Articles

10 Business Trends for Lawn Care and Landscaping Pros in 2019

In 2018 we saw the rise of the online marketplace: Facebook, Google, Amazon—the big tech players got into the game, which was predicted by contributors in our 2018 trends article.

This year we’re seeing that no one single issue is dominating the narrative for business owners in the home services. Our contributors in landscaping, lawn care, HVAC, residential cleaning, arboriculture, pool service, contracting, window cleaning, pressure washing, accounting, consulting, and more, have all identified trends and priorities across a variety of areas.

An important common denominator this year is the need to take a 360 degree view to growing and differentiating your business. Everything ladders up to creating a memorable service experience for customers in a crowded landscape, and it pays to take a holistic approach.

The themes of having a strong online presence, building out a team you can trust, continuously adjusting your digital marketing, and looking for automation and efficiency opportunities aren’t new—they’re table stakes. And maybe that’s the overarching theme: 2019 is the year of getting back to basics, and ensuring your business is ready to crush the year on all fronts.  

– Sam Pillar, CEO, Jobber

Gotta run?

Get a copy of the trends report delivered to your inbox.

Download the eBook

1. Listen to what homeowners are asking of the industry

Start to develop more sustainable green business practices. Consumers are looking for companies that make environmentally sound decisions when they explore landscaping companies that they want to work with. The proverbial writing is on the wall if you’re paying attention to legislation, the amount of businesses that are increasing their battery powered line of equipment, diesel engine emissions standards, etc.

You can make small changes over a period of time to increase your green business practices. It could be something as simple as committing to being a paperless company by utilizing a platform like Jobber (i.e., no more paper invoices, paper checks.), adding a battery powered piece of equipment, using recycled materials, etc. God gave us one earth to care for, and it’s our responsibility to lead the charge when it comes to sustainable business practices. After all, we do operate in the “green” industry.

– Brian and Kristy Boase, Owners, MIL-SPEC Landscaping


There’s a growing recognition of the importance of outdoor space and connecting to the living 
landscape to our health and well-being—and a need to get kids off their devices and joysticks and reconnect to the outdoors.

A key trend that landscapers should keep in mind is their role in creating and managing these spaces for children, families, and pets. Nature starts at your back door.

– Kris Kiser, President, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute


The way people are paying for anything and everything, including service, is changing. People want convenient ways to pay: Most millenials want to pay by credit card and everything is online and very easy. People are looking for a specific experience—and what that experience is may change depending on your customer base so you need to do your homework.

A good rule of thumb is to automate your payment process as much as possible, and make it really, really easy for your customers. Your turnaround time will be faster and your admin time will go down. Chasing payments is a lot of work that’s not adding any value to your business, and it’s probably frustrating both parties.

– Darren Wood, Director of Finance and Operations, Jobber


If you want to keep a pulse on where the lawn and landscape industry is going, keep an eye on the homeowner and DIY space. Homeowners have a bigger voice in the marketplace than they ever have before. They will tweet, they will post on Facebook, they’ll Instagram the brands they love, the brands that they use to make their lawn beautiful, and they will be loud advocates for that.

The DIY’ers, the homeowners, are always able to tell you what they care about and what they like. Because of that, they’re starting to push trends. What we’re finding is that the homeowner market is now starting to drive the professional market. Products that homeowners use are starting to drive what the professionals use. That’s an interesting trend and that’s gonna continue, so that’s what you want to watch for in 2019. What are the DIY’ers doing? How is that affecting the professional market?

– Allyn Hane, Lawn Care Nut

2. On that note, invest in greener equipment and practices

We’re partnering with The Compost Company to implement an all organic soil and mulch option for our clients. By utilizing products from The Compost Company, we’re helping to remove organic waste from landfills and eventually return it to the soil. We’re also going to explore implementing an accountability metric like the Green Business Bureau that will help us track the green changes we’re making. In our industry, we use a lot of different equipment and some of that equipment is not the friendliest for the environment. In lieu of sticking our head in the sand, we’re going to take a proactive realistic approach to what we can accomplish while still providing the excellent service our clients deserve.

– Brian and Kristy Boase, Owners, MIL-SPEC Landscaping

 

The market for green lawn care is becoming bigger and bigger in big city markets. I am looking to offer a greener service, meaning more battery equipment and smaller mowers. I would even say we will be looking at full organic lawn treatment programs. This is going to become a huge selling point with people becoming more environmentally conscious. I have also recently learned that a local town will be requiring residents to have a noise and emissions test done on their power equipment each year and issued a compliance sticker for the year. With cities and towns doing things like this battery is going to become more and more popular.

