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Thriving Outside: How Landscaping Businesses Are Navigating COVID-19

COVID-19 has been financially devastating for many small businesses, and many won’t reopen when the pandemic ends. Despite these challenges, though, there are at least a few businesses that are thriving, and landscaping companies are among them. 

Landscaping companies are doing well for two key reasons. First, operators are being called on by people who are stuck at home and doing more yard work as a result; people have the time and motivation to work on their yards. Second, since landscapers work outside (and most wore masks even before the pandemic), their jobs are physically much safer than many others, so people feel more comfortable calling them in to work.

Still, while there are certainly some safeguards built into landscaping, if landscaping companies are going to continue to build market share in the coming months, they’re going to have to stay abreast of best practices. 

Here’s how the landscaping industry is staying focused on its growth potential.

Choose Services Wisely.

Whether or not there’s a pandemic going on, businesses grow best when they choose what services to offer strategically. Right now, that might mean that people are more likely to invest in tree care services that don’t involve any close-up interactions and basics like lawn mowing and shrub trimming, as opposed to hiring someone to plant flowers. Companies that are considering whether or not to expand their services right now should keep that in mind.

Put Safety First.

Like other services during the current pandemic, landscaping services aren’t just determined by individual companies. Depending on the location, many landscaping companies are restricting their services to those deemed essential by the Department of Homeland Security. In their guidelines for public works, DHS recommends focusing on environmental safety issues like removing fallen trees and pruning dangerous branches, eliminating potentially hazardous pests, and performing weed control, and managing plant life that might cause security issues or be a fire risk. It’s all about paying attention to the issues that really matter.

Leadership Matters.

DHS guidelines are helpful, but the average landscaping company doesn’t look to the federal government first when they’re uncertain of how to proceed. Rather, like other industries, they look to other sources of central leadership within the field, such as the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). The NALP has been regularly issuing industry guidelines for COVID-19 and updating these as appropriate. This kind of leadership makes all the difference at a time like this, modeling the right way to operate – whether you run a small local landscaping firm or a much larger, established business.

Staying Up To Date.

Finally, with conditions changing so quickly, it may be hard for landscaping businesses to keep up with the prevailing wisdom. Individual businesses can keep up to date with guidance and lessons from the field by staying abreast of upcoming webinars and news. There’s been an increasing number of online resources and educational opportunities since the start of the pandemic, and it can be helpful to hear all sides and learn from other operators’ wisdom.

It’s a good time to be in the landscaping business, particularly compared to many other professions, but it’s still not easy. Stay alert and continue to prioritize safety – that’s the surest way forward and the most important responsibility of any business operating during this pandemic.

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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