As we head into 2023, there are a few things the industry needs to look for. First, all the economic indicators seem to point toward some sort of an economic downturn or even a recession. If these indicators prove to be correct, your team can expect to see a downturn in new construction projects and enhancements.
I’ve never been one that likes to talk about problems. Instead, I like to talk about the positive outcomes and solutions to carry the industry through 2023.
If we do see an economic downturn, our industry should focus on recruiting people that may be looking for an industry that, in my opinion, has proven to be recession- and pandemic-resilient. Maintenance is a necessity in this country for commercial property owners and municipalities.
Langton group will focus a lot of its energy in the commercial and municipal space. Many procurement managers will try to convince our industry to decrease pricing, as they will argue they are needing to cut costs. I advise you talk to you renewals team or sales staff to combat that ask. We need to remind them that our industry has had major cost increases, and none of those costs are coming down for us in 2023.
Our labor pool has been stressed and held down in the past, but I urge the industry to remember we are needed.
Our labor pool deserves the same benefits as other professional industries receive.
We expect 2023 to continue to bring strong demand for managed landscape and lawn care services. Industry companies are very resilient and have dealt well with the challenges of the last 12 months, including inflation, supply chain and labor shortages. Those pressures will continue by varying degrees into 2023. However, our members have shown the ability to mitigate those costs while still delivering value to their customers.
Inflation fears have varying effects across all industry sectors. They may affect some, like lawn care and commercial maintenance, a bit more than residential design-build services, which continue to show strong resistance to inflation pressures.
The industry faces climate challenges like droughts in the West and extreme weather, but the good news is that the work that industry companies do helps mitigate climate change. We are working to educate the public about the benefits managed landscapes provide and to focus on our industry’s positive impact on sustainability.
As a service-oriented industry, we find ourselves responding to issues beyond our control. In 2023, we face similar challenges and opportunities that presented themselves during COVID. Supply chain issues of hardgoods and plant material are present. Unlike some industries, where a manufacturer might increase production, plants are not widgets, and natural stone relies upon labor to harvest, dress and ship. We are also not strangers to labor shortages, impacting the implementation of the landscapes we design. Economic uncertainty looms large and might affect some clients’ decisions as to how and where to spend discretionary income. Living in a global economy brings with it introduced pathogens and insects that threaten the native and ornamental species we specify.
Despite these factors, we have increased opportunities to create thoughtfully designed, biodynamic and resilient landscapes, as the public has become acutely aware of the positive impact their home environment has on their physical and mental health.
The biggest issue facing our industry in 2023 is the instability of the economy.
You must be prepared for all possibilities, for both inflation and deflation, for both labor market tightening and then loosening, for peak demands and sudden quiet in the market. Material supplies are loosening, but we will continue to see hiccups, especially as China’s economy continues with fits and starts.
Success in 2023 requires a nimble leadership team, with owners who spend enough time working “on” the business, with company leaders who are taking time to think, assess and proactively guide their teams. This requires everyone making use of real-time information.
The biggest long-term issue we will face in 2023 and beyond is the constant technological innovations, I.O.T. and market disrupters. As the old joke goes, “You may outrun the bear, but the guy with the faster sneakers will still outrun you.”
Stay on top of the trends, and staff your team with fast-thinking and technology-friendly leaders.
Flexible, informed and decisive are key traits in 2023.