ECHO hosted a Watch Party today of its third ECHO Heroes Video installment profiling Alex Carey, the 20-year-old owner of A. Carey Landscaping in Rhode Island. The young entrepreneur rejected a full college scholarship because he knew his dream lay in getting to work and owning a landscaping business. And he hasn’t regretted it. “It’s a lifestyle,” he commented and said he enjoys that every day is different. Later, he added, “Each property has its own story,” and related the sense of accomplishment one feels in seeing the beautification of a property at the end of a service.

During the Watch Party, Carey as well as members of ECHO’s User Advisory Group (UAG) fielded media questions on a variety of topics—including rising gas prices and labor shortages.

Rising Gas Prices

Mike Bedell, owner of  Bedell Property Management in Milford, MI pointed out the situation in Ukraine “is going to cause all sorts of ripple effects” beyond gas prices— extending to exports from that area like fertilizers and minerals. Now is the time, he said, to go through budgets and do some forecasting. But, he tempered it with, “Unless gas prices go to $200/gallon, we’ll all be OK.”

Carey said he is honoring quotes as they stand but has a clause to address rising costs. And while Jensen “JC” Martinez of Lawn Squad in Spencer, MA said solid customer relationships are a key factor in raising prices smoothly, Josh Currivan of Currivan Green Landscaping in Andover, MA admitted he still feels there’s a “blip” in clients fully understanding or appreciating how costs are passed along.

Scott Horoszewski with Landscapes by Acme pointed out that in his years in businesses, gas prices “always go up and down” and to focus on “quality first.”

Employee Shortages

While there was the idea that “if you take care of your guys, they’re going to stay with you,” Currivan says he thinks the landscaping industry is going to see more lateral moves than new people entering the industry. He related the difficulties small businesses have in offering benefits, child care, etc. He said he’s investing more in equipment and focused on attracting career employees.

Read Josh Currivan’s article on “Optimizing Landscape Business Profits.”