How to Keep Your Landscaping Business Recession-Proof in 2022
A 2022 recession is beginning to feel more and more probable. Expressions like “highest ever inflation”, and “lowest spending power” are becoming more commonplace. However, how much of this is hype and what can you do to keep your business thriving if the recession becomes more likely? Read the full post to get all the facts and actionable tips to help your landscaping business stay recession-proof.
Are we approaching a recession in 2022?
It’s hard to get a clear answer to this question. In fact, a recession is often officially announced only a year or two after it’s happened. Having said that, common indicators that usually point toward a recession are flashing red signs in 2022. Inflation rates are at an all-time high, new housing starts are dropping, and the GDP has shrunk for two quarters in a row.
Regardless, experts state that there is still time for things to turn around. For example, inflation could be dodged if the annualized inflation rate is cut in the second half of this year. The consensus with major investment banks and financial services companies is that there is a 50% chance that a recession is on the horizon. As it stands, it is tricky to predict what is to come! What’s most important for landscaping business professionals is that they begin to strategize and prepare for some of the economic trends that could impact their day-to-day operations.
Landscaping and a recession in 2022, what does it mean for your business?
A recession doesn’t need to be in full force to affect your business. Even the expectation of one can affect consumer behavior. Large commercial projects may put any big-ticket landscaping work on hold. Perhaps certain residential jobs could be postponed until the situation improves. Also, with smaller demand comes greater competition between landscaping companies. It can be harder to win bids and stay profitable.
This means winning new business or retaining old customers is going to be harder this year, and you’ll need every bit of your time to focus on managing relationships. Continue reading for some tried & improved strategies to recession-proof your landscaping business.
5 steps to recession-proof your landscaping business
1. Diligently review your current budget and launch new strategies to maximize profit
Knowing that there are likely changes on the horizon, this is a good time to review your company’s budget. Reducing your operating costs (including payroll, rent, and other overhead costs) is an intelligent approach to getting through a financial downturn. Find out if there are occasions where you can optimize on labor. You can also investigate the cash flow trends of your business to find out the pattern of recurring profitability issues. The landscaping for-profit eBook by GoMaterials can help you get started on identifying your real net profit for example. In fact, this can be an ongoing exercise. Why wait for a recession to start minimizing your overhead, unproductive labor, and other costs?
2. Factor in the pricing trends of 2022
With fluctuating gas prices in 2022, you may end up with higher costs for running your business. What’s worse, these costs can change overnight in ways that aren’t always possible to predict. Consider looking at price trends for the year, especially since gas prices tend to be volatile and out of your control.
Materials and procurement are other important cost factors that can be hard to rein in. Many plants will likely be more expensive this year due to the shortages and inflation. The 2022 Plant Shortage Report by GoMaterials includes more details on the 2022 pricing trends, and popular items that are in short supply. The report estimates a price increase of around 16% for wholesale plant materials, so leave yourself a buffer in your bids accordingly. A serious weight will be lifted off your shoulders if you can pre-emptively solve what could have become a much bigger problem.
3. Focus on essential maintenance services
While customers may not be looking to invest in a glamorous poolside landscaping project, landscape maintenance is a necessity regardless of the state of the economy. This can include lawn mowing, weeding, weed spraying, pest control, or irrigation repairs. Pivoting to or focusing on these types of services can help offset the loss of profit during an economic downturn.
4. Save administrative costs by working with wholesale plant brokers or free services like GoMaterials
Believe it or not, all those hidden administrative costs do add up! There can be hours spent negotiating on the phone with different nurseries, planning delivery logistics, and problem-solving in case of missing or damaged materials. Oftentimes, landscape professionals underestimate the hours spent in a week planning the logistics of their business. With the right wholesale plant brokers or with free services like GoMaterials, you can offload that burden.
5. Plan out new packages for existing customers
A recession is a good time to reach out to your reliable customers. With your regular customers, try to recall if they had had any projects in their pipeline that they wanted to get started but hadn’t confirmed. As a best practice, try to keep note of such upcoming projects for all your clients. Now is the time to cross-sell maintenance packages after you’ve lined up install projects. Your existing rapport and a customized maintenance package can go a long way in making this sale worth the time and energy spent on it.
One thing is certain – whether we’ll be hitting a recession in 2022 or not, it’s never a bad idea to investigate how to cut down costs. Running a leaner, meaner, stronger business is an evergreen approach to success.
Looking for more advice on how to optimize your landscaping business? Read more on our recent blogs with expert hacks to help organize your landscaping business before the peak season and 5 ideas and resources to overcome landscape worker shortages.