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7 Ways Your Landscaping Business Can Save Money On Gas

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Business Advice

Landscapers are feeling the effects of rising gas costs and inflation, and it’s looking like it won’t slow down any time soon. The costs can and will put a cap on how much a landscape business can make per year. Your yearly landscape business budget couldn’t have predicted how drastic price changes have been for gas, and chances are your landscape business is losing a significant amount of money on gas alone if the appropriate price changes weren’t made to current and future estimates. While you can’t strong arm oil companies, the government, and gas stations into making cheaper prices, here are some ways on how your landscape or lawn care business can save money on gas.

In this landscaping article, we’ll cover:

Quit Wasting Time and Money on Unnecessary Trips

It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that driving consumes gas. The less you drive, the lower gas bill your landscape or lawn care business has to pay. Transportation is a necessary cost of landscape business operations, but there are often times where jobs have unnecessary trips that waste both time and gas. These are the classic  “I forgot to pack yard waste bags in the truck” or “I’m missing my Allen wrench kit, but I can run out to the hardware store down the street” trips that sneakily take 30-60 minutes out of a work day. While these trips don’t sound like much time and you might think that it doesn’t happen often enough that it’ll affect your business, the costs of labor, gas, and knocks to job efficiency really mess with budgets for jobs. The gas costs alone add up if you consider how many gallons or liters it takes for these tiny trips. If you could save your landscape business from burning a few hundred dollars over the course of a season, wouldn’t you?

Assess and Optimize Your Service Area

Travel time from yard to site is a time sink of unbillable hours. Naturally, you would like your crews to spend as little time in transit as possible so that they can get started on the job quicker and burn through as little gas as possible. Sometimes landscape businesses expand their service area to cover too much ground with that travel time and gas costs eating too much into profit margins.

If your landscape business is losing too much money from travel, it might be time to minimize the service area or premiums should be charged to cover travel time and gas. These measures should take the cost away from gas usage and make every job and trip worthwhile and profitable. Also as you’re scaling your landscaping business, consider how these costs can compound as you add to your fleet of trucks. It really adds up when you have moving pieces moving around counties, towns, and cities.

Use Software To Optimize Route Efficiency

Not everyone can beat the GPS with savvy driving routes through alleys, dirt roads, side streets, or other tricks of the trade. Some route planning, or lack thereof, can be costly for gas depending on the traffic and time of day, as you might be burning through fuel idly sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Thankfully, there are many digital tools that don’t require contractors to know which routes are the fastest and at what time of the day/week/month.

As far as GPS systems go, there are options of strong mapping tools you can use off your phone like Google Maps or Waze. Route planning and job planning is a different story for landscapers. LMN has a routing feature that can create the most efficient route for multiple jobs throughout the day. This will cut unbillable travel time for your landscaping business, decrease the cost of labor hours, and ultimately save money on gas with the most optimized route possible between jobs.

Add a Fuel Surcharge to Your Estimates

Fuel surcharges are a new trend being added to landscaping estimates. The idea is to provide some additional insurance within your estimates to account for the fluctuating and increasing gas costs that affect everything from your trucks, skid steers, and gas handheld landscaping equipment. A fuel surcharge should help you offset those fuel costs and help keep your profit margins so that your landscaping business isn’t operating at a profit loss.

This new fuel surcharge has many ways of being deployed in a landscaping estimate. One way is for landscape companies to estimate how many gallons or liters of fuel they expect to use on a job multiplied by desired fuel rate: ( # gallons/liters of fuel x desired fuel rates = total fuel surcharge). Make sure to explain the rate and total amount of fuel food transparency purposes. The more transparency you can provide customers, the more trust will be built in the customer and contractor relationship. If this fuel surcharge is a deal breaker for future estimates, you shouldn’t take the job anyways as it won’t be profitable, and not worth your time and effort.

Accurately Manage Your Materials Inventory For Future Jobs

Securing materials is a big enough task in itself with finding proper rates, but scheduling and planning for materials can save your business money that would’ve been spent on labor hours and fuel. The easiest way your business can save money on fuel is to opt for materials delivered to job sites directly or the yard.

Establishing reliable relationships with preferred vendors can go a long way in ensuring materials that arrive on schedule, and opening up options for delivery at reasonable rates. These deliveries are essential in reducing the amount of unbillable time spent waiting or retrieving materials, and there are opportunities to cut deals for better rates when purchases are made in bulk. If your landscape business has a preferred vendor, make sure to get them signed up to the LMN Marketplace to integrate your material purchases right into your LMN estimates.

Utilize Gas Reward Programs or Gas Alert Mobile Apps

Collect those rewards. Gas reward programs and credit cards that give rebates on fuel costs are fantastic ways for your landscape or lawn care business to save money on gas. Each program provides their own terms and conditions, but more often than not, these are fantastic ways to recoup some of the costs of doing business. While it might not work for larger bulk fuel purchases delivered to your yard, this could be a great way to save money for your fleet of trucks.

Be sure to check out gas price mobile apps to find the best deals if you need to fuel up. An app to save money on gas can be added to work phones or tablets, and can always be highlighted in those morning huddles with the whole crew. Just like GPS apps, there are plenty of apps to help you save money on your gas for both your business and personal life.

How LMN Helps Your Landscape Business Save Money

Landscape businesses can’t make strong business decisions without knowing their numbers. LMN has a wide variety of digital tools to help landscapers understand where and when they’re losing money, especially when the costs can be lowered through ways like how to save money on gas. Find efficiencies and opportunities to save money for your landscape business with our estimating and budgeting tools. Reach out to our LMN experts who can walk you through where you can find efficiencies and cost saving opportunities to make your landscaping or lawn care business more profitable in the long term.

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