Is A Landscape Franchise A Good Business Opportunity In Recession?

The simple answer to this article’s title question is "yes." Though landscaping isn’t one of those essential services that survives recession by virtue of being necessary to human survival, it has somehow developed a track record of weathering recession impeccably well.

The History of Landscaping

A 2002 Business Wire article took a look at the landscaping industry in relation to a general economic downturn that year and concluded that, for reasons not entirely understood, the landscaping and gardening industry saw growth while others did not. And that strange fact fell in line with a precedent for the industry that had been set years prior. According to the Market Research Director of the National Gardening Association, "Gardening held its own in the recessions of 1982, 1987, and 1990-91." Adding the downturn of 2002, in which the professional landscaping sector saw an astounding 12% growth, this unexpectedly strong market has seen growth in spite of general economic slowdown in the last four periods of recession. It doesn’t, therefore, make a great deal of sense to fear dramatic losses in this industry even if the economy is facing hard times again.

Working Hard in Spite of Being Recession-Proof

The fact that landscaping has historically been a strong industry in the face of economic decline doesn’t take away the responsibility to keep pressing your gardening business ahead, though. On the contrary, having an advantage in the market should encourage landscaping businessmen to push their franchises harder and make the most of them in a time of comparative strength. The following are a few ideas to help landscapers get that extra edge during recession.

Cut Costs

It’s really something that every business owner should be doing all the time, but particularly during a recession. The fact that recession doesn’t seem to hurt the landscaping industry doesn’t mean that it’s not hurting your clients, and if it’s hurting them, it’s not far from hurting you. The ultimate goal of cutting back expenses during this time is to pass some of the savings along to your customers; if you are spending less on the things it takes to make your business run, they are in-turn spending less to afford your services, which means they’re more likely to keep you around and recommend you to their friends.

Some easy places to cut back on costs are in gas and labor. Fuel, though prices are dropping, is still not cheap. The easiest way to restrict spending in that area is to keep your services to a local area as much as possible, which means restricting your advertising to just a few neighboring towns or cities. Drive too far to take a job and you will inevitably have to hike up your prices to cover the extra fuel expenses.

Likewise, making those longer drives to clients means you have to pay employees more for the time they’re spending in the car, which is time they’re not spending getting a job done. Those are essentially lost labor costs. It may be worth your while to keep certain teams in certain areas, redefine routes, or redraft employee earnings for travel time. You never want to dishonor your employees with sub-par compensation, but you also don’t want to scare away the clients who ultimately are paying their paychecks.

Make an Extra Push to Ensure Customer Satisfaction

Saving dollars and cents for your franchise business and for your customers is a great idea, but it can’t stand alone. What every client really wants, more than a good price, is to be appreciated, respected and well taken care of. If your home based business can provide both great rates and good service, you are sure to make the most of your natural recession strength.

It’s not uncommon for landscaping professionals to lack a certain customer-service charm because their minds are set solely on the work at hand. Ensure that all of your employees understand that interacting with and honoring their customers is a part of their job, even if that means giving them firsthand training in basic customer service skills. Similarly, make sure that you are interacting with your clients as well. Call them occasionally, make visits to check on projects, send feedback cards; do anything and everything necessary, as the head of the franchise, to let each client know that his business is necessary and valued, because it is.

Some Franchise Opportunities

After spending so much time discussing the strength of landscaping businesses in recession, it only makes sense to give some stage time to good business opportunities in the field. If you’re interested in investigating the industry yourself, here are some good landscaping franchises to consider.

NaturaLawn of America

Cheered by Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc Magazine, and a long list of gardening magazines, this home business is one of the premier names in organic landscaping. Their complete line of biological garden treatments do what most harsh chemicals are designed for without the dangerous side effects, which is something Americans favor in the midst of its current trend toward organic products.

Spring-Green Lawn Care

This business for sale provides an exceptional opportunity to flex your entrepreneurial muscles by owning and operating your own yard-care franchise. Offering a full array of services from aeration to disease control, franchisees are eased into business at whatever pace works for them.

Weed Man

This name represents a real business opportunity with the largest lawn-care company in the world, one that is committed to their franchisees, to their work, and most importantly to their clients. With dominant purchasing power, work from home franchisees purchase only the best products, so that they can provide the best services.

There are a surprising number of ways to profit in the midst of a recession, and landscaping is definitely one of them. If green is your color, don’t let a little economic speed bump turn you away from the career opportunity of your dreams.

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