HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Gas prices are hitting all kinds of businesses, but none harder than landscapers. From trucks to mowers to leaf blowers, one Hamden company is giving insight on how they are getting by with the sky-high prices.
For TJB Landscaping, the day starts with fueling up all the different pieces of equipment they use. A year ago, fuel cost owner Ted Greiner $3,000 to $4,000 a month.
“And now, we’ve basically doubled that from where we were before,” Greiner said.
There’s no way to cut back on fuel use when your job involves digging backyard water features.
“You need the big trucks to carry the big trailers to carry the tractor to get to the job site to dig the holes, so you can’t do that by hand. You can’t put a 20-ton trailer behind a Prius,” Greiner said.
So, for the first time in 46 years in the business, TJB has started putting a clause in every contract saying the cost of the job will have to go up if the cost of fuel keeps going up.
“And if gas comes down at some point, sure, we’ll come back and we’ll reduce the prices,” Greiner said.
In addition to all the vehicles and equipment that use all the fuel, landscapers were already facing other challenges during the pandemic. Like all other industries, they were dealing with supply chain issues and trouble finding enough people to work.
“We’ve had some people that decided to change careers and replacing them has not been easy. What we’ve tried to do is automate as much as possible by using machinery to take care of it. Unfortunately, the machinery requires gas,” Greiner said.
Machinery has also skyrocketed in price, plus there are long waits from the manufacturers. The good news is people were home so much during the pandemic there is plenty of work in making home nicer.
“A lot of guys, unfortunately, aren’t adding in the extra prices. They’re still coming in dirt cheap on certain jobs and what’s happening is they’re not able to cover expenses and as I’ve seen in the past, they’ll be gone soon,” Griener said.
Factoring in gas prices is the way this family business plans to keep going for the next generation.