Coping with the rising cost of fuel has not been easy for landscape business owners. The landscaping industry is relatively dependent on fuel, not only for vehicles, but also for equipment.
While there’s no easy answer, you want to consider finding ways to offset these fees so it doesn’t hurt your bottom line too much.
Here are some ideas.
The last thing you probably want to do right now is charge your customers more. Like you, they face rising fuel prices for their personal vehicles. But many companies add a fuel surcharge and have been pleasantly surprised at how well customers understand. Because they’re in on it too, they understand it’s not an arbitrary accusation you’re making. And you can be clear that you will remove the surtax when gas prices drop.
You already know that an optimized route is the key to an efficient operation. In our industry, time is money! You want to focus on route density so your teams don’t drive more than necessary. Of course, the more clients you have, the more complicated this can become.
You can use landscape management software to help you. The goal is to take the guesswork out and create an optimized route that minimizes extra and unnecessary driving time.
Track crews and eliminate pit stops
The occasional pit stop is a necessity. But if crews are constantly going off course and making unscheduled stops, it can really start to add to your fuel bill. One way to better understand what your teams are doing on the road is to use GPS tracking. Losing a few minutes here or there doesn’t seem too bad. But in a short time (and across multiple crews), it can add up.
One of the best ways to track crews is to use a tool like iCREWtek. Thanks to real-time data, you will be able to know where your crews are going. If this is starting to reveal issues, it’s time to have a serious discussion with the crews. If you haven’t already written policies regarding unnecessary downtime, now is the time to create them and discuss them with the team.
While there’s no indication fuel prices will drop any time soon, being diligent where you can will help. If you’re opposed to adding a fuel charge to your bills, now is the time to think about other ways to recoup some of your lost costs.