– Brad Lloyd, Owner, Your Way Lawn Care

3. Evaluate your efficiency when assessing new equipment and tech

When your business begins to grow, ultimately you want to have the most effective, efficient, fastest piece of equipment, software, everything to make your business go as smoothly as possible. So for me doing weed control and fertilization, instead of using a push spreader to spread fertilizer, I want a ride on spreader. Why? It’s faster, it’s more efficient, and just to be honest with you, personally, I like using the ride on spreaders versus pushing a spreader up a big hill.

For other people it might mean instead of using paper invoice in your month to do billing, you start using you start using invoicing software. Or maybe even start getting people on an autopay situation where you can eliminate many of the collection processes and the things that go into billing and collecting your money.

So I would take your off season in the lawn business to evaluate—am I being as efficient as I possibly can? When do I need to upgrade my lawnmower? Do I need to upgrade to software—whatever can keep me out there doing things that make money more often. Because if you’re sitting there at a desk doing paperwork, that’s not paying you money.

– Jason Creel, Lawn Care Life


The use of technology plays a large role in my company’s daily systems and processes. That said, the tech we use has developed faster than we can integrate it.  We are planning to adopt many of these helpful new offerings and I am excited to see the positive impact these changes will make to our bottom line moving forward.

– Michael Bedell, Owner, Horticulturist and Landscape Designer, Bedell Property Management and  Debt Free Landscaper


Next year I will be growing my business to take on double the accounts I currently have. That means I will need more lawn maintenance equipment: mowers, trimmers, and blowers. It took me the last five years to know what services I really want to offer and what will be the most profitable for me. So now I know exactly what equipment I need to be the most efficient, as I increase staffing and take on more work.

– Naylor Taliaferro, Lawn Care Rookie


Continuous improvement is key, small businesses are nimble but often lack the resources for wholesale system changes. By focusing on a few key improvements each season or year small business owners can grow themselves and their businesses.

– Joel Beatson, Executive Director, Landscape Alberta


The best technology to invest in would fall into one of three possible categories: Sales, Operations, and Office. For your sales department (and your company as a whole), a very wise investment would be software that automates invoicing, estimating, routing, payments, CRM and automated communications with clients. Jobber, hands-down, is the industry leader in this area and that is why Dirt Monkey University relentlessly promotes their products and services.

For the operations side, one small, simple and super powerful piece of equipment is a powered wheelbarrow. Sure, having big machines makes doing large projects much easier but if you want a simple way to give tremendous relief to the back breaking work your laborers perform, take away the manual wheelbarrow and replace it with a powered one. This may likely increase employee retention and morale as well.

– Phil Sarros, Director of Education, Dirt Monkey University

4. Take time to plan for 2019—and beyond

Have a business plan and stick to it. I prefer five year plans. Five years gives you enough time to see results, but not too much time in case you need to make some changes. Keep it simple and refer to it regularly to stay on track. It’s too easy to get caught up in just chasing money, and then at the end of the year, you don’t have much left in your pocket.

– Naylor Taliaferro, Lawn Care Rookie


One piece of advice that I want to share with you is to not just take a short term approach to the next year, but actually try to figure out where you want your business to be in three, five, maybe even ten years from now.

The reason I say that is because I think a lot of times as lawn care business owners, and I fall into this same trap, we’re very reactionary. Something happens, I had a bad day so I’m gonna make this change. My mower breaks, so I’m going to go buy a new one. Or a customer does this to me, so I take this action. And it’s very short term thinking—very reactionary to what happened today or what happened this week.

Have a vision of where you’re actually trying to take your business. Write it down on a piece of paper, record it on your computer, maybe even put it on your wall to say, “This is what my business will look like when it’s finished.”

What does a finished business look like? There may be different answers for different people. For you, a finished business may be filling up your route and you being a solo operator. But for others, it may be having ten crews working all different aspects of the lawn care industry. Whatever that looks like, you need a clear picture to say, “Now, what steps do I need to take to make that happen?”

– Jason Creel, Lawn Care Life


The economy might be slowing down over the next year, which means that demand for home services might be lower and competition will be higher. Small business owners in the home services industry should continue to improve on providing the best customer experience they can.

If they’re not regularly getting feedback or reviews from their customers, they should take this opportunity to implement a feedback process, whether it’s a simple survey, phone call, or Google review. Also, take note of what their competitors are doing to see how they compare.

– Quan Ly, Partner, CPA, McRally LLP Chartered Accountants


In 2019 you are going to have to find away to be different than everyone else. With the industry becoming more saturated in most markets, being able to offer more services to your clients so they aren’t forced to shop other companies. Become that one stop shop.

– Brad Lloyd, Owner, Your Way Lawn Care

5. Develop a network of so-called ‘competitors’ and industry leaders

Network with your “perceived competition.” Society paints us out to be cookie cutter, cut-throat competitors attempting to steal each other’s business—when the reality is, 99 per cent of the time, the exact opposite is true. Your “fierce opponents” are likely genuine, salt of the earth people, who understand your challenges, are willing to lend a hand and actually want to see you both succeed in 2019—and beyond.

