Fuel prices put lawn care and supply companies in trouble

INDIANAPOLIS — Inflation recently hit its highest level in four decades and local lawn care and supply companies say high costs have put them between a rock and a hard place with their customers.

“I just did a quick double check and sort of freaked myself out,” said Joshua Brown, CEO of Tiffany Lawn & Garden Supply. “Since the beginning of the year, the prices of the fuel we use here on sight have increased by 85%.”

Brown said fuel prices have already forced him to make tough choices for the business, like adding a fuel surcharge.

“We just had to do a mid-season price increase on all of our manufactured products because we absorbed as much of that price as possible,” Brown said.

At Thomas Lawn & Landscape Inc., owner Chris Thomas is considering adding a fuel surcharge. It was a decision he had not made since 2008.

“It keeps snowballing from everything going up and up and up and the fuel hits everything,” Thomas said.

Gasoline prices have climbed to over $5 a gallon and diesel fuel sits at $5.70 a gallon. It’s money out of Thomas’s pocket.

“We go and fill trucks where it used to be $100, now it’s $200,” Thomas said.

Both business leaders said fuel prices are only part of the pain of inflation. Supply chain costs continue to challenge their bottom line.

“Anything involving steel coming from any other country, those have been delayed,” Brown said. “The most important thing is the spare parts for the machines.”

Brown and Thomas said they had not considered cutting jobs to offset high costs. It is first of all because they have jobs to fill! They said hiring quality candidates continues to be a problem.