HindSite Software, a leading provider of field service software to the green industry, released its annual Green Industry Benchmark Report, which found optimism abounds in most green industry businesses. A remarkable 68% of respondents expect an improved economy in 2017, up from 48% a year ago.
However, green industry business growth may be stunted by a labor shortage: 27% said attracting and retaining employees was their biggest issue, and 87% find it somewhat or very difficult to find employees. Of the nearly 70% of respondents who plan to raise prices in 2017, 39% indicated that rising labor costs was the primary reason.
The Green Industry Benchmark Report is the culmination of a two-month-long surveying effort that reflects the opinions of hundreds of green industry business owners and managers who provide services including landscaping, irrigation service, mowing, fertilizing and snow removal. This is the fifth year HindSite Software has released a Green Industry Benchmark Report.
“The Green Industry Benchmark Report is the foremost report of green industry practices,“ said HindSite’s Marketing Manager, Chad Reinholz. “With nearly 60 pages of results and analysis and more than 50 graphs, the Green Industry Benchmark Report contains information that helps green industry businesses see how they stack up to their peers.”
Among the key findings:
- Formal staff training is one way green industry businesses are overcoming the labor shortage. Weekly training has increased 5% and employers offering no ongoing employee training have dropped from 18% last year to 12% this year.
- The labor shortage faced by many green industry businesses may also be impacting margins. Low margins were cited as the biggest issue by 11% of respondents, up from 6% a year ago.
- 26% of respondents saw profits in excess of 20%, up 3% from a year ago.
- Though only 43% of respondents use field service software, it does seem to improve revenue growth. Of the businesses that saw revenue growth in excess of 20% last year, more than half used field service software. Compare that to just under 30% of those who saw revenue decline last year.
- Businesses that attend four or more educational conferences a year seem to outperform those that attend less than four.
- Though websites were cited as the best source for leads by the most respondents, only about 75% of respondents have a website, an unusually low number in the age of the Internet.
This year’s Green Industry Benchmark Report also included longer interviews with five green industry businesses. The interviews delve deeper into individual business issues and successes, practices and advice.
“The Green Industry Benchmark Report has a wealth of aggregated information about green businesses,” said Reinholz. “But we felt like we were missing voices from individual contractors. So we conducted longer interviews to add an individual component to the report.”
The Green Industry Benchmark Report is available to download free at http://info.hindsitesoftware.com/2017-green-industry-benchmark-report.