How the Biden Administration’s Policies Impact the Landscaping Industry
With a spring surge expected soon, the landscaping industry is bracing for a revival. For an industry already struggling with labor shortage, the question on everyone’s minds is: How will the policies of the new presidency impact the landscaping industry? In this post, we explore the effects of the new administration by taking a closer look at policy reform on immigration, the minimum wage, and climate action.
Landscaping and Immigration Reform Policies
A significant portion of the workforce in the landscaping industry is made up of immigrants and laborers. More importantly, many landscaping businesses depend on seasonal workers from these two categories for their busy periods. Specialized visas, like the H-2B Visa, allow unskilled workers to enter the country and join the workforce. As it stands, immigration reform is bringing close scrutiny to these visas and change seems inevitable.
Immigration reform may affect the industry in two ways:
- Limiting the number of workers who can enter the country
Industry reports from Lawn and Landscape show that the top concern for landscaping professionals is the labour shortage, rating this worry as a 6.5 out of 10. Slashing the number of visas given out to foreign workers could impact a company’s ability to take on and fulfill projects. No one wants to turn down contracts because they don’t have enough hands to get the job done, not after the stalls from the last year due to the pandemic.
- Regulating the amount these workers will have to be paid
Some proponents of immigration reform suggest these visa holders will have to be paid on the same level as local workers. This added regulation is intended to sway business owners to hire American workers before they seek out immigrant workers.
The combination of lower interest from local workers and caps on immigrants may lead to limited profit generation for many landscaping businesses. Policy reform in this sphere means companies need to plan ahead for the lack of labour and potential losses.
This ties into our next point…
New Minimum Wage Policy for Landscaping?
President Biden has called for a 15$ an hour federal minimum wage. While this policy is mainly for federal employees, it lays the groundwork for nation-wide implementation. The idea of a 15$ minimum wage is daunting, even seemingly impossible for many small businesses, but the reality is not so bleak. This raise is likely to happen in stages, with a dollar hike per year.
It’s time to plan ahead and see how this increase (whether it’s gradual or sudden) impacts your landscaping business. Increased labour costs will raise your job costs — it’s just a matter of finding the new balance. You may need to adjust your hiring practices, for example, limiting how many workers you can have in your employ. Budgeting will also help you decide between absorbing a portion of these extra costs yourself or passing them on to your customer.
Resources to Improve the Profitability of your Landscaping Business:
→ Take a look at this list we put together to ensure your jobs are still profitable while you navigate the minimum wage reform
→ Download our profitability ebook to help you make better business decisions
There are also upsides to raising the minimum wage! This increase puts more money in people’s hands and expands your client base. By some estimates, a 15$ minimum wage gives an extra 3,000$ a year to lower-income workers. Neighborhoods you previously did little business in are now open to you. Many families in these areas now have a potential extra 6000$ to spend and a garden that urgently needs professional care. Angle your landscaping services to offer revitalization packages in communities you never previously serviced.
Impact of Climate Action Policies on Landscaping
The current administration places a high premium on sustainability. President Biden re-entered the Paris Agreement and has signed executive orders to tackle the climate crisis on a national scale. These moves impact the landscaping industry by offering us a potential challenge. They also present a significant opportunity.
Many forms of pesticides come under scrutiny when it’s a question of sustainable practices. Reform affects lawn care and turf maintenance processes. Pesticide restrictions may cause delays in certain plant availability as growers adapt to natural treatments. Does your landscaping business use sustainable care treatments? Now is the time to look into it and perhaps adjust your methods.
With everyone’s attention on climate action, the landscaping industry can in fact be a part of the solution. Landscaping can fortify against natural disasters and reverse ecological damages for example. Are local big cities looking to combat heat-island effects? Landscapers can create green spaces that fit into the urban environment. Is your region windy? Trees and shrubs can provide windbreaks that are as pleasing to look at as they are useful. Are clients worried about the environmental impact of high heating costs? Trees and shrubs to the rescue again!
You know your region’s needs best and now is the time to sell this knowledge. Create landscaping packages you can offer local homes and businesses to make their grounds weather-proof in a sustainable way.
In the short term, the Biden administration’s policies can present challenges, but opportunities for the landscaping industry to profit also exist undoubtedly. You can revisit your hiring practices, get creative with budgeting to account for higher job costs and adjust the maintenance packages. With strategic planning, you can optimize your business processes to target new clientele and offer new services. You can also let your neighbours become acquainted with services you’ve been able to provide this whole time!
What is your assessment of the challenges and opportunities as a result of the new White House policies? Participate in our poll to know what your peers think!