Green Industry Benchmark Report finds labor shortage hasn’t eased

HindSite Software, a provider of field service software to lawn care, landscaping and irrigation businesses, on March 23 released its eighth annual Green Industry Benchmark Report, which again found businesses struggling to find employees. A remarkable 88 percent said they found it somewhat or extremely difficult to find good applicants for their business, down slightly (4 percent) from a year ago, but still relatively high.

Green Industry Benchmark ReportRevenue growth was robust in 2019, with 37 percent of respondents indicating their revenue had grown by more than 10 percent, while 70 percent saw revenue increase. Profit margins remained mostly unchanged from a year ago, with the typical green industry business reporting profit margins between 11-20 percent, while 24 percent of respondents saw margins in excess of 20 percent.

The Green Industry Benchmark Report details the results of a two-month-long surveying effort that reflects the opinions of more than 350 green industry business owners and managers who provide services including landscaping, irrigation service, mowing, fertilizing and snow removal.

“The Green Industry Benchmark Report is a must read for any green industry business. Because they interact with their peers so infrequently, they don’t know how they compare to their high growth peers,“ said HindSite’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Chad Reinholz. “With more than 60 pages of results and analysis and nearly 70 graphs, smart green industry contractors leverage the report to understand how their business is performing relative to their peers.”

Among the key findings:

  • Training matters. Among businesses that grew, just 15 percent offered no recurring training for their employees. Those that saw their revenue decrease were nearly twice as likely to say they didn’t offer recurring training.
  • Though this survey occurred before the COVID-19 pandemic, most (70 percent) green industry businesses were expecting to grow their staff in 2020.
  • The typical green industry business spends 39 percent of its revenue on wages.
  • Service specialization is on the decline, with just 7 percent of businesses saying they offer only 1 of the 9 most common green industry services. That’s down 5 percent from a year ago.
  • Aside from referrals, websites and truck signage continue to be sources of new customers for the typical green industry business. Social media grew slightly – from 14 percent to 16 percent. The biggest mover was online advertising, which was up to 9 percent, compared to 5 percent a year ago.
  • The typical green industry business services about 15 percent of the total households in its market.

This year’s Benchmark Report also included extensive interviews with two green industry business owners.

“There’s a lot of data in the report,” said Reinholz. “We try to balance that data with stories from real businesses so you can hear how they’ve gotten to where they are and what makes them unique.”

The Green Industry Benchmark Report is available to download free at A webinar, Lessons from the 2020 Green Industry Benchmark Report, is planned for 1 p.m. Central, April 8. Visit to learn more and register.

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