ecological wasteland" but a supplier of numerous benefits:


    And keep breathing deeply-an acre of grass supplies enough oxygen for the daily needs of 64 people. Not bad for a "dissed and doomed" item eh?
  7. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,928

    I often think about the total pointlessness of keeping a lawn. It is a truly frivolous expense. Fertilizer, irrigation, weekly cuts...and if you think about it, it has no real benefit to the customer.

    I make a living applying fertilizer, so I push the beauty and other benefits...but are they real?

    I recently met a guy that owns a mansion (yes, and actual 1870 mansion, 13k sq/ft house!) that spent $90,000 last year on landscaping. In my opinion, his landscaping isn't really all that nice (too many trees that are out of scale). But he has 5 acres of elaborate stuff, so he felt like he had no choice. I put a picture of the entrance below, but you can't see much. That wall is more than 6 feet high, and surrounds the entire 5 acres. Screenshot 2020-01-07 at 9.42.34 AM.png

    I had customers that spent $800 to $1000 per month on maintenance. What does it get them in return?
    No gloves, That Guy Gary and hort101 like this.
  8. Trees Too

    Trees Too LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,534

    Dying? NO! Evolving, ever changing? YES!

    Trends to look for:
    1) More interest in "going organic".
    2) A younger customer base that is more prone to "do their own homework" and research things.
    3) More City Ordinances restricting gas-powered equipment, favoring battery powered instead.
    4) Encouraging installation of "low-maintenance" landscapes.
    5) LCO's may meed to diversity and offer other integrated services.
  9. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,917

    Jamesmowslawns, Trees Too comment is correct.
    Since you are located in Mass, I suggest you look into https://nofa.organiclandcare.net/
    Their training programs will help you develop skills to meet this growing market.
    Love the Green Biz and hort101 like this.
  10. Crazy 4 grass

    Crazy 4 grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 861

    What would the alternatives be for our yards? Astro turf? Way worse for the environment... it's no good for worms birds etc.
    Just let whatever grows naturally grow where it grows? There are some who might like that however I'd venture to say many would not. Functionality it could be a nightmare as well as aesthetically unpleasing. My vote goes with go start your company there will be work for many years to come.

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