High Gas Prices Cut Into Profits For Lawn Care Businesses

BILOXI (WLOX) -- In order to keep cutting grass, lawn care specialists have parked some of their gas guzzling mowers. They've cut back on the number of out-of-town clients they have. And in some cases, they've trimmed their payrolls.

To beautify one client's flower bed, landscapers added colorful plants, a new irrigation system, and plenty of mulch. To manicure the lawn, they used a sod cutter, mowers, and plenty of very expensive gas.

Lawn care specialist Rick Davidson said, "It's killing us. It's really hurting us bad."

Last year, Rusty Fountain's company paid $1,800/month for the gas used to bring his creations to life. This year, it takes almost $3,000 each month to fill his trucks, and his lawn equipment.

"They've caused us to increase our price. Hate to say that, but that's just the fact," Fountain said. "We either have to cut back on our employees or personnel, or go higher up on our pricing as far as our landscaping and our lawn maintenance."

Fountain is like so many lawn care entrepreneurs who rely on gas to run a business. They're all cutting lawns. But they're also cutting costs, because gas prices are rising like weeds.

"We'll do anything to stay in business. Cut our employees, cut the amount of trucks on the road, whatever it takes to stay in business, we'll go ahead and do that," Fountain said.

Rick Davidson agrees.

"We're trying to keep our prices so people can afford us, but we can't afford it anymore," Davidson said.

So all these lawn care professionals are trying to do right now is find creative ways to beautify yards, and make sure their mowers don't run out of gas.

Unfortunately, gas prices are only going to get worse. The Department of Energy has already predicted that a gallon of gas may hit the four dollar threshold later this year.