Gardening and landscaping business is growing, but has new challenges

There are so many people working on home improvement projects, and the landscaping industry is busier than ever, but there’s now new challenges in this growing business.

Posted: May 18, 2021 6:19 PM
Updated: May 18, 2021 8:05 PM

There’s no shortage of people coming to buy plants at GreenScapes Garden Center and Landscape Company, and even though there’s been some customers struck with sticker shock, it’s not stopping them from making a purchase. Owner Dennis O’Neill explains where some of the price increase is coming from.

"Our biggest increase this year is freight. As an example, we had a freight rate of 22% on a load, and then they called us and told us there’s another 14% fuel surcharge on top of that, which is a portion of that, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You know if you want your delivery, you’re going to pay the freight."

In addition to the price increases, O’Neill has a bigger challenge, and he believes it’s the federal government’s fault.

"Our biggest problem is staffing. You know we’re short staffed both in the landscape division and in the retail here. Retail not as bad, but still we could use a few more, but landscape division we’re real short."

He says the high unemployment benefits are likely the reason people aren’t willing to come and work, but there are people like Matt White who saw an opportunity to change careers and went for it.

"For me it was about getting the chance to work outside, still be with people. You know after all this COVID stuff started, I wanted an opportunity to be outside and to be around people, and this was just the perfect opportunity."

If you’ve ever thought you’d like to work in landscaping, now might be the perfect opportunity. The owner of Pro Cut Landscaping has been in business for 32 years and said last year was a record year, but this year’s business is even better. He and several local landscapers are in need of employees, but employees aren’t the only thing in demand. Dennis O’Neill says particular plants are becoming difficult to find as well.

"Annual flowers are tough right now. We’ve had people call looking for particular varieties, and they’re not to be had. I had one woman call me yesterday who was looking for a particular variety, and I was the fifth place she called. Nobody has it."

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