– Michael Bedell, Owner, Horticulturist and Landscape Designer, Bedell Property Management and  Debt Free Landscaper


Always be learning! Attend an association or manufacturer’s training events to stay on top of industry trends and how to best put them into practice. From business management to construction techniques to human resource issues and more, continued training prepares you to handle the challenges that can occur with business ownership.

– Brian Helfrich, Vice President of Construction, Aquascape Inc.

Gotta run?

Get a copy of the trends report delivered to your inbox.

Download the eBook

6. Stay on top of your cashflow and budgeting practices

I recently heard that as many as 60-70% of small businesses in the landscape industry are operating without an annual budget. There are so many great tools available and so many opportunities through associations and service providers to get people started. As the old saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

– Joel Beatson, Executive Director, Landscape Alberta


The best piece of business advice that I would tell people to put into place in 2019 is to build a safety net of six months of cash saved to cover business and personal expenses. I am not preaching gloom and doom but history has taught us that recessions occur approximately every eight years and we are now almost 11 years since our last recession. I would strongly advise to not be over-leveraged with debt and to have as much equipment, property and vehicles paid in full as possible.

– Phil Sarros, Director of Education, Dirt Monkey University


Stay out of debt. Keeps you nimble and able to pivot when things change or get tough. This also gives you cash flow margin to take advantages of opportunities not yet seen.

– Britt Dowd, Owner, Green Again Lawn and the Lawncare Leaders podcast


Set specific targets and goals. Targets start with the overall big number and then reverse engineer that target to fit into daily/weekly tasks and actions that are built to achieve the end number.

Take time to work on your business. This is called CEO time. Review your business objectively. How are your initiatives stacking up to what you expected? What adjustments do you need to make? Have a set ‘core’ agenda for this review process each week and stick to it.

– Brad Halliwell, Business Coach, Halliwell Business Coaching

7. Ensure people can find your business online

My number one piece of advice is to get your company found online. So much of consumer shopping is online and the same applies to shopping for home services. Improve your website’s SEO and get online reviews on websites such as Google and Yelp.

– Kirk Brown, President, Kirk’s Lawn Care


In 2019, it’s too late to say that you don’t have website. You really do need to have a website for your business. Your website and your social media is going to tell everybody your story.

What makes you better, different, awesome? What services make you stand out? Your website is going to explain that, as well as telling them about you, how long you’ve been in business, and the great things you do in the community.

The thing you want to look for with a website, is that it renders better on mobile first. Always look at mobile. 60 to 70 per cent of the traffic that you have to your website will be on a mobile phone. Always design and look at the way your website looks and functions from mobile first.

– Allyn Hane, Lawn Care Nut


The most important thing for small businesses when it comes to marketing is being found where people want to find you. You need to make sure you have your basics covered with: a Facebook page with the location info filled in, a Google My Business account with local information and service areas filled in, etc.

It’s getting harder and harder to be found and those are the basics. If you don’t have the basics covered, you don’t need to do anything else. Don’t hire anyone to do SEO on your site. Don’t hire anyone to paid ads. Start with the basics.

– Nick Keyko, Director of Marketing, Jobber


Social media marketing is going to be the biggest aspect to drive business growth as business owners get ready for 2019. It allows you to find isolated groups of customers to market to: Our customers are gathering themselves within Facebook groups, in online garage sale groups, on the Nextdoor app, on Instagram.

It’s now a lot easier and a lot less expensive than it used to be to get in front of and acquire new customers. Meet your customer where they’re already familiar with buying. Look for a group, look for a page to join. Maybe create your own group, so that you can isolate your customers, so that you can allow them to experience the major benefits of your business as you constantly, continually, upgrade your page with new photos and new digital content.

– Greg Brooks, CEO, Brooks Landscaping and Gleam Pressure Washing

8. Level up your paid marketing game in the digital space

Google is coming out with a tool that will become more widespread in 2019: local service ads.

At the very top of a results page it will show three or four plumbers in your area that you can book directly from Google without ever visiting the plumber’s website. Right now, you still have to click an ad, visit the website, and then find out how to book your service.

This feature is becoming available throughout the US and is likely on its way to Canada. Early adopters are paying $20 to $30 per lead, but this will go up and likely double as others adopt the service—so get on there before everyone else figures this out!

You also don’t need to worry about finding an agency to help with your Google Ads spend: it’s set it and forget it. It’s built with the entrepreneur in mind, eliminating Google Ads management time.

– Rafael Valdez, PPC Analyst, Jobber


Facebook continues to outpace any other ads platform in terms of revenue growth. For a long time, Google AdWords was the biggest digital advertising platform for every type of business, but when Facebook unleashed its new advertising platform it specifically started outpacing Google on mobile.

