Green industry survey finds labor shortage hasn’t eased

According to HindSite Software’s seventh annual Green Industry Benchmark Report, green industry businesses are growing and profitable, but struggling to find employees and are less optimistic about the economy than a year ago. A remarkable 92 percent said they found it somewhat or extremely difficult to find good applicants for their business, up 4 percent from a year ago.

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As a result, 76 percent of respondents expect to raise prices next year, with 41 percent of employers citing rising employee costs as the primary driver of their increased prices. In order to attract and retain their employees, wages are going up, with 46 percent expecting to increase wages by at least 3 percent next year, an increase of 3 percent over last year’s results.

Unlike the past two years, the economic outlook has waned. This year, just 37 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve, down from 70 percent a year ago. Most (46 percent) expect the economy to stay the same, though 17 percent expect it to get worse, up from 7 percent a year ago.

The Green Industry Benchmark Report details the results of a two-month-long surveying effort that reflects the opinions of nearly 300 green industry business owners and managers who provide services including landscaping, irrigation service, mowing, fertilizing and snow removal. This is the seventh year HindSite Software has released a Green Industry Benchmark Report.

“The Green Industry Benchmark Report contains a plethora of insights about the state of the green industry,“ said HindSite’s Marketing Manager, Chad Reinholz. “With nearly 70 pages of results and analysis and more than 50 graphs, smart green industry contractors leverage the report to understand how their business is performing relative to their peers.”

Among the key findings:

  • Revenues were up for a majority of green industry businesses, with 75 percent of respondents reporting year-over-year revenue growth. 38 percent reported revenue growth in excess of 10 percent.
  • Attracting and retaining employees continues to be the most frequently cited issue in a green industry business, with just over ⅓ of respondents claiming it’s their biggest issue.
  • Even though there’s a tight labor market, more than half of respondents expect to grow their staff in 2019.
  • The less optimistic economic outlook hasn’t dampened business growth projections. 39 percent of respondents expect to grow their revenue by more than 10 percent in 2019, and 86 percent expect revenue growth in general.
  • Though websites and branded trucks are the most common marketing tactics, online advertising is growing in popularity among green industry businesses.
  • Green industry businesses continue to diversify their service offerings, with only 12 percent of respondents offering a single green industry service like irrigation, lawn maintenance, fertilization, snow removal, landscape design/build, etc.

This year’s Benchmark Report also included extensive interviews with three green industry business owners ranging in size from a one-man operation to a multi-million dollar business with 30-plus employees.

“We’re always looking to improve the value of the Benchmark Report,” said Reinholz. “There’s a ton of data in the report, so we try to balance that data with real-world examples from active green industry businesses.”

The Green Industry Benchmark Report is available to download free at

A webinar, 10 Lessons from the 2019 Green Industry Benchmark Report, is planned for 1 p.m. Central, March 25. Visit to learn more and register.

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