In this issue, we have plenty of data and the bulk of it shows the industry continues to do well. Aside from a few concerns, namely lack of quality labor, contractors are confident their companies will continue to grow.

If I was skeptical about the data, both analytical and anecdotally, my recent first-person experience backed up all of it.

Brian Horn, editor, Lawn & Landscape

At the same time as I was going through our SOI data, my wife and I were in the process of getting estimates for a cleanup, plant removal and installation at our house.

We began to call around to a handful of companies in the area to find out what our costs might be for what we wanted done. The first two we contacted responded to our initial inquiry within 24 hours and came out for an estimate within a few days of the callback.

One of them provided a barebones estimate and completely disappeared after we followed up with a couple of questions. The other company took forever to get back to us but eventually provided their designs.

One of them provided a barebones estimate and completely disappeared after we followed up with a couple of questions.

In the meantime, we reached out to several more companies, and didn’t even get a call back until almost a week later from one of them.

One never responded at all, and the third came out, was very professional … and to date, we are still waiting for their estimate.

We ended up going with the only company that actually did provide us with designs. They apologized for their delay, gave what we felt was a fair estimate and explained they could likely fit us in within the next week or so. Two days later, they emailed to say they’d be starting the next day.

Talk about hurry up and wait, or wait and hurry up in this instance. Fortunately, the company did a great job.

Unfortunately, it can be common for companies to respond in a less-than timely fashion, and that may have been part of the delay. But, I think some of the companies we contacted were legitimately busy and didn’t have the best scheduling and planning process.

Shameless plug – if you are looking to learn more about software and technology to help in planning and efficiency, head over to Orlando in February for the inaugural Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference. Learn more here: bit.ly/lltech20.

Whether my experience is indicative of the health of the industry doesn’t really matter. If you are having trouble keeping up with new customers and profitable current customers, maybe it’s time to get out of the field. Or, even easier, find some help, even part-time, to answer phones and get appointments and follow-ups on the books.

Business may be going well, but it never hurts to plan for that inevitable slow down. – Brian Horn