In particular, people are spending more on Facebook mobile ads than they are on Google mobile ads. Facebook will continue to dominate the mobile advertising space, and increasingly become an important channel for small businesses.

Looking at trends, I think more and more, people will be going to Facebook on their phones to find their next service provider making it a strong lead source for small businesses. That will bleed into you needing to be able to accept new work from Facebook.

– Nick Keyko, Director of Marketing, Jobber

9. Adjust your hiring practices to attract the employees you want

There’s a real paradigm shift that I believe is felt in any industry in any type of role whether you’re employing more seasonal or long-term employees: People are not willing to stay in places where their personal values don’t align with the company. Everyone is looking to make an impact.

The majority of us aren’t saving lives, but we can still have an impact. You can put a smile on someone’s face, and they’ll tell a friend at a dinner party that they had a great experience with your lawn care business.

The people you want to have as employees, who are going to help build your company, are searching for a way to make impact.

Think through the following questions:

  1. Why am I asking people to be here?
  2. What is our purpose as an organization?

You will win, you will scale, you will achieve revenue growth, if you take time to focus on the impact, the vision, and the culture of your business. Organizations who think those things are fluffy and don’t have a place in business will continue to operate at mediocre growth.

And customers have a higher expectations than they ever have. So why not have employees that meet those changing expectations?

– Danielle Strang, Head of People Operations, Jobber


Employee issues are always the number one pain point for small business owners and it is only going to get worse for those unwilling to change. No longer is it enough to post a help wanted ad and hope for the best. Smart owners are shifting to head-hunting for top talent and focusing on building recruiting systems.  

With unemployment at an all time low coupled with the fact that millennials are moving away from the trades, it is a perfect storm.  

The owners who get ahead of this issue have a massive opportunity to build incredible teams of A-players but it will only happen by them taking serious the idea of head-hunting. Most great job candidates are already working somewhere else and it is the small business owners responsibility to lure them away with a better offer and a compelling company culture.

– Josh Latimer, Founder, SendJim and Automate Grow Sell

10. A few ideas for your 2019 equipment and technology wishlist

You’ve got to get ready for the digital age and social media, so my biggest purchase for 2019 is going to be a drone. There are now drones that allow you to do Facebook and Instagram Lives while on the job site.

This will allow me to capture beautiful images and video of the services we provide—we became successful by sharing the before and after aspect of our work—and I no longer have to hold the camera.

– Greg Brooks, CEO, Brooks Landscaping and Gleam Pressure Washing


We’ve seen the expansion of battery offerings in the market really take hold, and manufacturers are rolling out more robust battery and electric options specifically for the contractor market. Customers can now ‘pick their power,’ and choose from a wide range of equipment that fits the job they’re doing. Equipment can be powered by gasoline or diesel engines, batteries, propane, solar, liquefied natural gas —all depending on the users’ need.

On the equipment side, robotic lawn mowers continue to expand in the U.S. marketplace as an innovative solution to the continued workforce challenges facing landscapers. They always report sober and on time for work, and we’re already seeing landscapers integrate them into a new service model for both commercial and residential customers.

– Kris Kiser, President, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute


I am purchasing 3 used Chevy trucks, 1 Z spray, and three 200 gallon space saver spray tanks

– Britt Dowd, Owner, Green Again Lawn and the Lawncare Leaders podcast


We’re looking to purchase a few new pieces of equipment in 2019. First, we’re purchasing a new truck to replace an old one so we can continue to be efficient running multiple crews. Also, our maintenance team is handling smaller projects more frequently and their current small dump truck is running a little ragged. A larger dump truck will be able to handle more wear and tear. Finally, we plan to purchase a new walk-behind skid steer for transporting rock and digging trenches for water feature installation. Several attachments let us use it for various aspects of our projects.

– Brian Helfrich, Vice President of Construction, Aquascape Inc.


We have just recently expanded into fertilizer applications this past year. For the 2019 season, we are going to be exploring the different pesticide application equipment out there and will be likely purchasing some sprayers we will need to better our services. We will also be looking into the different fertilizer and pesticide products available as we try to fine tune our treatment programs.

– Kirk Brown, President, Kirk’s Lawn Care

Here to help

2019 is Your Year to Conquer Efficiency

Take a quick tour to see where Jobber can make an impact in your day-to-day.

Tour Jobber

Topics:

Tags:

Solid advice delivered to your inbox

We’ll send you emails with our latest and greatest posts—and some fun extras. #noblogspam

Sent!

Supported by Jobber

Jobber software is the backbone of your business operations. Quote, schedule, invoice, and get paid—faster.

Free Trial Visit Jobber

Jobber Copyright 2019
  |   Privacy   |   Terms